Support for your child

The ALN department at Penglais School values and supports the contribution that every child can make. The department seeks to remove barriers to learning in order to raise the achievement of students who have additional learning needs. The purpose of the department is to help students to acquire the necessary learning skills and confidence to cope with school life, the curriculum, and to achieve their full potential.

At Penglais School the ALN department is made up of the following specialist resource units:

  • Learning Support Centre
  • Basic Skills – literacy and numeracy support
  • Hearing Resource Centre
  • Talkabout intervention
  • Hafan (Social and Emotional)
  • Emotional Literacy Support, Staffed by an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)
  • Young Carers Hub

 Student have additional learning need if they:

  • Have a learning difficulty that calls for special educational provision to be made for them
  • Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of student of the same age;

Student have a learning difficulty if they:

  • Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning that the majority of student the of the same age:
  • Have a disability which prevents of hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for student of the same age in schools within the area of the Education Authority

The ALN Code of practice for Wales states that needs fall within the following broad range areas:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Behaviour, Emotional and Social Development
  • Communication and interaction and
  • Sensory and/or physical


 Where there are concerns about a students’ progress the school will consider implementing the graduated approach to ALN. The categories referred to in the Ceredigion ALN Strategy are:



School Action


School Action Plus


School Action Plus Resource Agreement




The purpose of ALN support is to help student to achieve the outcomes set for them by school in conjunction with parents/guardians, students and school staff. As well as accessing the units previously listed, ALN support can take many forms, including:

  • Access to a teaching assistant
  • Making or changing materials or equipment
  • The student working in a smaller group
  • Providing a high level of differentiation
  • A special learning programme for your child
  • Intervention in or out of the classroom

 Learning Support Centre (LSC)

The Learning Support Centre at Penglais (known as LSC) is a designated, special provision for students with moderate to severe learning difficulties. It is staffed by specialist teachers, and a senior teaching assistant and a team of teaching assistants. Students have a range of needs which may include Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and speech and language difficulties. The staff in the LSC are supported in designing physiotherapy and speech therapy programmes by external specialists.

All students are allocated to a registration group with their peers and attend mainstream lessons for some, or all, of the curriculum. All students in the LSC are likely to need highly differentiate tasks and approaches and the LSC staff are well equipped to give support and advice to mainstream teachers if required. Subject areas that are not accessed in mainstream will be taught in LSC at an appropriate level. Provision is therefore flexible and tailored to the students needs. For those students who need it supervision is given during break and lunch times.

Students work on individual programmes in maths and literacy which are based on an assessment of their current levels of attainment. There is an emphasis on communication skills and appropriate social skills throughout the day in LSC.  Students in key stage 4 and 5 will follow an individual programme depending on their interest and ability and all will be offered a nationally recognised and accredited course through ASDAN. There is an emphasis on developing life skills and independence where appropriate and we offer some ‘in house’ work experience where possible.


Basic Skills Resource Base

Central to the ethos of Penglais School is the commitment to addressing the learning needs of all of the students and in particular those who have been identified as having a Specific learning difficulty [SpLD] and are on the ALN register. Many students demonstrate dyslexic tendencies and the school is committed to embedding dyslexia friendliness into every part of the school life. The aim of the Basic skills support team  is to help every student with dyslexia, or any other specific learning difficulty, to fully achieve their potential.

The aim of the Centre is to develop and increase the skill of each student in order that they can access the National Curriculum, to develop skills to match their potential and to improve self-esteem within a relaxed and sympathetic environment.

The provision of intervention is based on a number of factors including specialist reports and information provided at transition and regular assessments of reading and spelling levels. The number of lessons students are seen for depends on their individual needs, those in the smaller class have an increased number of lessons. Students may be withdrawn from mainstream lessons to receive intervention lessons depending on standardised scores achieved in assessments.

