Learning Support in the Sixth Form

‘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 have five highly experienced 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 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.

From September 2018, pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), and who are not making expected levels of progress, will be offered Learning Support. This may include in-class support from the teacher or a Learning Support Assistant, or group, paired or individual intervention or support sessions. There is no charge for this support. 

This development in our provision will mean that we are more flexible in the support we are able to offer our pupils, and will therefore allow us to be better able to meet the individual needs of our learners with SEND.

We consider home/school liaison to be very important and we encourage regular contact with parents of pupils receiving Learning Support. It is also essential that we are aware of the additional needs of pupils joining us from other schools, so that we are able to ensure they 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 relevant documentation. 

Please feel free to contact us if you feel your child may benefit from additional support or if you have concerns about their progress. 

Learning Support Staff

Elizabeth Bridle: MEd, PGCE, BSc (Hons), DipSpLD, NASENCo, PAPAA
Elizabeth is Head of Learning Support, and joined the College in 2015.  She has a broad range of experience in a variety of educational contexts, including time spent as a Curriculum Leader in an outstanding special needs school.

Rita Gearing: CertEd, DipSpLD
Rita has many years' experience. She joined the Department in 1995, gaining her diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties the following year, and was Head of the Department until 2015.

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.

Helen Atkinson: MA (Ed), PGCE, BA (Hons), Dip SpLD, PAPAA 
Helen joined Bishop’s Stortford College in September 2012 as a Class Teacher in Shell. Having taught in Shell for three years, she started working in Learning Support in January 2016. She has a wide range of experience working in a number of schools.

Estelle Shilton-Heath: BA (Hons), PGCE, TESOL
Estelle joined the College this academic year (2017-18), and has brought a wealth of experience and huge enthusiasm with her. She supports pupils within core subject lessons in the Senior School and also provides some one to one sessions for individual pupils, reinforcing in-class learning and developing basic skills.

Natalie Thompson:  HLTA Level 4, Teaching Phonics Level 4
Natalie is the newest addition to our Learning Support team, joining the College in September 2018. Natalie is based in the Prep School, supporting pupils in their core subject lessons as well as working with pupils on either a one to one basis or in small groups. She is highly experienced in delivering evidence based interventions using a structured and multi-sensory approach to maximise her pupils’ learning potential, building on their strengths and achieving accelerated progress. 

The Learning Support Department
Contact number: 01279 838656