Guidance Service

The educational model of the School understands guidance to students as an essential and complementary aspect to academic formation, often being decisive in the students' development process and their comprehensive formation as people. Hence the School has opted for providing a large and properly trained Guidance Service whose responsibilities are to facilitate learning and help students at every stage of their psycho-evolutionary process.
Students’ personalised attention is one of the main challenges that every school has to face. All students share some common learning needs, but at the same time they have different interests, motivations, experiences and skills that make every learning process unique and singular. This diversity clearly appears in students with specific needs for learning support, who show special learning characteristics in some areas that require support, resources and specific or extraordinary pedagogical measures, different from those applied with the majority of students.
Approximately a 10% of students in our School are currently in this situation. Special measures are being applied in these cases, aimed at matching their special learning needs, sometimes related to giftedness or high capacities and sometimes related to attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, learning difficulties as dyslexia or other neurobiological disorders less common or well-known. In either case, our School has an action protocol that defines the measures and action procedures to be taken with this kind of students.

Students with high capacities

The School has a variety of alternatives for students with high capacities, as well as intervention measures to match specific learning difficulties. These measures fall under the current legislation and the School adapts them to its philosophy and educational project.
At the first intervention level we can find the so called flexible grouping measures, consisting of grouping students with a wider mastering in a particular area so that they can work together. Our School apply these measures in specific activities designed for students with these characteristics. So, for instance, in the First and Second cycle of Primary Education, high performance groups are formed in English and Spanish for children with high capacities in these areas.
Measures related to ordinary learning reinforcement are placed at the second level of intervention. Contrary to general opinion, in spite of standing out in one or more areas, students with high capacities can show some gaps in other areas. As a special service in our School, the support teacher works specifically with students with high intellectual capacities (known in Spanish as ACI students) once a month from Year 1 to Year 4 to assess the monthly evolution of each student, reporting directly to the Guidance Service.
The most common measures are the “enrichment” measures, coordinated and supervised by the Guidance Service and consisting of widening contents within the students’ reference group, always after having checked they master the contents.
Firstly, we start with a horizontal enrichment. That is, adding new contents within the same thematic area. For instance, a Primary Year 2 student who masters one digit numbers multiplication is asked to apply this knowledge to logic problems, whose resolution demands to make this operation.
After horizontal enrichment, vertical enrichment can be applied, consisting of deepening within the same contents. Back to the Primary Year 2 student who masters one digit numbers multiplication, now we would add two digit numbers multiplication.
In addition, enrichment measures in our School are developed both inside and outside the classroom, with academic, complementary and extra activities.
The next intervention level includes curriculum flexibilities, moving the student up to the next year class in those areas that he can master. Our School is not completely in favour of this line of action, which uproot the students from their groups. Furthermore, the enrichment measures and the intense curricular content in our academic curriculum make this kind of measures unnecessary. Nevertheless, this kind of action is taken in those cases where there is a strong difference in the mastery of the contents of a subject in comparison with the rest of the class, and the integration of the student in both the origin and the higher class is assured.
The next and last intervention level is accelerations. Grade-level acceleration consists of having the students attending all lessons of the subsequent year, with the objective of matching their interests and cognitive development with their capacities. There have been two accelerations in the School, both proceeding successfully.
The monitoring and deployment of these actions is developed under the coordination and supervision of the Guidance Service, the Academic Deputy Head and the Vice Director of Students.
The procedure starts when the Guidance Service analyses the giftedness report submitted by the tutor and suggests enrichment activities to the different departments. The main teacher of each subject and the Guidance Service value these suggestions and apply them in different activities in class.
The current action plan of the Junta de Andalucía (Andalusian Regional Government) for students with high intellectual capacities distinguishes between three different types of capacities:
Intellectually gifted students: They show a 75th percentile in capacities and cognitive resources as logical reasoning, perceptual reasoning, memory, verbal, mathematical reasoning and spatial aptitude. They are also required to show an upper 75th percentile in the field of creativity and be highly motivated.
Simple talents: High aptitude, 95th percentile in some specific areas, as mathematics, logic or creativity.
Complex talents: Combination of several aptitudes with percetiles higher than 80th in at least three areas. A complex talent could be the academic one, for example, when it stands out in verbal, logical and memory areas.

