English is at the heart of Fairley House School and is an area in which we aim to develop confidence and the competence to access the wider curriculum, in an enjoyable and productive way. Our small groups allow individual needs to be at the forefront of our approach.
These memorable multisensory sessions go beyond teaching pupils to read and spell words through phonics and spelling rules alone. There is an additional emphasis on many other aspects of words, particularly word meanings (semantics), word structure (morphology), grammatical use of words and word origins (etymology). Pupils are constantly encouraged to make connections between words and to use their existing knowledge, in combination with higher level thinking skills, to deduce the meanings of unfamiliar words when reading and to make informed choices when spelling.
Alasdair passed his GCSEs with five As, 2B’s and a C
London's leading day school for specific learning difficulties
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At the early stages of their learning, pupils are taught to read using a phonic-based approach, in conjunction with learning to recognise sight words and developing reading strategies such as using context. Higher up the school, pupils read a range of accessible yet challenging texts to explore language and structure. Through their study of both fiction and non-fiction, their vocabulary flourishes and they understand how writers effectively communicate their views by constructing their work in a very conscious fashion. They locate, explain, analyse and evaluate, whilst embedding quotations as evidence. Additionally, the students build up a bank of literary terminology to identify confidently the specific method applied. Their own writing then seeks to emulate the techniques that they have unearthed the works of these writers.
Writing can be a very challenging subject for dyslexic and dyspraxic children, with so many skills needed: the generating and sequencing of ideas, writing legibly at length, using interesting language, applying correct punctuation and recalling the correct spelling of words. Writing lessons at Fairley House are taught through a transdisciplinary approach, by specialist teachers working with speech and language therapists or occupational therapists.
Writing lessons ensure that the children understand grammatical structures and are able to use punctuation in an apt manner. We then establish the features at word, sentence and whole text level that will engage the audience and will help to achieve the purpose. Throughout the different year groups, we cover many different forms of writing, from narratives and poetry to persuasive speeches and blogs. Planning and organisation are hugely important and pupils are provided with strategies and tools to organise their ideas before they write.