Summer Reading Challenge in Idea Stores and libraries

The Summer Reading Challenge is for children aged 4 to 11 to in all Idea Stores and libraries.

It starts on Saturday 6th July.

As the children read books over the summer, they receive small prizes. When they have read six books, they receive a certificate and a medal.  Alongside the challenge, there is a full and varied summer programme of events for children and families.

All events are free and include crafting, storytelling, drama workshops and theatre productions.

Children who struggle with reading can enjoy reading in the summer holidays with their parents and carers using the ‘Paired Reading’ approach’.

Click the link below for a 2 minute video showing you how to do it.

2) How to do Paired Reading (

Online safety for parents and carers of children with special educational needs such as dyslexia, autism and speech and language difficulties (NSPCC)

For parents, the summer holidays are a great chance to sit down with your children. Together you can visit their favourite sites and play their favourite games, this is a great way to stay up to date with online lives and show them that you’re interested in what they are doing. The holidays are also a good opportunity to have positive conversations about the internet, so if something ever does upset your child online they would feel more confident in confiding in you.

Online safety for children with SEND | NSPCC

Not sure where to begin? These conversation starter suggestions can help.

  • Ask your children to tell you about the sites they like to visit and what they enjoy doing online.
  • Ask them about how they stay safe online. What tips do they have for you, and where did they learn them? What is OK and not OK to share?
  • Ask them if they know where to go for help, where to find the safety advice, privacy settings and how to report or block on the services they use.
  • Encourage them to help someone! Perhaps they can show you how to do something better online or they might have a friend who would benefit from their help and support.
  • Think about how you each use the internet. What more could you do to use the internet together? Are there activities that you could enjoy as a family?

These downloadable resources aim to support families who face very specific challenges and ensure your online safety advice is more inclusive:

Helping your child with cyberbullying in games PowerPoint Presentation (

Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) New Course 2024

“Despite improving attendance numbers across the board, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that 1 in 5 children with speech and language challenges remain at an increased risk of not attending school. So far this academic year, overall absences are at 7.5%. This is an improvement on last year’s final number of 10.7% and we certainly hope that this trend continues. However, the absence rate remains higher for SEND children, and the improvement in attendance is smaller than for other children and young people.“

Pupil attendance in schools, Week 21 2024 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

Children struggling with talking and understanding words will find it easier to attend school if teachers have the right training to develop children’s speech, language and communication skills and spot those who may need additional support.

The Language Literacy and Communication Team will be running a NEW course next year. It will be aimed at SENCos and class teachers interested in deepening their understanding of how language develops and learning more about how speech, language and communication (SLCN) difficulties impact learning. The course will be run as twilight sessions across the year, with a blend of face to face and online sessions.

Please email Linda Hall if you would like to arrange any staff meetings or INSET on literacy,
communication or language for next term.

Findings from the Delphi Study explore the definition of dyslexia.

The Delphi papers have been submitted to academic journals for peer review. The study aimed to establish ‘areas of consensus among a wide range of experts’ and to reduce ‘confusion and misinformation’ about how dyslexia should be defined.

The SpLD Assessment Standards Committee (SASC) has advised that assessors are free to use the Dephi definition but advised to look out for any relevant updates if and when the Delphi papers are accepted for publication. Their briefing paper summarises key points from the framework, its rationale, gives links to the full paper and a note on how to reference to the definition. SASC Briefing Paper Delphi Dyslexia Study May 2024

Two papers summarising the findings of Delphi study into the definition of dyslexia have now been published in draft format on the Open Science Framework.

  1. Julia Carroll, Caroline Holden, Philip Kirby, Paul Andrew Thompson and Margaret J. Snowling (2024).
    Towards a consensus on dyslexia: Findings from a Delphi study.
  2. Philip Kirby, Caroline Holden, Paul Andrew Thompson, Maggie Snowling and Julia Carroll (2024). Towards a consensus for dyslexia practice: Findings of a Delphi study on assessment and identification.

The British Dyslexia Association (May 2016) reported, ‘It is important to note that the proposed definition identifies the same or similar underlying cognitive indicators of dyslexia, alongside recognition of its impact on individuals. For this reason, there is no suggestion that anyone diagnosed under the previous definition would not continue to meet the criteria for a diagnosis.’ Findings from the Delphi Dyslexia Study – British Dyslexia Association (

Teachers and campaigners say more needs to be done to provide rising numbers of children with Speech and Language Therapy.

