Scholarship scheme for SEN support staff

There is a new £500,000 scholarship scheme being launched by the Government for SEN support staff who have A levels or are already HLTAs. The fund will meet half the cost of further training up to a maximum of £2000.

Applications for funding in 2012 have to be made online and there is a very tight window for this process. Applications must be made between 30th April and midnight on 17th May.

For more information go to:

Bulldog Letter Reversals game goes global!

Bulldog b/d Reversals KS1 DOWNLOADSue Kerrigan ( yes, our very own entrepreneur committee member!) has had her Bulldog game accepted for marketing by Crossbow Education. You can find it at Alternatively, you can go to Sue’s own site – and see what else she has to offer at

Bulldog Letter Reversals is the games, worksheets and kinaesthetic activities pack for children aged 5-12 years. Bulldog, the adorable dog that features throughout this multi-sensory learning pack, helps children to learn and remember the difference between ‘b’ and ‘d’. Introducing your child to Bulldog, will give him / her a strategy to remember the difference between ‘b’ and ‘d’ and in most cases it will resolve the problem entirely and you will have a happy smiling child again. The Bulldog theme keeps children engaged and motivated helping them have lots of fun whilst they learn.

Bulldog Letter Reversal has been designed by a dyslexic teacher and tutor for all teachers, teaching assistants, home educators and parents. 10 years of teaching experience and a lifetime of first hand personal experience has gone into making this resource along with 1 year of testing and refining the activities for maximum motivation, fun and engagement for children.

Why does Bulldog work?

The unique Bulldog theme is linked throughout the entire pack which builds essential memory hooks every single time any resource is used.  This is combined with proven multi-sensory activities to create an engaging, fun and motivating learning environment.”


If you buy from Crossbow Education the ‘ready to go’ kit will cost you £23.99 + VAT.

Sue provides a do-it-yourself downloadable version for £7.35 (KS1 only) or £9.55 for KS1 and 2.

Introducing ClaroRead for Mac V5 and news for Assessors!

ClaroRead for Mac V5 is the latest version of the  reading and writing
support tool for Mac. ClaroRead for Mac is designed to support individuals
who struggle with reading and writing. Users of any age and level of
ability will have a world of information unlocked through ClaroRead.

New In ClaroRead For Mac

Nuance Vocalizer Voices
ClaroRead for Mac now includes 8 high quality Nuance Vocalizer Voices. To
hear examples of the voices go to

“The rise and fall of the voices, as well as the tone, is better and
sounds even more natural.” Alasdair King MD Claro Software LTD

Support for Apple Pages ’09
ClaroRead for Mac now supports Apple’s Pages word processor just like
Microsoft Word. Key features supported include Homophone support, visual
highlighting tools and font features.

Check Anywhere Feature
The Check Anywhere feature allows users to spell check any text in any
application, whether it is a web page, document or PDF.

Improved In ClaroRead For Mac

Check Window Feature
The Check Window feature now includes extras such as a dictionary
definition of the chosen word and context box. The Check Window also
displays the meaning and synonyms of a chosen word.

The Dock Icon Feature
Control the functions of ClaroRead including Play, Stop and Save to Audio
through the dock icon. Access the main features of ClaroRead even when the
application is minimised.

Prediction Feature
The Prediction feature has been enhanced and can now be used when typing in
any application, such as Safari, Pages or TextEdit.

To find out more about ClaroRead for Mac V5 go to

If you are an assessor and would like a free evaluation copy of ClaroRead
for Mac V5 please contact

Claro Training Zone
The Claro Training Zone is a free online training resource to assist
assessors. Each course has been broken down into easy to follow sections,
so that users can quickly find the information that they are looking for.

Currently available on the site are the ClaroRead for PC and Mac courses.
Each course includes a thorough user guide covering each feature in detail,
help videos and interactive tutorials.

Once the course has been complete users can take part in a ClaroRead quiz.
Completing the quiz successfully will reward users with the Claro Training
Zone Certificate.

If you are an assessor and would like to register for a free Claro Training
Zone account go to

Claro Links:

Facebook –
Twitter –
YouTube –
RSS Feed –

The Inclusion Development Programme (IDP).

The National Strategies are professional development programmes for early

years, primary and secondary school teachers, practitioners and managers.
They are one of the Government’s principal vehicles for improving the quality
of learning and teaching in schools and early years settings and for raising
standards of attainment.

