Even in a grammar school, students can have hidden underlying needs. These may be slow handwriting speed, slow reading speed, weaker reading comprehension, slow processing speed or difficulties with memory. These needs can often be the root cause if students are working really hard but not making progress, or if they are struggling to keep up.
We therefore screen all incoming Year 7 and 12 students to build a picture of strengths and needs so that we can intervene and support if necessary. We use the EXACT online assessment, which screens for reading accuracy, reading comprehension accuracy, reading comprehension speed, handwriting speed and typing speed. This will be done within the first few weeks of joining the school.
If we suspect that a student has a Dyslexic need, we may ask them to do a Dyslexia screener. This is not a diagnostic tool but does give us a likelihood of Dyslexia. We can then inform parents of where to go for a diagnosis should they wish.
Staff sometimes tell us that a student is struggling to see the board properly or that written text ‘jumps’ on the page for them. We can screen for visual stress and this informs next steps. This may be the use of a coloured overlay, coloured paper or asking parents to book an optician’s appointment for further investigation.