I specialise in teaching dyslexic and dyscalculic pupils who are finding it difficult to progress in a class situation.
Psychologists have done a great deal of research on the best ways to help dyslexic pupils gain literacy skills and my teaching takes note of the research. It is no use giving dyslexic children just more of the same literacy work that they have had already in the classroom. My teaching is multisensory, structured and cumulative with constant revision of what has already been learned.
Dyslexic children usually have difficulty processing the sounds within words, so we work at listening to the sounds carefully, ordering the sounds within a word and building up an association between individual letters or groups of letters and the sounds that they make. With pupils who are not confident reciting the alphabet, I ask them put out wooden letters in alphabetical order at the start of most lessons and with older pupils we typically do an activity involving putting things in alphabetical order.
Poor working memory is also frequently a factor involved in dyslexia so we do activities to improve working memory. I use a system of cards to revise each new thing we learn, whether it be a grammatical term such as "suffix" or a spelling pattern such as "igh", and we go through all the cards at the start of each lesson until responses become automatic.
Although the majority of people are still not aware of dyscalculia ( a persistant difficulty in understanding basic quantities and numbers ), there is a wealth of research on the subject and how students with dyscalculia can be helped. I use concrete materials, counters, Cuisinaire rods, Numicon shapes and base 10 equipment to build up the child's understanding of basic number concepts. To reduce anxiety there are usually several games each lesson to reinforce what we are learning.
Dyslexic and dyscalculic pupils have to work really hard at school and frequently become disheartened and lose confidence, so I reward all effort and am careful to be tactful and empathise when children or young people make errors. I offer my pupils a drink and a snack halfway through the lesson (if parents are happy with this), just to allow them to relax for a few minutes, and every lesson ends with a game and a sticker.
- Tell me about your qualifications.
I have a Master of Education Degree, (1997) and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia and Literacy, (2005) I was awarded Approved Teacher Status by the British Dyslexia Association status in 2004 and this has been renewed twice by submission of a Continuing Professional Development Portfolio, most recently in April, 2018.
I believe continual professional development is important and I attend courses and Dyslexia Guild conferences to keep me updated with current research findings and good practice.
I have just completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Dyscalculia with Edge Hill University, the only certificate of its kind and one that few teachers have. I gained a Merit for the course and will receive my certificate at a Graduation Ceremony in July.
I have successfully completed a course for the Certificate in Competence in Educational Testing, Accredited by the British Psychological Society and I am registered with The British Psychological Society as a Test User: Educational, Ability/Attainment.
- How much do you charge?
£40 per hour for individual tuition. This payment covers the hour's tuition plus my preparation time, which is about 20 to 30 minutes per lesson. The initial interview with trial lesson is free. My fees reflect my specialist training, the high cost of Continuous Professional Development, - keeping myself up to date by attending courses and conferences - and membership fees of professional bodies.
- Where do you teach?
I teach at my house. There is good parking and a room adjacent to the teaching room, where parents may wait during the lesson if they wish. Some parents choose to leave their child and go to nearby Monk's Cross.
- When are you available?
I teach Monday to Saturday. Fees are only paid for lessons taken and if a child is absent through illness or holidays there is no charge.
- Which ages and levels do you teach?
I usually teach from ages six to sixteen, but I sometimes teach older students.
- Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
Many parents come to me when their children are nearing the end of their time at primary school as they are aware that once they are at secondary school, children have less time to spend on the basics of literacy and numeracy. If the foundations of literacy are not securely in place by then, pupils will find it very difficult to work and progress in other subject areas. I encourage parents to start tuition with me earlier, by Year 3 or 4 if possible, and not to wait until Year 6.
If children demonstrate a lack of understanding in maths then it is important to start tutoring them as early as possible, ideally by Year 2.
I also sometimes tutor children to enable them to pass entrance examinations into private schools.
Much of my teaching in literacy and numeracy, is not directed at exams, but at building secure foundations and an understanding of basic concepts so that children and young people can progress with confidence.
- Do you have a personal message for students?
Dyslexia and dyscalculia are both specific learning difficulties which can affect people irrespective of their general intelligence. In a classroom situation dyslexic children inevitably fall behind or, if very bright, perform adequately but fail to achieve their potential. Dyscalculic students continue to add and subtract by counting forwards or backwards in ones instead of developing other stategies and cannot understand how their classmates can answer mental maths problems so quickly. With one to one tuition, using teaching methods developed by research psychologists, dyslexic pupils can reach a level of literacy that will allow them to be successful in whatever area they choose and dyscalculic pupils can be helped to a pass in GCSE maths which is so essential to get into further education.
On a personal level, my nephew was assessed as dyslexic by a psychologist when he was a child and yet went to Oxford University and gained a 2.1 in maths and my niece, who is also dyslexic, went to Cambridge University and is now a lawyer with a major law firm in London. My youngest son is dyslexic but gained a degree in digital music and now teaches music in a private, bilingual school in Chile and also plays in several bands there and manages his own stilt-walking band!.
- What kind of experience do you have?
