Section 7 Meeting Learners’ Needs

Much has been written in Scotland and in Aberdeenshire to support teachers to meet learners’ needs. In particular, Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), Journey to Excellence (J2E) and Assessment is for Learning (Aifl) provide strategies and descriptions of the excellent classroom where the quality of the learning environment is such that it can meet the needs of almost all children and young people. However, there is an underlying assumption, that given excellent teaching, all children will learn.

Certainly strategies such as nurture classes, active teaching, practical experiential learning, enterprising and co-operative learning and out-of school learning, promote the learning of all children.

However,when a child has specific learning or emotional needs, even the best teaching approach may not be fully successful until these barriers are effectively identified and addressed.

Nevertheless, the much broader concept of additional support needs requires that meeting the continuum of learners’ needs is the responsibility of every class or subject teacher. What is required to ensure that additional support needs are effectively met is a trusting partnership
with relevant others.

Section 3.31, Supporting Children’s Learning: the 2010 Code of Practice provides a framework of identification and support which each Scottish Authority will develop to suit their own circumstances.

Assessment is for Learning has taken forward the principles contained in 5-14 Assessment (1991) in a significant way to improve the overall quality of teaching and learning. Education Scotland working with other partners has published support materials on the National Qualifications area of GLOW to help staff develop programmes of learning.

Various documents such as The National Review of Guidance (Scottish Executive 2005) and A Climate for Learning (HMle 2005) provide advice on creating a positive environment for learning, particularly in relation to children and young people with social, emotional and behavioural needs.

Children arrive at (pre-) school with different experiences, aptitudes and interests. They progress at different rates and come to school with very different support networks. To meet the needs of each child in every learning situation, each practitioner supported by others, must be alert and respond to a wide range of learning and social and emotional needs. Teachers must manage the learning environment. Social workers, community workers and others support the living environment. Together, through consulting with each other and working within a framework of shared goal-setting, they can meet the range of needs.

Part 3 of the Journey to Excellence (HMle 2007) provides the framework of indicators which supports Scottish teachers to evaluate the overall quality of their practice. The Quality Indicator (QI 5.3), Meeting Learning Needs relates to the school’s arrangements for meeting the needs of all learners, including potentially vulnerable groups, and addressing barriers to learning. This includes identifying the needs of, and providing support and challenge for, groups and individuals who may have additional support needs arising from, for example, the learning environment, family circumstances, disability or health needs; or social and emotional factors.

This link takes you to Support for All with links and information on how to support children and young people to gain as much as possible from the opportunities that Curriculum for Excellence provides.

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