After being diagnosed with apraxia at two years old, Mikey Akers had 13 years of Speech and Language Therapy (SLT), just to be able to communicate with others.

The 23-year-old’s latest petition, calling on the Government for more investment in SALT, reached over 12,000 signatures in just a matter of weeks, prompting a response.

Click the link below for the full story:

Summer with Signalong

The Learning Advisory Service is pleased to announce the next

Signalong Foundation Course.

It will run at the PDC 229 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6AB

Signalong is a key word signing system. Signs are always used alongside spoken language. It is particularly suitable for children and young people who have delayed language and/or learning difficulties. Our course will support you to sign effectively and naturally, and you will learn over 300 signs.

SESSION 1Wednesday June 5th   9 am. to 12.30 pm  
SESSION 2Wednesday June 19th 9 am to 12.30 pm  
SESSION 3Wednesday June 26th 9 am to 12.30 pm  
SESSION 4  Wednesday July 10th 9 am to 12.30 pm

Cost: £75 per person

Full attendance is required to gain your Foundation certificate.

To book: use SLA online

For more information: contact or

SENCo Conference Thursday 9th May 2024

SEN provision – mapping and measuring impact for all

The conference will take place at the Professional Development Centre (PDC):

229 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6AB

Conference Booking

To book your place please click on the link:

For any further questions please contact:

Linda Hall

Key note Speaker

Abigail Hawkins is a SEN specialist with over 25 years of experience as a SENCO. She has been a SENDCO, DLS, an Education Consultant, and has a Founding Fellowship of the Chartered College of Teaching (FCCT), which is an accolade held by some of the most committed teachers and leaders who have shown a significant and sustained contribution to the teaching profession and their own professional development.

Workshops include: SEN Section Hannah Glennon: Requesting an EHCP: What’s useful and What’s not.”, Educational Psychology Service “MeLSA/ mediated learning.”, TH CAMHS East London NHS Foundation Trust “Understanding ADHD”

#WAAW World Autism Acceptance Week 2024 ‘Study links reading comprehension challenges in autistic children to specific early and pre-reading skill gaps’

Many children with autism struggle with reading comprehension abilities throughout their school years.

In language development, narrative skills are a pre-reading skill, such as retelling the events of a story in order and understanding how the parts of a story work together. Inference skills develop early in reading and include the ability to link the ideas in two sentences together.

For children with autism, challenges with these two early skills were linked strongly with reading comprehension challenges as they got older. (Grimm, McIntrye and Mundy, 2020)

The Reading Framework Report published by the Department of Education in July 2023 emphasises the value of reading comprehension in supporting SEN pupils. Their suggestions for mainstream classroom teaching adaptions include group or peer reading, utilising audio, visual aids such as picture books, graphic organisers, flow charts and diagrams; multi-sensory stimulation of several senses to help convey meaning and dedicating enough time for reading for pleasure at school and at home.

Tips and ideas to support children with autism who are non-verbal: Teaching children with nonverbal autism to read | Autism Speaks

World Down Syndrome Day 2024

Marner School Celebration

The Learning Advisory Service celebrated World Down Syndrome Day with a performance around “End the Stereotypes”at Marner School. It included pupils with Down Syndrome who attend mainstream schools coming together to celebrate how amazing they are now and thinking about what they would like to be when they grow up.

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), Thursday 21 March, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.

The theme for World Down Syndrome Day 2024 is ‘End The Stereotypes’.

Please click on the link below. Register to access the free educational resources for all age groups.

World Down Syndrome Day March 21, 2024

The Language, Literacy and Communication team have introduced an intervention this year to improve reading and language outcomes for children with Down Syndrome this year. We are using The Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome (RLI) developed by DSE UK.

The intervention is an evidenced-based teaching programme which supplements and supports regular teaching with daily 1:1 intervention sessions and is carefully targeted to the needs of each pupil.

We are currently working with 10 primary schools, and about 17 pupils, and we look forward to seeing how well they progress.

We offer 2 half day training days, as well as visiting schools before and after the intervention begins to provide support and guidance to the Teaching Assistants running the programme.

We hope to run the programme again in the Autumn term for any schools that did not take part in the first cohort.

Please note we are only currently offering this to Tower Hamlets Schools but if numbers allow, this may change.

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