Language and Literacy Resource (LAL)
The aims of Winchcombe LAL are:
- To provide personalised learning programmes for junior aged pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties/ Dyslexia as part of the overall provision of Special Needs provision in West Berkshire
- To promote an awareness for each pupil of their own strengths and weaknesses and to provide them with the learning strategies to enable them to cope with their difficulties
- To enhance pupils’ self-esteem by improving their ability to access the curriculum
The Wider role of LAL
Winchcombe LAL has various roles:
- As a West Berkshire Resource, the unit caters for children from thirty-five surrounding primary schools, who attend in small groups for weekly two-hour sessions. The number of pupils on roll can vary, with one Teacher-in-Charge. Groups are made up of three children who may all be from the same school, or who may be from different schools. New friendships are made and children become aware that they are not alone in their struggle with literacy. For some, this can be a very important message
- The LAL Resource also supports a small number of children in The Winchcombe School and acts as an additional source of support, guidance and training for staff on matters relating to literacy difficulties.The Teacher-in-Charge works alongside the Special Needs Co-ordinator and the Teacher-in-Charge of the Language Resource
- The LAL Resource has a wider role of liaison and training with it’s feeder schools in the locality of which there are 34
- The Teacher-in-Charge attends Support and Achievement Plan review meetings where possible. Interim Target Reports and Final Reports are also provided to support the staff of host schools in making provision for their LAL attendee. Meetings are held with both parents and teachers of host schools
Admission to LAL
Children who are causing concern are assessed by the Cognition and Learning Team (CALT) in their year 4 of schooling. If, in consultation with CALT, it is thought that LAL might meet their needs, they are then referred to the LAL Admissions Panel. The Admissions Panel meets in the summer term to discuss cases for the following year and is made up of: the West Berkshire Learning Support Services Manager, the Cognition and LearningTeam, an Educational Psychologist and the LAL Teachers-in-Charge.
Time in LAL
Children are admitted to LAL in their year 5 group. As a regular rule, each child will receive one session lasting two hours each week in the LAL unit. The placement will start in September of their year 5 and will end at the summer half term break.
Non Winchcombe School children are transported to the LAL Resource in a taxi at no cost to the child’s school or family. Transport is arranged by the LAL Resource. It is an expectation that the parent will contact both the taxi company and the LAL Resource if for any reason their child is to be absent.
Parents are invited to meet with the Teacher-in-Charge prior to their child starting their placement. The educational history and needs of the child are discussed and a demonstration is given as to how to carry out homework. A handbook is provided which covers all points discussed and contains a thorough explanation of homework. Future liaison is encouraged through use of the ‘orange book’, phonecalls and meetings in schools. An email link is available at request of the parent.
Children very much enjoy their LAL session, for many it being the highlight of the week.
The Big Issue
One session on its own each week is not going to fix what for many children has become a major stumbling block to learning: inability to read and/or spell.
One session which is consolidated with daily home practice and support in school CAN fix the problem. It is for this reason that daily practice is an integral part of the programme. It is important that any child attending LAL should be mature enough to cope with this expectation and that parents enter into a dialogue with the Teacher-in-Charge as to how they may best support their child. At present this support takes the form of:
Weekly communication written in the child’s diary.
Weekly homework done in the ‘orange book.’ Homework is done on all school days and should last no more than 20-30 minutes.
Homework consists of:
Practice reading and talking about cards in the ‘White Reading Packet.’
Write out words (or sentences) from ‘Coloured Spelling Cards.’ These cards are read to the child by an adult. The words should then be marked and if necessary, corrections written.
Reading books sent home from LAL. These books are specifically set to the child’s individual needs and are monitored weekly.