How to make a Coreboard

Core boards are tools used in augmented and alternative communication (AAC) with students who have difficulty with verbal speech. They feature a grid of symbols, words and phrases which represent concepts. Evidence (and experience) shows them to be invaluable in supporting communication for our SEN learners.

Eloise Bromwich, from the Tower Hamlets Speech and Language Therapy team, has developed a Core board for use across Tower Hamlets schools. Eloise demonstrates how to turn the resources into a functional low-tech AAC device. High Tech communication aids, such as Proloqu and TD Snap, use the same principle. Putting a low-tech device into practice before implementing higher-tech AAC is usually a good way of introducing the concepts.

Eloise demonstrates how to make the core boards below.

Thanks Eloise!

Special Educational Needs in the Mainstream Classroom-EEF recommendations (2020)

Essential reading for educators-‘This report presents five recommendations for mainstream primary and secondary schools seeking to improve their provision for pupils with SEND. Some of the recommendations included here will also be helpful for pupils in special schools.’
Recommendation 1 Create a positive and supportive environment for all pupils,
without exception. Recommendation 2 Build an ongoing, holistic understanding of your pupils and
their needs. Recommendation 3 Ensure all pupils have access to high quality teaching.
Recommendation 4 Complement high quality teaching with carefully selected
small-group and one-to-one interventions. Recommendation 5 Work effectively with teaching assistants.

Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools | EEF (

Download the poster summary here-Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools—Recommendations (

5min PPT: #ImmersiveReader (6)

As part of our “5 Minutes for Inclusion” series, here is a short PowerPoint introducing Immersive Reader, a powerful and free tool built into Microsoft products.

It’s effective at increasing the reading fluency and comprehension of your learners, supporting students with learning differences like Dyslexia, and helping emerging readers build their confidence.

Click below to download the PowerPoint:

5min PPT: #ImmersiveReader (6).pptx

Free Christmas Symbolised Resources

Widget, the creator of InPrint, Widget Online and SymWriter, have free Christmas resources on their website. They are appopriate for learners from EYFS – KS2 in both Mainstream and Special Educational settings.

There are sybolised versions of the Christmas story and supporting differentiated activities. There are also games and activities such as jigsaws, dominoes and scavenger hunts.

Head over to the Widget website to download them.

A very merry Christmas from the Tower Hamlets Learning Advisory Service.

5min PPT: #AccessiblePresentations

Dyslexia Awareness Week 2022 starts on October the 3rd.

At our last SENCo Conference, Anita Devi talked about how to provide short regular training to improve SEND throughout school. The Language. Literacy and Communication Team will be sharing regular 5 minute training presentations for you to use. The PowerPoints have notes to help with delivery. We are suggesting you use these and then review the following week to see how it has been put into practice.

All new resources will be posted on this blog. Sign up for updates by entering your address under the “Subscribe by Email” box on the right of this page.

Our first “5 Minutes for Inclusion” resource can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.

Make sure that you’ve checked out the other posts in our 5-minutes-for-inclusion series.

Immersive Reader in Microsoft 365

Immersive Reader is a powerful reading support tool built into many Microsoft programs, including Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Teams and Edge. The tool provides a set of features that support reading that are particularly useful for people with literacy difficulties. Best of all, it’s bundled with 365 for free!

The features available within Immersive Reader varies between programs, and you can see them on the Microsoft Immersive Reader webpage. They generally fall into:

  • Text-to-Speech. The natural reading voices really are very good.
  • Coloured themes.
  • Different fonts, text sizes and spacing for text.
  • Line focus.
  • Picture support.

Turn on Immersive Reader

Click on “View” and then “Immersive Reader”

Access text preferences

Try the different text preferences.

  • Text size – between 14 and 96 point.
  • Increase spacing – between letters, words and lines of text
  • Font – choose between Calibri, Sitka and Comic Sans
  • Themes – change the background colour. Many learners find black on white text challenging.

Grammar options

And the grammar options…

  • Syllables – break words into syllables to aid decoding.
  • Parts of Speech  – colour and/or label nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

Reading Preferences

  • Line Focus – You can highlight one, three of five lines of text. You can move the highlight up or down using the arrow keys on the keyboard.
  • Picture Dictionary – Use Boardmaker symbols when a word is clicked on. Also listen to any word in isolation.
  • Translate – Translate text into one of 100 languages.

As mentioned – Immersive Reader is available in all the office apps. It’s also within the Edge browser on websites that have enabled it. Look out for the Immersive Reader icon in the right-hand side of the address bar.