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The Alpha Programme

The Alpha Programme

Academic – ALPHA (Academic Learning, Progress and Higher Achievement) programme

Introduction
The Peterhouse Group ALPHA programme is a holistic approach to the academic education of pupils at all levels and of all academic abilities which ensures that they receive the support, encouragement and guidance they need to reach their full potential.

Specifically the ALPHA programme means that:

i. the setting/streaming of pupils is carefully managed (lower sets/streams are usually smaller in size);

ii. the academic curriculum is as flexible as possible e.g. pupils at PHB/PHG are able to follow an appropriate course of IGCSE/A levels;

iii. pupils’ aptitudes at PHB/PHG are identified via objective testing i.e. CAT4 tests in C Block;

iv. extra tuition/academic support is given to pupils as/when necessary at PHB/PHG and in particular to pupils in examination year groups (i.e. A Block, Vth and VIth form);

v. extra lessons are provided at SVH to assist children with their spelling, handwriting, reading, bonds, tables and maths.

vi. at PHB/PHG pupils’ academic progress is carefully monitored via a well-structured academic tutorial system; and

vii. at SVH pupils’ academic progress is carefully monitored by their class teacher.

Curriculum Support

The ALPHA programme also includes the provision of curriculum support for pupils with specific learning difficulties; each school in the Peterhouse Group has an excellent, modern, well-staffed and well-resourced Curriculum Support department for this purpose.

Curriculum support meets the needs of:

i. pupils who have a specific learning difficulty (dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)) which has been formally diagnosed by an Educational Psychologist and which necessitates curriculum support and possibly access arrangements (i.e. additional time etc.) in public or internal examinations; and

ii. pupils who have not been be formally diagnosed with a learning difficulty but benefit from support for their learning needs (e.g. helping with literacy, numeracy, study/revision skills or organisation).

Admission of pupils with a specific learning difficulty

Applications from parents of children with specific learning difficulties are welcomed at all levels.

Parents of incoming pupils with identified specific learning difficulties are encouraged to meet with the relevant Head of Curriculum Support to discuss their child’s needs and any concerns they may have.

Identification and Assessment

The Peterhouse Group aims to identify pupils with curriculum support needs at the earliest opportunity. The identification of pupils can come from a variety of sources but specifically:

i. class teachers at SVH raise concerns they have at an early stage with the school’s Headmaster and, if necessary, parents are advised to refer their children to an Educational Psychologist for formal assessment;

ii. all D Block pupils at PHB/PHG are ‘screened’ for curriculum support needs during their first term and, if necessary, parents are advised to refer their children to an Educational Psychologist for formal assessment; and

iii. teachers/tutors at PHB/PHG raise concerns they have with the school’s Head of Curriculum Support.

Parents are encouraged not to arrange for their son/daughter to be formally assessed without seeking guidance from the relevant Head of Curriculum Support.

A Curriculum Support register is collated by the Head of Curriculum Support in each school and distributed to all teaching staff shortly after the start of each academic year (i.e. by the end of January at the latest). The register is thereafter formally updated at the start of each term. The register provides relevant information (i.e. specific learning difficulty etc.) on each pupil with a curriculum support need.

Curriculum support needs are also listed on individual pupil’s profiles on iSAMS, the central management information system for the Peterhouse Group.

Curriculum support provision

Curriculum support provision for pupils in need will include one or more of the following:

i. lessons in the Curriculum Support Department provided either in small groups or individually to target specific needs. This may include support with literacy, numeracy, study/revision skills or subject specific support;

ii. occasional “drop in” sessions in the Curriculum Support Department to target a specific difficulty. In some cases a pupil may need a one off session or possibly a couple of sessions during the course of a term to target a specific learning area e.g. formulating a glossary of subject specific terms or support with essay planning;

iii. the Head of Curriculum support working closely with academic departments to ensure that the needs of pupils are known and met. Teachers are advised on the best way to assist pupils with learning needs in the day to day environment of the classroom; and

iv. appropriate access arrangements in public and internal examinations for pupils with a formally diagnosed learning difficulty. This is managed by the Director of Studies at PHB/PHG and the Curriculum Support Teacher at SVH.

In addition SVH offers:

i. Search & Teach at Grade 1;

ii. Educational therapy (i.e. NILD) at Grades 3 – 7 which is done at Levels 1 & 2 (this may be accessed at PHB/PHG depending on the circumstances), along with RX Reading & RX Maths; and

iii. O.T. when required (Speech Therapy and Dyslexic programmes are provided for those recommended by an Educational Psychologists or relevant specialist).

Curriculum support lessons are arranged so that they minimise disruption to the curriculum as a whole but from time to time pupils do miss other lessons to receive curriculum support; under no circumstances are pupils withdrawn from English, Maths or Science lessons.

Curriculum Support Department

Each school in the Peterhouse Group has a Curriculum Support Department which is well resourced and staffed by properly qualified/experienced teachers who deliver individual and group support to pupils with a variety of learning needs. The Head of Curriculum Support attends Heads of Department meetings (PHB/PHG); at SVH the Head of Curriculum Support has regular meetings with the HM.

The Head of Curriculum Support is also expected to:

i. maintain accurate records of pupils’ learning activities and outcomes;

ii. participate in professional development opportunities; and

iii. liaise with tutors and teachers about the progress of pupils with curriculum support needs.

Staff training

Staff training is arranged either by the Curriculum Support Department or by external consultants to:

i. raise awareness of the needs of pupils with curriculum support needs;

ii. develop an understanding of the different types of curriculum support needs;

iii. enable teachers to differentiate within the curriculum and to take into account the pupils’ learning difficulties;

iv. enable teachers to have a clear understanding of access arrangements; and

v. enable teachers to gain an understanding of professional educational assessments and reports (specifically Educational Psychologist reports).

Access Arrangements:

i. Public Examinations
In some instances pupils who have a learning difficulty are eligible for access arrangements (e.g. additional time etc.) in accordance with the regulations and guidance set out by the CAIE Board; such arrangements can only be organised if the candidate concerned has had a formal assessment by a recognised specialist assessor and the assessment has been done within 3 years of writing the exam.

The Curriculum Support Department, working in close partnership with the school’s Examination Officer, processes and submits applications for pupils who meet the criteria for access arrangements for public examinations as specified by the CAIE Board.

ii. Internal Examinations
In internal examinations arrangements will be made that are similar to those required for public examinations for pupils who are entitled to additional time etc. reader/writer assistance, however, is available only for pupils in B Block and above.
-Special arrangements are not made for informal classroom - based tests, but teachers are required to be sensitive to the needs of pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities.

Fees/charges

There is no charge for individual or small group lessons in the Curriculum Support Department or for additional tuition/help given to pupils; in addition, D block screening tests (PHB/PHG) are carried by Peterhouse at no cost to parents.

Parents are expected to meet the costs of:

i. specialist medical/Educational Psychologists’ reports;

ii. specialist assessment for access arrangements;

iii. specialist materials and resources used for curriculum support (e.g. laptops, reading pens,
workbooks);

iv. reader/writer assistance for internal/external exams (B Block and above); and

v. OT/Remedial/Speech Therapy lessons at SVH, which are provided by visiting personnel.
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