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Specific Learning Difficulties

 

SEN Guidance 2014

Specific Learning Difficulties

How to use this Guidance

 

Identifying range

 

  1. Read the Range Descriptors overview below  and identify those that describe your child. You might find it useful to print off a copy of these and highlight ones that apply.
  2. Use the Range Descriptor detailed information which follows on in each range, to think about how the pupil’s individual profile affects their access to the curriculum and school life. These statements support a decision about whether the pupil is mildly, moderately or severely affected and give guidance about how contexts and support needed affect placement at a particular range.
  3. Steps 1 and 2 above should enable professionals to make a judgement about which range the pupil is at currently. It is important to recognise that these ranges can alter either because the pupil’s profile may change or because of context changes such as times of transition/ school placement.

 

 

Using the Guidance to support learning

 

  1. Once the range has been established professionals will find advice about how to support the learning of children and young people with specific learning difficulties at each range.
  2. It is important to recognise that Quality First Teaching will provide a firm basis upon which to use the additional strategies identified at each range. Strategies and advice from earlier ranges need to be utilised as well as more specialised information as the ranges increase.
  3. Hyperlinks provide useful additional information and contacts

 

 

 

Specific Learning Difficulties Guidance

 

Range Descriptors Overview

 

Range One

  • Evidence of some difficulties in aspects of literacy, numeracy or motor coordination.
  • Literacy and/or numeracy skills may not be in line with general ability.
  • Attainment levels are likely to be a year or more delayed.

 

Range Two

  • The pupil will have mild but persistent difficulties in aspects of literacy, numeracy or motor coordination despite regular attendance, appropriate intervention and quality teaching.
  • Evidence of a discrepancy between cognitive levels and performance or an unusual pattern of strengths and weaknesses is likely to be present.
  • If literacy or numeracy is the area of difficulty, attainment will be at least 2 years delayed OR there will be a noticeable disparity between skills and cognitive ability.
  • Difficulties impact on access to the curriculum and the pupil will require special arrangements and additional support in the classroom.
  • Self esteem and motivation maybe an issue.
  • There may be a diagnosis of mild SpLD or the pupil may be referred to as having characteristics or traits of a SpLD.

 

Range Three

  • The pupil will have moderate and persistent difficulties with literacy, numeracy or motor co-ordination despite regular attendance, significant levels of focused intervention and quality teaching. 
  • Where there is a discrepancy between cognition and attainment this is significant. It should be noted that this may include a pupil who is attaining within an age appropriate range but significantly below their cognitive ability.
  • Difficulties in some aspect of cognitive processing will be present, i.e. slow phonological processing, poor working memory, difficulties with auditory and visual processing. 
  • The difficulty will affect access to curriculum and specialist support and arrangements will be required.  This is likely to include assistive technology.
  • There may be issues regarding self esteem, motivation and behaviour
  • A diagnosis of moderate SpLD may be in place or should be sought.

 

Range Four (1)

  • The pupil will have severe and persistent difficulties with literacy, numeracy or motor coordination despite regular attendance and high quality specialist intervention and teaching.
  • Where there is a discrepancy between cognitive ability and performance, it is highly significant.
  • Key literacy and/or numeracy skills are well below functional levels for their year group – the pupil cannot access text or record independently.
  • The pupil has significant levels of difficulty in cognitive processing requiring significant alteration to the pace and delivery of the curriculum.
  • The condition is pervasive and debilitating and significantly affects access to curriculum and academic progress.  High levels of support are required which include assistive technology.
  • Social skills and behaviour  may be affected and issues of self esteem and motivation are likely to be present
  • Diagnosis of severe Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) has been made.  Difficulties are likely to overlap more than one area e.g. Dyslexia with aspects of DCD

 

Range Four (2)

As Range 4(1) plus:

  • Difficulties are so severe that specialist daily teaching in literacy and numeracy  is required
  • The level of adjustment and specialist teaching across the curriculum required is significantly greater than is normally provided in a mainstream setting

 

 

Specific Learning Difficulties Guidance

 

Range 1 - School based responses

 

Descriptor

  • Evidence of some difficulties in aspects of literacy, numeracy or motor coordination.
  • Literacy and/or numeracy skills may not be in line with general ability.
  • Attainment levels are likely to be a year or more delayed.

