CReSTeD's main activity is to maintain a "Register of Schools" which provide teaching provision for pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD). This information is supplied free of charge to parents and those who are responsible for choosing a child's education.
The levels of provision within schools is divided into five broad categories labelled: Dyslexia Specialist Provision (Category DSP), Dyslexia Unit (Category LSC), Maintained Sector (Category MS), Specialist Provision Schools (Category SPS) and Withdrawal System (Category WS). We aslo support and accredit the work of Teaching Centres (Category TC), however, this is a new category, consultants will visit the first centres during Summer 2014. Children have different needs and the categories are a way of helping match the level of the pupil's needs to the level of provision at the school. A full description of each category can be found here.
A report from an Educational Psychologist or a specialist teacher who holds an Assessment Practising Certificate should offer guidance as to the level of provision relevant to the child.
A child at the severe end of the dyslexia spectrum may require a Category Dyslexia Specialist Provision (DSP) school, whereas a child with, for example, only some slowness in spelling skills may be suitably provided for in a school from Category Withdrawal System (WS). The categories offer this guidance. Note that the Maintained sector is only open to local authority schools and not to Independent schools.
Each category: DSP, LSC, MS, SPS, TC & WS has a page on the website containing details of each school, including links to their websites and contact details. There are details of teaching centres we hope will meet our criteira here.
The Register of Schools provides a full list of schools by category and includes a geographical index of schools. It is available is several formats:
To accompany the Register we have produced an Information Pack which includes all the information from our website, including explanations of our categories, criteria and the abbreviations we use in the Register.
Copies of the Information Pack can be downloaded in .pdf format from our documentation page.
There are several lists of schools which offer provision for pupils with one or more Specific Learning Difficulties. Unfortunately for parents the information in these lists is often provided by the schools and is not subject to any verification.
The first stage of registration is for the school to complete the (inevitable) form and to provide supporting documentation, such as policies for SpLD. The Registration application form covers staff development, admission policy, organisation of the school week, specific arrangements for dyslexic pupils, examination results for the school in general and for its pupils with SpLD in particular, resources and a list of parents' names so that the Consultant may check parents' feelings about the school.
The schools are visited by Consultants who look to see if this information is accurate and the criteria set by CReSTeD Council for the particular category are met by the school.
These criteria include the provision of relevant and high quality information technology resources, Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) approved training qualifications for teachers, awareness of the needs of pupils with SpLD by the non-specialist staff, and arrangements to obtain and provide special provision for examinations. It has to be said that there have been too many occasions when such basic criteria have not been met, despite the school purporting to help pupils with SpLD.
Schools are visited on a three yearly cycle, with possible earlier visits if there is a significant change within the school. If the Head of a CReSTeD school changes, we require the school to inform us and ask the new Head to confirm that the school intends to continue with the SpLD provision in accordance with the criteria set by CReSTeD (at the agreed category level). This enables us to retain the school's details in the Register without the need for an extra visit. CReSTeD Council will also initiate 'responsive' visits if it has any cause for concern about a particular school. Thus CReSTeD gives some reassurance as to the level of provision of a school.