Welcome to Cognition and Learning

Welcome to Cognition and Learning

Our Team provide quality advice and training tailored to the needs of individual schools and pupils.  We all have many years teaching experience and additional qualifications in a wide variety of special educational needs.

Information about our courses

For more information and advice click on the links below:







Contact List

Acting Heads of LD Team Catherine Pass  (Lead on SLCN)


  Fiona Whitaker (Lead on SpLD)
 Specialist Teachers Beth Roberts   (Specialist Practitioner Coordinator)
  Joanne Callaghan
  Judith Cunningham
  Judith Curran
  Nicola Gaunt
  Paula Derry
  Caroline Howarth
  Peter Jewitt
  Jane Leatherdale
  Malgorzata Lewalski
  Katy Walker
 Specialist Practitioners (SP) Julie Wilson
  Tasleem Akhtar
Administrator  Anna Chatburn



Department of Children's Services
SEND Support Services
Cognition and Learning Team
Margaret McMillan Tower
Princes Way

Tel:   01274 439500


About us

Who do we work with?

We work with pupils and staff in local mainstream settings and schools. The pupils we complete individual work with will have Speech, Language and Communication Needs, or Specific Learning Difficulties or Moderate Learning Difficulties. These pupils will either already have an EHCP (Range 4) or be at Range 3 where advice is sought to support the EHCP assessment process. Access to our service for these pupils is on a referral basis. We only accept referrals from schools and settings. It is important that this is completed by someone who knows the pupil well and who is responsible for planning their provision
We also offer advice and support for pupils at Range 2 through our Range Advice Packs, our advice sheets on our Team page on BSO, our workshops and core accredited courses. You can also speak to a member of our team on 01274 439500

How do we work with settings?

Once a referral has been accepted by the team as meeting the criteria above, the pupil’s name will then be entered onto the Team’s allocation list for discussion at our fortnightly allocation meeting. A member of the team will contact the child’s school or setting following this meeting to arrange a date to work with the child, meet with staff in school and with parents, wherever possible. A report will then be completed detailing the outcomes of assessments completed and recommendations for provision. Progress against these recommendations will be reviewed by a member of our team and staff in the school/setting after a period of 2 terms.

New Referral Documents

Pupil Referral Form

Parent Questionnaire

Current Provision based on Range Decriptors



Baseline Assessment Tools

Baseline Assessment to Inform Future Planning and Target Setting (Primary)

Baseline Assessment to Inform Future Planning and Target Setting (Secondary)

Baseline Record Sheets (Primary)

Baseline Record Sheets (Secondary)


Motor Skills

Children with motor coordination difficulties appear inattentive, often off task and clumsy. They tend to surprise us in the classroom as they are often very able verbally but they fail to make the progress we expect of them. These children tend to puzzle and frustrate us. They can be withdrawn and poorly behaved in the classroom. It is often not their physical difficulties that we notice but their very poor fine motor skills and a dislike of putting pencil to paper at all.


It is important to identify these children as early as possible. The longer we wait the more damage may be done to their self esteem and progress in school. Sadly many of these children will be excluded as their frustration and behaviour deteriorate particularly when asked to write.                                                                                 


What Are Motor Coordination Difficulties

Essentially and simply it is an immaturity in the physical development of a child. A child gains motor control from the head downwards to toes and from the midline out to hands and fingers. A child with motor difficulties will have reached physical milestones such as sitting independently late.

Children and babies learn by taking in information through their senses, making sense of it and responding to it. For this to happen successfully their senses need to work together and provide accurate information from the environment. The following senses need to work together effectively to allow us experience, interpret and respond appropriately to stimuli in our environment.

For more information click on these links.


The ability to bring all the information from our senses together is called perception. Children with motor coordination difficulties struggle with this because:

  • information is relayed very slowly through the nervous system to the brain and some of it is lost
  • faulty information is transmitted from their senses
  • they have difficulty making sense of the incoming information.

The Big Issue

The numbers of children of children with some element of motor skills difficulty is increasing greatly. The majority of these children will never meet the criteria for any formal recognition of their difficulties. If referred on to health, parents are very likely to be told that their physical skills are well within normal limits and no intervention will be forthcoming. Yet for these children their progress in school is greatly compromised by their difficulties and without intervention to correct the problem they will fail in school. It is for these children who do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis that we have developed this website.

I recently screened a Year 1 class in quite an affluent area. Out of 28 children, they all had some level of difficulty.

The following profile sheets will I hope help us to develop an awareness of who these children are. They are not tick lists and we do not have to enter lots of ticks for us to look further at their needs. Any ticks should alert us to the possibility of a problem and through discussion with parents and a very simple screening we should be able to identify children who need intervention. I would also recommend a routine whole class screening of all children in the Foundation Stage. The earlier we start the better chance we have of stopping difficulties developing further.

Click on the links below for motor skills assessment sheets.



Why The Increase in Numbers

As soon as they are born children begin to interact with their environment. They explore with their limbs and senses and are naturally inquisitive. This is how children begin to learn. They integrate information from all of their senses and through play children practise and perfect movements. Through this they develop purposeful connections in their brain which underpin all learning. Motor development influences social, emotional and intellectual development. Unless children are given adequate opportunities to develop and refine their motor skills then they will not be ready to successfully undertake the more formal learning provided in school.

There are no known causes of motor coordination difficulties, but links have been made to the following.

Click on the links below for more details.



