At Mayville we have been renowned for our expertise in the specialist tuition of dyslexic pupils for over 20 years, running the well-established Harden-Davies Dyslexia Unit, also catering for a variety of academic needs that can be associated with a dyslexic profile, including dyscalculia, mild dyspraxic-type difficulties, and mild speech and language disorders.
Children aged eight to 16 can receive an individual programme of support to help overcome their particular difficulties, as each pupil will have their own unique profile of strengths as well as weaknesses. Children younger than eight may have their needs assessed by the Dyslexia Unit and recommendations provided for in-class support, which is more appropriate for their age. This is delivered by class teachers and may also be aided by a teaching assistant.
The Dyslexia Unit is regularly inspected by CReSTeD, which is an independent body established to monitor and evaluate the standards of teaching and provision for dyslexic pupils within the private sector. After another successful inspection in January 2017, Mayville was again approved for registration under Category ‘DU’ as a ‘Dyslexia Unit School’.
Dyslexia (SpLD) covers a wide range of limitations and areas of ability, and can manifest itself in many different ways, presenting many difficulties for a pupil to overcome. Each pupil will react to these individually, and work to address them in a variety of different ways.
At school age, dyslexic pupils may evidence one or many limitations in the development of specific aspects of reading, spelling, writing, numeracy, and sometimes speech, despite overall ability and conventional teaching. For some, there are the added problems of organisational difficulties, short-term memory difficulties, processing difficulties, attention and concentration difficulties, and for others, the behavioural problems linked to frustration.
It is also worth remembering that dyslexic pupils tire more quickly than other pupils. Far greater concentration is required. They often suffer from constant nagging uncertainty and low self-esteem. They may work slowly because of their difficulties and are always under pressure of time. They may have organisational difficulties, continually forgetting what they should have with them and where they should be. They may be late for lessons. They are often bright and articulate verbally but there may be a great discrepancy between verbal and written performance. They are also sometimes adept at finding strategies to disguise their difficulties.
In the Dyslexia Unit, we are a team of highly-qualified specialist multi-sensory tutors both in dyslexia and dyscalculia, who have many years of experience between us, not only in the academic needs of our pupils, but in their crucially-important emotional needs too. Often, a pupil will not learn until they believe they can learn, and teaching on an individual basis provides us with the unique opportunity to build trust sensitively and over time. We work closely with the pastoral care team and academic tutors, ensuring that our pupils receive the best possible whole-school support within a happy and positive learning environment.
Our overall aim is to encourage confident and independent learners, who have an awareness of how their individual difficulties affect them directly, and therefore have a better ability to overcome those difficulties. The teaching methods we use are centred on a structured, cumulative, multi-sensory approach to learning - a systematic teaching of written language using visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic sensory channels. These methods have spoken for themselves, as many of our pupils enjoy success in their GCSEs, consistently achieving grades above predicted expectations.
Two of our tutors are also trained in administering and interpreting standardised tests for educational needs. Where a pupil is referred to the dyslexia unit, and no external specialist professional report is available, we are able to undertake a comprehensive specialist teacher's assessment and compile a summary report which will help provide a more detailed profile of the pupil's strengths and weaknesses. From this, we are able to devise and implement a tailor-made, individualised teaching programme for each pupil.
An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is written by the pupil's tutor for use within the Dyslexia Unit, and a School Advisor Plan (SAP) provides summary details of a pupil's particular difficulties and strengths, along with detailed recommendations for in-class support and any specialist requirements for in-class assessments and end-of-year examinations.
These documents, and any other relevant information we hold, are made available to all staff using the Schoolbase system, to aid subject teachers in their understanding of the individual learning profiles of each pupil and the different levels of differentiation which they may require in class.
At Mayville, we believe that all teaching staff are responsible for ensuring that the needs of all pupils are met — all teachers are teachers of pupils with special educational needs. Teaching such students is therefore a whole-school responsibility requiring a whole-school response.
Termly screening is also undertaken to monitor each of our pupils' progress within the unit, and this is incorporated into the whole-school tracking system, which is in place to ensure that every pupil who has a need at any point in their school career, whether or not they have a learning difficulty, is identified early and receives appropriate intervention.
Access arrangements allow learners with special educational needs, disabilities, or temporary injuries to access an assessment and to show what they know and can do without changing the demands of the assessment.
These must be agreed before an assessment and may take the form of extra time, the provision of a reader or scribe, the use of speech recognition technology, a prompter, the use of a word processor, the allocation of a life speaker for pre-recorded examination components, the allowance of rest breaks, and other such aids. Mayville applies for access arrangements as appropriate for each pupil for their external and GCSE examinations via the Joint Council for Qualifications' (JCQ's) website.
All pupils are screened for extra time, regardless of whether or not they have ever received support, in-house during the term of UIV (Year 9). Any pupil whose results indicate that they may have difficulty completing their examinations on time owing to either reading or writing speeds, or both, is screened further individually using standardised tests measuring aspects of their cognitive processing. If the criteria outlined by the JCQ are met then an application is made in accordance with the current regulations in consultation with both pupils and parents.
Mayville is inspected every three years by CReSTeD (the Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils) and has been consistently highly-rated under the category DU (Dyslexia Unit).
The school is also a member of NASEN (National Association of Special Educational Needs).