 

Assessment

 & Planning

 

Assessment

  • In addition to normal classroom assessments the teacher will also carry out the LD baseline and discuss next steps with the SENCO.
  • As appropriate, screen for Irlen’s (coloured overlays), Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Motor skills Difficulties.  Tools you might use: GL Assessment online screeners, Lucid, Dyslexia Screening Test.  For concerns regarding motor skills use the motor skills check list on BSO and/or speak to the school nurse.

Planning

  • Normal curriculum plans to include QFT strategies and adjustments to activities to remove any barriers difficulties may present (see ten top tips for pupils with SpLd on BSO).
  • Time-table any one-to-one intervention into weekly routine as appropriate (the number of sessions would be dependent on the intervention).
  • Monitor effectiveness interventions ensuring clear entry and exit points.
  • Parents and children involved in monitoring and supporting their targets.

 

Groupings for teaching

 

  • Mainstream class with flexible grouping arrangements.
  • Opportunities for small group work based on identified need  e.g. reading, maths, motor skills
  • Opportunities for generic type one-to-one programmes aimed at addressing gaps – CatchUp Maths, CatchUp Literacy, 20-20 Maths, 20-20 Literacy, Dynamo Maths, 1st Class Maths.  Any intervention should have clear entry and exit criteria

 

Human resources & staffing

  • Main provision by class/subject teacher with advice from SENCO.
  • Additional adults routinely used to support flexible groupings, differentiation and where appropriate provide 1:1 intervention.

 

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

 

  • Full inclusion within the curriculum through use of differentiation and small group support.  Delivery will incorporate highly multi-sensory strategies and be broken down into accessible steps.
  • Activities planned through QFT with emphasis on concrete/experiential learning and using visual supports. 
  • Activities and materials differentiated to address area(s) of weakness.  For example, reading materials should be content and reading age appropriate and supported by visual aids; support to address writing difficulties; tools to aid organisation and completion of tasks/daily activities.   
  • Dyslexia friendly school strategies and IDP strategies.
  • Cursive handwriting should be introduced as part of a multi-sensory approach.

 

Resources and Intervention Strategies

 

School

  • CPD for Teaching Staff using Nasen ToolKits/IDP/LA Programmes
  • Materials to support reading, writing, organisational and attentional difficulties: e.g. task plans; visual timetables; key points on desk cards, vocab; visual aids, guides to support instructions and maths rules; adapted writing frames with word and sentence support; Clicker 6  
  • Possible motor skills interventions: LD Motor Skills Programme; Write from the Start, Speed-Up, Clever Fingers, Madeleine Portwood Programmes
  • Possible literacy Interventions: Alphabet Arc, 20-20 Reading, Lexia, CatchUp Literacy, FFT, Lifeboats, Beat Dyslexia, Reading Recovery, Read/Write Inc – Fresh Start, Spelling Programme etc.
  • Possible Maths interventions: 20-20 Maths, CatchUp Maths, Dynamo Maths, 1st Class Maths, Numicon Closing the Gap, Addacus.

LA

  • Rolling programme of training to LAPS or groups of schools will be available, for details refer to BSO
  • Dyslexia Friendly Schools Advice on BSO
  • LD Baseline and Toolbox of Ideas on BSO
  • QTF Ten Top Tips on BSO
  • Motor coordination programme on BSO

 

 

Specific Learning Difficulties Guidance

 

Range 2 - School based responses

 

Descriptor

 

  • The pupil will have mild but persistent difficulties in aspects of literacy, numeracy or motor coordination despite regular attendance, appropriate intervention and quality teaching.
  • Evidence of a discrepancy between cognitive levels and performance or an unusual pattern of strengths and weaknesses is likely to be present.
  • If literacy or numeracy is the area of difficulty, attainment will be at least 2 years delayed OR there will be a noticeable disparity between skills and cognitive ability.
  • Difficulties impact on access to the curriculum and the pupil will require special arrangements and additional support in the classroom.
  • Self esteem and motivation maybe an issue.
  • There may be a diagnosis of mild SpLD or the pupil may be referred to as having characteristics or traits of a SpLD.

 

Assessment

 & Planning

 

SCHOOL

As Range 1 +

Assessment

  • SENCO will use screening tools to establish a profile of the pupils strengths and weakness. This will inform areas for intervention and adjustments/arrangements required for access to the curriculum and exams.

Planning

  • Teaching plans clearly show adjustments made for individual pupil to access the curriculum. This should include planning for additional adults supporting the pupil within the classroom.
  • SENCO to oversee planning of a personalised multi-sensory intervention. This should be time-tabled and a private area made available.
  • Regular monitoring and reviewing of interventions so they can be adapted accordingly – this should take place termly.

