In 2017, we conducted a successful pilot project at Norbury School, Harrow. Six pupils; aged between 8 and 11, received free specialist one-to-one teaching twice a week for a term, during school hours. This consisted of a personalised, multi-sensory, structured learning programme incorporating phonics and explicit teaching of phonological awareness. In addition, parents were given advice to help support reading at home. Even in this short period of time, pupils made great gains in their reading ages and, importantly, their self esteem and well-being improved.
In November 2019 we completed our yearly project, funded by the National Lottery (Awards for All scheme). This has been a joint project, working with the Centre for ADHD and Autism (CAAS). We have been able to provide specialist teaching to 18-20 pupils, once a week (45 minute lessons), in small groups of 2 to 4 pupils. The project took place at Stag Lane Junior school in Harrow. Some of the pupils had additional learning difficulties such as ADHD or Autism or both. The pupils enjoyed the lessons and have made good to outstanding progress in their reading ability. In addition, they have improved their self-esteem and gained confidence in their learning. Parents have had the opportunity to attend a workshop to learn strategies to support their children at home.
In November 2019, we began our next project, which was due to run for a year, funded by The People’s Postcode lottery. We worked with small groups of pupils at St. Bernadette’s Primary school in Harrow, who kindly agreed to host the project. This project followed a similar format to the previous project. 6 groups of pupils (with between 2 – 4 pupils in the group) received 45-minute lessons, which took place on a Wednesday morning. Due to COVID-19, the project was halted for a short while, though then resumed with the pupils receiving online virtual tuition. We prioritised a smaller number of pupils and made the lessons interactive and fun. Once it was safe to do so, we resumed face-to-face lessons in school and the project finished in April 2021. Due to the success of the project, the school governors are going to fund the project for a further 6 months.
We were successful in obtaining a small grant from the Shanly Foundation and were due to start a new project at the Grange Primary School in Harrow, which took place from September 2021 – December 2021.
We were very lucky to receive funding from The Postcode Lottery to run projects in a further 3 schools. St. Bernadette’s Primary School, The Grange Primary School and Alyward Primary School. These projects began started in January 2022 and will finish in December 2022.
In addition, 2 more schools in Harrow, Cannon Lane Primary School and West Lodge Primary School paid for groups of pupils to receive specialist dyslexia tuition for a term.
It is vital that primary-aged pupils go onto secondary school, with age-appropriate reading skills, to protect them from developing mental health issues due to being unable to access the curriculum, which consequently may lead to exclusion and anti-social behaviour.
As we are a small charity, we do rely on funding and fundraising activities to operate. Our goal is to get as many specialist dyslexia tutors into schools, providing specialist literacy support to pupils who so desperately need it.
It is vital that primary aged pupils go onto secondary school, with age appropriate reading skills, to protect them from developing mental health issues due to being unable to access the curriculum, which consequently may lead to exclusion and anti-social behaviour.
Costs of services
We believe that our rate of £40 for a 45 minute lesson (between 1 – 4 pupils), represents good value for money. We also deliver specialist training to parents and teachers, providing techniques and strategies to help teach children with reading difficulties.