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Cognition and Learning

Some children find learning or retaining basic skills more difficult than their peers and this can be for different reasons. We aim to make a clear distinction between special educational needs and underachievement, which is often caused by a poor early experience or gaps in learning. Some pupils in our school may be underachieving but will not necessarily have a special educational need. It is the responsibility of staff to identify this quickly and ensure that appropriate interventions are put in place to help these pupils catch up.


If children experience long term difficulties with their learning and need additional support which is different to that of their peers in order to make progress, then they may be identified as having a specific difficulty with reading, writing, mathematics or understanding information. Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder) and Dyscalculia are all types of cognition and learning difficulties or specific learning difficulties. 


Some children may experience the following difficulties:

  • Particular difficulty with reading and/or spelling. 
  • Problems processing information at speed.
  • Problems remembering information or instructions.
  • Weaker concentration in subjects they find harder but surprises you because in other ways he/she is bright and alert.
  • Leaves letters out of words or puts them in the wrong order. 
  • Still needs to use fingers to count or workings out to make simple calculations. 
  • Has difficulty remembering times tables, the alphabet, written methods in Maths etc.
  • Has problems understanding what he/she has read because they have focused so hard on the actual reading. 
  • Takes longer than their peers to do written work. 
  • Putting letters and figures the wrong way round. 
  • Still occasionally confuses 'b' and 'd' and words such as 'no/on'. 
  • May have difficulty with tying shoelaces, ties, or organising clothes when dressing. 
  • May have a poor sense of direction and may still confuses left and right. 
  • May lack confidence and has a poor self image as a learner. 



Dyslexia means "long term difficulties with word level (reading, writing and spelling) literacy skills". Children with Dyslexia can find it very difficult to read, write and spell accurately and fluently at the level expected for their age. It also affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved. People may have difficulties with memory, speed of processing, time perception, organisation and sequencing. 


The Kent Policy for Dyslexia states that school staff should have the skills necessary to identify and support any child who has long term difficulties with word level literacy skills. Teachers can identify children who have persistent difficulties with reading and spelling. This does not have to be carried out by external specialists. This can be done by using simple assessments of phonological processing skills and standardised reading and spelling tests to measure rates of progress. At River we use standardised tests and assessments of phonological processing skills alongside screening tools such as the GL assessment Dyslexia Screener or the Dyslexia Portfolio. These provide further information for parents and school staff about a child's word level skills. Staff receive training each year to ensure they are able to identify and support children with Cognition and Learning difficulties in the classroom.


If you have concerns about any aspect of your child's learning, please speak to your child's class teacher or Ms Moody. 

Dyspraxia/ DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder


This content is under construction.



This content is under construction