Children with Persistent Literacy Difficulties         


There is a very small group of children who will continue to need support/intervention on a long- term basis. These children face challenges to reach age-related norms in literacy (for example, Level 2 in English at the end of KS1 and level 4 at the end of KS2*), and often have other difficulties that affect their learning, such as a poor attention span.

NB:*These measures will change from September 2015 to a measure that is relative rather than age related. For example, if a pupil has an average point score (APS) of 19 at KS1,the average point score of all pupils with an APS of 19 at KS1 will be calculated. If the pupil in question achieved a higher or lower scaled score than the average, then that will tell us whether or not that pupil is making good progress.

The profile of a child with persistent literacy difficulties is likely to include severe phonological problems that affect their word reading, writing and spelling. They
will be behind their peer group and have lower national curriculum levels in English. Their progress in literacy will be slow and, despite support and intervention, they continue to make slow progress. It is likely they have received a specialist intervention (often called Wave 3 interventions) on more than one occasion and this has made little impact.

Over a period of time some of these children are likely to develop emotional problems and have low confidence levels and difficult behaviour.

The Rose Report (2009) identified this group of
children as those who do not respond to well- founded interventions at Wave 3. Wave 3 interventions are highly personalised and are intended to boost progress.

Specialist advice and support

Where a pupil continues to make less than expected progress, despite a well evidence-based intervention (matched to the pupil’s areas of need) delivered by an appropriately trained staff as well as receiving high quality universal teaching, the school should consider seeking advice from specialists including those secured from the school or from outside agencies. Schools can involve specialists at any point to advise them on early identification and effective support. 

The school should always involve a specialist where a pupil continues to make little or no progress or where they continue to work at levels substantially below those expected of a pupil of a similar age.

The Local Offer in every Local Authority should identify specialists including specialist teachers, speech and language therapists and educational psychologists which schools can call upon for advice and guidance.

The specialist’s initial task is to carry out a comprehensive assessment of your child to find out what the difficulties are. They will contact you to ask for information. The assessment will provide a range of information on your child’s strengths and weaknesses and can then be used to plan a programme of long-term support.

They will be looking to identify the best support and type of intervention to help your child make progress. The school must discuss the results of the assessment with you and explain the nature of the difficulties.

In some cases, this assessment may lead to a formal identification of dyslexia. 

What article would you like to read?

1. Interventions for Literacy

2. SEN Provision

3. Expectations

4. Children with Persistent Literacy Difficulties

5. Use of the Term ‘Dyslexia’

6. Roles of the specialist Teacher

7. Frequently Asked Questions

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