The National Strategies are responsible for taking forward the commitment
made in Removing Barriers to Achievement (2004), the government’s vision for
the education of children with special education needs and disabilities. The
National Strategies are designed to increase the confidence and expertise of
mainstream practitioners when meeting pupils with SEN in mainstream schools.
One such strategy is the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP). The aim of
the IDP is to support schools and Early Years settings through web-based
materials, which include:
teaching and learning resources
training materials
guidance on effective classroom strategies
models of good practice for multidisciplinary teams
information about sources of more specialist advice.
In 2008, the Inclusion Development Programme focused on dyslexia and
speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). In 2009, the focus has
been on supporting pupils on the autism spectrum, with MLD and BESD
(behaviour, social and emotional difficulties) planned as future foci.

 Dyslexia was selected as the first of the programmes to be launched because
of the high numbers of dyslexic pupils in our schools. A DVD containing
materials on both dyslexia and SLCN (speech, language and communication
needs) was sent to all schools in 2008. This was met with great enthusiasm –
closely followed by anxiety when using it, as teachers discovered both the
vast amount of material available to them within the DVD, alongside the
difficulty in navigating the materials. Many a person, including myself, has
found a really useful section, only to be faced with the frustration of not being able to find it
again! The materials are also available online
and modifications have been made to this to
make navigation a little easier. You can find the
dyslexia materials by going to and then clicking on
‘dyslexia…’ in the third paragraph.

It should be emphasised that the materials are produced primarily for
classroom and subject teachers, not for a specialist audience. As such they
focus on developing recognition of the range of difficulties a dyslexic pupil
might experience at school, on understanding the problems these difficulties
may cause a pupil at school and then on raising awareness of ways to help
remove barriers to learning through use of the most effective teaching
strategies within a classroom (i.e. Wave 1 intervention, or Quality First
Teaching). They are not intended primarily to support teachers working with
individual or small groups in order to improve their literacy skills (i.e. Wave 2
or 3 intervention) although there are some useful and interesting snippets
even for those already very conversant with the area.

All schools in Hampshire are being very strongly encouraged to use the
materials within their schools. There have been a number of conferences with
head teachers where they have been encouraged to plan how the materials
should be introduced within their own schools and many clusters of schools
have worked together to trial the materials and then to produce guidelines on
how best to use them.

So why not find a slot in your busy lives and begin to explore the wealth of
information pages, video clips, background resources, self-evaluation
materials … you may be gone some time………..!!

Pauline Bentote SEN Consultant.

Gaining a Statement of Special Educational Needs

In April 2009 our son was awarded a Statement of Special Educational Needs. Will is dyslexic and has no other special educational needs. We made a request for Statutory Assessment in July 2008 and what follows is a parent’s view of that process. We hope that reading this account will give you the strength and conviction to initiate and go through this exhausting and at times lonely process. Remember, professionals told us we would not be successful.

At the start of year 4 the gap between Will and his peers was becoming significant. To survive at senior school he was going to need guaranteed support and a place in a school with a resource based unit for dyslexia. We now felt Will’s needs went beyond what was available through school action plus.

Prior to submitting the request for Statutory Assessment you need the following facts:

• Neale reading age

• Vernon spelling age

• National curriculum levels in literacy

• Previous year’s levels, so you can demonstrate lack of progress

Your school should be able to provide all the above information. Hampshire County Council uses the Neale Analysis of Reading Ability for measuring reading age, so it’s important that you use the same measurement. The Local Authority (LA) has specific criteria for awarding a Statement but an indication is that by age 9 they are 3 chronological years behind.

So in July 2008 we submitted a request for Statutory Assessment using a template document available from the IPSEA or ACE websites that states that you are making the request under Section 323 of
the Education Act 1996.

The LA then has 6 weeks to respond, with a decision to assess or not to assess. Luckily for us they decided to assess. If the authority decides not to assess, you can appeal against the decision within certain time limits to the First Tier Tribunal for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

The LA then starts a 10-week process of Statutory Assessment. During this time you have an opportunity to provide further parental evidence of your child’s needs. In addition, we decided to support our application with a private educational psychologist’s assessment. This is an expensive option, but the report clearly stated that Will needed a Statement. The LA also collects reports from school, an educational
psychologist, a doctor and if appropriate social services.

After this 10-week process the LA then makes its decision.

• To make a Statement

• Not to make a
Statement, in which case they may offer you a Note in Lieu.

We received a Note in Lieu. A Note in Lieu documents all your child’s needs and offers schools guidance on the support they require. As far as we could tell after five months we had achieved very little that would make any difference to our child. This was probably the hardest phase of the process and we certainly felt like we’d lost.