I originally taught science and maths in secondary schools and then converted to teaching in primary schools. I taught in both state and independent schools. The last school I taught in (for five years), was Chapter House, Queen Ethelburga's College. I then trained to teach dyslexic pupils individually and in 2004 was awarded British Dyslexia Association Approved Teacher Status.
Since then I have taught numerous pupils on the dyslexia spectrum - some with severe difficulties and some with only minor problems. Frequently I find that pupils that come to me for help, have poor working memory which affects their ability to learn, so I have trained as a Cogmed coach and offer online working memory training.
Increasingly I am teaching children with maths difficulties. Some of these children have the maths problems that often accompany dyslexia; some have maths anxiety which affects their performance and some have quite profound but specific difficulties in maths and a lack of basic understanding of numbers, which may be classed as dyscalculia.
- Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
I have an up to date (July, 2017) Enhanced Disclosure which is available for parents to see.
- Where and with whom did you train?
My dyslexia training was with the Dyslexia Institute which has now merged with Dyslexia Action. My Master of Education degree was with the University of Leeds. I am currently studying for a PGCE in Dyscalculia with Edge Hill University,
- Do you belong to any professional organisations?
I am a member of the Dyslexia Guild and have Approved Teacher Status with the British Dyslexia Association, recently renewed by the submission of a CPD portfolio. I am registered with The British Psychological Society as a Competent Test User: Educational, Ability/Attainment.
- Tell me about some of your current students.
I currently teach some pupils with moderate dyslexia, some who have attention deficit and some who are only mildly dyslexic or have weakish working memories who have been working below their potential and need a bit of extra support to boost their confidence. In the past I have taught children for a couple of hours during the school day, with permission from the school, but I teach most of my pupils after school or on Saturdays and through the holidays.
I currently have one adult pupil and I have taught other adults in the past; in general it becomes more difficult to learn as you get older, so adult pupils are likely to require support over a long period.
I teach maths to quite a few children. Some have maths difficulties connected to dyslexia, some have poor working memories and some have dyscalculia. I work with the dyscalculic pupils to build up the basic concepts of numbers - initially so they can add and subtract numbers and do multiplication tables, thinking in "number chunks", rather than thinking in ones and counting on their fingers.
I have Approved Teacher Status with the British Dyslexia Association, (first obtained 2005, renewed by submission of a Continuing Development Portfolio 2018).
I have just successfully completed a P.G.C.Ed in Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties at Edge Hill University.
Master of Education, University of Leeds (1995).
British Psychological Society Certificate of Competency as a Test User (Education, Ability/Attainment); BPS member since 2013.
Postgraduate Certificate in Dyslexia and Literacy from the Dyslexia Institute at York University (2005).
Diploma in Applied Educational Studies (1990).
Certificate in Early Childhood Education (1984).
Teaching Certificate (Distinction), Eaton Hall College of Education, Retford (1969).
I taught at York College for Girls for ten years; and at Chapter House, Queen Ethelburga's College for five years. I have also taught at other schools in and around York, including: Robert Wilkinson School, Carr Infants School and Escrick County Primary School. I have been a private tutor since 2004.
I have known Diane for over 40 years. Her strengths are that she is patient, caring, very knowledgeable and able to adapt her style of teaching to the individual.
My daughter has dyscalculia and struggles as a result at school. The school system moves too quickly for her and she has been left behind feeling low in her self esteem and confidence. Diane fully understands how Caitlyn learns and has taken her back to basics to put in the foundations that she has not established through school. I stay during the lesson in another room and what I hear is my little girl who cries usually at the thought of Maths, laughing and enjoying learning. Diane is kind in her approach and uses games to help her learn. Progress is slow as my daughters working memory is not good so she forgets what she has learned sometimes but she is definitely making progress. I cannot tell you what a difference Diane makes in a mere paragraph as it is huge. If you are considering tuition for your child definitely choose Diane I cannot recommend her highly enough.
I just want to say that your support for our son over the past two years has done wonders for his personal self esteem, and allaround ability to adjust to a new life here in England. His reading skills are at grade level and he is no longer afraid to read aloud, his writing is legible and he has confidence to try new things that were hard for him two years ago. Thank you for your time, patience, and the creative ways you have taught my son.
I feel extremely lucky to have found Diane Kirk, she was the miracle I was looking for to help my son.
At sixteen my son had a high level of intellect and had successfully completed G.C.S.E.'s with assistance, but he did not have the ability to write, or spell very well.
Diane tailored a programme to suit him perfectly. She was very supportive and kept him interested and focused at all times. I know he could never have achieved the same result without Diane and will be forever grateful.
I cannot recommend Diane Kirk more highly, and will be forever grateful to her for turning my daughter's life around.
We started seeing Diane in January 2012 when my 13 year old daughter presented with a reading and spelling age of under 10 years. My daughter embarked on a specially tailored and intensive programme under the care and expertise of Diane, who gently coaxed, encouraged and supported her. By May, my daughters reading age was 13+.
support for students with a reading disorder lessons closeby? Here's a selection of tutor listings that you can check out.
Superprof can also suggest support for students with dyslexia lessons to help you.
|at her home||at your home||By webcam|
|1 hour||£40||Not available||Not available|