Learning > Learning Development

Learning Development

The Learning Development Department is at the heart of our school life.

Our approach to Learning Development

Our Aims and Expectations commit to students that ‘we remove barriers to learning’ and ‘we build self-belief and ambition’. We tell all our students that we ‘will teach you how to how to take control of your life and learning’ and ensure you ‘have the tools and strategies you need to regulate yourself and to access any help you need’. The Learning Development Department is central to this process.

Many schools operate on the premise that some students ‘have learning difficulties’ and others ‘do not’. At Milton Abbey our philosophy is that all learning is difficult – if you are doing it properly! We all learn differently and can benefit from opportunities to develop and refine our approach to learning.  

The majority of our students have identified learning challenges: many have received ‘pull-out’ support for several sessions a week throughout their education. Too much education for those who learn differently focuses on the deficits and problems of the individual. Segregating children from their peers can lead to negativity, lack of belief, a sense of exclusion and learned helplessness.

We take a different approach and focus, more positively, on the ‘Development’ of learning for all. Our Learning Development (LD) Department serves all our students and staff. Much of their work goes on outside the LD base, with LD teachers (including Maths, Science and English specialists) visiting classrooms, observing teaching and learning, and advising students and teachers on ways to make every lesson work best for every student.  

At Milton Abbey, Learning Development is not about a session or two a week but is embedded in every lesson, in every subject, for every student.  

How do we ensure every student gets the support they need, in every lesson?

You can see this in practice when you walk into a lesson and find that In English, one student might be listening to audio while another is reading the text; a third might be preparing to give a talk for homework instead of writing an essay: all are in the same class and achieving the same objectives, but all are learning differently. The LD Department advise on what each child needs to do to learn best – and follow up to see that it is actually happening! 

Many of our students have very ‘spiky’ profiles, with high scores in some areas of cognitive functioning, and real challenges in other areas. Our Learning Development Department does not just provide help where a child may be struggling, but also offers ‘stretch and challenge’ in areas where a child can and must go beyond the curriculum. There is no ceiling on achievement here.

What does our Learning Development Department offer?

  • Support in understanding your learning profile, including your habits and attitude 
  • Research-based strategies to enable you to learn optimally, in the context of your learning profile 
  • Individual and small group sessions designed to enable all to access the curriculum  
  • Support with independent study including drop-in and self-referral opportunities 
  • Opportunities for all students to be stretched and challenged beyond the curriculum 
  • Whole-school support with target-setting for every student 
  • Advice and training on the use of assistive technology 
  • Expert advice for teachers in understanding the best ways to teach every student 
  • Specialist services (for example speech and language therapy) 
  • English as an Additional Language – EAL - programming 
  • Expert advice for parents in understanding how best to understand, encourage and assist