The learning environment addresses not just academic needs but also the building of trust and emotional wellbeing; many students with SpLD suffer from loss of confidence, lack of self-esteem and disengagement. Using a variety of cumulative, structured learning programmes and interactive, multisensory, supporting activities, students are encouraged to rebuild to discover their natural learning ability. Confidence and self-image are vital in learning.

Ultimately the aims of The Basic Skills Support Centre is to provide a happy, supportive and caring environment in which those students who are not reaching their full potential will be motivated to learn and progress .Ideally this would lead to students making sufficient progress for them to be capable of fully accessing the mainstream curriculum and to no longer require intervention.

A range of skills are taught across the department including:

  • Literacy Skills – reading, spelling, comprehension and handwriting
  • Keyboard Skills
  • Numeracy Skills – the four rules of number, tables techniques, money and time
  • Organisational Skills – memory, thinking and listening skills
  • Social Skills


Hearing Resource Centre

The Hearing resource centre at Penglais School provides support for students with hearing impairments. The resource unit supports students in lessons and provides pre and post tutoring. The department offer a varied curriculum including BTEC Work Skills, BTEC Jamie Oliver Cookery, SMILE. The resource base is led by specialist teacher – Dr Louize Miller

Students with hearing impairments are supported in lessons and in the base.

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We follow the Talkabout scheme devised by Alex Kelly. This is a complete package to help assess a child’s social skills and identify where to start work. This resource covers self-awareness, self-esteem, non-verbal behaviour and friendship skills.

Students who participate in the programme are usually identified during Year 6 transition reviews. The County’s Speech and Language Therapist and Year Leaders also refer a student who has social, language and communication difficulties.

Teen Talkabout is a complete group work resource used for SULP intervention offering a hierarchical approach to teaching social and relationship skills to teenagers. The version used in SULP has been specifically designed for teenagers, this practical workbook provides ready-made material for running social and relationship skills groups with older student and young adults.

The resource is divided into five, hierarchical modules; self awareness and self esteem, body language, conversational skills, friendship skills and assertiveness skills.

The Talkabout tool is accessed via an initial assessment. Prior to using this resource it is necessary to undertake a short assessment on the student to highlight the module that is most appropriate to teach and the skills within that module that are relevant. You will be trained to use the assessment tool prior to assessing a student. The Talkabout assessment will identify the programme of study that should be undertaken with students. Talkabout should be delivered in small groups.


Emotional Literacy Support (ELSA) Hub

ELSAs are emotional literacy support assistants. They are teaching assistant who have had special training from the educational psychologists to support the emotional development of children and young people in school. We have an ELSA on site in school for 4 days a week in the ELSA Hub.

ELSAs help children and young learn to understand their emotions and respect the feeling of those around them. They provide the time and space for student to think about their personal circumstance and how they manage them. ELSAs have regular professional supervision from educational psychologists to help them in their work.

Most ELSA programmes will last for 6 to 12 weeks, helping the student to learn some specific new skills or coping strategies. Clear programmes aims (SMART targets) are set early on and each session has an objective – something the ELSA wants to help the students understand or achieve.

To find out more about the role of an ELSA please visit


Hafan is used as a resource for students who have social and emotional difficulties. Students can be referred to Hafan if they are dealing with anxiety, bereavement or other social and emotional issues. The students referred to Hafan are often struggling with challenge of the mainstream setting due to emotional issues. As such the ethos of Hafan is to raise self-esteem through a nurturing environment and reward all positive behaviour.

Walking Group

Hafan runs a weekly walking group. The aim of the group is to improve student confidence and self-esteem. Students will be identified through liaising with parents/guardians, the pastoral team and other members of staff. The programme will be run by the Hafan walking leader. Students with low attendance will be also be targeted for this project.

Gardening Group

In the summer term Hafan will run a gardening group. This will involve a cross curricular gardening project. Students will take be identified by the Head of Year, Wellbeing team or the Head of the Inclusion faculty. The aim of the project is to develop teambuilding skills, communication skills and reinforce positive behaviour expectations.