The Bursary Programme
The Bursary Fund was set up in August 1984 to help support those with special educational needs who cannot afford to pay for the specialist tuition they so badly need themselves. As we receive no core funding from central or local government, we rely on donations and fund-raising events. If you would like to donate to our work, please click the link below or the button on our homepage.
We use our charitable funds to teach dyslexic children both at our Centre in Kensington and in their primary schools. The outreach programme, called the London Dyslexia Initiative, currently sends specialist tutors into five London primary schools, working with thirty-two children who are struggling with their literacy and their confidence.
Our partner schools in the outreach programme are: Ark Brunel Academy, Avondale Park Primary, and Colville Primary in Kensington and Chelsea and Addison Primary and Brackenbury Primary in Hammersmith and Fulham. Our work in these schools has been so successful that each school now contributes towards the costs from their special educational needs budget.
Dyslexia help for children in schools is highly variable. The average dyslexic child does not qualify for specialist help under the Special Educational Needs Act 2001 as they sit within the mild-moderate range of the dyslexia spectrum. They struggle to learn to read and write at the same pace as a non-dyslexic child. This impacts on their confidence and school experience. With low self-esteem dyslexic children are vulnerable to feeling disenfranchised from their school and community.
The London Dyslexia Initiative offers consistent targeted help to dyslexic children. Our aim is to work with the schools to give them the literacy skills needed to cope in their secondary schools. While we do of course monitor their gains in reading comprehension, we are also delighted to see their self-confidence and happiness grow. Some of the children we teach come to us feeling very negative about themselves. Some show this by their tricky behaviour in class or at home, and indeed, in a few cases, with us too. It gives us all great pleasure to see these children blossom as their reading and confidence takes off.
These are comments from some of the schools involved in the London Dyslexia Initiative programme:
Addison Primary School
“The Dyslexia Teaching Centre has been helping at Addison Primary School for the last five years. They have developed excellent relationships with our children, parents and staff. As a result of these sound partnerships… the children make accelerated progress. The staff at the DTC go above and beyond what is expected of teachers because they really care about our children and want them to do well. Amazing!” Sharon Plummeridge, Deputy Head, 2018
One Year 5 boy recently commented: “In my homework I always use SQR (a skill our tutor has taught him) for my comprehensions and I always get full marks.”
Avondale Park School
Year 4 boy: “Bingo word games are fun and they help me with my reading and spelling.”
His teacher: “His confidence continues to grow and the borough has agreed to assess him [for a statutory statement/ EHCP].”
SENDCo: “Without this additional learning time and 1:1 support, the children would not be making the progress they currently are. We see an increase in their self-esteem, as well as their motivation to improve and practise the skills they find so difficult. Thank you so much!”
Brackenbury Primary School
Father of a Year 4 girl: “A wonderful service to help children grow in confidence. I can clearly see [my daughter’s] progress and confidence blossom from the support given to her.”
“For the past six years, a number of Key Stage Two pupils with specific difficulties in Literacy have benefited from weekly targeted interventions provided by The Dyslexia Teaching Centre, as part of its Bursary Fund. The specialist teaching that the pupils receive has had a positive impact in developing their skills in reading, writing and spelling and boosting their self-esteem as learners. The Dyslexia Teaching Centre’s contribution to Brackenbury Primary School’s provision has been invaluable.”
Antoinette McGovern – Inclusion Manager
Colville Primary School
SENDCo: “This intervention has been highly effective. These pupils (four in Year 6) have closed the gap with their peers and in some cases have exceeded their peers nationally. As a result they will join secondary school with the skills they need to access the growing demands of the curriculum.”
Deputy Head: “The changes I have seen in their confidence levels are incredible. The children are now do-ers, active and engaged in their learning.”
Parent: “The progress my son has made with his reading since having extra lessons with the DTC has been amazing. Just one hour a week has helped him so much. The methods they use have been of huge benefit to him.”
Bursary Tutoring at the DTC
As well as our work in primary schools, we occasionally offer specialist support to local children at our Centre for a reduced fee, subject to our trustees’ approval.
The mother of one of these children said: “Your kind donations have helped my daughter to erase her fears of everyday school life that was a dark hole. She can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Another mother commented: “It’s been absolutely fantastic what the DTC have done for us, dedicating their time and specialist skills to help not only strengthen my child’s weaknesses but more importantly build his confidence and belief he can succeed.”
We always have a handful of volunteers working with some of the children we teach. We pick our volunteers carefully, matching them with each child. Two of our volunteers have been with us for years, vital members of our team, working in close collaboration with our tutors on the aims for each child they see.
Other volunteers join us for perhaps a year, gaining useful experience while giving valuable time and attention to our children. Three of our former volunteers have subsequently completed specialist training; one of them is now a tutor in our outreach team.
Sometimes a volunteer has a dyslexic child of her own and has seen the benefit he/she gained through one-to-one attention. Through volunteering she can extend this benefit to our bursary children, using her own extensive experience at home.
Our volunteers go to the schools between our lessons to read with the children and consolidate the work we have done. Equally important, they build sound relationships with the children, giving them one-to-one attention, a chance to chat to an adult and making them feel special. A volunteer may work with a child for a term or two or a couple of years, depending on the child’s needs. Sometimes when our specialist tutors have completed their two-year programme with our children, a volunteer takes over for the next school year, making sure the skills and confidence gained by the child are not lost.
We are always on the look-out for more volunteers so please do get in touch if you are interested in being part of our outreach team.