SpLD service awarded for dedication to promoting inclusion in higher education

Members of the SpLD Tutorial Service

The SpLD Tutorial Service at the ELTC have won a national award from the Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education (ADSHE) for their innovative work to promote the inclusion of students with specific learning differences (SpLD) in higher education.

ADSHE is the professional association of and for specialists who work in higher education. The association was founded in 2001 and aims to promote and disseminate knowledge on all aspects of neuro-diverse teaching and learning in this context to promote inclusive learning environments.

The team were recognised for consistently supporting ADSHE principles in their work with students and for two key projects promoting inclusion in higher education both at our University and more widely.

This institutional award is a testament to the high regard the wider SpLD profession have for the SpLD Tutorial Service at the University of Sheffield.

Paul Barnes, Assistant Director of the SPLD TUTORIAL SERVICE

The first project is the annual SpLD conference, now in its sixth year, focusing on issues relating to specific learning differences in higher education. The conference includes interesting and exciting keynotes and presentations, bringing together different areas in the field of SpLDs in education to stimulate discussion, debate and sharing of ideas.

Conferences have included issues such as inclusion, theory into practice, SpLDs and STEM subjects, and assessment and labelling of SpLDs. The conference has attracted a number of accomplished and engaging speakers such as Professor Angela Fawcett, Dr Amanda French and Clare Trott. The conference has also featured student speakers, including Martha Foulds' talk on intersectionality of SpLDs, and Jude Anderson’s talk, ‘My experiences of ADHD in life and higher education.’

The team were also recognised for their In the Know (INK) workshops aimed at developing SpLD awareness for university staff.

INK is a series of short, interactive online training resources for university staff which are designed to increase awareness of specific learning differences (SpLD) in higher education.

With inclusion increasingly on the agenda, it is vital that higher education staff have access to resources to develop their teaching. This project brought together departments bringing a range of expertise to devise innovative and accessible online workshops to support staff to develop an understanding of SpLDs and inclusion. Each workshop is interactive and can be completed in under 10 minutes. They are open access and free for anyone to use and feedback on. The workshops currently focus on different SpLDs and this will be expanded to include inclusive curricula, inclusive teaching and inclusive assessment and feedback. The workshops have received positive feedback, and are being used globally as far away as the University of Tasmania.

Find out more about the workshops

Paul Barnes, Assistant Director of the SpLD Tutorial Service said: “This institutional award is a testament to the high regard the wider SpLD profession have for the SpLD Tutorial Service at the University of Sheffield. It reflects the positive impact that our annual conference and new online resources have had within the field of specialist SpLD support.”