Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments 2013/14 JCQ Regulations

Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments 2013/14 JCQ Regulations
document is now online.

Following concerns over  abuse of the allocation of 25% extra time (see below), the regulations have become much more prescriptive and demanding. Centres must be satisfied that candidates have an impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect, giving rise to persistent and significant difficulties.


GCSEs: ‘extra time’ rule overhauled to stamp out abuse
Published on August 22, 2013.

ClaroSpeak Predict & Complete

The latest ClaroSpeak update brings Word Prediction and Completion free to
all ClaroSpeak users. Word Prediction and Completion can speed up typing,
help with choosing the right word and let users use words without worrying
about how to spell them.

Word Prediction and Completion in ClaroSpeak takes account of word frequency
and previous words. There is an initial Word Prediction list loaded on
startup, and ClaroSpeak can learn new words as they are typed. The predicted
words appear on the keyboard and can be spoken. Train the word prediction
dictionary or create a new one from a word list.

ClaroSpeak with Word Prediction and Completion is now available in 14
languages. For a full list of our language and voice list available through
in app purchase through ClaroSpeak click here.

ClaroSpeak is a quality text-to-speech app for proofreading text through
listening, helping with reading and literacy development and creating audio
files from any text. Advanced features make proofing and editing more
accurate and users more efficient. ClaroSpeak offers the option of visual
highlighting in sync with the spoken words – and a great range of colour
and font settings to allow for optimum reading.

More Information

ClaroSpeak is available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

To find out more go to the ClaroSpeak Web Page

For more information about the rest of Claro Software’s range of apps, go to, email or call +44 (0)1772

Claro Software

Lancashire House, 24 Winckley Square, Preston, PR1 3JJ
Tel: +44 (0) 1772 977 888 Fax: +44 (0) 870 132 7471

EPIC Artful Asks competition

This message was sent to Kate Saunders of the BDA.

Dear Kate,


We thought you might like to know that today EPIC, the young people’s advisory group to the government on SEN reforms, has launched the Artful Asks competition.


The competition is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved in the special educational needs and disability (SEND) reform process under the Children and Families Bill. These are the changes government wants to make to the way disabled children are supported.


EPIC wants to hear the views of all disabled young people in England and Wales. We know that government and policy is not interesting for everyone, but everyone has an opinion and wants to ask questions about the changes to education, health and care that will affect them – and we want to hear them too! EPIC wants you to ask a question in a piece of Art. This can be any type of art you want – a video, short film, a song, photo, a collage – anything at all! The only condition is you will need to be able to e-mail the piece of art to


The competition will run between 1st August to 22nd September 2013 and the winner will be chosen by the 14 members of EPIC. Part of the prize is to meet with Edward Timpson, Under Secretary of State for Children and Families. The winner will have the chance to ask their question in person. They will also win a visit to the House of Commons and either a trip on the London Eye or a Thames River tour.


You can access full details about the competition, including rules and a consent form here.


Information about the wider work of EPIC can be found here.


EPIC works in partnership with the Department for Education and is supported by the Council for Disabled Children.


Best wishes,


Joanna Carr

Participation Officer


8 Wakley Street



Tel: 020 7833 6842

Mobile: 07889 173 875

Fax: 020 7843 6313



More money for teaching Maths, English & SEN in FE Colleges

I am grateful to Jean Hutchins for bringing this to our attention:

31 July, 2013 at 11:15pm

Money to improve numeracy and literacy teaching to young people was
announced by Vince Cable.

Press release: Bursaries of up to £20,000 offered to teach maths,

English or Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Non-verbal Learning Deficit: what is this?

Recently, I met a young man who had received an identification of mild dyslexia and Non-verbal Learning Deficit (NLD). When I first met him, I had been impressed by his mature verbal skills, his accomplished drawing skills and his calm and quiet manner. His parents had sought an answer to the combination of difficulties that he was facing each day in his school. The identification of Non-Verbal Learning Deficit was encouraging news for his parents as it recognised some great strengths and gave them a real insight into his difficulties along with some very clear guidance and recommendations for his teachers to help him cope in the busy classroom.

As NLD is not very common it may be difficult for teachers and tutors working with children with dyslexia to identify this subtle learning difference. NLD syndrome reveals itself in impaired abilities to organise the visual spatial field and/or accurately read non-verbal signals and cues. Although academic progress is made pupils with NLD will have difficulty working in situations where speed and adaptability are required.

A pupil with NLD generally presents deviations in three broad aspects of development:

  • motor coordination, including fine graphomotor skills (handwriting)


  • visual spatial organisation, including faulty spatial perceptions and difficulties with spatial relations (mathematics and number concepts)


  • social, including lack of ability to comprehend non-verbal communication, deficits in social judgement and social interaction.


