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Learning Development

Thornton College has a well established Learning Development Department trained to teach and support children with various learning needs.  This includes children who need additional, more challenging work to ensure that they continue to excel on their journey of learning. 

The Learning Development Department is an intrinsic component of life at Thornton College. It enables pupils to be supported both academically and emotionally and helps them to develop confidence and achieve to the best of their ability. The aim is to nurture and support any child who experiences difficulty in any aspect of learning. The department is also able to support children with various specific learning difficulties including dyslexia. The department is based in an easily accessible room which provides a flexible, well-resourced environment for teaching, studying and assessment purposes.

Children are identified and provided with the appropriate support as early as possible. Specific support mechanisms and programmes are in place that address each individual’s changing needs throughout their time at Thornton College. Individual Education Plans (Pre-Prep and Prep) and Individual Pupil Profile Plans (Senior) ensure that personalised targets are set and reviewed and the Head of the Department communicates regularly with teachers and parents to discuss progress.

Thornton College uses a range of standardised tests including the Cognitive Abilities Tests to provide a learning profile. Specialist screening tests and testing for examination arrangements can also be carried out. Parents can also be supplied with details of how to engage Educational Psychologists who are able to undertake a full educational psychological assessment and report.

Learning Support Assistants provide support both within the classroom and in specially prepared learning support sessions taking note of individual needs and learning styles in order to strengthen delivery of the main school curriculum. By working closely with class teachers and using a variety of resources, Learning Support Assistants ensure that the appropriate support is given to help pupils optimise their learning and maximise their potential.

The benefits offered by the Learning Development Department are set out below:

  • Tuition from Learning Development Co-ordinator and Learning Support Assistants
  • Support to develop organisation skills and study and examination techniques
  • LSA Support in a variety of lessons
  • Supervision of homework tasks after school
  • Regular reading sessions to develop reading fluency and comprehension
  • Computer programmes to aid reading, spelling and mathematics
  • Regular communication with teachers and parents
  • Annual assessments to monitor progress
  • Head of Learning Development is able to determine if exam access arrangements are available for external examinations in accordance with JCQ regulations.
  • Carry out assessments to determine if special access arrangements are available for external examinations

“Thornton is an incredible school and my daughter is so happy there. Despite her more complex needs, she is very much part of all aspects of school life, and is flourishing”


“There are so many kind people at Thornton, whenever you need help you can go to someone. It’s just an amazing school, I love it!”

Student (aged 8)