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    Welcome to Learning Support

    This is your first point of call if you feel you may need extra help whilst studying at College. You can have a chat with our friendly team any time and we may be able to provide all sorts of help, from a Teaching Assistant in lessons to extra time in exams.

    Remember that if you had help at school this will not automatically transfer over to College; you will need an assessment from us. We look forward to seeing you.

  • Visual stress

    If you are concerned that you or a student you work with suffer from visual stress you can learn more about it here. You can also take a short test that will suggest how likely you are to have the condition. You might like to start with this demonstration of what it can be like to have severe visual stress.


    You are always welcome to drop in to Learning Support to talk about visual stress but you may wish to take the short test below. This will generate an email to us and we can get back to you to discuss the results. The more items you say 'often' to the more likely you are to experience visual stress.

  • Dyslexia

    Dyslexia is a variable condition, which manifests itself differently from individual to individual.The word 'dyslexia' means trouble with words, but the difficulties can extend way beyond literacy to organisation, time management, and even awareness of time. For some students, visual instability can make reading uncomfortable, as the print may seem blurred or even move. this is hard for the non dyslexic to appreciate.

    There are close links between dyslexia and other conditions. We now know that children who experience hearing difficulties may well have manifestations of dyslexia in later life; many children with ADHD will also show some signs of dyslexia.

    In fact there are two types of dyslexia, ACQUIRED and DEVELOPMENTAL. In College we usually deal with the latter. However many features of dyslexia are found in those who have experienced trauma, where the recall of language can be badly affected. This is certainly the case with stroke victims, who may develop a serious difficulty in remembering and expressing vocabulary.

    The dyslexic student is likely to have difficulty in short term and/or working memory. As a result, there is often not only a lack of skill in remembering the alphabet, months of the year, and times tables, but also in confidence. In some instances, this can lead to behavioural issues.

    In essence, the dyslexic student is one who is not performing to their full potential in terms of their Study Skills and results. Examinations can be very difficult because they require a student to recall, analyse, record and evaluate; many dyslexic students can do this, but only very slowly, so extra time may be provided in examinations. The same slow processing can also result in very able students having a very slow writing speed, for example 4 words per minute.

    You can read more about dyslexia below.

    PDF   .    EPUB   .   MP3

    You can also take a self-assessment test below:

    PDF   .   EPUB   .   MP3

  • Dyspraxia

    Dyspraxia is also known as Developmental Co-ordianation Disorder or DCD. It is a developmental condition, and is often evident, in some form, from birth. It is variable as a disorder, and there are often similarities to dyslexia.Dyspraxia affects about 8% of the population, and the majority are male.

    The dyspraxic student may have difficulties with sport, for example catching a ball may be difficult. Often, handwriting is badly affected, looking messy with a difficulty in writing in a straight line. Some dyspraxic students find it hard to start writing at the margin.In fact most fine motor skills can be affected.

    Clumsiness is another symptom, and is often the result of poor visual perception, for example when judging depth or distance. As with dyslexia, there can be real sensitivity to noise, so the student is easily distracted.

    In terms of reading, this may be accurate but rather slow. This, added to difficulties in presentation, make education a frustrating experience. In some cases, the ability to follow instructions is added to other symptoms to make the student look less able than they are.

    Sometimes, dyspraxic children have difficulty in handling a knife and fork, preferring to feel the texture of the food; this may be evident in children who are fussy eaters or have a limited range of acceptable food. It seems that touch may be more sensitive in some dyspraxics.In some case there can be some obsessive tendencies.

    • Exam arrangements

      • Online dictionaries

        • Literacy resources

          • Plagiarism check

            You can check an assignment or part of one using the checker below. Just paste your text into the box below and click the blue check plagiarism button.

            • Claroread

              ClaroRead. Assistive software for reading and writing

              ClaroRead is a multi-sensory, text to speech software program for supporting reading and writing tasks. It is closely integrated with Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer. Text can be spoken aloud and can help deliver high quality documents through using the "proofreading" capability. You can scan a paper document or convert a PDF and have it spoken back clearly.

