Support for Learning

The Support for Learning (SfL) department is a whole school resource working with pupils from the Nursery up to pupils in S6. It is staffed by specialist teachers who have Additional Support Needs qualifications in addition to their teaching specialisation. The department has support rooms in the Castle Building and the Grassmarket Campus.

Support for Learning


The department is committed to ensuring that appropriate and efficient provision is made for all pupils, including those who have an additional support need which may affect their education.


The SfL Department is fully committed to raising the standard of attainment of all pupils and to enabling every pupil to achieve his or her full potential. The Department is a whole school resource to staff, pupils and parents, offering assistance where a barrier to learning occurs. It operates through a process of collaboration across the School, fostering a continuous and progressive approach to learning for pupils throughout their Nursery, Junior and Senior schooling. The Department recognises and promotes a healthy self-esteem as a crucial element of successful learning.

Identification of pupils

Pupils in need of additional support are identified in a number of ways. These include objective methods such as screening, internal tests and examinations. The school has an Early Identification and Intervention programme in the Nursery and Early Years where pupils are screened for speech and language development and foundation learning skills. Subjective assessment methods are also utilised including collaboration with teachers and parents. Pupils may also self-refer.

Identified pupils will include those with specific learning difficulties who can be anywhere on the continuum from mild to severe and within a broad range of intelligence. Pupils with language, emotional, behavioural and physical difficulties will also be supported. Other factors which may highlight the need for support include disadvantageous educational history and non-English speaking backgrounds.


Support is delivered through the five Support for Learning roles:

1. Consultancy

Consultancy can take place in many forms: from simply giving advice to working collaboratively with individuals or departments. Effective learning and teaching strategies may be discussed and developed and suitable resources identified and made available.

2. Co-operative teaching

At times SfL teachers teach alongside class teachers in the classroom. Clear aims are set out beforehand and subsequently reviewed. The benefits of co-operative teaching include: providing direct support to and monitoring the progress of all pupils in class; developing classroom strategies with the subject teacher and assisting in recording and assessment.

3. Direct Tuition

Sometimes it is helpful for pupils, individually or in small groups, to work out of class with a member of SfL staff. Also blocks of support may be given to larger groups of pupils to focus on development of specific skills.

4. Services to individual pupils

The SfL Department collates information on individual pupils and is involved in further investigation should the need arise. It has responsibility for ensuring that information on individual pupils is appropriately disseminated both in school and to external agencies.

5. Staff Development

The SfL Department contributes to staff development in a variety of ways: through the sharing of insight, experience and resources; the presentation of in-service sessions; offering guidance on materials, equipment and approaches; commenting on guidelines and briefing documents and by disseminating information from courses attended.

None of these roles is carried out in isolation and each interacts with the others.