The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) has chosen 'Invisible Dyslexia' for the focus of their campaign for 2021. October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, and in England, Dyslexia Week will be taking...
Specialist Schools for Dyslexia & Other SpLD’s
Specialist Schools for Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia & Other other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD’s).
Specialist Schools for Dyslexia & Other SpLD's
Specialist Schools for Dyslexia & Other SpLD’s
It is difficult to advise on the type of school you should be looking for, as every child’s education needs are so different. For most children, they will go to school in their immediate vicinity. But specialist schooling for students with dyslexia is slightly different because there is not usually a lot of choices.
It is essential that the right school is identified for your child. Sometimes, although a school is awfully close to your home, 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.
There are many different types of schools, including:
- Mainstream schools (your local school)
- The Independent Sector
- Schools specialising 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. (I cannot put a link here because it depends on where you live in the country.)
Schools that Specialise in Dyslexia
The majority of schools in the UK, which specialise in dyslexia, are private. (At the moment, I think there are only a few in the state sector.) Some of these schools are just 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 usually go back into mainstream schooling.
Independent Schools Council (ISC)
These schools are approved by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and the Council for the Registration of Schools.
For further information on the Independent Schools Council, please go to ISC.
Register of Schools
CReSTeD’s main activity is to maintain a “Register of Schools” which provide teaching provision for pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD).
This information is supplied free of charge to parents and those who are responsible for choosing a child’s education.
For further information, go to Crested
List of all Local Educational Authorities (LEA’s)
Find schools, emails, headteachers and addresses in the UK. Lookup LEAs, DfES Performance Information and OFSTED Reports.
For further information, go to UK Local Education Authorities (LEA’s).
All Local Authority (LEA’s) Websites
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.
This list points to the website of each Local Education Authority. Local Authority has lists of its own schools and details of application procedures.
Specialist Tutors for Dyslexia & Other SpLD's
Teachers qualified to teach pupils with dyscalculia, undertake further specialist training. Therefore it is essential to ensure that tutors you pick are suitably qualified to teach you/your child.
Many private tutors work from home in the evening. Lessons take place after school. If you want to find a specialist tutor, word of mouth is the best recommendation.
Please make sure the specialist teachers:
- Are suitably qualified with a qualification in Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD’s).
- 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 periodic progress reports and do they charge extra for them?
Teaching Centres for Dyslexia & other SpLD's
If your child has dyslexia and is struggling at school – you can get private tuition at an Education Centre that specialises in dyslexia this can make all the difference.
In the UK, there are a few, private education Centres that operate between 9.00 am to 6.30 pm, Monday to Friday (and often on Saturday mornings).
These Centres have thousands of pounds of specialist teaching and testing equipment. Their staffs are a 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 about 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, £30 – £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.
Employers - Legal Minefield
Employing staff can be an expensive legal minefield!
To find a specialist team of educational specialists to help you fulfil your obligations as an employer and guide you through the complex maze of legislation, go to our ‘find a specialist online’ webpage.
- The maximum compensatory award in cases of unfair dismissal is £56,800!
- There is no maximum award for cases of discrimination!
With tribunal awards and settlements continuing to rise, increasing and more demanding legislation and employees increasingly aware of their rights, you should know your legal obligations.
Dr David Edward Cowell BSc MPhil PhD Dip Psych
Dr Cowell is an expert in dyslexia and associated conditions including dysgraphia and dyscalculia. During his 50 year career as a chartered educational psychologist, he has worked to help children and adults understand how their own abilities and perceptions differ from others and how they can reach their full potential. It is unfortunate that even today, many parents and teachers are still made anxious by a diagnosis of these conditions and unsure of how to bring out the best in their children.
Dr Cowell is a Chartered Scientist, a Chartered Psychologist (6434) an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Member of the Association of Educational Psychologists.
Dr Cowell lives in Wiltshire. David Cowell trained as a psychologist at the Tavistock Centre, London, before moving to work in the North of England. He was Senior Psychologist in Swindon for 18 years but is now an independent consultant specialising in child and adolescent problems.
He has an M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Exeter University and has written or contributed to six books. He has participated in many radio and television programmes.
He is listed in ‘The Royal Society of Medicine Wall of Honour’.
Some of Dr Cowell’s work includes:
A History of Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties
Pub, Swindon, 2018.
Steps Ahead: Practical Applications of Educational Psychology for Teachers and Parents
Anchor Publications: Bognor Regis, 1986.
Steps Ahead in Literacy
Steps Ahead Training Systems Company (SATSC), Comberton: Cambridge, 1994.
Articles in Books:
‘Stress and Tension Control’
Edited by F.J.McGuigan, Wesley E. Sime, and J.Macdonald Wallace
‘British Journal of Guidance & Counselling’, Volume 11 – No.2, July 1983
‘The Use of Progressive Relaxation and Hypnosis in Counselling Secondary-School Pupils’
By Dr David Cowell & Julie Franklin (p.160)
‘British Journal of Guidance & Counselling’, Volume 13 – No.1, July 1985
‘Guidance in Counselling in School
By Patrick Hughes’ (mentioning Cowell & Franklin’s work) (p.11)
Exceptionally Able Children: A Checklist
Nestor Publications: Swindon, 1986.
SEN & Legal Experts
Enforcement of Statements
SpLD Education Needs & Tribunals
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