Postal Address: Learning Support Service, Somerset County Council, PO Box 5176, Shepton Mallet, BA4 9DD
The Learning Support Service is made up of a team of specialist advisory teachers who support schools and SENCOs to develop and maintain effective SEN systems that ensure positive outcomes for pupils with learning needs.
They support schools to identify pupils with learning difficulties through individual assessment and advice.
They raise standards of achievement through the provision of high quality specialist support to schools and individual pupils, and their parent or carer.
They support schools to build their capacity to meet a wide range of learning needs by helping them implement and develop SEN policies, which reflect the guidance in the SEN Code of Practice and local and national initiatives. And they provide a range of training opportunities for schools, SENCOs and support staff.
They provide a service for all maintained and Academy schools in Somerset through individual pupil-focused work, and support SENCOs and schools to develop whole-school SEN systems.
They provide induction for new SENCOs, and training that is specific to the school, the area or much more general using national accredited courses, for example the National Award for SEN Co-ordination.
Learning Support advisory teachers have post-graduate qualifications in SEN and specific learning difficulties, training and knowledge in things like dyslexia and developmental co-ordination difficulties, and teaching and SENCO experience across key stages 1 to 4.
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Schools access the service through referrals after consultation meetings that take place twice a year. An allocated advisory teacher for each school can also make referrals and there is an on-going dialogue with schools.