Not so long ago, schools delivered curriculums in a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Many students struggled to grasp what their teachers expected of them. Others, perhaps even smarter than their masters, marked time without being extended, not reaching their full potential. Sadly, for these students, there was little to support their individual needs.
Fortunately, educational research has informed Trinity’s decision making over the last decade or so, to see value in providing quality support for those boys who, for a variety of reasons, may need it.
Trinity Education Support Services (TESS) is a department offering a wide range of support for our boys, including those with physical disabilities or learning difficulties to those who are gifted or whose first language is not English. Boys who need social and emotional support are also well catered for under the TESS umbrella.
The TESS department boasts specialists across all campuses, including teachers specialising in Learning Support, Gifted & Talented Education and English as a Second Language, psychologists, speech therapists and occupational therapists, all working together as a professional and dedicated team. These specialists are highly creative in their approach to providing support to students, teachers and their families.
So what does this support look like?
Specific physical support requirements
TESS staff liaise with agencies such as the RIDBC and other outside agencies to coordinate consultant visits. They negotiate with the IT department on appropriate software and hardware for use within the classroom and source e-books and textbooks. They also ensure boys have access to Disability Provisions during assessments and examinations.
Learning support teachers assess and support boys referred for difficulties with literacy and numeracy. They provide support and consultation to classroom teachers to help modify curriculum and assessments. Boys are supported through individual intervention or small group support in and out of class as well as Transition classes offered in English and Mathematics, Games club at lunchtime and Homework group after school.
Gifted and talented students are provided with academic, social and emotional support. There is also support offered to gifted students with learning disabilities or obstacles preventing them from achieving their high levels of potential. TESS staff assist with the identification, tracking and placement of younger students requiring accelerated learning options.
ESL (English as a second language)
ESL support is provided for students whose main language is not English. At enrolment, ESL teachers complete comprehensive assessments to accurately determine a student’s level of English. This data provides information to better plan support for the student when they commence at school.
Additional Academic Support Services
The TESS department’s speech pathologists and occupational therapists work one-on-one with boys requiring specific intervention as well as provide support to teachers, advising on how to best structure their teaching and programming to help make the curriculum more accessible for students.
The TESS Counselling department comprises psychologists who offer a wide range of support. This includes individual counselling and assessment for learning and mental health needs, small group-based programmes, parent information sessions, assistance with the life skills programming and year group presentations. Consultation with teachers and advising Executive staff members on significant matters relating to the wellbeing of students also play a substantial role in the daily work of the psychologists at Trinity.
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