Supporting diversity

Approximately 10% of the students at our school have special educational support needs. In other words, they are students whose learning characteristics in specific areas require a series of special educational supports, resources and measures. In about half of cases, these special educational needs are related to giftedness or high capacities and the other half are related to attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, learning difficulties and other neurobiological or physical disorders. For both segments, the school has an action plan for  diversity, which, as appropriate, includes support measures, enrichment activities, grouping in classrooms, curriculum adaptations, methodological adaptations, etc.

Gifted students

The school provides a variety of alternatives for gifted students:
The first intervention level includes the so-called grouping measures, consisting of grouping students with a broader mastering in a particular area so that they can work together. Our school applies these measures in specific activities designed for students with these characteristics. So, for instance, in first and second cycles of primary education, high performance groups are formed in English and Spanish for children with high capabilities in these areas. 
Ordinary learning support measures are encompassed within the second level of intervention. Contrary to general opinion, in spite of standing out in one or more areas, highly gifted students may have gaps in other areas. As a special service in our school, support teachers’ work specifically with intellectually gifted students once a month from years 1 to 4 in order to individually assess their monthly evolution, and report directly to the Guidance Service. 
The most common measures are so-called "enrichment" measures, which broaden contents within the students' reference group, always after having confirmed that they master the contents. 
The first step is horizontal enrichment, i.e. adding new contents within the same thematic area. For example, a primary second year student who masters single digit multiplication is asked to apply this knowledge in logic problems, which can only be solved by performing this operation. 
After horizontal enrichment, vertical enrichment can be applied, consisting of more in-depth study of the same content. In the above example of the primary second year student who masters single digit multiplication, double digit multiplication would be introduced. 
In addition, enrichment measures at our school are developed both inside and outside the classroom through academic, complementary and extracurricular activities. 
The next intervention level is curricular flexibility, which consists of moving students up to the next year class in those areas they master. Our school is not entirely in favour of this line of action, which uproots students from their groups. Furthermore, the enrichment measures and the intense curricular content of our academic program often make these types of measures unnecessary. Nevertheless, this kind of action is taken whenever there is a strong difference in the mastery of the contents of a subject in comparison with the rest of the class, and whenever the student's integration in both the original and higher class is assured. 
The next and final intervention level is fast-track. Grade-level fast-tracking consists of having students attend all the lessons of the next year, with the aim of matching their interests and cognitive development with their capabilities. So far there have been two fast-track programs in the school, both of which are proceeding successfully. 
The deployment and monitoring of these actions is coordinated and supervised by the Guidance Service, the Deputy Head of Studies and the Deputy Head of Students. 
The procedure starts when the Guidance Service analyses the giftedness report submitted by the tutor and makes suggestions on student enrichment to the different departments. These are jointly assessed by the teacher of each subject and the head of the Guidance Service and applied in classroom activities.

Students with learning difficulties

The school's concern to provide individual support is equally pursued with students with students with learning difficulties, normally linked to diagnosed problems such as hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, physical problems, and with difficulties and delays in certain cognitive skills and/or learning areas, beyond the mere assimilation of knowledge of different subjects skills. 
Ordinary support is used initially in the first two cycles of primary education during students' normal school timetable, parallel to the lesson taught in every subject. It is sometimes taught by the support teacher out of the regular classroom, and sometimes by the main teacher in the classroom, while the rest of students who do not need support leave the classroom to work on other skills. From the third cycle of primary education, support work is done out of the school timetable, but usually during breaks between morning and afternoon classes in order not to interfere with the follow-up and pace of the classes nor make students stay longer at the school. The effectiveness of the support work is measured by the academic departments once a month and accredited in Assessment Meetings every term, when teachers review and decide on the support needs of each student. 
In addition to ordinary support work provided to all students at the school, an extra support system has been established that is made available to students with specific difficulties in Primary Education and ESO (compulsory secondary education). Those students participate in extracurricular activities programmed by the Guidance Service to strengthen those skills where they are experiencing greater difficulties. It consists of specialized help for students with identified shortcomings in certain cognitive skills and/or learning areas, such as attention, memory, reading and writing skills or calculus. 
Sometimes all that support is not enough, and students with special needs, due to psychological or physical problems, need methodological adaptations. In this case, the action procedure starts with the design of a document by the Guidance Service department including recommendations and general guidelines for teachers and tutors to better understand the students they are teaching and how to treat them to ensure that they feel comfortable and perform as best as possible; this guidance is related to the type of personal relationships they establish, the games and activities they like most, how to react when they get angry or frustrated, how to respond in group or individual situations, etc. In short, the aim is to define as defined a psychological profile of the student as possible so that the tutor and teachers engaging with the student keep this mind at all times. The document also includes a series of very specific recommendations on how the Tutor or Teachers on how to treat and relate with the student, which may range from instructions on how to prepare or present examinations to the way of organizing their homework or the dates for submitting projects, and always without affecting the curricular content of the subjects.

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  • 15/08/2017 Virgen de la Asunción

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