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.


World Book Day, Thursday March 7th, is about celebrating books and reading all year round.The best way you can support your child’s reading is by encouraging a love of reading, and spending time looking through books, talking about the pictures and story, and reading together each day

Children with SEND needs lots of repetition and over-
learning of reading skills, both at school and at home.
Reading is about much more than getting your child to read to you, it is
just as beneficial for you to read to them, particularly
early on.

Children’s Mental Health Week February 5-11

Here is our latest powerpoint from our 5 minutes for inclusion series

‘What is the impact of Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) on children’s mental health and well-being?’

This presentation looks at both the risk factors, the protective factors and the wider impact on mental health and well-being for young people with SLCN.

Educating your Child at Home- Key Stage 3/4 The Basics

Josie worked as a Careers Advisor and librarian before starting the Home Ed Life blog. Her website is full of current advice, unpicks the legal requirements and points you in the direction of free resources to teach the way you want to, enrich your child’s learning but also prepare them for statutory examinations.

Homeschool Life Archives (

Educating your child at home

Give your child the chance to read each day (10 minutes is fine)
Read stories to your child (three short stories before bedtime goes down a treat)
Cook with your child (preparing a meal, operating the microwave or weighing and measuring are great opportunities for learning mathematics)
Buy bread and milk (or other basics) on the way home from school. Doing this in person at the shop using loose change is great ‘real life’ mathematics
Have fun. Playing games, taking turns, watching TV together and dressing up are great ways to support your child
Write shopping lists, keep diaries, write letters and invitations to inspire you child to write.

There are lots of ideas on this 50 Ways to Learn poster that you could also use at home.

Anson Primary school has a great range of resources. Check their website:

Maths at home – Support for busy parents (

Becoming Word Aware at Osmani Primary School

Linda Hall and Tracey Grant from the Language, Literacy and Communication Team led training on Word Aware, a structured whole school approach to promote the vocabulary development of all children. Focused on whole class learning, the resource is of particular value for those who start at a disadvantage – including children with Developmental Language Disorder, Special Educational Needs and those who speak English as an additional language, but it will extend the word learning of all students.

Practical, inspiring and fun ideas were explored that can be easily applied by busy classroom practitioners to develop both spoken and written vocabulary.

Remi Atoyebi (Headteacher), Helen Vail and Tracey Grant (Language, Literacy and Communication Team Learning Advisory Service Advisory teacher for inclusion).

Contact for further information if you are interested in booking this training for your school.

Educating your child at home

Climate change and Environmental Science

Enjoy a light-hearted illustrated children’s book about climate change and caring for our animals that is perfect for inspiring the next Greta Thunberg or David Attenborough.

Listen to the author read it aloud-

Climate Change resources

Climate change resources for schools | WWF

Climate Change for Kids – Science Experiments for Kids (

17 Weather Science Projects and Lessons | Science Buddies Blog

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.


Dyslexia Awareness Week 2021 – navigating this blog

Welcome to the Blog of the Language and Literacy Team from the new Learning Advisory Service. Below, you will find posts containing a YouTube video on Seeing Dyslexia Differently, Dyslexia Friendly Classrooms and information on how to use Busy Things from LGFL to develop phonics and phonological skills.

Click on the Specific Learning Difficulties heading in the blue bar above and you will find a range pages to support parents and teachers with study skills, reading, spelling and handwriting

  1. Helping primary pupils with reading at home
  2. Supporting secondary students with reading
  3. Tips for helping your child with their homework (primary)
  4. Helping secondary students with study skills and homework
  5. Helping to learn spellings
  6. Learn to read and spell Common Exception  (High Frequency) Words
  7. Help your child with phonics
  8. Tips for improving your child’s handwriting
  9. Using games for literacy learning
  10. FAQ about supporting literacy

PurpleMash for all Primary Pupils

Whether it’s inspiring writers or boosting creativity in your children, Purple Mash has very much to offer teachers of children with SEND and it is simple to use and loved by all.

PurpleMash is a suite of online programmes that cover almost every area of the computing curriculum and provide templates and tools for every area of the Primary Curriculum. There are activities to practise basic computing skills, like keyboarding & mouse skills; activities to teach online safety, activities to teach phonics and get children reading, writing, listening and speaking. There are tools for counting, graphing, mind mapping, painting. There are activities for problem solving and learning tables. All the tools are brightly coloured, easy to navigate and use; however if you need it there are videos and PDF guidance for every tool. In the teacher’s area is all the documentation you might need: Schemes of Work with lesson plans, assessment tools, suggested timetables, cross curricular links etc.

There are many activities for different subject areas with template and tasks labelled with a suggested age appropriateness but there are lots of ways of differentiating within tasks.Themed writing projects have sentence starters and word banks to scaffold work for some groups.

It is very easy have access to PurpleMash at home. Teachers can set tasks for children to do in class or at home by using 2Dos.

Minimash is the area for children in the Early Years, which might also be suitable for older children working at P levels. It has themed activities and many games and creative activities like music making and painting as well as delightful figures to colour in.

Serial Mash is a collection of online books for children from 5 to 11 with excellent (subject related) themes. They can be read on screen, (background and text colour and size can all be altered if necessary) or printed out as a PDF. Then a collection of activities testing comprehension, spellings, punctuation and grammar all centered on each chapter. (Most books have a new chapter each week.)