The heart of CA London is the teaching and tutoring staff. We have a 1:3 teacher-to-student ratio, and in addition to our full-time teaching staff we also have a number of reading and other specialists. As you will understand, all CA London teachers are highly experienced and superbly qualified. Most importantly, all have made the professional decision to commit themselves to the teaching of students who face learning challenges.
Throughout the school, our emphasis is on literacy and numeracy, with other elements of the broad curriculum brought into play as the student progresses. Our students have individual education plans (IEPs) that are continually reviewed and revised. We use small group, subject-specific instruction, and our teaching methods involve multi-sensory approaches with attention given to visual, auditory, tactile and kinaesthetic elements.
Speech and Language
The school’s Speech and Language Therapist is a full-time member of staff and is available to help students overcome gaps in their oral and other communications skills. Working in classes and one-to-one with individual students, the Therapist also helps in defining and applying levels of differentiation throughout the curriculum.
Our Occupational Therapist is also a full-time member of staff who is charged with helping students address and overcome a variety of physical and other difficulties that may impede learning and socialisation. The Therapist works primarily in a specially outfitted office that enables students to follow a regime of exercise and related therapies, and also with teachers to enable planning for effective management of organisational difficulties.
CA London’s Counsellor is a key member of staff whose major task is to assist students who may be experiencing some social, emotional and/or academic difficulties—and to help them build confidence and self-esteem. Our Counsellor also helps students identify and understand their problems and offers a programme that may feature both short and long-term objectives. Parents may also use the counselling service.
All our students are assigned a Mentor, that is, a teacher who is responsible on a daily basis for the student’s overall work and progress, both academically and socially. Students meet with their Mentors three times each day. As you will understand there is a strong emphasis in all Mentoring groups to promote an ethos of care.
The initial meeting is for 30 minutes at the beginning of the day before the first class convenes. During this time, the Mentor does a homework check with each student in the Mentoring group, ensuring that the homework has been done and to a suitable standard; assists all students in the group to organise their book bags so that they all have the appropriate materials for their morning classes; and concludes with a discussion of a current issue or problem.
The Mentor also meets briefly with the students immediately before lunch and again after the last class to help each student organise homework and ensure that students have the appropriate books and materials for their homework assignments. As you may imagine, the bond between student and Mentor is frequently very strong.
The Homework Issue
CA London believes homework to be an integral part of the educational process. It augments and reinforces what has been presented in class. It also assists students in developing self-discipline, in organising their work independently and in cultivating the ‘homework habit’—essential as they move into increasingly more advanced levels of education.
That said, homework is often problematic not only for students but also for their families. Accordingly, we overcome the traditional problems of a student being given too little or too much homework on a particular night through our Homework Timetable. This spreads the assignments out over the course of a week and ensures a relatively level amount of homework on each night. Other difficulties, however, can be more intractable: ensuring that the student receives appropriate help in doing homework, for instance, and the burden that homework may put on the family, for frequently it is the parent who becomes the major ‘helper’.
The Prep Period
Our Prep (or Preparatory) Period ensures that homework will be a positive experience by placing the responsibility for assisting a student with homework where it belongs: on the school. Accordingly, following the day’s classes, we hold our Prep Period, during which the entire school breaks up into six study groups.
Each group is monitored by one or more teachers, and any student who requires help will receive it either from the teacher in charge or from the subject teacher who originally made the assignment. Every teacher at CA London is available to answer questions, to provide individualised assistance or to hold one-on-one study sessions during the Prep Period.
The Prep Period takes place from 2:45 to 3:45 Mondays through Thursdays. Our younger students are usually able to finish their homework during this period. Upper School students working at GCSE or Diploma level will not be able to finish their assignments in an hour but they will get a very good start on the evening’s work.
A staff list is available here: CAL Staff List 2018