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Learning for life




The Learning Support Department aims to ensure that all students irrespective of age, ability, ethnicity, language, class or background fulfil their potential. All students have a right to a broad and balanced curriculum which will meet their needs and which allows progression and coherence throughout the Key Stages. The Learning Support Department will support the students by advising on differentiation in all subject areas and will also offer in-class support to some identified groups. Hitchin Girls’ School promotes a Quality First Teaching approach to support. This means that all students will benefit from high quality teaching which will also support the needs of learners with specific needs. 

We acknowledge that outside influences may affect academic achievement for some students and, with this in mind the department will support social and behavioural issues in line with school policy. Where appropriate, the department will offer small group interventions and support as required. These include support work for social and emotional needs for Autistic students, Dyslexia strategy interventions and meet and greets to encourage students to develop their organisational skills and independence. 

The department also works closely with the Examination Officer to ensure that all students with a long term disability or learning need have fair and equal access for public examinations. Please refer to our Access arrangements for further details. Students who have a temporary condition (e.g. medical/injury) are also supported.

The department works closely with a number of outside agencies such as Speech and Language Therapy, Educational Psychologist, Minority Ethnic Curriculum Support Service, Counsellors, Advisory Teachers, Outreach and Reintegration Support Workers, Asylum, Refugee and Traveller Team, School Health Advisors etc. We also work in conjunction with other educational establishments and workplaces. We have a specific location available for students at lunchtimes, where they may get support from Learning Support Assistants or use the facilities to catch up work or do homeworks. There are also drop-in sessions for students who need support socially during lunchtimes. Students who have an Educational Healthcare Plan (EHCP) are offered a Key Worker from the Learning Support Department who they will meet with on a regular basis.

There are opportunities to speak to the Learning Support Department at all parent evenings by appointment.  Parents/carers are able to call or e-mail at any time for further discussions. The SENCO is also the named Mental Health Lead at Hitchin Girls’ School.

Whilst every effort is made to gain information from primary feeder schools before a student arrives at Hitchin Girls' School, we would strongly advise that, if you have any concerns at all about special additional needs or any other issues, that you contact Mrs. L. Cole  on 01462621300 or email

Key Stage 3 & Key Stage 4 

The aims and rationale of the curriculum in Y7- 11 in Learning for Life are:

To ensure that students are equipped with the knowledge they need in order to keep themselves healthy and be able to function successfully in the world beyond school. This includes, ensuring that they are able to make informed choices about relationships and know how to have a safe relationship; ensuring that they understand how money works in a practical sense; exploring British values, including law and politics; developing positive practices to improve mental health and well-being and to understand how to have a healthy lifestyle. Students should develop the skills needed to manage money, make informed political decisions, understand the choices they have when they form relationships, both as friends and more intimately and should have practical skills for managing their emotions and mental well-being. 

The learning for life curriculum has been constructed in consultation with appropriate external agencies such as school nursing, CAMHS and the careers advice team. It is delivered by a wide range of teachers at HGS once a fortnight. It includes a range of quality assured external providers, including Phase, Herts Young Homeless and the Alcohol Education Trust. The areas of study include the statutory content from the citizenship curriculum and the statutory RSHE curriculum. Computing, Philosophy and Ethics, Geography, History and Science also deliver some aspects of the statutory content. Students learn about each topic area each year and the intention is that they will build on their understanding of topics in an age appropriate manner.

The topics will potentially be delivered at different times of year to different classes in order to ensure that external speakers are available, but the content across each year will be the same for each class. If students take full course PE, they will have a condensed KS4 Learning for Life experience, but the statutory content will still be delivered to them by the PE department using the resources delivered to the rest of the school. 

The content is all compulsory, however, parents will receive a letter each year as there is the right to withdraw your child from lessons which relate directly to sex. All other aspects of the RSHE and Learning for Life curriculum remain compulsory. 

Click here for a detailed curriculum map for Key Stage 3 & Key Stage 4 Learning for Life

Meet the team 

Mrs Laura Cole - SENCO/Head of Learning Support Department. Also the school Mental Health Lead, a DSP and Learning for Life Coordinator

Miss Shani Casey - Learning Support Assistant specialising in visual and hearing impairment support and EAL support

Mrs Deidre Lawrence - Learning Support Assistant specialising in autism support and coordinator for the Lexia programme

Mrs Natalie Noble - Learning Support Assistant specialising in dyslexia support and intervention strategies

Mrs Susan Rabel - Learning Support Assistant specialising in dyslexia support and maths interventions

Miss Molly Rackham - Learning Support Assistant specialising in visual and hearing impairment support and social and emotional needs work

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