For more motor skills advice click on the links below



 Developmental Dyscalculia was defined by the Department for Education and Skills (2001) as:

 “A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence.”

 Indicators of Dyscalculia are:

  • Difficulties understanding concepts of number and place value
  • Difficulties estimating quantity
  • Difficulties with money
  • Difficulties remembering sequences
  • Difficulties with telling the time

To support children with dyscalculic difficulties, it is important to identify their mathematical understanding and establish their misconceptions. This information should then inform personalised objectives to be incorporated into their daily teaching.   Teaching strategies should incorporate lots of over- learning, be cumulative and highly multi-sensory.

What our team offers

Our team can assess pupils for Dyscalculia and provide you with advice and support to create and deliver bespoke programmes.  In addition we can provide training for teachers and support staff about identifying and supporting pupils with Dyscalculia.

For further information about training and assessment, please contact your link teacher from the Cognition and Learning Team.

Below are some games and resources you may find useful.

Maths Ten Top Tips

Maths Ideas with Playing Cards and Dice

Maths Games to Play with a Pack of Cards

Rhyme to learn number bonds

Addacus: This is a structured programme that can be delivered on a one-to-one basis or in small groups. Follow the link for more information. If you require training using the Addacus programme, please contact your link teacher.

Numicon Programmes: These are resources that can be incorporated into maths teaching or used as an individual programme. Follow the link for more information

The Dyscalculia Toolkit by Ronit Bird: This is a tool kit with practical activities to teach key mathematical concepts.

Plus 1 and the Power of 2:  These books teach early maths skills and may be used as part of an individualised programme.

Dynamo Maths:  This is an online programme programme designed for pupils with dyscalculia or maths difficulties.

Catch-Up Numeracy: Teaching Assistants need to be trained to deliver this course.  The programme is a structured approach to teaching key number concepts.  Contact Nicola Robinson, Beth Roberts or Nicola Gaunt for more information about this programme.



Quality First Teaching

Down Syndrome

Top Ten Tips for teaching pupils with Down Syndrome

See and Learn - This a range of resources to support children with Down Syndrome in the development of language, reading, memory and number skills

Down Syndrome Education International

Down Syndrome Training



Exam Access Arrangements

A number of access arrangements can be put in place for candidates with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries so they can access assessments.  The aim is to remove any disadvantage caused by their disability without affecting the integrity of the test.  For example: a pupil with Dyslexia may require a reader and a scribe to demonstrate his or her skill in History.

Secondary Schools (Access Arrangements for GCE and Vocational Qualifications 

For GCE and vocational qualifications the regulations regarding exam access arrangements are up-dated every year. Below is a downloadable version of the access arrangements for 2017/2018.

Assessment for exam access arrangements in secondary schools needs to be carried out by a suitably qualified person.  Details regarding this can be found in the regulations below.  If you do not have a suitably qualified person in your school, members of the

Cognition and Learning Team can provide this service.

The costs for assessment are £60.00 per pupil.  If there are less that 8 pupils the charge is £90.00 per pupil.

Please contact Fiona Whitaker if you require this service.

Schools need to have an effective screening process in place from Year 7.  This will enable schools to identify pupils’ needs early and ensure that any additional support is part of their normal way of working.   Formal assessment for exam access arrangements need to be carried out by a suitably qualified person in year 9.

The Cognition and Learning Team have put together a day's training package on exam access arrangments.This will be running in January, dates to be confirmed.

Regulations for Exam Access Arrangements 2017/2018
 Follow the link for Access Arrangement Forms on the JCQ Website


Primary Schools (Access Arrangements for Key Stage 2 SATS)

In primary schools, pupils taking Key Stage 2 SATs can have special arrangements in place which reflect their needs and normal way of working.  Schools only have to make an application for:

  • Additional Time – information about the criteria can be found below
  • Early Opening of Papers for Modifications
  • Compensatory Marks

Applications should be made via the Access Arrangement section on the NCA Tools website

All other arrangements such as a reader, a scribe, a transcript or using a word-processor may be provided if the pupil meets the criteria but no formal application is required.  However, for scribes, transcripts, word processors and technical/electrical aids schools must notify the NCA using forms downloadable from NCA Tools website. For more information follow the links below.

Please note that if a child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs additional time of up to 25% can be provided, at the school’s discretion, without an application.

Department of Education's website: Access Arrangements at Key Stage 2 SATs



Precision Teaching Resources

How to use the Multi-Probe for Precision Teaching

The Multi-Probe

Maths Resources

Ten Top Tips for Maths

Maths Ideas with Playing Cards and Dice

Maths Games to Play with a Pack of Cards

Rhyme to teach number bonds to 10

Literacy Resources

Tips for Reading at Home (a resource to give to parents)

Mnemonics - ways of remembering spellings

20-20 Resources

20-20 Reading Cue Cards

Writing Book

Working Memory Resources

Strategies to support children with working memory difficulties (primary)

Strategies to support pupils with working memory difficulties (secondary)

Memory Games

Memory Games Ideas

Matrix Game

A Journey to Remember

What Can You Remember

The Sofa Game

Visual Sequences

Barrier Games

Visual Sequences 2

ICT Resources

Clicker 6 Tips

Motor Skills

The Motor Skills Programme

Motor Skills Advice for Parents

Activities for Parents to do at Home

Developing Handwriting Skills










Page owned by Fiona Whitaker, last updated on 05/06/2018. This page has been viewed 38,783 times.