En Th

Student Support

The students at HeadStart are all unique and have very different ways of learning and engaging in school life. At times this can lead to challenges for students and their families. The Student Support team are on hand to provide academic, emotional and social support to all members of the school community; ensuring that students receive the appropriate level of guidance and care required to achieve their full academic potential and become confident, resilient young people.

Learning Support

Learning Support collaborates closely with students, parents, specialists, identified outside agencies, teachers and the school Leadership Team to ensure that students with Additional Educational Needs (AEN) are identified, assessed and supported in an appropriate and timely manner. The Learning Support Coordinator provides advice and guidance to teachers on differentiation and resources and offers practical teaching and assessment support.

Additional Educational Needs (AEN)

HeadStart International School classifies students as having Additional Educational Needs (AEN) if they have significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age. They may have a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) or Disability that acts as a barrier to their learning or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age. Students with AEN may present difficulties in some or all of the following areas:

  • Social interaction
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Academic attainment
  • Communication skills
  • Physical disabilities or impairments

If any student experiences barriers to their learning, the Learning Support Coordinator follows procedures outlined in the UK Code of Practice to agree upon (with parents and teachers) an Individualised Education Plan (IEP). An IEP contains specific targets and strategies that will support the student both inside and outside of the classroom. IEPs are reviewed regularly and parents are updated on progress through either informal conversations with teachers or scheduled review meetings. On the rare occasion that we feel we are unable to provide the resources to meet the needs of a child, either during the admission process or after enrolment, the school will support families in the identification of an alternative provision for their child.

The school charges a fee to cover the costs of AEN Support. Additional Fees may apply for students depending on their particular needs. Please refer to the school fees page for full details.

Specialist Support

We are very lucky to have access to a range of services including a Clinical Psychologist. If specialist assessment/intervention is recommended, for example from a Speech and Language Therapist (SALT), the Learning Support support team will provide families with a list of other practitioners available on the island or further afield. Please note that these have additional charges at the practitioners rates.


HeadStart’s school counsellors aim to provide a broad range of services to the school community for the guidance and support they need to lead healthy, fulfilling, productive and responsible lives. Our dedicated and professional counsellors are based in the Student Support Office on the second floor next to the Primary Hall and provide a safe and welcoming environment for students and parents.

Our counselling service contributes to the development of a comprehensive student support and wellbeing program that is responsive to the needs of our school community. The support offered includes providing advice and counselling on educational, behavioural, vocational, personal, social, family, and mental health and other wellbeing issues. Common issues that are attended to in counselling include:

  • School: organisation, goal setting, time management, study schedules, focus, absences.
  • Personal: self-esteem, unmanageable stress and anxiety, relationship/friendship issues, low mood, sleep/health concerns, crisis, grief.
  • Building resilience: strength coaching, mindfulness, growth mindset.

We offer an environment of understanding, support, encouragement and challenge as we assist students to achieve their educational, personal and vocational goals. Our counselling services are available to all members of the school community, especially at-risk students, students with additional needs and their families.

Our counsellors work closely with the Deputy Heads of Foundation, Primary and Secondary, the Learning Support Coordinator, the Head of Sixth Form, the Child Protection Officers and Homeroom teachers to ensure that all students have the opportunity to access the support they require to feel comfortable and happy at school.

Square a7fe66eb 8ac0 4bfb b094 a70e77630c85

Paula Barrado

Learning Support Coordinator
[email protected]

Hello, my name is Paula and I will be the Learning Support Coordinator (LSC) for the whole school. I am really excited by the prospect of working at Headstart school and I look forward to meeting everyone in the coming weeks and months. I am from the bustling capital city of Spain, Madrid. I studied at the University Rey Juan Carlos, where I obtained a BA in Primary Education and a MA in Special Educational Needs and Disability. I moved to the UK in my very early twenties and lived there for almost 7 years. After working for 3 years in an Additional Needs school, I completed the SENCO Award at Leeds Beckett University. Altogether, I have been working as an Additional Educational Needs (AEN) teacher for nearly 7 years. My passion to help children with additional needs started in my teenage years. I volunteered at different ONGs like Red Cross in developing social and life skills for children with disabilities and from deprived backgrounds. After countless enriching experiences, I decided to pursue a career in education where I could continue supporting children to fulfil their true potential. I look forward to continuing the great work that has already been put in place by the AEN team. My ambition is to develop the unit further, ensuring that the students in our care receive the best support possible.

“Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or in the same way” George Evans
Square a9daf64f 65ad 4e6c 9a81 03b4fe46c8a7

Callisa Rademaker

Learning Support Assistant
[email protected]

Hello! My name is Callisa Rademaker. I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, which is also where I did most of my schooling. I moved to sunny Phuket four years ago to pursue my love of teaching. After moving here, I wanted to further my education, even more, I noticed a lack of support for people on the autistic spectrum or with other learning disabilities. I decided to take courses in understanding autism and how to support children with learning disabilities in the classroom. I started teaching at HeadStart International School in 2021 and I am very excited to continue my teaching journey here this year as the learning support teacher. I love living in Phuket and I am very thankful for this opportunity. I aim to be an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher. I believe that all children should be given the tools they need to thrive in the classroom. In my spare time, I take full advantage of living on a beautiful island. I love the outdoors, and activities such as hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, yoga, and of course, walking dogs at the government pound! I am very excited for this school year and can’t wait to see what the year brings!

Square 24849fdf 7636 4104 aaab ed480e002be0

Michael Camino

Learning Support Assistant
[email protected]

Hello! My name is Michael and this is my first official year at HeadStart as a Learning Support Assistant. I am originally from the UK and was born in the North West, Roman city of Chester. I have been awarded a Combined STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Undergraduate Degree with the UK Open University, and will continue studies next year with the University of Cumbria, to complete my PGCE. My path into teaching and support started in Beijing, China where I undertook roles as English Reading Support, P.E. Assistant & Montessori English Teacher. It is within these positions that I was exposed to additional needs students which then pushed me towards finding my role of Shadow Teacher in Phuket last year. The experience was extremely rewarding and I am looking forward to furthering my experience in the wonderful area of SEN. When not in school, I like to spend most of my time either playing sports/computer games or training in Muay Thai. You may even find me competing in one of the local stadiums from time to time. I also spend a lot of time with my new dog, who is the cutest ever (pictures available on request).

Square a3cea14e e5f5 4721 8d0e 36f5f004be86

Dickens Cheng

School Counsellor
[email protected]

Hello everyone! Sawasdee krap! My name is Dickens Cheng and I will be the School Counsellor for the whole school. I am originally from Hong Kong, one of the busiest cities in the world. I am very excited to be a part of the HeadStart community and living in Phuket! After obtaining my Master of Social Work and Undergraduate Degree in Psychology, I have worked in Melbourne, Singapore, and Hong Kong. I enjoy working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. Prior to moving to Phuket, I worked with students, inpatients, vulnerable families, and asylum seekers and refugees. In my spare time, I like doing yoga, hiking, going to the beach, spending time with friends, travelling, having a good cup of coffee! I look forward to meeting everyone at the school!

Default 4dc4830b b6a9 4398 8a43 b2827ce58132Default 8b63266f 1d5e 4479 8635 9fd4e3dcdf2fDefault f064f010 782f 45c2 8c22 61b4bb0cdf5bDefault cda37e10 5767 4c87 9748 95d7b2bedbe9Default 288e8bd1 da42 4211 baf4 9d7557deca7bDefault e5e0accd cdfa 4fe4 8b7b 7bd7189fa5b3Default c1e478c2 232a 4edc 9f6f b9e14670fd34Default 4fc2d169 731f 4e38 882b 7e5c0ac7b8e0Default 95a1e377 f695 43ae 9a9c 9b54158dfc6e