Skip to content ↓
The Unicorn School

The Unicorn School

A Specialist School supporting pupils with dyslexia and related learning difficulties


SpLD Study Skills Teaching Programme

At the Unicorn School, we provide a specialist Study Skills programme which meets the specific needs of our older pupils.  In Study Skills lessons, we support and nurture pupils to become effective, independent learners, helping them to learn the strategies they need to succeed both in school and in life. Throughout KS4, we focus on the development of effective study skills, widely acknowledged to be critical to academic success.  Our pupils are taught these skills explicitly, which reduces the cognitive load of trying to assimilate them whilst learning curriculum subjects. Each skill is introduced in a carefully structured and scaffolded way, with plenty of opportunities for practice and overlearning. We liaise closely with GCSE subject teachers to ensure that we cover the skills required across the curriculum.

The SpLD Study Skills team comprises four experienced specialist teachers, all of whom hold AMBDA or OCR Level 7 qualifications.  Our Study Skills base provides a flexible, well-resourced environment for teaching, learning and assessment purposes.  We have a large group teaching room with interactive whiteboard, computers and a range of assistive technology (including text-to-speech and voice recognition software) as well as two smaller rooms for teaching one-to-one and undertaking assessments.

SpLD Study Skills lessons are delivered through a combination of small group, pair and one-to-one teaching and cover topics including organisation, time management, metacognitive awareness, critical reading skills, planning and writing techniques, information handling, revision strategies and exam preparation. In addition, we work to extend pupils’ vocabulary and world knowledge and continue to support the development of functional literacy skills.  Assistive technology plays a significant role; pupils are encouraged to explore the range of options available and are supported to improve their skills in this area.  For many, proficiency in using assistive technology will be key in enabling them to demonstrate their abilities, as it removes the barriers which may otherwise stand in their way.

From Year 9, we assess all pupils for Examination Access Arrangements. Many of our pupils qualify for exam concessions, whether that be using a scribe, text-to-speech software or typing their answers independently with extra time.  In Study Skills sessions, we work with each pupil to make sure that they understand their individual access arrangements and learn how to use them effectively.  We recognise the particular challenges and stresses faced by our pupils when taking their GCSEs and work hard to build their resilience and self-esteem.  In partnership with their subject teachers, we ensure that they are fully prepared, so that they sit their exams feeling confident and secure, and are able to achieve their potential.