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Monday, September 14, 1998 Published at 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK


First dyslexics-only school opens

Children with dyslexia need a special teaching style

Britain's first secondary school designed specifically for dyslexics has opened, offering a curriculum shaped around the special needs of its pupils.

Headteacher Robert Carlisle introduces his new school on Radio 5 Live
The Moat School in Fulham, West London, will provide 100 children with lessons leading to GCSE examinations, structured to overcome the obstacles posed for dyslexics by traditional teaching.

Headteacher Robert Carlisle said that the charity-funded school would offer "a very clear and distinctive teaching style" by specially-trained staff, in an atmosphere which will encourage dyslexic pupils to feel less isolated than in mainstream education.

Among the techniques on offer are a greater use of information technology than in conventional schools, with keyboards and word processing helping to assist in developing literacy skills.

[ image: Information technology will be central to lessons]
Information technology will be central to lessons
Parents will be bringing children to the school from across London, taking advantage of an environment unavailable elsewhere.

Among the pupils starting this week, an 11-year-old girl who said she was looking forward to learning alongside children with a similar problem. "I didn't want to feel like it was only me," she said.

Some of the parents of children at the Moat School report problems with mainstream education, where schools with strong academic records are said to be reluctant to accept dyslexic pupils who might adversely affect exam league table positions.

This could mean dyslexics being forced into unsuccessful, non-academic schools where their chances of qualifications are further diminished.

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