LA

  • Training available for LAPS on a rolling programme to support schools in identifying and planning for children with SEN:
  • Dyslexia Awareness and Identification.
  • SENCO induction course
  • HTLA course: Delivering an intervention for pupils with Dyslexia

 

 

 

Groupings for teaching

 

As Range 1 provision plus

  • 1:1 specific multisensory, cumulative, structured programmes to support the acquisition of literacy, cursive handwriting, numeracy and motor skills (at least 3 times 30 minutes sessions per week).
  • Ensure opportunities for mixed groupings as pupil’s cognitive ability is likely to be higher than their literacy skills might indicate.

 

 

Human resources & staffing

 

As Range 1 provision plus

  • Trained staff to deliver 1:1 programme for at least 30 minutes, 3 times weekly.
  • Additional adult, under the direction of teacher, provides sustained targeted support on an individual/group basis. 

 

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

 

As Range 1 provision plus

  • Differentiated curriculum with modifications that include alternative methods to record and access text.  This will include ICT as appropriate e.g. word prediction, text-to-speech.

Resources and Intervention Strategies

As Range 1 provision plus

  • Follow any programmes recommended by OT’s or Physiotherapists.
  • Assistive Technology to support reading and writing difficulties: Text-Help Read/Write Gold, Write Online, Clicker 6, PenFriend, mind-mapping software, iPads.

 

 

 

Specific Learning Difficulties Guidance

 

Range 3 - School based responses

 

Descriptor

 

  • The pupil will have moderate and persistent difficulties with literacy, numeracy or motor co-ordination despite regular attendance, significant levels of focused intervention and quality teaching. 
  • Where there is a discrepancy between cognition and attainment this is significant. It should be noted that this may include a pupil who is attaining within an age appropriate range but significantly below their cognitive ability.
  • Difficulties in some aspect of cognitive processing will be present, i.e. slow phonological processing, poor working memory, difficulties with auditory and visual processing. 
  • The difficulty will affect access to curriculum and specialist support and arrangements will be required.  This is likely to include assistive technology.
  • There may be issues regarding self esteem, motivation and behaviour
  • A diagnosis of moderate SpLD may be in place or should be sought.

 

Assessment

 & Planning

 

SCHOOL

As Range 2 provision plus

Assessment

  • Progress is closely monitored by school tracker/IEP/provision mapping/CASPA.
  • As part of the graduated approach reviews should provide evidence of need and progress to inform possible EHC plan.
  • Appropriate assessment for exam access arrangements.

Planning

  • SENCO/class teacher to take advice from specialist teacher other professionals as appropriate
  • Targets are multi-sensory, individualised, short term and specific.
  • Regular communication with parents.

LA

Assessment

 If, after the school has demonstrated the use of support and assessment as outlined previously, with clearly documented provision, progress is not at the expected level, a discussion will be had with the SENCo and parents to decide next steps which may include ;

  • Full diagnostic assessment and report by specialist Teacher who is a qualified assessor and teacher of pupils with SpLD (Dyslexia) or Educational Psychologist (EP)
  • SEN ICT assessment if deemed appropriate.

Planning

  • Support to develop individual personalised programme (programme part of report).
  • Advice for class teacher to support class planning (in report).
  • Meeting with parents and class teacher to discuss the report and advice.

 

Groupings for teaching

 

As Range 2 provision plus

  • Daily 1:1 intervention following specialist advice at least 30 minutes per day.
  • 1:1 mentor support

 

 

 

Human resources & staffing

 

As Range 2 provision plus

  • Staff to create modified resources.
  • Trained specialist to deliver specialist programme as advised by specialist teacher or EP
  • Specialist teacher  or EP to carry out assessment, write report

Curriculum and Teaching

Methods

As Range 2 provision plus

  • Tasks and presentation of curriculum are increasingly individualised and modified
  • No copying from the board

 

 

Resources and Intervention Strategies

 

As Range 2 provision plus

Resources as recommended by specialist teacher

 

 

 

Specific Learning Difficulties Guidance

 

SEVERE -  Range 4  Band 1

 

Descriptor

 

