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Curriculum Support


The Curriculum Support departmental area is situated at the end of the English corridor, on the middle floor of the Morey building.

Our Work

Curriculum Support aims to remove barriers to learning for pupils disadvantaged by Special and/or Additional Educational Needs; and to raise standards of attainment for all pupils. Whilst it is important to recognise that not all pupils with special educational needs (SEN) have learning difficulties (LDs) and not all pupils with SEN or LDs meet the definition of disability (D) as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and the Equality Act (2010), we recognise, meet and review the ‘additional to’ and ‘different from’ learning needs of all our pupils.

How we define SEN/LDDs

SEN/LDDs are broadly defined but not limited to:

  • Cognition and learning difficulty: literacy or numeracy
  • Social and communication difficulty
  • Behavioural, emotional and social difficulty
  • Physical or sensory difficulty
  • Additional need: gifted and talented, disaffected, medical etc

The Curriculum Support Department work with all teaching staff, housemasters, housemothers and parents, complemented by links with specialist agencies where necessary, to ensure we properly provide for each pupil’s specific profile of learning need.

How we recognise SEN/LDDs

On entry to The Oratory School, we use online screening tests LUCID to compare each pupil’s levels of attainment with their ability. We also look at previous school records and current specialist reports. Most importantly, we listen carefully to academic tutors, who are the first point of contact for subject teachers, parents and pupils themselves, should concerns arise over any of their tutees’ ability to access independently our standard curriculum.

There is a SEN/LDD list of all boys who have a Special Educational Need, Learning Difficulty or Disability. Boys are included on the list when the school has reliable evidence that they have additional learning needs, or if they are ‘on monitor.’

Forms of evidence include:

  1. An Educational Psychologist’s report (EPR) or report from a qualified assessor, requested and submitted at time of registration at The Oratory School.
  2. Statement of concern from one or more of the boy’s subject teachers or housemaster or tutor.
  3. Comment or statement of concern by parent.

How we review SEN/LDDs

The ‘additional to’ and ‘different from’ learning needs of each pupil are reviewed by the boy’s curriculum support teacher, plus evidence and discussion with his pastoral and academic staff. Pupils may be added to, have their need changed or be removed from the SEN/LDD list, dependent upon their own individual development, progress and success.

How we meet SEN/LDDs

In order to meet the identified need of each pupil at The Oratory School, the following four levels of support are available:
1. Support by class teachers through differentiated classroom strategies
2. Small group withdrawal for support provided by a specialist peripatetic teacher
3. Individual withdrawal for intensive support provided by a specialist peripatetic teacher
4. Support from outside agencies such as: educational psychologists, specialist teachers, medical professionals, therapists etc.

Study Skills

We run regular ‘Study Skills’ workshops for examination year groups in conjunction with academic tutors and the Heads of 5th & 6th forms . Individual ‘Study Skills’ sessions are also available by separate arrangement with a visiting specialist teacher.

The Lower Years

All 1st form and new 2nd form boys are screened when they arrive at The Oratory School.

If there are any anomalies then the parents are informed and they have three choices
• Follow up with an Educational Psychologists assessment
• Follow up with an assessment by a qualified assessor
• Monitor in school with subject teachers and tutors

An additional Reading Recovery programme is offered for a selected group of 1st & 2nd form boys.

Third to Fifth Form

All Third Years take standardized tests, which include screening for the purpose of examination access arrangements. Boys joining the school in the 4th and subsequent years are also tested.

Literacy Support is also offered to small groups of 3rd form boys.

4th and 5th form pupils have a number of supervised study periods each week where most boys complete independent study. Boys requiring individual lessons from peripatetic staff can have them in these periods. As well as support with Literacy and Study Skills, additional help can also be arranged in Maths, Science, or English.

Examination Access Arrangements

Examination Access Arrangements need to be approved by JCQ (The Joint Council for Qualifications) at the start of GCSE and GCE courses, with documentary evidence on file; including form 8, evidence of usual way of working and an up to date specialist assessment report. They allow candidates with special educational needs, disabilities, learning difficulties or temporary injuries to access the assessment. They are put in place to level the playing field for disadvantaged candidates. They are not to give candidates an unfair advantage. The most common Access Arrangements are rest breaks, the use of a keyboard, and up to 25% extra time.

In this regard, parents need to be aware that if you are wishing to privately commission an Educational Psychologists’ report please contact the Curriculum Support department first. The Oratory School must follow the JCQ regulations in accepting any privately commissioned report.

In accordance with JCQ requirements, specialist assessments for access arrangements are generally applied for at the beginning of the 4th Form in good time for GCSE. These assessments must be formally re-evaluated when candidates begin an ‘A’ level course and fresh online applications made.

The Oratory School can provide an assessment and completion of the application of the examination access arrangements by one of our visiting specialist assessors, there is a charge for this service but you will have peace of mind that all the arrangements will be made appropriately and with minimal disruption to your son’s timetable.

Curriculum Support Lessons

4th and 5th Form pupils may elect to drop one or two GCSE subjects of study, in favour of extra time spent on the remainder of the curriculum; these ‘free’ lessons will be spent in supervised ‘Study Periods’. We have a number of specialist independent teachers who offer extra tuition in a variety of GCSE subjects including English literature, maths, RS, biology, physics, chemistry and ‘study skills’ lessons.