"A dedicated support team develops learning strategies and support plans that ensure most students who receive support achieve equally well, and sometimes better than, their peers."

Ofsted report, January 2017

The College has a team of dedicated Learning Support staff, including Dyslexia specialists, who can provide support, advice and guidance for students with a wide range of learning support needs. 

Tailored support can include:

  • Support from a Learning Support Assistant inside or outside of the classroom to help with organisation, research, assignments or private study.
  • Dyslexia support
  • Group support or discrete support in the classroom
  • Note takers or readers
  • Special examination considerations such as rest breaks, psychological support, extra time, readers, scribe or separate exam conditions.
  • Technical support including the loan of equipment such as laptops

Our Head of Learning Support, Sharon Kieran, with our team of Learner Support Assistants

The team works closely with students, parents, schools, external agencies and college staff to ensure a smooth transition from school to college and students are encouraged to attend taster sessions before they start.

Students are able to work within our Learning Assistance Base during their free periods - with individual work stations, large tables and sofas, and an adjacent quiet room fitted with comfortable sofas and laptop tables.

Students in our Learning Assistance Base

Click here to visit the Local Offer Wirral website for more information from the local authority.


See below for some of our Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:


Q. How do you identify that I have additional needs?


A. The additional learning support manager liaises with our partner high schools and students are referred to us.

A. The student discloses that they have a difficulty and / or disability on their application form and are interviewed by the Additional Learning Support manager, The additional Learning Support coordinator or the Dyslexia Tutor.


Q. How accessible is your college environment?


A. The buildings are fully wheelchair accessible, there are central  disabled changing and toilet facilities, there is a new entrance and wide corridors with no obstacles and students can be timetabled into ground floor rooms.

A. The College is inclusive and there are quiet areas where students can do their work if they prefer.   


Q How will you prepare and support me to transfer to your College?


A. The Additional Learning Support Manager or Coordinator will invite you to come into College to have a look around and will be able to discuss your support needs. Once you have applied to come to College you will be able to attend ‘taster’ sessions during the year, in order to help you decide which subjects you prefer, this also helps the transition to College as the student is able to become used to a new environment. Visits to the College include tours and coming in for a coffee during the holidays.


Q. How will staff support me in College?


A. We have a dedicated Additional Learning Support team who provide support tailored to individual needs, this can be 1:1 support in the classroom, discrete support in the classroom or support in the Learning Assistance Base in between classes.

A. Supported students have an individual support plan which is reviewed twice per year by the Learning support team and the student.

A. Each student also has a development tutor that they see once per week.


Q. How will the curriculum be matched to my needs?


A. At interview students are able to choose courses that match their future aspirations and interests. The Additional Learning Support Manager will discuss the necessary qualifications required to come to College, as some students are not able to take 5 GCSE’s.


Q. How will I know how well I am doing in College? Can parents access this information?


A. We use the ‘Sapien’ system in College and parents have access to attendance records, reports and Pastoral notes. Students will have regular meetings with the development tutor to discuss their progress.

A. We also have regular parents evenings and parents of supported students are welcome to speak to the Additional Learning Support manager at any time about any concerns or questions they may have.


Q. Do you offer any parent training or learning events?


A. Yes we have parent training events before the start of the academic year, plus training on how to use the ‘Sapien’ system. The Admissions Team also facilitate a ‘talk and tour’ and throughout the academic year there are Parents Evenings and Open Evenings.


Q. What support will there be for my overall physical and mental well-being?


A. We have a first aid team in College. The Additional Learning Support manager liaises with Health Care professionals involved with students who have medical needs. The Additional Learning Support team can assist with any personal care needs should this be required. We have a College counsellor and you can book an appointment with the ‘listening service’ anytime once you start at College.


Q. How can I contribute my views in College?


A. There are several student forums, the Equality and Diversity Group, the LGBT Group and the Student Ambassador Group. Student feedback is always encouraged and if you have any contributions you are able to speak with your development tutor.


Q. What specialist services and expertise are available in College or accessed by you?


A. The Additional Learning Support team are experienced and qualified to provide high quality support. The Additional Learning Support Manager liaises with Pediatricians, Social Services, CAHMS, schools and all the teachers and development tutors within College.


Q. What training do the staff supporting me have?


A. The Additional Learning Support team take part in regular safeguarding training and attend external training on disability awareness, mental health problems, autism and Asperger’s training, self-harm and any relevant training to meet the individual needs of our students.

A. The Additional Learning Support team have expertise with a range of difficulties and disabilities, particularly Autistic Spectrum Disorder and are highly qualified.


Q. How will I be included in activities outside the classroom including trips?


A. Students are able to access all of the activities, and a member of the Additional Learning Support Team will accompany students on trips. Parents are also consulted regarding overnight stays and any individual needs of the student.


Q. How are your resources allocated and matched to my needs?


A. The estimated budget is allocated during November of the PREVIOUS year (for September start). The number of supported students has increased significantly over the past two years and the estimated numbers match the actual number of supported students that attend College. It is good practice to apply early in the year, so that any equipment/ adaptations can be put in place prior to September start.


Q. How is the decision made about what type and how much support I will receive?


A. The decision is made in consultation with the student and parents at interview. Support is reviewed on a regular basis at our monthly team meetings and discussed with the student and teachers; our aim is to promote independent learning and resilience so that students are able to progress onto employment or higher education.


Q. How will information about my support needs be circulated to all members of staff and who will be responsible for that?


A. Additional Learning Support  needs are put onto the ‘Sapien’ system with the consent  of  the student; these can be accessed by the pastoral tutor, the teachers who will be teaching the student, The Additional Learning Support Team and Senior managers..

The notes on Sapien are updated after the first full term in consultation   with the student.

The Additional Learning Support team liaise regularly with teachers and development tutors.


Q. Who can I contact for further information?


A. Sharon Kieran (Additional Learning Support manager ) sk@bsfc.ac.uk or Cheryl Price (Additional Learning Support Coordinator) cp@bsfc.ac.uk

Telephone :  0151 652 5575  (extension 3191)


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