Sarah Berry is head of Learning Support at Reading Blue Coat. Under her guidance, pupils in year 9 with specific learning difficulties are learning to
Sarah Berry is head of Learning Support at Reading Blue Coat. Under her guidance, pupils in year 9 with specific learning difficulties are learning to touch type in preparation for their GCSEs.
Reading Blue Coat is a successful school for boys and achieves high academic results. Most students join in year 7, a few come in year 9 and over 90% go through to Sixth Form where they are joined by a few new boys and around 40 girls.
With approximately three applicants for every place, the school is highly competitive and takes able children with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia.
Sarah and her team screen children at 11 and 16 and identify those who may need additional support. Initially, children’s needs are met by Quality First teaching which combines high expectations, clear success criteria and targeted questioning with differentiation for individual students. The class teachers work with Sarah so they can share information and strategies and together they gather evidence of how successful this personalised approach has been. As students move up the school, those who require additional help may have some one-to-one tuition in their GCSE/ A Level years.
The school was keen to pilot a touch typing solution and having seen Kaz Typing Tutor at an independent schools’ exhibition, Sarah realised that it could work well for the students at Reading Blue Coat.
They have been using Kaz for just three months. They are piloting it with year 9 as they feel that students with weak handwriting need to be confident touch typists by the end of year 10 when they will be sitting their first GCSE.
They have found that regardless of whether the children have started to learn touch typing with other programs, or are ‘hunt and peck’ keyboarders using just a few fingers, they can get going with Kaz very quickly. Reading Blue Coat runs an after-school club and has found this has worked well because the students are working independently, making good progress and just need a member of staff to oversee and monitor the work. They are now planning to open it up to boys in the Lower School.
Some students are learning to touch type at home and parents have been very supportive and enthusiastic. They like the endorsements on the website, especially the one from the British Dyslexia Association, and appreciate that KAZ Typing Tutor represents good value and is proving to be a first rate solution.