Learning Support Links

Departmental Staff

The Department is currently made up of:

Miriam Thomas – Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

Carol Holdsworth – Specialist Teacher

A team of ETAs

In Class Support

Support staff work alongside individuals and groups within classes fulfilling a wide range of roles from encouraging a student with behavioural difficulties to remain on task to reinforcing teacher instructions and differentiating work.

Whilst in class support is very important, ETAs are always mindful of the balance which needs to be maintained between supporting student learning and promoting independence skills.

One to One Small Group Tuition

At the direction of the class teacher, it is sometimes appropriate for support staff to work outside of the mainstream lesson with individuals or small groups of students.

Additionally some students who have been disapplied from studying a particular subject will regularly work individually or as part of a small group with a member of staff.

In such cases individual learning programmes are set up to focus on particular skills or to reinforce work which is taking place in mainstream lessons.

Literacy Programmes

Daily Reading and Spelling Programmes

These programmes are highly structured and involve pupils in a one-to-one learning situation for approximately 15 minutes on two to four days a week. We are able to run these programmes between 8.30 am and 9.00 am from Tuesday to Friday inclusive.

Toe by Toe

This is a multi sensory reading programme based on word building. It uses real words and nonsense words to do this.

Stride Ahead

This is for pupils who have some decoding of reading skills but have difficulty in understanding what they have read. There are timed exercises to help the pupil to read accurately and at the same time with understanding.

Stairway to Spelling

This is a spelling programme based on the 300 most used words in the English language.

Education City 

​We also offer a programme called Education City which is a computer based integrated learning system. The software is able to assess the literacy ability of individuals and will set appropriate tasks adapting the level of difficulty as necessary.

The Word Wasp programme

This programme is described as being a “kick start” to literacy and aims to teach the basic rules and structures of English as well as the rules and structures of spelling.

Literacy programmes with a specialist teacher

We run small group literacy sessions for a cohort of identified students. These sessions take place during mainstream lesson time and programmes are personalised to meet individual needs.

Peer Reading

Peer reading takes place during morning registration in the library. It involves Year 7 students reading to Year 10 students.

Zig Zag Club

This facility is run entirely by ETAs and is open every day for an hour over the lunch break. It provides a safe haven for some of our more vulnerable students as well as offering games, quizzes, computers, support with homework or just a chance to socialise. ​

Examination Access Arrangements

Some students may need access arrangements for classroom tests and external exams.

These may range from 25% extra time through to provision of both reader and scribe (amanuensis) for an individual student.

Assessments for special arrangements are administered in school but the final decision rests with individual examination boards to whom we have to submit written applications. All students are screened on entry into year 7 and again at the end of year 9.

External Agencies

Holmfirth High School has links with a wide range of external agencies which are available to offer support and advice to school staff, parents/carers and pupils.

These are some of the agencies with whom we work:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Health
  • Behaviour Support Services
  • Service for pupils with a hearing or a visual impairment
  • Social Services
  • Westfields Pupil Referral Unit
  • Kirklees Specialist Provisions
  • The Looked After Children in Education Team
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Parent Partnership
  • Targeted Youth Suppor
Individual Education Plans (IEPS)

Students with special educational needs have an IEP which outlines areas of difficulty and management strategies for staff.

Progress in relation to the IEP targets are reviewed and set at regular review meetings. Students and their parents/carers are invited to participate fully in these reviews.

External agencies are also involved when this is appropriate.

Useful Websites:

The web is a useful source of information on many aspects of SEN.

The following sites may be useful to anyone with an interest in Specific Learning Difficulties, in particular dyslexia.

Dyslexia Action

Information about dyslexia services, training, teaching and publications. Useful links to a wide variety of relevant sites.

The British Dyslexia Association

Information and practical support aimed at encouraging a dyslexia friendly society.

National Literacy Association

Encouraging the development of literacy for all. Some useful resources.

Achieve Ability

Useful website for students with SpLDs (dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia) intending to go into Higher Education. A national programme of support including information on course choices, allowances etc.

BBC Skillwise

Factsheets, worksheets, quizzes and games to help improve reading, writing and number skills. Aimed at adults but could be useful for students also.