Fortunately again you have the right to appeal to SEND, which is what we did. Once we had filled in the appeal forms we also notified the LA that we were taking their decision to tribunal but were happy to meet to review and discuss their decision. The LA then contacted us asking to reassess our child; you had to wonder what they had been doing for the last 10 weeks! We asked them to put this request in writing, specifically requesting them to state exactly why they were reassessing. They responded that
they were assessing to see if he met criteria for a school with resourced provision for dyslexia. We responded again that if he met criteria for such a school, he would also meet criteria for a Statement.

The new assessment clearly stated that Will met criteria for a school with resourced provision for dyslexia. We responded that therefore he also met criteria for a Statement. Finally it was agreed
that a Statement would be issued. (even though this was not a pre-requisite of
a place in resourced provision).

At this point you feel quite rightly that there is cause for celebration. You have come so far but now you need to negotiate exactly what support and provision your child’s needs require. In addition you can name the school you think best suits your child’s needs, with the reassurance that if the LA does not agree with this decision, you could once again take an appeal to SEND.

Was it worth all the effort? Yes, Will is now settled into a senior school with a resourced provision for dyslexia and is making catch up progress. Would I do it again? Yes. Have the strength of
your convictions and be your child’s advocate.

Sally Holland

Additional information can be gained from:
• Ace – Advisory centre for education

• IPSEA – Independent Panel for Special Educational Advice

• Hampshire County Council resources: Criteria for statutory assessment of children with specific learning
difficulties (dyslexia) September 2010 and Secondary resourced provision for pupils with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia) Admissions criteria and procedures September 2010.

• Hampshire Dyslexia Association (who have copies of the criteria above). More information about
Resourced provision is on their website

Drama And Dyslexia

To an extent, all children engage in speech, movement and drama activities. This happens particularly when they are younger, since these are features of the primary school programme. The activities are designed to be fun and motivating in an effort to unlock the creative spirit, and indeed, music, art and drama combine to balance the curriculum in the early years.
Even at this stage, perceptive teachers may recognize natural talent, but may wonder why some may not make the expected progress.
Drama has long been recognised as an important part of the curriculum, providing as it does, the opportunity to express feelings of anger, sadness  and frustration in a controlled situation. Although it may, and often does, provide a platform for performance, this is not its main or primary purpose. Drama lessons give children the opportunity to explore themes, to work in a group, to flirt with leadership and to raise self-esteem.
The importance of self-esteem for learning and for life cannot be over estimated. The lack of it can form a barrier, which prevents an individual from achieving his or her potential. Sadly, this applies to many who have specific learning difficulties, because they feel they are not quite good enough. It is easy to see how dyslexic children may have difficulties when it comes to drama. Lack of confidence is probably the most acute problem, but then there are the other characteristics of dyslexia. These include: 
Lack of fluency and speed in reading
Inability to use context in reading
Hesitancy and losing place in reading
Failure to recognise simple words
Low level of comprehension
Poor organisation and time keeping

If one equates drama with performance only, one can see that these difficulties would stand in the way of potential achievement, and you might think that it was not a good area for dyslexic students to be in. However, it is worth remembering that a number of our more successful actors and actresses are dyslexic and are becoming more willing to share with others how they overcame their problems. Susan Hampshire is a good example, and until the publication of her autobiography “Susan’s Story” few would have been aware of her struggle with dyslexia. Undiagnosed until adulthood, she then became a prominent campaigner in the UK. Her book on dyslexia, “Every Letter Counts” was highly acclaimed and in 1995 she was appointed an OBE in connection with that work.

‘Specific learning difficulties are more prevalent amongst people who are good at visual or performance based skills’ This is a very positive statement, and suggests that Drama may be an excellent route for those with dyslexia.
It is interesting to note that the Central School of Speech and Drama has a long history of welcoming students with a range of disabilities and invites dyslexic students to contact them early so that they can work together to develop a plan to meet the student’s study needs right from the start.
The DSS (Disability and Dyslexia Service) is part of Student Support Services. The Student Union has had an elected DSS officer in post since 2007 so that any issues or difficulties can be discussed in order that accessibility and awareness can be improved. DSS services include:

  • Free dyslexia screening
  • Dyslexia diagnostic appointments
  • 1-1 specific study skills support
  • 1-1 enabling and assistive technology training
  • mentoring
  • note-taking.

With this sort of support in place, it is little wonder that so many of our talented, dyslexic young people find fulfilment in the study of Drama. They may not all become stars, but they will have grown in confidence and will find it easier to cope with the challenges that they meet in life.

Edwina Cole.

Further Information:

‘Dyslexia and Drama’ by Helen Eadon (A BDA/Fulton publication).

“Susan’s Story’ by Susan Hampshire.

