The University of Sheffield SpLD Service
The SpLD support service at the University of Sheffield was developed at the University’s English Language Teaching Centre in the late 1990s. The ELTC offers a Writing Advisory Service, primarily for international students who do not have English as their first language. It was recognised that a growing number of ‘home’ students were being directed to the service for help with their writing. A number of ELTC tutors undertook training in supporting students with Dyslexia and the SpLD Service was born.
Over the following two decades the service has grown significantly, from a few tutorial hours per week to a service with seven trained specialist tutors supporting both home and international students at the University. The staff are highly qualified and dedicated to the students, with diverse specialisms including dyscalculia, meta-cognition, procrastination and EAP and this is reflected in our excellent student feedback. The service remains located within the English Language Teaching Centre in recognition of the common core mission of developing and enhancing students’ academic literacy skills. The team members liaise closely with colleagues in the University’s Dyslexia and Disability Support Service.
In addition to its core teaching activities, the service provides in-house SpLD awareness to university staff and has recently created a suite of open access online SpLD awareness workshops, INK, which is available here
These workshops currently focus on individual SpLDs and will be expanded to include inclusive teaching principles. Finally, the service organises an annual conference, now in its sixth year. These conferences focus on issues around SpLDs including labelling neuromyths, inclusion and SpLDs and STEM subjects. The conferences are an opportunity for Learning and Development specialists to come together to critically reflect on the theory and practice of additional learning support.