Sunday Times Secondary School of the Year 2023

St. Mary's Grammar School

Learning Support

Learning Support refers to the additional assistance provided to pupils over and above that which is available within the classroom during timetabled lessons.

It is an intervention strategy that may be used when a pupil experiences difficulties with an aspect of his/her learning.

The purpose of Learning Support is to enable pupils to improve performance and progress, fulfil potential and become successful learners.

Learning Support is not only for pupils who have an identified Special Educational Need (SEN). It may also be offered to pupils who experience other barriers to learning. The spectrum of additional support needs may range from those which are long term and complex to those which are short term and quickly met.


In St. Mary’s, teachers regularly offer pupils additional support for learning in the form of:

  • Revision Classes;

  • Coursework Clinics;

  • Lunchtime Lessons;

  • After-School Lessons; and

  • Additional Learning Materials.


Learning Support is also available in form of:

  • Mentoring with the Form Teacher; Head of Year or Senior Teacher

  • Peer Mentoring

  • Mentoring with Subject Teacher Mentors; and



Identifying Literacy and Numeracy Needs

We aim to ensure that all pupils reach their full potential according to their individual abilities. We identify which pupils are low achieving and under achieving, in order to take steps to improve their attainment.


At the beginning of Year 8 pupils will be tested using CAT4 and GL Progress Test in Maths (PTM) and Progress Test in English (PTE). The results will be analysed and intervention strategies will be put in place for those in need of additional Literacy and Numeracy support. Pupils with high attainment will be highlighted and opportunities to flourish will be implemented. CAT4 testing will be repeated at the beginning of Year 11 and similar analysis and identification of those in need of additional support will be carried out. PTM and PTE are carried out annually. CCEA Adaptive Assessments are also used in Numeracy and Literacy to help with identification.


Pupil performance in Continuous Monitoring Assessments, Mock Examinations and GCSE Modular performance will be used at KS3 and KS4, as appropriate to identify pupils who would benefit from literacy and numeracy support who would have not been identified otherwise.

Teacher recommendation

The experienced staff at St. Mary’s Grammar School use their professional judgment to identify pupils who would benefit from additional support to help boost their literacy and/or numeracy skills.


Pupils who have been identified as needing targeted Literacy and Numeracy support will be given extra help. Progress will be tracked to allow for adjustment of targets set at the beginning of the year. The range of strategies we have in place to support pupils with Literacy and Numeracy needs include:

  • Discrete one to one or group support sessions with a dedicated support teacher;

  • KS3 Literacy and Numeracy lunchtime support clubs

  • A range of strategies in class such as questioning, group work, individual task completion (e.g. literacy support booklet), extended activities, peer and self-evaluations will be used to ensure that pupils are challenged;

  • Providing a range of resources on electronic platforms

  • Updating parents on Literacy and Numeracy initiatives and ways to help their child improve Literacy and Numeracy through email, text, letter and the school’s website;