Learning Support in the Prep School

‘Learning Support has changed my life for the better and has helped improve my learning’ Fourth Form Pupil

Bishop’s Stortford College is proud to be a diverse and inclusive learning community, committed to ensuring that all pupils have the support they need in order to access all aspects of school life, becoming confident learners and achieving their full potential.

Within our Learning Support Department we currently have six highly experiences members of staff who work across the College and work closely with teaching staff to ensure that the support programme in place for each pupil is tailored to meet his or her specific needs. Four of our members of staff are qualified Specialist Assessors and are therefore able to assess pupils, if requested by staff, for learning differences and eligibility for Access Arrangements for internal and external examinations.

Learning Support is offered to those pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and who are not making expected levels of progress. This may include in-class support from subject teachers or a Learning Support Assistant, and/or group, paired or individual intervention or support sessions. There is no additional charge for this support. You can read the criteria for Learning Support provision here.

We consider home/school liaison to be very important and we encourage regular contact with parents of pupils receiving Learning Support. If a parent has concerns about their child’s learning we would encourage them to raise these, in the first instance, with their child’s subject or form teacher and/or the SENCo directly. Where parents may be considering having a formal assessment completed by an external professional, we would ask that this is discussed with the subject/form teacher and/or SENCo prior to assessment so that we are able to contribute to and support this process.

It is important that we are aware of the additional needs of pupils joining us from other schools, so that we are able to ensure that new pupils have access to the support and resources they require in order to reach their full potential during their time with us. Parents are encouraged to assist us in this by providing us with copies of all relevant reports, assessments and other documentation in good time.

Please feel free to contact the department if you have concerns about your child’s learning and progress, if you wish to discuss additional provision or if you are a prospective parent who would like to know more about the support we are able to offer our pupils.

Learning Support Staff

Louise Vandenburg: HTLA Level 4, SEN TA Level 5, 

Louise has had links with Bishop’s Stortford College since 1997, when her eldest of five children joined Pre-Prep. She is a fully qualified Special Educational Needs Teaching Assistant and previously worked in Shell for 7 years. She also works in Grimwade House as a Visiting Tutor. Louise has worked with the College for approximately 10 years, working closely with SEN pupils in the Prep School. Louise provides in-class support and individualised one to one lessons. 

Fatima Pabani: PGCE, BSc (Hons)

Fatima joined Bishop’s Stortford College in the academic year 2020/21. She has a broad range of experience from working in mainstream as well as specialist (SEMH) schools. She delivers one to one lessons for individual students, supporting them in core skills for English, Maths and Science.

Emma Vaughan: PGCE, BA (Hons)

Emma joined Bishop’s Stortford College in September 2021.  She has a range of experience working in mainstream schools as well as an Intervention Tutor, specialising in dyslexia.   

Justine Bloemink: MSc (Medicine), B.Psych (Hons), PGCE

Justine joined Bishop's Stortford College in September 2021. She has spent 12 years working at Independent Schools supporting both emotional needs and academic needs.  Justine teaches mathematics and delivers classroom lessons to lower sets as well as one to one lessons to individual pupils. 

Julie Manners – City & Guilds NVQ 3 in Supporting Teaching and Learning

Julie joined in April 2021 and supports students in their lessons in the Prep School, Senior School and Sixth Form as well as working one to one. She has worked in Primary and Secondary schools, as an Education Support Worker for Hertfordshire County Council with Looked After Children, a HLTA tutoring in Functional Skills English and an EAL Coordinator. Julie is a Stonewall Schools Champion Trainer and is certified in Teacher Learning Development Work with the HertsCam network. 

Rita Gearing, CertEd, DipSpLD.
Rita has many years of experience. She joined the department in 1995, gaining her diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties the following year, and was Head of the department until this academic year.

Gerda Miller, CertED, DipSpLD.
Gerda qualified with the diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties in 2005 and has worked as a specialist teacher in the College Learning Support Department since 2007. Prior to joining the College, she taught as a specialist teacher in an enhanced provision dyslexia unit.

The Learning Support Department
Contact number: 01279 838656