Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils

Information & Advice

Finding the Right School

Schools on the CReSTeD Register have asked to have their provison for Specific Learning Difficulties accredited by us. In so doing they have declared how proud they are of both their teachers and their children. There are other schools which might be in a position to help, they just haven't found us yet.

As a tiny charity, with limited funds, it is impossible for us to ensure that all 23,000 schools in the UK know we exist.

We know there are schools, other than those on our Register, who are also doing an excellent job. We don't want your child to miss an opportunity right on your doorstep.

We could be pompous and tell you our Register is the only source of information, that isn't true, there are other organisations to help you in your search and we have listed the ones we know and trust here.

You might have a school in mind already, you may simply want your child to go to school with all their friends but want to be sure the school can help.

Here are a few ideas to help you to be confident in your choice.

CReSTeD places schools into categories, not because we think one school is better than another but because, just as children are different, so are schools.

Click here for an explaination our categories and criteria.

Parents Checklist

There are many questions to consider when choosing a school, our Register can go some way to helping but how do you decide what to ask the schools you contact?

You could begin by reading the Parents Checklist, here you will find a lot of questions already prepared.

Some of the questions may not be appropriate to your child, you may even have thought through some of them already but we think everyone will find something to help them.

What are Specific Learning Difficulties

Every parent will be very aware of the challenges children face in school. Whether to join the Drama group, the Chess Club or play on the Football Team can be important questions for a child.

Sometimes parents find there are more difficult questions to face:

  • Why isn’t my child reading as well as other children?

  • Why does my child have difficulties in sport?

The answer might be that a child is coping with a Specific Learning Difficulty – otherwise known as SpLDs. These include Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Disorder and, by assocation, Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The umbrella term “Specific Learning Difficulties” (SpLD), more positively referred to as “Specific Learning Differences”, is used to cover a wide variety of difficulties.

Many people use it synonymously with dyslexia (a difficulty with words), but it is now generally accepted that dyslexia is only one of a group of difficulties which affect the way a person processes information and, therefore, affects their ability to learn.*

We wanted to give parents a clear picture of the different difficulties children face, we have put together a leaflet which we hope will help. Click here to download.

What Can You Expect From Your Child’s School?

Schools and teachers can take some very simple steps to help every child not only those with a learning difficulty. Making 'reasonable adjustments' in how teachers engage with pupils will help them move towards equality of access to learning. This will vary depending upon the specific needs of each student. Differentiation by teachers is crucial.

As a teacher you may worry about neglecting the rest of your class as you implement changes for one or two students with learning difficulties. However, even the lowest estimates would indicate 5% of the population are dysexic. Meaning you probably have at least one student in every class with dyslexia and possibly there are additional students that have never been diagnosed. Remember too: dyslexia is just one SpLD.

Simple changes in the way you teach could make all the difference. Wouldn't you prefer every child left school acheiving their full potential?

When a teacher makes changes to help students with learning difficulties, they are making positive changes for the entire class.

What can you expect from your child’s school to help students with SpLD’s?

Schools and teachers can take simple steps such as:

  • Avoid making assumptions about a child’s skills

  • Provide feedback in a confidential manner on an individual basis

  • Avoid drawing attention to the a child in respect of their learning difficulty

On a more practical level you could ask your child’s teacher(s) to:

  • Provide handouts at the end of lessons. Although for more advanced lessons, providing notes prior to the lesson will help a student prepare.

  • Produce hand-outs on tinted paper. People with an SpLD often also experience a visual-perceptual discomfort and disturbance known as Meares-Irlen syndrome or scotopic sensitivity which causes black print to "dance" or blur on white paper. There isn't a correct colour, but a pale buff shade seems to be helpful to many.

  • Produce hand-outs without using “justified” text. Justified text can create large uneven spaces between letters and words, sometimes referred to as the river effect. You can avoid this effect by using left aligned text.

  • Allowing students to record lesson. Avoid asking students to read aloud or asking specific individuals to respond to questions.

  • Ensure all guidelines for assignments or practical sessions are unambiguously written and clearly presented.

  • Whenever possible, provide notes in electronic form, this will enable students to use “text-to-speech software.

In 2004 the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology estimated: 16% of the UK population aged between 16 and 65 (~5.2 million people) lack the skills needed to pass an English GCSE at any grade. The equivalent figure for Mathematics is as high as 47% (~15 million people).

* Sources - Visser, J. (2003). Developmental coordination disorder: a review of research on subtypes and comorbidities. Human Movement Science. 2Volume 22 (Issues 4–5), p479–493. Jeffrey W. Gilger, Ph.D., Bruce F. Pennington, Ph.D., John C. DeFries, Ph.D.. (1992). A Twin Study of the Etiology of Comorbidity: Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Dyslexia. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Volume 31 (Issue 2), p343–348. Pauc, R. (2005). Comorbidity of dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette's syndrome in children: A prospect. Clinical Chiropractic. Volume 8 (Issue 4), p189–198.