Children with NLD generally have early speech and vocabulary development, remarkable rote memory skills, attention to detail, early reading skills development and excellent spelling skills. In addition, these children have the verbal ability to express themselves eloquently. A child with NLD may present as a very articulate, motivated and cooperative young person who can relate well to adults.

A common problem for children with NLD is a lack of awareness amongst parents and professionals and therefore a delay in obtaining an accurate identification. Often Autistic Spectrum Disorder is suspected. Difficulties are generally picked up late because reading and spelling may be quite strong. However inferential reading comprehension is weak. Mathematics is often the first academic subject to be viewed as problematic because of the spatial and conceptual aspects of mathematics. These can be a problem due to spatial and fine motor difficulties. Generally, handwriting is poor so the whole business of setting out work neatly and in line will be affected. Organisational skills can be weak particularly in written work so writing stories or essays or anything requiring sequencing may be difficult.

So, as a parent of a child with NLD or a tutor supporting the child, the areas which give the most cause for concern would be a very slow processing speed for visual tasks, spatial discrimination and fine motor tasks. The skills which the child excels at: vocabulary skills, attention to detail and literacy skills could be used to the child’s advantage by presenting work verbally as much as possible or using speech to text software. Mathematics should be supported with the use of concrete tools for as long as needed, with a calculator, clear lined and squared paper and addressing specific difficulties using multisensory methods to support the development of number system.

As the pupil develops, and moves onto secondary school and beyond, additional time for work and examinations should be given. Also targeted guidance to understand social and non-verbal communication will be needed. As with all students, but in particular for students with a specific learning difficulty, the use of ICT should be considered at all times.

Sue McKenna. References:

Keeping A Head in School   Dr. Mel Levine .Educators Publishing Service Inc,Cambridge,MA.

Eric Development Team

South Hants Patoss meeting – June 17th – new venue

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF VENUE to that advertised in our latest magazine.

The meeting will now take place at Hounsdown School, Jacob’s Gutter Lane, Totton,  Southampton, Hampshire .SO40 9FT

A ‘hands-on’ demonstration of Crick Software will take place, followed by the AGM. Crick software  is suitable  for Primary, Secondary and home use.

Contact : to book your place.

Glue Ear

On 6th March, Hampshire Dyslexia Association held a ‘glue ear’ event in the ‘Intech’ planetarium near Winchester.  A group of delegates, including speech and language therapists, teachers, parents and  health and education students reclined in the plush seats to learn more about glue ear, its possible effects on learning, and how children who have / have had the condition can be supported.


Our speaker was Dr Lindsay Peer, an Educational Psychologist and expert on specific learning difficulties. Dr Peer explained that glue ear is a common condition, especially in children under eight. For most children, the sticky fluid preventing clear hearing will drain from the inner ear and leave no further effects. However, when the glue ear is persistent or keeps re-occurring, children may not receive the input necessary for normal development of language and literacy skills. These children can go on to have delayed speech, poor auditory perception and slow language processing speeds which can result in difficulties with learning. For instance it will be hard for them to learn phonics to aid their reading and spelling. Difficulties can remain even after the glue ear has gone, resulting in symptoms consistent with dyslexia. Research (Peer 2003) found that of a thousand dyslexic people interviewed, 703 had been so affected by glue ear that grommets had been inserted.


Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs of glue ear in small children. They may have bouts of feeling generally unwell with a cold or fever and may pull at their ears or have ear-ache. They may wake at night and need to breathe through their mouth. Their hearing will fluctuate and at times be relatively poor leading to difficulty following instructions and effectively interacting. This can lead to frustration or withdrawal from social situations and poor attention levels. Be careful not to assume that the child is naughty as it can be seen that glue ear can impact on behaviour as well as learning.


Doctors are able to offer a range of treatments to try and help: decongestants, antibiotics, sprays, drops or an ‘Otovent’ device. They can refer children for hearing tests and advise about speech and language therapy. Ultimately grommets may be inserted and / or the adenoids removed. Dr Peer quoted Professor Mark Haggard (2004) former Director of the Medical Research Council’s Institute of Hearing Research: “The correct intervention for established glue ear is surgery, particularly for children over the age of three-and-a-half, who have been clearly shown to benefit from grommets……Many children do not get treatment and so have continuing problems and are disadvantaged by the time they come to school.”


Parents and adults working with children with glue ear need to be aware of the condition and its consequences so that they understand the problems that a child with glue ear is experiencing. Dr Peer emphasised that parents should share a medical history of glue ear and their child’s current level of hearing with others – in particular with teachers.


