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Sheila Butler looks back and reflects on what she’s achieved and talks about her plans for the future.
Sheila Butler took up her role as Head of Academic Access and Achievement (SENCO) at the beginning of the academic year. Sheila looks back and reflects on what she’s achieved and talks about her plans for the future.
What do you love about your job?
No two days are the same at Seaford! And, of course, the students who never fail to make me laugh.
What have you achieved in your first year at Seaford?
We have launched the ACC (Academic Confidence Clinic), in both Prep and Senior School, as a drop-in point for all students to receive help with homework. Numbers have quadrupled in the past year which is wonderful.
In addition, we have created new interactive, electronic student profiles which are more readily available to teachers and support staff. In general, we have made great efforts to move resources, processes and information online; launching a new Firefly page for staff, for example.
Finally, we have strengthened links with the Pink House to provide exemplary, holistic care for our students.
Tell us about your dedicated Learning Support team, what makes them so good at their job?
I have been delighted to join such a hardworking and passionate team. One of their many strengths is their ability to understand a child's unique academic and pastoral profile. Our LS teachers, both Prep and Senior, are always ready to go that extra mile, without prompt, to ensure student happiness. The team really know their students which is their greatest asset. Students feel secure and comfortable in the knowledge that, when they enter the Learning Support cottage, they are in a supportive and caring environment.
Tell us about the different students that use the Learning Support at Seaford. What do they gain from the support you and your team provide?
It is essential that the department is not seen as simply a resource for certain students; it is open to all students, regardless of ability. Indeed, some of us have worked with Oxbridge candidates this past year, preparing them for the rigours of higher-level academic study. In the Prep School, the fantastic team deliver multi-sensory lessons in very imaginative ways! They have also begun to develop group sessions in the key foundation skills to boost attainment. In addition, the department is a helpful resource for those needing more global study skills, such as essay planning, time management or examination strategy. If you ask the team the one thing students gain from the department, I know that, uniformly, they would stress "confidence."
What do you want to achieve in the future at Seaford?
Ad alta! Onwards and upwards. I would like a stronger presence in the core departments so that we can provide a more interdisciplinary approach. I would also like to begin a whole school study skills programme to ensure our students are going that extra mile to reach their Challenge Grades. Finally, the Prep School team and I are working hard to reach more students, where possible, by adding additional literacy, numeracy and handwriting support.
I am thrilled to have joined such a special and supportive school. I look forward to the next chapter at the College as we continue to sow the seeds for the future.
- Academic Achievement
- Learning Support