Learning Support Team

‘Opportunities for All’ is at the heart of the work we do in the school’s established Learning Support department.

The experienced, dedicated and proactive Learning Support Team endeavour to support our students in overcoming barriers to learning and helping them to become well rounded, successful members of the community.

The team offer an extensive intervention program for students with additional learning needs, with particular specialism in supporting students with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC).


The school has a Specialist Resource Base for students with ASC and as the first Specialist Resource Base of its kind in Cardiff, Cathays High School has paved the way for other schools.

The knowledge and expertise of staff and the excellent support offered to students has been recognised by Estyn and judged to be sector leading practice.


If you are still unsure then you can contact the Learning Support Team where further information can be gladly given.

Disability Access Plan - December 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Cathays High School know if my child needs extra help?

Where a child does not have a statement or we do not have prior knowledge of Additional Learning Needs (ALN), we use a range of assessment data and observations to identify potential barriers, those with additional needs and our more-able and talented learners.
Staff at Cathays High School closely monitor the progress of all students across the curriculum. All parents can check the assessment data for their child using the SIMS Parent app. In addition to classroom-based assessment, we run functional literacy, numeracy and non-verbal reasoning tests with all students on arrival.
We use a Pupil Attitude to Self and School (PASS) survey annually to identify potential issues regarding student’s wellbeing as Cathays High School is committed to provided a holistic approach to our students’ education.

What should I do if I think my child has special educational needs?

There are many calendared opportunities to discuss your child’s progress, share concerns and discuss any possible special educational needs with staff. You may wish to talk to your child’s classroom teacher, form tutor or their Head of Year during a regular parents evening. Another opportunity would be the annual family interview offered to every student; a meeting member of the Senior Management Team. Alternatively, you can contact the Learning Support Team at any time via main reception on 02920 544400. They will put you in contact with the relevant member of the team who will respond to all queries within 48 hours.

How will Cathays High School make sure all staff are aware of my child's additional learning needs and the support that they will need?

Information about a student’s individual needs are shared with staff confidentially through our internal internet system. Individual students may have a Statement, Student Profile and advice sheets which provide individualised information about a child’s strengths and difficulties and lists strategies for supporting them in all aspects of school life.

How will Cathays High School support my child’s additional educational need?

Quality teaching and learning is the main intervention we provide, ensuring that lessons are accessible to all and all needs and ability levels considered in the planning of a lesson. The Learning Support team works with teachers in all subject areas to ensure that a more bespoke package of support is provided for a student where needed. Our extensive intervention program provides opportunities for small group and 1:1 work in a range of areas as well as in class support where appropriate.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

Cathays High School is committed to providing Opportunities for All by ensuring all students have access to a broad and balanced curriculum at a level accessible to them. For some, a more bespoke curriculum is required and opportunities for curriculum modification and alternative study can be discussed with the ALNCO.

How will I know how my child is doing?

Regular assessment points through the year monitor student progress and you will be provided with a formal data report. There are opportunities to discuss this report with staff, including the ALNCO, during parent’s evenings and family interviews. A more regular way to access your child’s progress in lessons is through SIMS Parent app. Through SIMS you can also monitor your child’s attendance, rewards points and behaviour. For students with Individual Education Plans and Statements, additional review meetings are held by the ALNCO and Specialist Resource Base teacher.

How will you help me to support my child’s needs?

Our homework program at Cathays provides opportunities for you to actively engage with your child’s learning at home. For parents of children with additional learning needs additional support can be discussed during parent evenings or by arranging an appointment with the SENCO or Specialist Resource Base teacher.

We will endeavour to support the families of our students in whatever way we can, and often we will be able to signpost to external agencies who can provide additional support and advice. The Team Around a Family helpline is a confidential contact which many of our families have found helpful. You can contact them free on 0808 800 0038.

If you wish to receive updates on things available in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan for young people with disabilities, you may wish to register your child with the Disability Index. For more information click here

What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?

Cathays High School provide a safe, nurturing environment by providing supported challenge to enable our students to reach their potential. Our experienced Inclusion and Wellbeing team offer pastoral support to all students through mentoring, tutorials and our PSHE curriculum. Where needed, our Learning Support Team and Inclusion & Wellbeing Officers provide additional support for students whose emotional and behavioural needs are a barrier to safety, progress and overall happiness.

We have a school counsellor employed one day per week as well as excellent relationships with Cardiff’s Counselling Service, Barnados and Families First

What specialist services and expertise can be provided or accessed by the school? How does Cathays High School work with outside agencies?

At Cathays High School we employ Specialist Teachers in behaviour support, Specific Learning Difficulties and Austim. We have Teaching Assistants with specialist qualifications in speech and language interventions (ELKLAN) and Emotional Literacy Support (ELSA). As well as the staff in school we have excellent links with a wide range of outside agencies, such as Educational Psychology Service, medical professionals and colleagues from social care services.

For more information on our Specialist Resource Base take a look at their page here.

What training have staff at Cathays High School had in meeting the needs of students with additional educational needs?

All staff at Cathays High School are part of an extensive program of training, with specific training in meeting the needs of students with additional learning needs. For example, all staff have received training on how to support students with Autistic Spectrum Conditions, literacy and numeracy difficulties, hearing impairment and supporting students with English as a second or other language.

The Learning Support team have weekly training opportunities to develop their practice in a wide range of areas. All staff in the school, including non-teaching staff, have had training Autistic Spectrum Conditions and how to approach young people on the spectrum.

How will my child be included in activities outside of the classroom?

Cathays High School offer an extensive Out of School Hours program of clubs, trips and additional study opportunities/qualifications. There are activities to meet all interests and learning needs and where appropriate additional support is provided by the Learning Support Team. For students with physical, sensory or medical needs, a full risk assessment is completed prior to activities and staff work in partnership with students and parents to ensure safety and accessibility.

How physically accessible is Cathays High School for students with physical and sensory disabilities?

Cathays High School is the oldest secondary school in Cardiff and its historic building retains many of its original features. Where possible the environment has been adapted to meet the needs of students and visitors with physical and sensory needs.
Most of the ground floor classrooms and canteen are accessible by ramp and we have two toilets with disabled access. Adaptations have been made for students with visual and hearing impairments and the school has a loop hearing system for visitors that require it.
Personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPS) are put in place where appropriate to ensure systems are in place to ensure student safety in the event of an emergency.
To visit the school or discuss accessibility please contact the ALNCO, Laura King.