Students with Special or Additional Learning Needs

At Sheffield Girls’, we want to ensure that all our pupils achieve their potential through the removal of barriers to learning and participation. Our aim is to ensure the full integration and inclusion of all students in the life of the school and to maximise their learning potential.

Support throughout the school

We recognise that some students might have difficulties accessing the curriculum: in these cases effective and differentiated support is provided within the classroom by the subject teacher. Students with additional learning needs, however, may require structured learning support which is different from the more general classroom support given to other students of the same age.

How do we define students with Additional Learning Needs?

Students who need specialist support with their learning include those with the following types of learning difficulty, all of which can be supported at Sheffield Girls’:

  • Specific Learning Difficulties, eg dyslexia, dyspraxia
  • Emotional, behavioural or social difficulties, eg ADHD
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Sensory and physical difficulties
  • English as an Additional Language

How do we identify students with learning needs?

To ensure early identification and assessment of a student’s learning difficulties, we work with pupils and parents to provide appropriate support. To help us identify girls with additional learning needs we make use of the following:

  • Information from parents about existing learning difficulties
  • Teacher observations
  • Entrance examination
  • Cognitive ability tests in Year 7(MidYIS)
  • Dyslexia screening test (Year 7)
  • Screening tests for spelling and reading ages (Junior School, Year 7 and Year 12)
  • Screening tests for Examination Access Arrangements (Year 9 onwards)


Many students with mild learning difficulties make adequate progress within the supportive environment offered at Sheffield Girls’ without  the need for any additional intervention other than differentiated work provided by the teacher.

If, however, adequate progress is not being made, then intervention will follow a graduated approach. The first stage is when a member of staff raises concerns about a pupil with our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) who will consider if further intervention is needed which may mean some or all of the following:

  • Individual screening test for Specific Learning Difficulties
  • Recommendation for a full Educational Psychology assessment
  • Advice about the student’s learning needs given to subject staff
  • The offer of small group learning support with specifically qualified SEN teachers
  • The placing of the student on the SEN or Learning Support register

Parental permission is always sought before individual screening or assessment tests are carried out, and the results are communicated to parents.

Partnership with parents

At Sheffield Girls’ we value the knowledge parents have of their children and use this to enable us to provide effective learning support. Equally we will always inform parents of any concerns we have and discuss fully any action we feel is necessary.