Learning Support

The school is inspected by CReSTeD who register schools for the British Dyslexic Association. The present registration is effective until March 2015.

Additional support is given to:

  1. GIFTED children whose academic programmes may benefit from enrichment and extension.
    (Such pupils are often entered for GCSE examinations earlier than would normally be expected.)
  2. Children who find learning difficult through no fault of their own.

Most of the pupils who receive such support are DYSLEXIC and two qualified staff are responsible for their support programmes. These staff are trained to identify, assess and implement Individual Education Plans’ (IEPs’) for such children. They work closely with all teaching staff who, through
‘in-house’ training, are also able to support these pupils.

Levels of support vary and may involve one-to-one or small group work. On occasions, classroom support provides an alternative strategy. IEPs’ are reviewed regularly and the outcomes conveyed to parents who are always consulted in any forward planning.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATION in GCSE and Advanced level examinations is requested for most dyslexic children.

We have successfully applied for and received:

  1. Helpers (teachers) authorised to provide additional assistance with coursework assessed tasks,
  2. Additional time for written examinations (up to 25%),
  3. Readers to assist with verbal communication in examinations,
  4. An amanuensis who can not only read the question but act as a scribe for written answers,
  5. Consideration in the marking of examination scripts.

The passage of dyslexic pupils to higher education, including University, is testament to the success of what is an effective and efficient Learning Support Unit.


IDENTIFYING DYSLEXIA

It is vital to identify dyslexic children at the earliest opportunity. Typical signs which parents and schools should look out for are listed below, categorised into the various stages of education.

Pre-school age children

The family history is significant, as dyslexia is often inherited. However, it should not be assumed that the parents will always be aware of potential problems.

Signs to look for include the following:

  1. Late onset of speech.
  2. Often a history of ‘glue-ear’ and possible allergies.
  3. Difficulty with concentration.
  4. Poor co-ordination and fine and /or gross motor difficulties.

Primary school pupils

Some indications of possible dyslexia/specific learning difficulties in children at this stage are listed below.

  1. A discrepancy between receptive and expresive language.
  2. Difficulties with word finding.
  3. Limitations with phonological awareness – rhyming, specific sounds in words, confusion of the order of multi-syllabic words.
  4. Short term memory limitations – difficulty with remembering specific tasks, eg, arithmetic tables, historical dates, foreign languages. Some children may have difficulty with map reading and later with geometry.
  5. Confusion of left and right.
  6. Reading difficulties. Specifically:
    • hesitant and laboured reading, the child may omit or add extra words.
    • omitted lines, or repetition of the same line twice.
    • loss of place in the text.
    • confusion of words that look alike, eg: no/on, for/off, was/saw.
    • difficulty in sounding out multi-syllabic words.
    • the disregarding of punctuation marks.
    • difficulties in comprehension.
    • (It should be noted that not all dyslexic children have reading problems.)
  7. Errors in writing and spelling, which may include:
    • disparity of ability between spoken and written language.
    • messy work, eg pages curled, crossings out, badly laid out work.
    • handwriting which is heavy and laborious.
    • confusion of similar letters, eg b/d, p/q, w/m.
    • bizarre spelling.
    • the same word spelt differently in the same passage of work, eg. more, moor, mor.
    • wrong letters or omitted letters due to lack of good auditory discrimination.
    • confusion between upper and lower case letters.

Secondary school pupils

Any of the earlier problems outlined above may still remain. However in addition to this, the student is now faced with a new set of challenges; for example, many different teachers, a large and noisy school, numerous homework assignments, and everything that is involved with public examinations. All of these factors put pressure on the system of the dyslexic pupil, which is already structurally weak, particularly in the areas of memory and organisation. Typical difficulties which may be experienced are listed below.

  1. Remembering which books to bring to which class.
  2. Organising and structuring life around a timetable.
  3. Understanding complex instructions.
  4. Taking notes at speed.
  5. Completing work on time.

As a result of this strain, the student may become tired and fractious, and employ avoidance techniques whenever possible. When feeling misunderstood and with no support, motivation and self-esteem drop rapidly and secondary behavioral difficulties may manifest themselves.


Advice for parents and teachers

The following are pointers which may help to ease the situation for both teacher and pupil.

  1. Explain to the pupil both his or her abilities and difficulties.
  2. Do not correct all of the pupil’s mistakes. Pick out one or two that are relevant to what she or he has been taught.
  3. Be constructive, limiting the amount of criticism. Always be positive.
  4. When writing with the pupil, sit next to him or her, not opposite them as this can cause directional confusion.
  5. Aids for note taking might include using a tape recorder, photocopied material from the teacher or a copy of a friend’s notes.
  6. Have lessons in, for example , how to organise material and timetable essays. Make use of mind mapping/spidergram techniques and memory pegs. All of the children in a class can benefit from these lessons.
  7. Teach the rules of spelling. All of the pupils will benefit.
  8. When assessing pupil’s work look out for knowledge rather than at the spelling, grammar and presentation.
  9. Allow extra time for tests, preferably at the beginning.
  10. Encourage the use of word processors and spell checkers.
  11. Be aware and tolerant of ‘off days’.
  12. Above all, remain encouraging and positive.

Rather than making extra work for teachers, an understanding of dyslexia may alleviate many problems in the classroom. For example, some schools run in-service training looking at motivating and relating to dyslexic children, some include methods of differentiation of material directed at the highly intelligent child with numeracy and/or literacy problems. Some schools screen all children at five, and other at 11. It is often found that when school policy meets the needs of the dyslexic children, teachers feel supported when dealing with such pupils, parents feel relief that the issues are being dealt with and, most importantly, the pupils are able to develop and learn.

The advice given above has been extremely useful in supporting many Lime House pupils. Parents are free to contact the school should they require any further advice and guidance.