Academic Support

The Academic Support Team is a crucial component of our School community, dedicated to helping every student reach their full potential. Comprised of highly skilled professionals, the team works with students in a non-judgmental manner to address their individual needs and support their academic growth. The invaluable contribution of the Academic Support Team aligns with our school’s overarching goal of creating a positive and inclusive learning environment for all students. 

The Academic Support Team 

Mrs Deborah Wafer, Head of Academic Support (SENDCO) 

Miss Amy Alderdice, Academic Support Teacher/Trainee SENDCo (Prep and Senior School)

Mr Nathan Joy, Academic Support Co-ordinator (Prep School) 

Mr Jack Mattison, Academic Support Teaching Assistant (1:1)

Miss Ashleigh Nixon, Academic Support Teaching Assistant (Maths)

Mrs Fabienne Webb, Academic Support Teaching Assistant (1:1)

Mrs Helen Whitten, Academic Support Teaching Assistant (1:1)

1:1 Support Tutors (additional cost to parents): 

Mrs L Rowlandson
Mrs J Pepper 

EAL (English as an Additional Language)

Mrs L Nicholson 

The Academic Support team is dedicated to identifying and addressing any additional needs of students in order to ensure their continued academic progress. In accordance with the SEND Code of Practice (2014) and the Graduated Approach Assess-Plan-Do-Review framework, the team works with school staff, parents, and students to address any learning concerns that may arise. This process may involve observations, work sampling, and assessment tasks, and in some cases, a Graduated Approach Passport may be created in collaboration with the student’s family and key teaching staff. This passport serves as a document outlining the student’s strengths, needs, reasonable adjustments, and interventions, and is subject to ongoing review. The importance of student voice and advocacy is central to this process.

For further information about the Academic Support provision at Barney or to contact a member of the team, email

Academic Support Offer: 

The Academic Support Team provides a range of services tailored to the individual needs of students. These may include personalized one-on-one support, group support sessions, in-class assistance, and training. Our interventions are tailored to meet the unique needs of each student, and may include but are not limited to the following:

  • 1:1 support in Maths and English (at an additional cost – arranged, as far as the timetable/capacity allows, during independent study sessions) 
  • Precision Teaching 
  • Toe by Toe (reading) 
  • Word Wasp (spelling) 
  • Plus 1 (number) 
  • Power of 2 (number) 
  • Perform with times tables 
  • Touch Type Read Spell (online) 
  • Sixth Form Academic Mentoring 
  • Study Skills support 
  • Social skills  
  • Social stories 
  • In-class support – Core Subjects 
  • Exercises following external guidance (e.g. occupational therapy, physiotherapy) 
  • Exit strategies (safe space) 

The Academic Support Team at Barnard Castle School is committed to inclusive practices and provides guidance on adapting curriculum activities to foster a success-driven approach. We prioritize open and transparent communication with parents, keeping them informed of their child’s progress through various channels including telephone, email, and progress reports. Our teachers also offer advice on how parents can support their children at home. 

In addition, we recognise the value of technology in helping students overcome learning barriers. We encourage the use of assistive technologies such as word processing, dictate, immersive reader, computer reader, and reader pen when appropriate. For students with persistent and significant difficulties, we assess their needs and apply for exam access arrangements as necessary, strictly adhering to the guidelines set by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). 

All of our teachers strive to create an SEN-friendly classroom environment, and many are skilled at identifying signs of neurological differences such as dyslexia or ASD. If a teacher or parent has any concerns about a student’s needs, they can contact the student’s tutor or Mrs. Wafer directly to discuss options for support. 

"In both senior and prep schools, data shows that pupils with SEND and EAL, make similar progress to their peers group, often from considerably lower starting points. Pupils expressed confidence in the support from their teaching, boarding and house staff, the student mentor-scheme and subject tutorials. Their immersion into school life allows them to access the curriculum and respond to the positive actions of the academic support department." Independent Schools Inspectorate