Wings School Notts is part of the Kedleston Group and is an outstanding independent therapeutic residential provider with a specialist school on-site in a small quiet village in Nottinghamshire. Many of the young people who come to Wings School Notts have significant reading and writing difficulties however do not have a formal diagnosis. In other provisions, the young person may not get the correct level of intervention.
At Wings School Notts every new student starting has a specific dyslexia screening test, which is completed on a 1:1 basis by the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) and school SEN Assistant in the bespoke Learning Zone/Library.
This screening system allows the team at Wings Notts School to meet the individual needs of each young person in a specific and targeted way.
Following internal analysis, the results have shown that 65% of the children and young people in placement have traits of dyslexia which affects the way they learn. Impacts range between, a few signs, mild, moderate and severe.
- 27.5% have a few signs of dyslexia
- 12.5% have mild dyslexia
- 7.5% have moderate dyslexia
- 17.5% have severe dyslexia
Following the results of this screening the dedicated school SENCO has designed and implemented a Toe by Toe intervention, which is delivered by the school SEN Assistant on a 1:1 basis. Toe By Toe is a small red book designed for anyone who finds reading difficult. This includes weak readers who struggle to decode or those with dyslexic difficulties. Over 25 years of fieldwork went into the development of the system and it is this research that makes the method so easy to use.
The SENCO has also created a SEN Resource box for each of the classrooms within the school. These boxes are audited weekly to ensure that the correct dyslexia resources are available at all times and are being used appropriately. The resources include coloured overlays of different types and sizes to assist with the symptoms of dyslexia. By introducing the resource boxes into every classroom, it has ensured all children and young people have access to dyslexia support tools at all times.
The innovative approach has been well received by a number of parents and professionals. A common theme from the feedback is that the traits of dyslexia have been picked up for their children/young people for the first time. It is always made very clear that this is a screening tool and not a formal diagnosis, however, following the screening the education team can offer intervention in exactly the same way and refer for a diagnosis at a later date.
It is important to consider that these results could be reflective of missed learning in earlier years rather than a clear reflection of long term dyslexia. Due to this, the school will also be ensuring that some of the children and young people have the opportunity for a second screening test once they have completed a series of interventions.
Staff at the school are also receiving training and coaching around dyslexia and how to support children and young people effectively. Training is about educating all staff on what the effects of dyslexia are, many people assume dyslexia just affects reading but it actually also affects being able to understand instructions, concentrate and process information.
Staff are being given strategies to use in the classroom such as:
- Give verbal as well as written instructions
- Provide all hard copy resources on coloured paper (find out which colour helps the young person to read best)
- Highlight key points in documents/text/instructions
- Allow plenty of time to read and complete the task
- Use different methods to convey information e.g. audio or videotape, drawings, diagrams
- Allow frequent sensory or movement breaks
- Communicate instructions slowly and clearly and minimise distractions, and check understanding
- Support important communications by supplying the information in more than one format e.g. verbally and using hard copy resources
- Encourage note-taking to the learning support assistants so that they can help pupils to process information at their own pace
- Back up multiple instructions in writing or with diagrams
- Reduce distractions for focused tasks
- Allocate a private workspace if possible
- Provide a quiet working environment
- Use mnemonic and acronyms
- Ensure work areas are well lit
Staff will then be asked to reflect on this, take part in some peer coaching and will also have open access to reading material about dyslexia if they wish to access it.
What next for Wings School Notts? The SENCO and therapy team are working on introducing a few more whole school systems for supporting Literacy and Numeracy using mnemonics. They are also moving towards using pale yellow paper across the school to support the young people and staff with dyslexia. This is a work in progress.
Referrals: 0800 024 6985
Find out more kedlestongroup.com
We are really social so search for us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube!