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 SEND 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 to a student’s classroom teacher who is advised upon the most appropriate strategies to meet the students’ needs in the classroom. The coordinator of this area 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 a short period of literacy intervention or access to a word processor on a temporary basis. 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. A significant number of students in Year 9 are formally assessed for exam arrangements each year, readying them for the GCSEs to come
The specialist leader has appropriate qualifications in assessing and teaching students with learning difficulties and the school does have a trained assessor in access arrangements for examinations.
“I feel a lot more confident with my literacy now”. (Ben, Year 7)