Learning Support Team

Welcome to Learning Support at Knowsley Central

Who we are:

The Learning Support Team consists of four Specialist Teachers who have a range of qualifications and extensive experience working with children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

In 2017, the Northern Learning Support Team joined with the Central Learning Support Team to create the Knowsley Central Learning Support Team. We work in 18 schools across Northern and Central Knowsley.

Along with teaching qualifications and QTS, our additional qualifications include Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas in Specific Learning Difficulties, Special Needs and Inclusion, National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordinators, Elklan Speech and Language Support, Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA) and Assessment Practising Certificates (APC)

Virginia Johnson (Lead Specialist Teacher)

Virginia qualified as a teacher in 2005 and worked in Oldham Local Authority as a class teacher and then SENCO. She gained the Post Graduate Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties in 2013. After gaining this qualification, she joined our Learning Support Team and progressed to become the Lead Specialist Teacher in 2015. She gained a further Post Graduate Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties in 2016. She has AMBDA and APC.

Virginia’s specialism is dyslexia but she also has an interest in how early language skills can impact on literacy development later on in life.

Oonagh Shirlow (Specialist Teacher)

Oonagh has been working in the field of Special Education for over twenty five years. Before joining Knowsley Central Learning Support Team in 2017, previously she was employed as an Outreach Teacher in Belfast. Oonagh has a Post Graduate Diploma in Special Needs and Inclusion.
Oonagh is particularly interested in the development of reading skills in struggling and reluctant readers.

Cathy Farrar (Specialist Teacher)

Diane Lackey (Specialist Teacher)

Educational Offer

How we support local schools:

Our team works with children and young people aged 3 to 11, and staff including; senior leadership teams, SENCOs, teachers, teaching assistants, learning mentors and school support workers.

We offer learning assessments and advice, specialist teaching, observations and support for children and young people with SEND.

Specific support in schools:

· SEND screening assessments, identifying strengths and difficulties in aspects of cognitive skills such as verbal/visual, phonological awareness, processing, memory.

· Full diagnostic dyslexia assessments

· Language screening assessments

· Literacy and numeracy skills assessments

· Individual observations and feedback, e.g. learning behaviour, attention and concentration etc.

· 1:1 / small group interventions, e.g. for literacy, numeracy, language skills

· Observations of learning environments, classroom practice, learning walks

· Modelling approaches for staff, e.g. multisensory teaching, use of visuals, task planners etc.

· Modelling how group sessions may be run e.g. language groups, literacy groups

· Help to establish intervention groups e.g. baseline assessments, training of staff, modelling intervention, monitoring delivery, reviewing progress

· Screening of small groups as part of Assess> Plan >Do > Review cycle

· Training – a range of courses tailor-made for schools

· Consultation sessions with parents

· SENCO support; to strategically implement SEND changes – reviewing with staff, pupils, parents/carers, the SEN Information report, SEND policy, local offer etc.

· Advice and support for further referrals and applications, e.g. EHCP, ASC/ADHD pathways etc.

· Consultation with staff to include verbal feedback and notes of the meeting

· Termly planning and review meetings so that the most appropriate support can be matched to the needs of the child

· End of Year reports, praised by Ofsted, to outline the support given to schools and the progress of SEND children

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Staff Training

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Consultancy support

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