Students are typically assessed in a range of ways on their entrance to the school. Utilising this data which includes the views of parents, the SEN team are able to identify students with the possible features of a dyslexic profile and further assessment is undertaken. This is not a full dyslexia test. However, it does provide the school with a profile of skills, strengths and weaknesses.
From these assessments students with specific learning difficulties are highlighted by the lead teacher, Mr Mark Slatter who will advise a student’s classroom teachers upon the most appropriate strategies to meet the students’ needs in the classroom. The coordinator also meets parents to discuss concerns and to advise upon what strategies can be used at home, to support a student’s learning in school. Homework packs of resources are available and are regularly issued.
The types of profiles that emerge can include students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia as well as more general or global learning difficulties. Students identified as having certain difficulties may be offered intervention in the form of intensive tuition on specific aspects of learning or literacy which they find particularly challenging. A well-resourced classroom is available to accommodate small intervention groups which typically run for an hour a day for five weeks. Such concentrated bursts of intervention have been shown to make significant improvements to the learning skills being developed by these young people. A comprehensive mix of computer programs, reading schemes and spelling games all contribute to the acceleration in the development of literacy skills for such students.
The coordinator also works with classroom teachers to advise and support their work with this range of students, and to maintain a high level of awareness across the school.
Students with learning difficulties are regularly monitored with periodic assessments being carried out to check for progress. Students deemed to be plateauing may be offered further bursts of intervention in order to bring literacy levels up to a fully functional level. Those still struggling with literacy at the end of Year 9 are formally assessed for exam arrangements.
Mr Mark Slatter, a specialist leader has appropriate qualifications in assessing and teaching students with learning difficulties.
(Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice and Certificate for Teachers of Learners with Specific Learning Difficulties). He leads a small team of LSAs who have also undergone extensive training on courses provided by the British Dyslexia Association that have enabled them to become competent practitioners when supporting dyslexic learners including The Diploma of Educational Studies and The Level 4 Certificate in Dyslexia and Literacy. This team has successfully led the school to achieve two successive dyslexia friendly awards, the most recent “Dyslexia Aware Award” having been awarded in June 2013. This is a formal recognition of all the hard work that goes towards making learning accessible for students with dyslexia at Angmering.
“I feel a lot more confident with my literacy now”. (Ben, Year 7)