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The Learning Support Department at Friern Barnet School aims to consistently put the needs of every child at the forefront of learning. It is the responsibility of every member of staff to be familiar with the school’s Special Needs Policy and procedures. The Special Educational Needs Coordinator Support Team Manager and team of Teaching Assistants provide students, parents, carers, teachers and the wider community with specialist support. This support offers access to external agencies, procedures and strategies so all learners have every opportunity to make progress and to achieve independence and fulfil their learning potential.

The Team

The team of talented and enthusiastic Teaching Assistants has a rich diversity of backgrounds, education, and experience. All Teaching Assistants are level 2 and above. Each Teaching Assistant holds varying roles and levels of responsibility within the department and around the school. There are four tiers of types of support that every Teaching Assistant offers:

  • Link Teaching Assistant to a specific statemented/EHCP student(s)
  • Support for individual, pairs and groups of children in the classroom
  • Support for individual, pairs and groups of children when participating in interventions 
  • Whole school community support and access to regular and on-going training


A Teaching Assistant’s primary focus at Friern Barnet School is to facilitate statemented/EHCP students’ access to the curriculum. The role includes promoting the development of students’ learning via effective support, provision of care and management of students’ emotional well-being. The link Teaching Assistant manages the overall care and support for the target student(s). This additional level of personalised support provides students with particular attention on their individual needs. The teaching assistants work alongside the teaching staff to ensure that every child has access to a broad and balanced curriculum and that every child experiences quality first teaching in line with the code of practice and the children and families act. 

The team includes a number of Higher Level Teaching Assistants. There is extensive experience in providing support for specific learning difficulties such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Downs’ Syndrome, Autistic Spectrum Conditions, and a range of Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH). There are experts in the delivery of additional interventions for other areas of need such as Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCNs), Literacy, Numeracy, and Social Communication Skills development. The Learning Support Department regularly hosts and delivers training within the department and within the school on their areas of expertise. This sharing of good practice aims to promote consistency and is an effective way of ensuring inclusion for all learners.

What We Offer

The Learning Support Department offers a myriad of groups that evolve and change depending on the needs of the student cohort. The groups include Social Skills, Communication Skills, Literacy, and Numeracy. The groups are led by individual members of the team. The curriculum for each group is designed and structured to cater to the specific needs within the group. Students are selected via testing, attainment levels, and on the advice and guidance of staff who know the student well. The small groups are a fantastic opportunity for those who attend to gain special attention in these areas.

The Learning Support Department offers a daily supervised Homework Club. Students have the opportunity to complete homework with the support of the Teaching Assistants who work with them in lessons. This support can alleviate some of the anxiety that home learning sometimes presents. This and the Learning Support Department as a whole, offers a structured, safe environment for every student to make the most of their time at Friern Barnet School.

The Learning Support Department works closely with a number of outside agencies. These include; Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Health Therapists, Independent Therapists, Art Therapists, BYCAS, CAMHS from the London Borough of Barnet and from other local authorities

Access Arrangements

At the end of Key Stage 3, students are tested for Access Arrangements. This testing assesses whether a student might benefit from various provisions during their exams, which can include the use of a scribe, a reader, a word processor, extra time, alternative rooming and so on. These Access Arrangements are provided in order to remove any disadvantage for candidates and where there is evidence of need and the reasonable adjustments fall within the candidate’s normal ways of working.

Please email Mr C Robinson, SENDCo at if you have any questions regarding our Learning Support Department.

Guidance and information 

Special Educational needs and disability code of practice
The young person's guide to the Children and Families Act
The Equality Act

Useful Links

Barnet Local Offer
DfE SEND Information 
British Dyslexia Association
Dyspraxia Foundation
ADHD Foundation
Autism Education Trust
Young Epilepsy
NIH Tourette Syndrome
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