Andrew Day, Head of Unicorn School & Clare Roberts, Outreach Coordinator
Andrew Day is the head of The Unicorn School, a private specialist school supporting students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Clare Roberts works as the school’s Outreach Coordinator and is dyslexic herself. She will soon also be joining the team at the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity.
Both have dyslexic children and when Clare joined the team at The Unicorn School, they changed their outreach programme that supported 9 children in local state schools with 1-1 sessions to Clare instead going in to Primary Schools to train the teachers about how to make a classroom a more inclusive learning environment. This approach helps around 9000 children and is a direct response to the lack training resources available to teachers.
Andrew talks about:
Children's emotional reaction to being in a classroom where their neurodiversity is normal
How Teacher-Training placements with students from local universities at Reading University and Oxford Brookes gives them some experience of seeing what can be brought into a classroom to make it a more inclusive learning environment & how many teachers in training don’t have that expertise or training behind them.
Having friends and Heads of Schools in the state sector and the funding deficit causing the biggest challenges.
The spelling expectations on children being ridiculous
Clare talks about:
Re-training at Master’s level course for dyslexia, and her own panic of being asked to read and respond to a text in class (having not been given the material in advance)
Ways to support neurodiverse children in a classroom
Her dyslexic daughter spending her life with ‘Below Target’ and what those labels do to children
The pace of National Curriculum being tremendously difficult and too much pressure - compounding stress and anxiety for all children.