Our aim is to provide a culture and environment where individual talents and challenges are recognised and self-esteem nurtured. Our approach aims to ensure that all individuals will reach their full academic potential.

Ampleforth offers support for students with specific learning difficulties, including those with an EHC plan and those with occasional problems with learning. This includes individual extra teaching to supplement work done in main subject classes.
We support students within the curriculum by a combination of individual tuition, general academic counselling and the teaching of study-skills for specific problems. Students are normally seen individually, and in supervised study time rather than by withdrawal from other classes. Specific literacy problems are identified, then tackled using a structured, individualised approach. Prep Club is run by specialist teachers and provides supported prep to students needing subject assistance. Computer programmes and multi-sensory methods support keyboard skills, literacy and learning strategies.
We support students with exam access arrangements and teach them how to use their access arrangements to target the specific areas of weakness that has led to the concession.  Each student has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which summarises strengths and weaknesses, defines problems and offers specific strategies and targets. These IEPs are developed  in consultation with the student and are seen by all teachers.
The Department's rooms are available daily as a calm, supportive and welcoming environment for quiet study, and particularly for prep sessions each evening where help and advice is readily available.
As confirmed in our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy, in accordance with paragraph 85 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018, we are alert to our specific safeguarding duties towards pupils with special educational needs (SEN), disabilities and other health conditions. 
Asta Mihkelson
M.Ed. (Bath), PGCE (Birmingham), BA (Leeds)
Head of Learning Support

Asta Mihkelson comes from Scarborough and has taught in every type of school imaginable, including International schools, grammars, comprehensives and special schools. Her teaching of Art, Drama and English has been enhanced by her international perspective, having worked in many different countries including Mexico, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Italy and New Zealand. In Asta’s view, most people have difficulty learning at some point, and boosting students’ self-esteem, whilst having high expectations of them is the foundation and key to successfully integrating students with learning difficulties so that they flourish in a happy and supportive environment.

  • Clare Moses
    BA (Open), MA (Edin)

    Clare Moses has been part of the Learning Support Department at Ampleforth since 2013 and before that taught English, Theatre Studies and Christian Living within the College. She was part of the House Team which set up St Bede’s as a girls’ house and was Matron there for 3 years before  becoming a Housemaster’s wife in St John’s. After 10 years on one side of the valley Clare is now largely based in St Martin’s Ampleforth where she teaches Learning Support and is a part of the boarding staff. Though she is delighted to be so involved with the smaller students at Ampleforth, she still enjoys using skills learnt during her English and Philosophy degree at Edinburgh to support A Level candidates at the College.


  • Dianne Brown

    Dianne is a Dyslexia Specialist who joined the Learning Support Department at Ampleforth and St Martin’s in January 2017.  As a primary and secondary teacher she has taught and supported pupils with a wide range of Educational Need in various settings and establishments.  She builds strong and positive working relationships with individual pupils and subject staff to enable her pupils to achieve success.  Dianne focusses specifically on improving students’ literacy and learning skills in order for each pupil to access the curriculum to his or her fullest capacity. She is passionate about supporting and inspiring her pupils to become lifelong learners.  Dianne originally studied languages and has an MPhil in German literature and philosophy.  Dianne holds registered qualifications in counselling and psychotherapy, and yoga.