Learning Support | Northumberland College

Learning Support


Our Additional Learning Support (ALS) Team provide a range of support services and help approximately 500 students per year to achieve their qualification.

The team is committed to responding to specific requests, wherever possible, to assist students to reach their full potential.

If you, or your son or daughter have any needs or would just like to talk to someone about additional learning support, please indicate this on your application.

> Use the arrows below to find out more or download our ALS brochure here.


Students will be eligible for ALS if they:

  • Are aged 16+ enrolled on a full-time, part-time or Apprenticeship programme (Students enrolled on a full cost or employability course are not eligible to receive ALS. It may not be possible to arrange support on short courses due to the timescale).
  • Can provide a history or evidence of a learning difficulty, dyslexia, physical disability, mental health or medical issue, sensory difficulty and/or significant literacy or numeracy difficulties.
  • Have had support at school and have evidence to indicate this should continue.
  • Have emotional or behavioural issues that affect their learning.

We can support students by:

  • Providing materials on coloured paper or with a coloured overlay.
  • Offering structured and multisensory learning.
  • Providing materials electronically to allow students to convert them to a preferred format.
  • Giving time for the student with dyslexia to reflect and organise their thoughts.
  • Allowing extra time for reading and re-reading to maximise comprehension and compensate for short term memory difficulties.
  • Allowing extra time for written tasks.
  • Encouraging the use of technology.
  • Focusing on sequencing and task analysis.
  • Supporting students when applying for Exam Access Arrangements i.e. extra time, reader and/or scribe, if appropriate.

We can support students by:

  • Providing a multi-sensory approach to learning
  • Using visual materials to aid understanding
  • Differentiating class tasks/learning materials
  • Organising activities to develop listening and attention skills
  • Providing alternative methods of recording information e.g. labelled pictures, diagrams, flow charts
  • Ensuring that learning activities are broken down into small steps
  • Monitoring and recording progress so that each small achievement is recognised
  • Asking students to repeat instructions in order to clarify understanding

We can support students by:

  • Setting clear ground rules and explaining expectations as simply as possible. Structure and routine are important to the student.
  • Providing social and emotional support.
  • Providing support with group work.
  • Giving direct, straightforward instructions in written format as well as verbally, being aware that the student may interpret instructions very literally and therefore get it wrong.
  • Avoiding making changes where possible.
  • Giving notice of any unavoidable changes e.g. tutor, timetable or classroom.
  • Supporting the student in the classroom.
  • Supporting the student at breaks and lunchtimes, if required, as unstructured times are more difficult.
  • Giving additional supervision and motivation to ensure goals are achieved.

We can support students by:

  • Setting and sticking to clear ground rules and explaining expectations as simply as possible. Structure and routine are important to the student.
  • Alternating activities and allowing movement within the classroom.
  • Encouraging and maintaining eye contact and varying the tone of voice to keep the attention of the student.
  • Breaking large tasks down into manageable chunks.
  • Encouraging students to use personal organisers with a daily to do list.
  • Giving students a clear role in group work.
  • Setting a behaviour plan, where necessary, if students have difficulty controlling impulses.
  • Extending deadlines for assessed work and assignments, if appropriate.
  • Supporting students at breaks and lunchtimes, if necessary.

We can support students by:

  • Assisting the student to manage their behaviour if boisterous and/or loud.
  • Ignoring negative behaviour if possible (unless it poses a risk).
  • Assisting the student to develop appropriate behaviour through adhering to rules, routines and by providing positive reinforcement.
  • Supporting the development of social skills and integration into their peer group by giving them a clear role in group work.
  • Supporting the student to adhere to a behaviour plan.
  • Identifying their strengths and encouraging the student to work to them.
  • Promoting self-confidence by giving positive feedback and recognition for achievement.

We can support students by:

  • Providing one-to-one or group support in the classroom.
  • Providing social and emotional support.
  • Demonstrating patience and understanding.
  • Providing additional supervision and motivation to ensure goals are achieved.
  • Encouraging and promoting self-confidence.
  • Breaking down assignments into smaller sections to help with concentration.
  • Regularly reviewing progress.
  • Providing support outside of the classroom, if required.
  • Providing links to other organisations and/or professionals who may be helpful.

We can support students by:

  • Making reasonable adjustments to the learning environment. The student may use a guide dog, cane or be accompanied by an assistant.
  • Enabling the use of assistive technology such as a screen magnifier, reader and specialist software.
  • Allowing the use of recording equipment, so the student has access to verbal information at a later time.
  • Providing any written work in an electronic format, to allow the student to reproduce the material in alternative formats such as large print and use screen readers.
  • Removing any potential physical barriers.
  • Providing one-to-one support in the classroom.
  • Providing one-to-one assistance outside the classroom, to support social inclusion and mobility.
  • Ensuring good lighting in the classroom.
  • Providing reading lists in advance and giving the student chapter outlines or study guides.

Our ALS Team can provide specialist equipment, software and training to assist students with additional support needs, such as:

  • Laptop computers
  • Exampen
  • Voice recorders with Dragon software
  • Keyboard and mouse alternatives
  • Ergonomic equipment such as support chairs, back rests and monitor arms
  • Screen reading and magnification software
  • Portable magnification devices
  • Audio calculators
  • Specialist software for students with dyslexia e.g. Read and Write Gold
  • Wheelchair loan
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