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Support for Learning

School News

Merchiston-Castle-School - Support for Learning

Your son will benefit tremendously from our whole school approach to Support for Learning.

Every teacher is responsible for supporting all learners in their class, whether it be stretching able learners or using the recommended strategies for those who have additional needs, such as dyslexia.

Support for Learning staff will work in partnership with you, your son and teachers, including the Academic Leadership Team and pastoral staff. Communication with subject teachers is vital to allow us to support your son’s work in different areas. They’ll share information from assessments and suggest appropriate teaching strategies through Pupil Profiles. 

Your son will be very much involved in the discussion process, providing information about his strengths, what he finds difficult and what helps him to learn. This forms the basis of his Profile. If we know your son has additional needs he will come to us for assessments as part of the admissions process so that we are all prepared for the start of his journey with us. We will monitor your son’s progress throughout his time with us and meet with you to discuss his reports and our provision.

The Harvey Hub

Support for Learning is deliberately housed in the heart of the school in an area called The Harvey Hub. It’s a warm, welcoming space, chosen for its location, which allows boys and staff to drop in.  It is well used by boys of all ages and abilities. If your son requires small group timetabled lessons they will happen here; some Sixth Formers choose to use the quiet space to work during free time; we also have timetabled catch-up sessions for those who miss lessons due to Tennis or Golf Academy commitments.

As well as focussing on key skills, we aim to build your son’s confidence in the academic side of his life and provide an environment where he can safely share any concerns. This way of working has enabled boys to gain extremely good grades, despite the challenges they may have had to face.

We have strong links with educational psychologists and can suggest referrals to orthoptists and other professionals as required.

Irene Stewart, Head of Support for Learning, would be very happy to meet with you and your son at any stage in the application process. Please let the Admissions team know if you would like them to make an appointment.

We work with the Examinations Officer to ensure that applications for special arrangements in external examinations (scribing, use of laptop, extra time etc.) are made for those pupils who require them.In addition to lessons, in-class support may be provided as needed. Additional support is also provided by these departments outwith timetables lessons.

Irene Stewart Head of Support for Learning


Irene Stewart

Irene Stewart

Assistant Head Pupil Support/Head of Support for Learning

Mrs Stewart joined the School in 2007 as Head of Support for Learning in Juniors and was subsequently appointed Primary Director of Studies before becoming Head of Faculty of Support for Learning in 2009. A graduate of Glasgow University, studying French and German, she went on to teach these subjects and was Head of Languages, subsequently undertaking a Postgraduate qualification in Special Educational Needs, specialising in dyslexia, and is an accredited assessor. Mrs Stewart has been committed to ensuring pupil wellbeing over a long period of time and was appointed Assistant Head Pupil Support in 2016, with particular responsibility for the Sixth Form in that wider role and is a tutor in Laidlaw House. She has a passion for supporting boys in all aspects of their life here and thoroughly enjoys being part of the whole Merchiston experience.

Juliet Vaughan

Juliet Vaughan

Teacher of Mathematics; Director of Studies, Merchiston Juniors, Deputy Head (Academic)

Miss Vaughan is Deputy Head (Academic) of Merchiston Juniors and leads on curriculum and academic issues and Support for Learning in the Juniors, as well as teaching Junior Maths. She is a very experienced teacher who brings out the best in all of her pupils.

Carole Weaving

Carole Weaving

Second in Department, Support for Learning

Mrs Weaving joined Merchiston as a Teacher of Support for Learning in 2016. She is able to support the boys across a range of subjects – having a Science degree, experience as a numeracy specialist in Primary, many years supporting pupils in a 3–18 years school and holding qualifications as a dyslexia specialist teacher and assessor; as well as recently studying to teach English as an Additional Language. She is passionate about helping pupils to use their strengths and to find strategies to overcome problems. Mrs Weaving is a Middle Years tutor and enjoys all aspects of life at Merchiston.

Fiona Blair

Fiona Blair


Mrs Blair is British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy accredited. She has many years of experience of working as a counsellor, previously with clients with substance misuse and underlying issues, in the community and prison. She has worked at Merchiston as School Counsellor since 2009.

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