IST : The International School of Toulouse
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Student Support at the IST

The Student Support Unit at the International School of Toulouse aims to ensure that all children in the school are able to access the curriculum put in place for them by classroom teachers.

Throughout their academic career many children experience some sort of learning difficulty. Whereas most will overcome these difficulties without needing any extra support other than that provided in the normal course of a lesson, some students may require a certain amount of additional support in order to help them progress.

Support may be necessary for a number of reasons and may include: literacy related issues (difficulties with phonics/spelling/reading…), numeracy related issues (difficulties with number and mathematical principles) or, as is sometimes the case at the International School of Toulouse, issues related to linguistic background (students who do not have English as their mother tongue).

Support is given to students who are considered by the Student Support Unit, in consultation with classroom teachers and parents, to have particular difficulties that prevent them from gaining access to the school curriculum. This support may be given by a Learning Support Assistant within the classroom under the direction of the class teacher or by withdrawal from the class for individual, paired or group support. When appropriate an Individual Education Plan (I.E.P.) is drawn up to focus the aims of the support provided. An I.E.P. provides useful information on expectations and targets not only for support staff but also for classroom teachers and parents.

In certain cases, where there is a need for more analysis or clarification, the Student Support Unit may at times bring in the services of external consultants who are used to working with the school and understand the issues that our students face in learning in an international environment. We currently work closely with a number of external bodies including educational psychologists for specific learning difficulties and emotional and behavioural difficulties, and the School Doctor for referral to French external support agencies. Naturally within the school we work closely with the School Nurse, who is fully qualified and recognised by the French state and who is able to provide valuable initial assessment of health issues which may impair academic or social development. In cases where we feel we are not qualified or able to help support a particular student’s needs we inform parents and staff as soon as we are aware of the issue and offer advice on alternatives.

Within the unit we can draw on a wealth of experience and expertise that allows us to meet the needs of our students. We are fortunate to have some highly qualified and very experienced staff, in particular in the domain of English as a Second Language. We constantly seek to expand our skills base, currently we have a member of staff following a two year training course with the Hornby Dyslexia centre and continue to develop our professional skills through a variety of training and professional development opportunities.

At all times our concern is to ensure that each student at the International School of Toulouse is given every opportunity to take their learning forward and achieve their full potential.