Students with various special needs

The School's concern to offer individualised attention is equally pursued on those students with special needs, frequently related to diagnosed disorders as hyperactivity, attention deficit or physical problems, students who show difficulties and delays in some cognitive skills and/or learning areas beyond the mere assimilation of knowledge in different subjects.
For these students, the School provides a personalised attention system which starts with the ordinary support system offered to all students in School, reflected most in the so called methodology adaptation, which may entail changes or specific guidance in the way of addressing, motivating, evaluating... the student, not affecting the minimum legal curriculum content of the subjects.
The ordinary support is carried out in the first two cycles of Primary Education during the normal school timetable of the student, parallel to the lesson taught at every subject. It is sometimes taught by the support teacher out of the usual classroom, and sometimes by the main teacher in the classroom, while the rest of the students who do not need support activities go out of the classroom to work on different skills. From the third cycle of Primary Education onwards, support work is done out of school timetable, but usually during the break between classes in order to not interfere with the following and rhythm of the classes nor making the student stay longer in the School. The effectiveness of the support work is measured by the academic Departments once a month, and accredited in the Assessment Meetings every trimester, where Teachers revise and decide the work needs of each student.
Apart from this ordinary support work provided to all students, there is an extraordinary support system that can be attended by students with specific difficulties in Primary and Secondary Education. Those students take extra school activities designed by the Guidance Service in order to reinforce those skills where they are experiencing greater difficulties. It consists of specialised help for students with identified deficits in some cognitive skills and/or learning areas as attention, memory, reading and writing skills or calculus.
Sometimes this whole work is not enough and students with special needs due to psychological of physical problems need methodology adaptations. In this case, the action procedure starts with the design of a document by the Guidance Service including recommendations and general guidance for Teachers and Tutors to fully understand how to treat the student they are working with so that he can give his best: suggestions related to the kind of personal relationships that the student builds up, games or activities that he likes most, how to react to frustration or anger, how the student responds to group or individual situations, etc. The intention is to design a psychological profile as targeted as possible so the Tutor and Teachers take it into account at all times. The document also includes a series of very definite recommendations in the way of addressing the student and how to get involved with him. These recommendations may vary from the way of designing tests to how to organise work or deadlines, not affecting subject curriculum.

More activities by the Guidance Service

The Guidance Service team designs and develops more activities to help and guide the students:
- They have developed the "Consejeros" programme , (Adviser programme) a voluntary service for the resolution of students conflicts between students. It was started years ago and involves students from Baccalaureate, Secondary and the third cycle of Primary Education, although the latter are not an active part of it, but users and beneficiaries of the programme. They have recently created an Adviser Blog: Blog de Consejeros ( which is used as a tutorial tool for the Secondary Education Tutors. 
- They organise and promote the Escuela de Familias (School for Families). This School is intended as a discussion and collaboration forum to help parents face their children education. The format is designed to work in small groups after the presentations by the speakers. This course it is being organised with the collaboration of specialists of the FAD (Spanish Foundation Against Drugs).
- They organise and carry out several Vocational Guidance activities for Year 10 students an Baccalaureate students, finishing with a Guidance Counselling in Year 10 and the organisation of the Vocational Guidance days for Baccalaureate students, attended by numerous private and public Universities that present their educational offer. In addition to those two activities, several sessions are held with every group to inform, guide and solve doubts about the educational offer of our School in Baccalaureate, as well as the format of PAU (University Access Test) and the new aspects that come up every year. It is also possible to solve doubts and personal questions in private appointments.

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