For dyslexic students, learning from home can pose a variety of extra challenges. Sally Welch, Head of Frewen College Prep in East Sussex, explains how they’re easing the pressure
Helping students receive an accessible education in 2020/21 has proved a huge challenge for everyone: students, staff and parents alike. And for Frewen College’s dyslexic students, learning from home is even more difficult than it is for the average student.
Frewen’s students, who are aged 7-18, like those in all schools, have had to adapt to working online. In doing this, they have had to embrace independent learning and become more self-motivated. Sharing IT devices with family members, working with siblings and coping with IT frustrations have all required students to develop tolerance and patience.
The challenge has probably been the hardest for the younger students in our Prep School. Many of our lessons are multi-sensory, and this is clearly harder in a virtual teaching environment. We have continued to deliver the full National Curriculum, through creative, virtual teaching, and because we know our students very well – we have a maximum class size of eight – we have still been able to utilise both multi-sensory and hands-on learning.
Frewen is at the cutting edge when it comes to assistive technology, and Microsoft’s assistive technology is used throughout the school, in conjunction with other software.
In the Prep School, to help embed learning for our dyslexic students, we teach using the ‘Creative Curriculum’, adopting one creative theme for each term and then weaving all the different strands of the curriculum together, rather than teaching isolated subjects.
We support students’ learning with additional work, above and beyond the mainstream curriculum, as well as including opportunities to revisit Key Stage 1 concepts. Students benefit from systematic input of ‘Letters and Sounds’, daily writing opportunities, individual reading each day and a group session of Sound Therapy.
In non-Covid times, our fully integrated therapy team, who work within the classroom, provide weekly one-to-one Occupational and Speech & Language Therapy where appropriate.
We are looking forward to the day when normality returns, and students across the UK and beyond are back in school, and we can re-embrace all the things we love and sometimes take for granted about regular school life!
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