My child has dyslexia. How do I find the right school?
– Brendan Wignall, Headmaster of Ellesmere College and Chair of CReSTed
CReSTeD is a charity set up to provide guidance and assurance to parents who are seeking a school for their child with specific learning difficulties (SpLD) – of these the main difficulty is dyslexia. CReSTeD works with support from the British Dyslexia Association and Dyslexia Action, and is the key reference point and a symbol of quality when seeking a school with SpLD provision.
The MoD accepts CReSTeD registration as a guide for designating schools as Specialist Provision (SP) or Dyslexia Unit (DU) for the purposes of the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA). It is this registration that may enable parents to claim the Continuity of Education Allowance, Special Educational Needs Addition (Specialist Provision) (CEA SENA (SP)). Parents should contact CEAS on
01980 618244 for further advice about claiming CEA SENA.
I AM NOT SURE IF MY CHILD HAS DYSLEXIA (SpLD) OR MAY HAVE SOME OTHER SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEED. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Approach your child’s teacher. This may lead to School Action or Action Plus, which are programmes within the school to help.
If this is not enough, then you may decide with the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) to apply for an assessment by an educational psychologist.
Phone the Services’ Special Needs and Disability Advisor on 0207 463 9234, who will talk you through the whole process.
I KNOW MY CHILD HAS DYSLEXIA (SpLD). I NEED TO FIND AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL THAT IS SUITABLE FOR HIS OR HER LEVEL OF NEED.
CReSTeD acts as a source of school names that parents can use as their first step towards making a placement decision, which will be critical to their child’s educational future and is a valuable resource for parents, educational advisers and schools.
The CReSTeD Register covers all levels of provision for Dyslexic (SpLD) pupils. Although there are several lists of schools offering such provision, only CReSTeD actually visits schools to ensure they meet the
basic criteria set by the Council. Schools are subsequently revisited every three years to ensure the criteria are maintained. It is this ongoing review of provision which provides the MoD with the assurance they require to include a school on their list of establishments that may attract CEA SENA (SP) for eligible children.
The main activity of CReSTeD is to produce this Register of schools that provide for SpLD pupils, and provide this Register free of charge to parents.
Which school should I choose?
The levels of provision at schools are divided into six broad categories, labelled Dyslexia Specialist Provision, Specialist Provision, Dyslexia Unit, Withdrawal System and Maintained Sector. These categories are not a hierarchical grading of the quality of provision – they are there because children have different needs, and the categories go some way towards matching the level of the pupil’s needs to the level of provision at the school. An educational psychologist’s report should offer guidance as to the level of provision relevant to the child.
As an example, a child at the severe end of the dyslexia spectrum will probably require a Category SPS school, whereas a child with, say, only some lag in spelling skills may be suitably provided for in a school from Category WS. The categories enable CReSTeD to offer this guidance.
Dyslexia Specialist Provision Schools – DSP
The school is established primarily to teach pupils with dyslexia. The curriculum and timetable are designed to meet specific needs in a holistic, coordinated manner, with a significant number of teaching staff holding nationally recognised qualifications in teaching dyslexic pupils.
Specialist Provision Schools – SPS
The school is established to teach pupils with dyslexia (SpLD) and other associated difficulties. The curriculum and timetable are designed to meet specific needs in a holistic, coordinated manner, with a significant number of teaching staff holding nationally recognised qualifications in teaching dyslexic pupils.
Dyslexia Unit – DU
The school has a designated unit or centre that provides specialist tuition on a small-group or individual basis, according to need. The unit or centre is an adequately resourced teaching area under the management of a senior specialist teacher, who coordinates the work of other specialist teachers and ensures ongoing liaison with all mainstream teachers. This senior dyslexia teacher will probably have Head of Department status, will hold nationally recognised qualifications in teaching dyslexic pupils, and will certainly have significant input into the general school curriculum design and delivery.
Withdrawal System – WS
Schools where dyslexic (SpLD) pupils are withdrawn from appropriately selected lessons for specialist tuition from a teacher with a nationally recognised qualification in teaching dyslexic pupils. There is ongoing communication between mainstream and specialist teachers.
Maintained Sector – MS
Maintained schools where the school supports dyslexic (SpLD) pupils to access the curriculum; where there is an effective system of identifying dyslexic (SpLD) pupils; where there is a withdrawal system for individualised literacy support. There is positive ongoing communication between mainstream and special needs staff and the senior management team. This is a new category because lots of maintained ‘state’ schools want our validation to prove their support for dyslexics.
The Register includes a checklist to help parents decide if a school can meet their child’s special educational needs, and a geographical index of schools.
The CReSTeD Register is published annually and is available direct from the CReSTeD Administrator. It may also be obtained from the British Dyslexia Association and Dyslexia Action. Full information is also published on the website: www.crested.org.uk
CReSTeD was founded to help parents. It has had and will continue to have influence on the standards of provision for SpLD pupils.
For more information about CReSTeD or for a copy of the Register, please contact Lesley Farrar.
Tel: 01691 655783/0845 015013
Brendan Wignall has been Headmaster of Ellesmere College since 1996 and is currently Chair of CReSTeD. After teaching English at Oakham and Christ’s Hospital, he became Head of English and Registrar of Denstone College. His main interests are his family, Ellesmere, Liverpool FC, gardening and culture in the broadest sense (excluding only country music!).