“Every Letter Counts…..Winning in Life despite Dyslexia” by Susan Hampshire.

Central School of Speech and Drama.

presented a documentary about  her dyslexia

Winner of Strictly Come Dancing and actress Kara Tointon 
on BBC 3 as part of the series ‘Don’t call me stupid’.During the programme Kara speaks about her ambition to read a book from cover to cover and states that she has a reading age of twelve.She explores the impact dyslexia has on her day to day life in relation to her career and organisational skills.
Kara visits a school for dyslexic pupils and finds out how multi sensory teaching can help. She is shown a method to help her learn her lines using colours, sounds, buzzwords and physical movement to trigger memory.   

A large coloured diary helps her to organise her time. Coloured lenses help Kara to see print more clearly. She reports ‘The filter calms the page down in my eyes. The black writing stands out. I can read more quickly, confidently and calmly that at any time in my life.’
A recording of this interesting and useful programme is available to borrow from the HDA library or see the programme in four parts on YouTube. Search the web for Kara Tointon. Don’t call me stupid. YouTube.












On the website for the Central School of Speech and Drama (part of the University of London) it states

R u A diSlxic addult

My name is Simon Hodges and I am a dyslexic adult.
I was diagnosed seven years ago at the age of 40 when
I started an education course.
Was it that awe inspiring eureka moment? Well not
‘The square peg trying to fit into the round hole’
All my life ever since I can remember I have always felt and been different from others
as I was growing up and through the stages of my life, as a child, a teenager, an
adolescent and an adult.
The story is an all too familiar one I am afraid, and I am no exception. I am sure that I
could, like many others write a book about my experiences relating directly to the
effects of dyslexia.
Just to throw a bit of flavour into my point, I remember the fairly constant and relentless
comments of ridicule, being called an idiot, stupid or thick amongst others and of
course the older I got new harsher and more descriptive words were learnt and they
were added too.
Another particular instance was at secondary school in an English class (where else)
the teacher had been reading a passage from a chapter in a book that the class was
reading. The reading stopped and I was asked to comment on what had just been read.
Although I had been listening I was now frantically looking at the book trying to find
what had just been read but I of course was looking at pages full of words, some of
which I was familiar with and others which I was not and none of it made any sense.
But of course it wouldn’t, unbeknown to me my reading age was very low, my short
term memory retention was virtually nil and of course my cognitive processing skills of
any kind were nonexistent.
Then came the words “Haven’t you been reading you stupid boy, or are you just
thick?”. Of course the class erupted into laughter including the teacher.
Did it hurt? Yes it did and I can remember that as if it had happened just yesterday.
I have had countless instances like that throughout my life and still do on occasions and
I have to say, that sometimes comments are from those that you would think should
know better.
At an age in your life when the holistic development of characteristics and
personalities are vital, the degeneration and corruption of self esteem, self worth and
confidence that are borne out of instances like that can be and are often immeasurably
The feelings of incompatibility and isolation that often begin to immerge can continue
and have troublesome effects on your life.
I am sure that we can all relate to the above, but let us turn to something a little more
I began this article by stating “was it that awe inspiring eureka moment, well not quite”.
That is true it wasn’t but, what it did was start me on a journey, slow but none the less a
journey of self discovery, a journey that still continues today. A crucial key and part of
that journey has been to align myself with other people that have dyslexia and with
those that really understand the condition and I feel that is important and this is why.
There are many thousands of people out there with dyslexia of varying degrees just like
you and me.
I have found that being able to talk and listen to other
people naturally in a relaxed unforced environment
has had enormous benefit to me.
When you start conversations with other dyslexics
you immediately strike a connection discovering
many of the things that you have done all your life to
disguise and cover up certain skills areas that you
have been lead to believe you are sorely lacking in.
The point is that you are not nor really lacking or deficient but that your learning needs
to be met in a different way.
I have been very fortunate in as much as I have conversations face to face with some
very high profile celebrities and professionals really ‘top draw’ people as well as
ordinary folk just like me, and you know what, the stories and the tales are all just the
The feelings of isolation and awkwardness seem very much to take a back seat and the
realisation of not being thick or stupid very quickly come to the forefront of your
We at the Hampshire Dyslexic Association are looking to start an adult dyslexic group
which need not be formal but just somewhere that like minded dyslexics can perhaps
meet on a regular basis, maybe in a setting that will encourage your confidence to grow
or to help others see that being a dyslexic has hidden treasures and possibly alter the
way you think about yourself for ever.
If you are reading this and you are dyslexic or you know someone who is and think that
this might be of benefit then please do contact us. Simon Hodges
Please contact Simon by email: or phone: 07919035569