  • The pupil will have severe and persistent difficulties with literacy, numeracy or motor coordination despite regular attendance and high quality specialist intervention and teaching.
  • Where there is a discrepancy between cognitive ability and performance, it is highly significant.
  • Key literacy and/or numeracy skills are well below functional levels for their year group – the pupil cannot access text or record independently.
  • The pupil has significant levels of difficulty in cognitive processing requiring significant alteration to the pace and delivery of the curriculum.
  • The condition is pervasive and debilitating and significantly affects access to curriculum and academic progress.  High levels of support are required which include assistive technology.
  • Social skills and behaviour  may be affected and issues of self esteem and motivation are likely to be present
  • Diagnosis of severe Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) has been made.  Difficulties are likely to overlap more than one area e.g. Dyslexia with aspects of DCD

 

Assessment

 & Planning

 

SCHOOL

As Range 3 provision plus

Assessment

  • EHCP plan is in place

Planning

  • Curriculum plans, classroom support and interventions are planned in accordance with the EHCP. 

LA

  • Up to 10 hours per year of specialist teacher advice and support is available.  This may include:
  • Monitoring and reviewing of progress
  • Advice on provision
  • Support to deliver specialist teaching programmes

 

 

 

Groupings for teaching

 

  • Daily 1:1 cumulative multi-sensory intervention to address core difficulties will be in place.
  • Small group and 1:1 support available in the classroom as appropriate.

 

 

Human resources & staffing

 

  • Main provision by class/subject teacher with support from SENCO and advice from education and non-education professional as appropriate.
  • Additional trained adult, under the direction of the class teacher, supports pupil working on modified curriculum tasks, provides regular opportunities for small group work and daily opportunities for 1:1.
  • Specialist trained member of staff to deliver intervention programme
  • Up to 10 hours per year from a specialist teacher available if required

 

 

 

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

 

  • Highly adapted teaching methods which incorporate the use of learning aids and multi-sensory teaching as standard.
  • Teaching and activities are adapted to reduce the impact of processing difficulties, e.g. working memory, processing speed.
  • Access arrangements and adjustments are part of everyday learning and practice.

 

  • Specialist teacher to advise and train key staff on teaching methods as appropriate.
  • Specialist courses available for teachers and TA’s providing training on teaching and supporting pupils with Dyslexia.

 

 

Resources and Intervention Strategies

 

  • A range 3
  • Access to assistive technology must be made available as appropriate to the pupil’s needs. e.g. Clicker 6, TextHelp Read/Write, Penfriend,  audio recording devices
  • Training available on the use of assistive technology

 

 

 

 

Specific Learning Difficulties Guidance

 

SEVERE -  Range 4  Band 2

 

Descriptor

 

As Range 4(1) plus:

  • Difficulties are so severe that specialist daily teaching is required to address literacy and numeracy skills.
  • The level of adjustment and specialist teaching across the curriculum required is significantly greater than is normally provided in a mainstream setting

 

Assessment

 & Planning

 

SCHOOL

As Range 3 provision plus

Assessment

  • EHCP plan is in place

Planning

  • Curriculum plans, classroom support and interventions are planned in accordance with the EHCP. 

LA

  • Where the pupil is in mainstream up to 10 hours per year of support is available.  This may include:
  • Monitoring and reviewing of progress
  • Advice on provision
  • Support to deliver specialist teaching programmes

 

 

 

Groupings for teaching

 

 

  • Small group provision lead by specialist teacher and specialist support staff
  • One-to-one support as appropriate.

Human resources & staffing

 

  • Main provision by class/subject teacher with some training in teaching pupils with SpLD.
  •  Additional support from SENCO and advice from education and non-education professional as appropriate.
  • Additional trained adult, under the direction of the class teacher, supports pupil working on modified curriculum tasks, provides regular opportunities for small group work and daily opportunities for 1:1.

 

  • If in mainstream:  Up to 10 hours per year from a specialist teacher available.
  • Specialist courses available for teachers and TA’s providing training on teaching and supporting pupils with Dyslexia and SpLD

 

 

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

 

  • Highly adapted teaching methods which incorporate the use of learning aids and multi-sensory teaching as standard.
  • Teaching and activities are adapted to reduce the impact of processing difficulties, e.g. working memory, processing speed.
  • Access arrangements and adjustments are part of everyday learning and practice.

 

  • Specialist teacher to advise and train key staff on teaching methods as appropriate.

 

 

Resources and Intervention Strategies

 

  • A range 3
  • Access to assistive technology must be made available as appropriate to the pupil’s needs. e.g. Clicker 6, TextHelp Read/Write, Penfriend,  audio recording devices
  • Training available on the use of assistive technology