Schools & Organisations

It is very difficult to advise on the type of school you should be looking for, as every child’s needs are so different. For the majority of children, they will go to the school in their immediate vicinity. But specialist schooling is slightly different because there is not usually a lot of choices.

It is important that the right school is identified for your child. Sometimes, although a school is on your doorstep, it may not always be the best one for your child’s individual needs. Visit all the schools in your area and see what specialist provision they can offer.


More on Specialist Schools

There are many different types of schools, including:

* Mainstream schools (your local school)
* The Independent Sector.
* Schools specialisting in Dyslexia.
* Schools for Deaf Children.
* Schools for Blind Children.


State Schools – Mainstream
The majority of schools in the UK are operated by the government/LEAs. Most of these are ordinary mainstream schools.

Even if children have special needs, i.e., dyslexia, dyspraxia etc., the child usually stays in mainstream schooling. This is considered best for the child and the family. It is only in extreme cases (if the school cannot meet the needs of the individual child) that they would go to a specialist school. Some mainstream schools have units attached to them for dyslexia etc., or therapists and other specialists can come to the school on a regular basis.

In the UK, a booklet is available from your Local Education Authority (LEA) with a list of all schools in your area.


Independent Schools
There are two main bodies that deal with the independent sector, CreSTed and ISIS.


Schools that Specialise in Dyslexia.
The majority of schools in the UK, which specialise in dyslexia, are private. (At the moment, I think there is just a couple in the state sector.) Some of these schools are only for dyslexic pupils; the others have dyslexic units attached to them.

These schools are usually the best place for children with severe dyslexia. Children who attend these schools thoroughly enjoy themselves because they are ‘the same’ as everyone else. The majority of these schools take students for a period (approximately two years), and then the children go back into mainstream schooling.

There are specialist schools for specific learning difficulties/dyslexia, which are approved by the Independent Schools Joint Council and the Council for the Registration of Schools.

Private Education Centres

If your child is struggling at school – private tuition can make all the difference.

In the UK, there are a few, private education Centres that operate between 9.00am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday (and often on Saturday mornings).

These Centres have thousands of pounds of specialist teaching and testing equipment. Their staffs are highly qualified specialist and dedicated members of a team. Children usually work for one-hour sessions. These sessions are then split into six ten-minute slots so that the child does not become bored and each activity is different from the previous one.
The school can make an, ‘approved absence’ for an ‘education activity’. The children usually come out of school for an hour once or twice each week.

Most schools are quite happy for this. The children may miss a little time at school, but the benefits are they are not tired at the end of the day, so they are not resentful and make rapid progress. I do not think we should expect children to do extra work after school each day (on top of their usual homework). My children would indeed have kicked up about it!

The fees for these Centres are usually approximately, £25– £50 per hour.


Education Centres that Specialise in Dyslexia.
The majority of education centres in the UK, which specialise in dyslexia, are private.

(At the moment, I think there is just a couple in the state sector.) Some of these schools are only for dyslexic pupils; the others have dyslexic units attached to them.

Schools for Dyslexics or Education Centres for Dyslexics are usually the best place for children with severe dyslexia.

Children who attend these establishments thoroughly enjoy themselves because they are ‘the same’ as everyone else.

The majority of these centres/schools take students for a period (approximately two years), and then the children go back into mainstream schooling.

There are specialist education centres/schools for specific learning difficulties/dyslexia, which are approved by the Independent Schools Joint Council and the Council for the Registration of Schools.

Dyslexia Test Centres

There are only a few specialist dyslexia test centres in the country. However, many testers are willing to travel. The testers are usually happy to represent you at tribunals etc. Always inquire as to the tester’s qualifications before appointing them.


Educational Psychologists – Dyslexia

Educational Psychologists specialise in assessing people with Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs). Psychologists sometimes work for educational authorities, private companies or they may work on their own.

If you are looking for a private psychologist, please make sure they:

* Are ‘Educational’ Psychologists – i.e., specialises in specific learning difficulties (SpLDs).
* Are ‘Chartered’ Psychologists – (meaning they are insured.)
* Regularly update their knowledge with suitable courses.
* Have references available – and do not be embarrassed at asking to see them.
* Have Certificates confirming police checks – and make sure these are up-to-date.


Specialist Assessors – Dyslexia

Specialist Assessors can assess people with Dyslexia or Dysgraphia. These assessors have special certificates which enable them to evaluate students with dyslexia.

These assessors work for educational authorities, private companies or they may work on their own.

If you are looking for an Assessor, please make sure they:

* Are ‘Specialist Assessors’ – i.e., specialises in specific learning difficulties (SpLDs).
* Are Insured.
* Regularly update their knowledge with suitable courses.
* Have references available – and do not be embarrassed at asking to see them.
* Have Certificates confirming police checks – and make sure these are up-to-date.

Specialist Tutors

Teachers qualified to teach dyslexic pupils under-take further specialist training. Therefore it is important to ensure that tutors you pick are suitably qualified to teach you/your child.

There are many private tutors who work from home in the evening. Lessons usually take place during the school day or after school. If you want to find a dyslexia tutor, word of mouth is the best recommendation.


If you are looking for a specialist tutor, please make sure they:

* Are suitably qualified with a SpLD qualification.
* Regularly update their knowledge with suitable courses.
* Have references available- and do not be embarrassed at asking to see them.
* Have Certificates confirming police checks – and make sure these are up-to-date.

When teaching, does the teacher:

* Use a multi-sensory programme such as Hickey, Alpha to Omega etc?
* Feel qualified to undertake further assessments, as necessary?
* Have computer software to reinforce what the child has learnt and to stop the child from being bored?
* Follow the recommendations from any psychologist’s, school reports etc that are available?
* Liaise with the school as necessary?
* Give homework each week?
* Test at regular intervals to ensure progress is being made?
* Give out regular progress reports and do they charge extra for them?


Educational Psychologists can test for dyslexia

Educational Psychologists specialise in assessing people with Dyslexia or other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs). Psychologists sometimes work for educational authorities, private companies or they may work on their own.

Educational Psychologists are specially trained to test students having learning difficulties.  It is essential to ensure that psychologist’s qualifications are up-to-date, and he has full insurance to assess you/your child.

Tests can take place in an office, workplace, home or on school premises, whichever is best suited for the student.


If you are looking for an independent psychologist, please make sure they:

* Are ‘Educational’ Psychologists – i.e., specialises in specific learning difficulties (SpLDs).
* Are ‘Chartered’ Psychologists – (meaning they are insured.)
* Regularly update their knowledge with suitable courses.
* Have references available – and do not be embarrassed at asking to see them.
* Have Certificates confirming police checks – and make sure these are up-to-date.


If you want to find a psychologist, word of mouth is the best recommendation.  Otherwise, you can see a list of educational psychologists from the various organisations below:

The British Psychology Society, further information here.

Educational Psychologists further information here.

Psychologist UK, further information here.