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Statement following announcement of second National Lockdown: 1/11/20

Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity logo


As an education charity with a mission to support children and adults with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties, we have a duty to support our beneficiaries when they need us most, at times when they have particularly struggled with disruptions to school and office working practices. Our bid to join the Professional Tutoring Partnership in supporting 4,500 disadvantaged children to catch up with their learning, as part of the government’s National Tutoring Programme, testifies to this commitment.

At the same time, we have a duty of care to all our employees, associates, clients and members of the public, to care for their safety at all times and specifically during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the context of the above, and in light of the government’s latest Covid-19 lockdown information, we have decided that all charitable activity that can reasonably be undertaken online, will be done in that way. This includes Assessments of Need and Workplace Needs Assessments, for Post 16 clients and adults, which will be conducted by video call. All staff that can perform their work from home, will do so.

However, we will offer face to face specialist assessments in those cases where there is currently no other viable alternative, using all safety mitigation measures at our disposal, including pre-assessment health screeners, Perspex screens, sanitised trays for the passing of assessment materials, use of the NHS Track & Trace App, ventilation and regular cleaning. Feedback to parents will be given afterwards by phone or video call.

Our main Dyslexia Centre is in the countryside away from shared spaces, and involves clients passing between the carpark, their allocated assessment room, and then back to the carpark. All our assessment rooms are in outbuildings with their own separate access. Only one person is assessed at a time, and clients do not come into contact with other clients. Face coverings are used when moving around the site.

Our regional hubs (Oxford, Southwark, Salisbury) use facilities that are run by other organisations. We will liaise closely with those organisations to assess the safety of keeping those venues open.

Our staff have been consulted regarding their willingness to conduct assessments, and to keep the Centre open for assessments, with two skeleton bubbles alternating on a weekly basis to ensure adequate cover for the purposes of cleaning and overseeing the safety of our clients and assessors.

We will continue to review the situation in the run-up to the lockdown coming into effect on Thursday 5 November, by which time further clarification of government guidelines will be available. We will also continually review the situation in light of any further government guidelines that may be issued, and particularly with regard to changes in advice regarding educational establishments.

Andy Cook, CEO 1/11/20

Limited office capacity

Please note that our phones are currently manned from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm. We will try our best to answer phones outside these hours. Please also note that at the moment, we are not accepting answerphone messages. 

The best way to get in touch is via email at [email protected] where your query will be directed to the most relevant member of our dedicated team, who will be happy to help. 

Thank you for your understanding.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1064646) A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales company number 3432423.