Teachers assess children on a daily basis as part of the marking policy as well as completing formative assessments at the end of each term.  These help teachers to recognise which children are reaching ‘expected’ levels for their year group, which are working at ‘greater depth’ and those which are ‘working towards’ compared to the majority of their peers.  Any children who are working towards expectations are likely to have some sort of intervention to help them to progress.  With all children it is important to be aware of their starting point and their individual attainment, for example, some children who are working towards will have made great personal progress based on their starting point.  This kind of progress is likely to be measured against small steps targets within their ‘personal plan.’

As well as formative assessments within each subjects, other specific assessments may be completed such as phonics to determine which phase a child is working within, reading to give a reading age, specific maths assessments and spelling assessments. Both schools also have the ‘Boxall Profile’ which can be used to assess children’s social and emotional development, the ‘Asten Index’ which shows some cognitive indicators and a Dyslexia screener which highlights any gaps in a child’s basic ability to read and spell. 

Both schools have access to ‘Language Link Infants’, ‘Language Link Junior’ and ‘Speechlink.’  These are online assessments and resources to identify and support children who maybe struggling with an area of language.  It is usual for all children to be screened in reception with Language Link Infants.  Children in year 3 may have a general screener from Language Link Junior.  Children in other year groups can be assessed if requested, or re-screen to measure improvements.  Any children struggling to produce clear sounds will be screened with ‘Speechlink.’  These assessments help to support children in school as well as to inform any possible referrals to speech and language therapy.  A ‘Language for Learning’ screener may also be used to identify difficulties with using, understanding language linked to learning as well as social communication.

Mrs Whannell is in the process of becoming an Irlen Screener.
Irlen syndrome is a perceptual difficulty that affects the processing of information as it passes from the eyes to the brain.  It is not a visual problem or a learning disability but a processing difficulty.  When you read, the eye takes in the words or information but it is the brain that processes that information.  It is not uncommon for the brain to translate items different than they appear, this is apparent when you look at optical illusions.  People who suffer from Irlen can have light sensitivity which is further affected by the type of florescent lighting commonly used in classrooms.
The Irlen Method uses colour in the form of overlays, coloured paper or coloured lenses to allow the brain to function better and therefore more accurately process the information.  It does not eliminate the cause but does remove a barrier.  Distortions and discomfort can be an underlying barrier preventing children (& adults) from either being able to learn to read or enjoying reading and being able to develop the skills to learn.  Irlen Syndrome is often associated with dyslexia but can affect anyone from those with learning difficulties right through to those who have been identified as gifted; children may be using a great deal of effort to succeed and assume it’s just the same for everyone without realising that things don’t have to be so hard.  It is often hereditary but can also be linked to a changes due to head trauma, illness or a change in hormones. 
Irlen is easy to test for so it is something to be considered when difficulties with reading, behaviour, attention, learning, sensory sensitivity or difficulties with depth perception have been noted.  Difficulties with depth perception can affect hand writing, the shape elements in maths, performance in sports, balance or apparent clumsiness.  Feeling tired or exhausted after school or getting headaches can be the result of sensitivity to light.  As Irlen is a visual processing issue, it can affect sensitivity to other senses.  Children suffering from unidentified Irlen can be misdiagnosed as having Dyslexia, ADHD or Autism as they struggle to process with an over active brain.  Managing Irlen with colour can reduce a barrier for these children even if there are also other underlying/cohabiting conditions. 
1. Complete a self-assessment questionnaire with your child.
2. If several associated symptoms are highlighted, I will invite you to attend a session to screen your child.  This involves perception activities (looking at pictures etc) then identifying if different coloured overlays reduce distortion or discomfort.
3. If a colour is found to have a positive impact for your child, they can trial using an overlay and coloured paper in school, and we can monitor the impact.
4. If there is a noted difference or a positive impact from the use of colour, you can consider whether to go to an Irlen diagnostician to determine if Irlen spectral filters would be beneficial (lenses which filter the identified spectrum of light which causes the discomfort).