In addition to the wide curriculum offered by Heathfield, the Learning Support Department, better known as Spectrum, offers an opportunity for girls to receive learning support. These girls could be on the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Register, or require additional attention due to a variety of reasons. Many of the girls who are on the register primarily have a specific learning difficulty, the most common of which is dyslexia. Heathfield has welcoming purpose built rooms to accommodate either individual or group teaching and the support provided is tailored to suit the individual requirements. Each girl has a Pupil Profile (previously called IEP), formulated by the student and staff and shared with parents, setting out their strengths and weaknesses as well as their targets to be achieved. These are updated during the course of the year, whereupon new targets will be set as appropriate.
Teaching is primarily on a one-to-one basis, but small group classes are also offered. The number of sessions undertaken depends on many factors, but is established in consultation with parents and girls. Commercialised programmes such Units of Sound, Mastering Memory can be offered as well as Touch Type to aid keyboard skills. Teaching sessions can be 30, 35 or 70 minutes long. Girls are not taken out of lessons but seen before or after school, at lunch times, or with older girls in free study periods. There is an additional cost for these lessons.
The Spectrum Department also undertakes standardised testing several times a year. Initially this is carried out at the start of the academic year. This testing is completed on all girls in Form I-III to provide a good basis as to their ability and potential weaknesses. Later in the year a standardised reading test is carried out which provides a reading age and then the same initial standardised test is completed again at the end of the year in order to track and record progress. If appropriate the department can make an initial assessment on a pupil through a recognized computer programme to ascertain a greater understanding of their difficulty and then undertake more detailed testing and apply to the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for Exam Access Arrangements.
The department is led by a specialist teacher in SpLD working with a team of qualified staff who support in the classroom as well as performing 1:1 sessions. They prepare and deliver lessons specifically focused on the differing needs of a dyslexic or through a curriculum-based approach.
Spectrum also administers EFL (extra English for international students), providing additional English Language lessons to international students. Please see the EFL page for further details.