              To activate, go to ‘All programs’ and select ClaroRead 5

              The visual toolbar will appear on your screen. When you bring your word document to the screen, the tool bar will move to the top. Make sure you have headphones ready.

              Click the cursor key beside the text you would like to hear and press play. The text being spoken is highlighted in blue.

              The visual toolbar lets you colour, highlight and focus on text as it is spoken by the computer. Words can also be spoken back as they are typed, improving accuracy of written papers, tests and study notes - so it is useful for teachers too.

              The Settings button allows you to alter settings (such as the chosen voice, speed, volume) and access additional functions.

               *To be able to read a document from the intranet or internet, go to:

               Settings – Advanced Speech. Click on All.

              Extras include a Screen Ruler which allows you to concentrate on text by providing a strip or ruler across the page. This can be magnified, have the contrast altered or the background dimmed.

              ClaroRead includes RealSpeak voices

              ClaroRead speaks back text as it is typed, allowing you to check and proof-read your work quickly and easily. Text can be spoken at any point by highlighting individual sections of text and pressing Play - great for proofreading.

              Close integration with Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer means you can click and play at any point in a document or web page.

              A single word can be spoken back simply by holding the CTRL button - ClaroRead will speak the word under the mouse pointer.

              Audio and video files from text documents can be made for listening to on your PC or a portable audio player. Simply Select and Save - great for revision or listening on the move.

              A Text to Speech Pronunciation Dictionary is available to modify the way words are pronounced if needed.

              Font and colour changing

              ClaroRead’s Font Button allows you to modify the font size, type, and colour of the whole document very easily. With the Font button you can:

              • Increase or decrease the font size
              • Change the font to one of 3 popular fonts with one click. The fonts can be chosen in the ClaroRead Advanced Settings Editor
              • Change the colour of the text of a whole document and change the background colour of your PC easily.



              ClaroRead makes it simple to space out text, both in Word and on web pages. Pressing the Spacing Button when working in Word or Internet Explorer will help you:

              • Expand spacing
              • Change line spacing
              • Changes the number of points (spaces) after the end of each paragraph.


              Homophones and tricky words

              Homophones are words that are pronounced alike even if they differ in spelling or meaning, such as "pair" and "pear". ClaroRead Homophone features will:

              Mark in colour all the homophones and confusable words in a document. Using the new Advanced Settings Editor, you can also add additional tricky and confusable words.

              • The Check Feature will list alternative words that sound the same, along with the meaning of each word.
              • Mark homophones in colour as you type

              Word with Pictures: Over a thousand pictures included in ClaroRead, help users to selec the correct homophone or choice of wording. Pictures can be turned off.

              Check word - a single button press

              ClaroRead provides a single Check Button for use in Microsoft Word that combines a homophone dictionary, thesaurus, reference dictionary and spellchecker, making the checking of your text and documents easier and more comprehensive.

              If a word is a homophone the Homophone Check Box will appear, along with meanings. If the word has alternative words with the same or similar meaning, the Meaning Check Box will appear. You can then view more to see the dictionary definition. You can SpellCheck individual words or the whole of your document at any point.

              The Check Boxes are fully speech enabled, so hovering the mouse over the words will make them speak. There are 2000 picture icons to help with word meanings.

              Scan paper & convert PDF files into Word

              Textbooks, photocopies and handouts are easily converted into Word documents. The text can then be spoken out by ClaroRead or edited. PDF files can also be unlocked and edited. This feature works using all scanners with TWAIN or WIA compatible scanners.


              Word Prediction

              ClaroRead uses a base prediction dictionary consisting of the most frequently used words in the English language. The dictionary learns as you type, and rejects words that don't pass the automatic spellcheck.

              The Prediction List will automatically appear by your cursor during typing. Alternatively, you can dock the Prediction windows anywhere on the screen to use it as a reference.

              By importing words from existing documents, subject and curriculum specific dictionaries can be produced.