Pupil Support

The aim of pupil support is to ensure we have happy, settled pupils who fulfil their potential. We achieve this through close co-operation between the Guidance and Support for Pupils departments.

The Guidance system in North Berwick is organised on a house basis. The house team is responsible for the welfare of all the pupils in their house and their work is therefore directed at establishing good personal relationships with their pupils. Working closely with each member of the Guidance staff are register teachers who meet with pupils in daily registration, issue information and who can often be the first to offer help with any difficulties.

Subject to changes in staffing, Guidance staff and register teachers will move up through the school with their year, getting to know more about each child as a person.

As pupils progress through the school, Guidance staff will provide different forms of support and advice – personal, social, academic and vocational. At certain points Guidance staff will be actively involved in helping pupils when important decisions have to be made – e.g. the choice of subjects when transferring into S3, or careers advice for senior pupils. At other times throughout the year Guidance staff will be available on a regular basis to help with problems and difficulties. An increasing function of guidance staff is their work with individual pupils in setting targets for performance. These targets are designed to be realistic and achievable but also to stretch the pupil so that their potential can be maximised. Guidance staff also play a prominent role in tracking the progress of their pupils as they work towards their targets.

Pupils are encouraged to approach their Guidance teacher as soon as possible if experiencing any difficulty, no matter how trivial. Equally, Guidance staff will welcome early contact from parents concerning any problems facing a child. An early conversation can often prevent longer term anxieties which may affect a pupil’s progress. It is very important that parents keep us informed of changes in circumstances or personal details.  Strategies for supporting any pupil who is causing concern may be discussed at the weekly Pupil Support Group meeting.  If you do not wish your child to be discussed, please contact Mrs Neri, Depute Head Teacher.

Parents are requested to contact the school by letter or telephone to arrange an appointment as the Guidance staff also have teaching commitments. In cases of urgency, however, parents are welcome to visit the school and one of the senior staff will be able to meet them. Please note that as a general rule we would ask that all contacts with the school are made through the Guidance staff or SLT House Link who will have an overall picture of the child.

Guidance staff seek to give support to pupils through formal and informal interviews and through Personal and Social Education classes. In PSE classes the pupils are encouraged to look at their personal aims, aptitudes and abilities, to consider their relations with their fellow-pupils and with adults and to examine their behaviour and responsibilities. From Second Year onwards, careers advice begins to play an increasing part in guidance work and to this end Guidance staff liaise closely with Careers Service staff who visit the school regularly to provide up-to-date information on careers and Further and Higher Education.

One of the aims of North Berwick High School is to provide an environment within which all pupils realise their full potential. The Support for Pupils Department has a vital part to play in helping to bring this about. Ms McLeod and Ms Shepherd are in charge of the team of teachers and many support assistants.

Before pupils come to North Berwick High School they are introduced to the Support for Pupils teacher who has regular contact throughout the year with our partner primary schools. Information about the needs of each pupil is gathered and communicated to Guidance and subject departments. In this way staff can build up an early picture of potential issues which may affect a pupil’s ability to learn.

The Support for Pupils teachers work with teachers and pupils. When subject and support teacher work together, a more satisfactory programme can be devised to suit all pupils. Co-operative teaching enables specific difficulties to be detected and dealt with, in the classroom, before the problem becomes so great that it holds back the pupil’s learning.

If a pupil is identified either by the school or by parents as having special aptitude or ability then programmes will be devised to ensure that the pupil will achieve his/her full potential.

Pupils with a wide range of abilities may have additional support needs. There are several ways of providing additional learning support. A subject teacher and a learning support teacher can work together in the classroom for the benefit of all pupils. Intensive support can also be given to pupils who fall behind in their work, either due to illness or failure to make progress in a subject, through referral to the school’s Support Base. The Support Base aims to provide short term targeted support for pupils experiencing difficulties in aspects of their studies. Pupil Support staff also work with subject teachers to develop materials which are suitable for all levels of ability.  The Support for Pupils teachers are always willing to discuss any child’s specific difficulties with his/her parents and in particular to discuss ways of school and home co-operating in providing support.