How an adult can help a child who has, or has had glue ear:

  • Attract the child’s attention before speaking. The child can then watch the speaker’s mouth and body language in addition to listening. Use gesture to help.
  • Speak loudly and clearly.
  • Respond to communication attempts giving time for the child to process and talk.
  • Reduce or eliminate background noise. Curtains can help absorb sound.
  • Use structured, sequential multisensory teaching. Show the child in a visual or tactile way in addition to talking. Use drama and visual aids.
  • Check that instructions have been understood.
  • Give empathy and support to boost confidence.



Dr Peer concluded by stating that glue ear is a common problem that should be identified as early as possible. With understanding, help and support children who have, or who have had, this condition can achieve their potential.


For further information see: Glue Ear. An Essential guide for teachers, parents and health professionals by Dr Lindsay Peer. David Fulton Publishers.

Jacky Gurney.

Tough new GCSEs may disadvantage SEN students.

Jean Hutchins has raised our awareness on BDA forum:

Times Educational Supplement, Friday 22 March 2013, pages 12 and 13.
Tough new GCSEs may disadvantage SEN students.

Students with dyslexia and other special educational needs … may need
supervised rest breaks to cope with the longer exam papers.

Sue Flohr, from the British Dyslexia Association, said: “We don’t think
rest breaks will solve the problem for dyslexics, who will be penalised
for their short-term memory and speed of processing. Breaks could
actually exacerbate these problems because they will make exams even
longer and pupils will find it difficult to refocus.”

Plans for an English Baccalaureate Certificate dropped

Jean Hutchins posted this on BDA forum:

Plans to end GCSEs in key subjects in England and replace them with an English Baccalaureate Certificate are set to be scrapped by ministers. >

The Daily Telegraph also has it, and there have been 388 comments already!

So no English Baccalaureate or only one exam board for each subject, but:
Under new plans, GCSEs will be overhauled with a focus on longer essay-style questions, traditional end-of-course exams, curbs on coursework and “extension papers” for the brightest pupils in maths and science.

Job Opportunities with the National Trusts’s “Passport to your Future Project”

This message came via BDA forum and is from  Claire Poulton of the National Trust:

I was wondering if the British Dyslexia Association could let your
clients know about an amazing opportunity that is available through the
National trust’s Passport to your Future project.

If you think your clients would like the chance to work in one of our
beautiful houses with their remarkable collections, to learn specialist
skills in the care of historic buildings and the valuable treasures
inside and to learn how to inspire people with their amazing stories,
then this maybe the opportunity for them.

Please see the web site for more details.>

The project is looking for new ways to increase diversity within the
National Trust and looking for people that will really benefit from this
scheme. This programme is open to all, but it is all about breaking
down the barriers to enabling people to succeed. We’d therefore 
particularly like to hear from people if they have a disability, a lack 
of formal qualifications, have been long-term unemployed or are from an 
under-represented ethnic minority group.

The Passport to your Future programme is looking for people with a
passion for the work the National Trust does to come and train with us
in some of our breath-taking places. Trainees don’t need qualifications 
or work experience, we’re just looking for someone with a real love for
the great historic houses and collections, who’ll be able to tell us how
they’ll benefit from the programme, what it means to them and how it
will help them succeed.

The trainees will be paid and will follow a structured training course, 
which we hope will act as a stepping stone for a further career in 
heritage spaces.

The locations for the next intake of trainees are:

* Ham House, Richmond
* Clandon Park and Hatchlands Park, Surrey
* The Vyne, Hampshire
* Lyme Park, Cheshire
* Arlington Court, Devon
* Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire
* Clumber Park, Mr Straw’s House and The Workhouse, Nottinghamshire

To find out more please visit>

We would like to invite your clients to a Taster day at the
participating properties. At this Taster day your clients will have a
perfect opportunity to get a better idea of what it’s like to be a
Heritage Skills Passport trainee in House and Collections Management.

Applications are now open for the Taster day. To apply to come on a
Taster day see Taster days will
be from the middle of February to the end of February.

Applications for the posts are open now and close on the 22nd March.
To apply see

Thank you


*Claire Poulton*

*National Trust*


Kemble Drive




Tel: 07796447902.>>

Find out more on our web site:>>

Our blog will tell you what the Passport to your Future Trainees are up
to in their year:>

Keep in touch with our Facebook:

Become a follower of our Twitter:!/NTPassportToYou>

The National Trust benefits the public through conserving the

country’s most beautiful places for ever, and by welcoming

everyone to experience the joy and inspiration they bring.

The National Trust is a registered charity no. 205846. Our registered
office is Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon, Wiltshire SN2 2NA.

The views expressed in this email are personal and may not necessarily
reflect those of the National Trust unless explicitly stated otherwise.