Our CEO Andy Cook tells us in his regular blog what’s going on at Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity.

CEO’s blog – Our Patron HRH Princess Beatrice hosts a tea party

Our Patron HRH Princess Beatrice hosts a tea party

Wow, what a day we had on Wednesday!  This was the day when our Patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice, hosted a tea party at St James’s Palace for 30 of the closest supporters of Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity.

Our mouths dropped open when we saw the Queen Anne State Room, where this intimate gathering was to take place. The sense of occasion and of history, was overwhelming. We just felt so lucky to be there!

Princess Beatrice opened proceedings by talking about her long association with Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, initially having received help from the charity before then joining officially as Patron. She spoke openly about her own personal experience of dyslexia, and her determination to ‘change the narrative’ so that people with dyslexia are appreciated for all the many attributes they bring to the table.

In addition to having our Patron present, we were also thrilled to be joined by our Vice Patron, Susan Hampshire CBE, whilst also announcing the news that Roger Jefcoate CBE has joined us as Vice Patron too. The event was all the more poignant because our founder Helen was with us in spirit, through the presence of two generations of her family, including son ‘PJ’ and grandson Peter, who continue to be closely involved.

Our next speaker, Jemima, gave an emotional account of her own personal journey with dyslexia, and the part that Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity has played along the way. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Jemima spoke emotionally of all the support she has received from her number one fan, her Mum, who has absolutely believed in her unique abilities every step of the way. The fact Jemima is in the last few weeks of training before she runs the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon for Helen Arkell is just the icing on the cake!

Princess Beatrice made a beeline for Jemima after she’d spoken, to congratulate her and wish her luck. She also circulated through the whole room, taking time to speak with all our guests and hear about their various different connections with this special charity. She heard how Lynn and Christopher from the Aegis Trust had flown in from Switzerland to join our gathering, and how their foundation have particularly supported the charity’s mission to provide bursary-funded help to disadvantaged families from lower-income backgrounds, as well as training teachers. Her Royal Highness also met David, from the Constable Education Trust, who provided bursary funding for low-income families to receive the help they need, and also sponsored two years of rent for the charity’s premises, where lots of the support of children and adults with dyslexia takes place.

Princess Beatrice then met Theo Paphitis, who has set up a Dyslexia Bursary from which training is provided to State School teachers across the UK, delivered by the Helen Arkell team of experts. She wished Theo well when she learned that he’s boosting donations to the Charity by personally challenging himself to do the cross-Pennines walk in May. She also met many others in the room who are likewise putting their bodies on the line by undertaking challenge events for the charity, or who have signed up to be members of the Friends of Helen Arkell club.

As she was about to say her goodbyes, she stopped for a chat with our brilliant volunteers Vickie and Linda, whose contribution involves anything and everything to support the charity, from stuffing envelopes to serving teas and coffees at the charity’s events. This time, however, the roles were reversed and Vickie and Linda were waited on hand and foot alongside all our other guests.

The two hours of the tea party flew by, and then it was time to make our way back through the impressive corridors of St James’s Palace, out through the ancient gates, and capture some last selfies outside before heading home. This event will live in the memories of the Helen Arkell community for a very long time, and reinforces our determination that, between all of us in a big team effort, we will not only help more and more people with dyslexia across the UK in the coming years, but in particular we will help more and more who are from disadvantaged communities and would not otherwise receive the support they need.

Onwards and upwards!


By |2024-04-24T09:30:03+01:00February 19th, 2024|CEO blog, Fundraising news, Latest news|0 Comments

CEO’s blog – Supporting Learners with Dyslexia, and the Theo Paphitis Dyslexia Bursary

Those of you who already subscribe to the Helen Arkell e-newsletter will have seen our latest exciting news. For those of you who don’t, here it is …

On behalf of all of us at Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, I am absolutely thrilled to announce the launch of a new partnership with TV Dragon, Retail Entrepreneur and longstanding dyslexia champion Theo Paphitis and Ryman Retail Limited. Together we will launch the Theo Paphitis Dyslexia Bursary, giving us the opportunity to offer free training to teachers and teaching assistants from state schools around the UK.

Starting with 50 free training spaces, the Theo Paphitis Dyslexia Bursary will enable the state school sector to take part in the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity’s 6-week online ‘Supporting Learners with Dyslexia’ course, free of charge for teachers or teaching assistants.

To apply for a bursary-funded place on this course as part of the Theo Paphitis Dyslexia Bursary, teachers and teaching assistants from state schools are invited to complete a basic application form here.

Other pay-as-you-go places are available on this course for people who do not work in state schools: simply book your place here.

The aim of the Theo Paphitis Dyslexia Bursary is to particularly support state schools where there are young people from low-income families, by giving them access to the expertise and guidance of Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity regarding the best ways to support young people with dyslexia. Theo Paphitis said: “I am delighted to create the Theo Paphitis Dyslexia Bursary, supported by one of our key partners, the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity. Many have a story with dyslexia, either through their own story or someone close to them, and through this Bursary and further work in the dyslexia area we want to make sure that as many stories as possible are positive ones.”

Helen Arkell’s aim is to remove barriers to learning, employment and life for more and more people with dyslexia, regardless of ability to pay, and we are indebted to Theo Paphitis and Ryman for helping us to achieve this.

Applications for the 50 free places on this course will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis.

It is important to stress that this course is also available to people who do not work in state schools, but a charge is made.

The course comprises 18 hours of learning. Participants will be shown lots of useful, tried and tested strategies to enable them to support learners effectively. Recordings will be sent out after each session so that participants can watch afterwards if unable to attend the live session, or if they would like to watch again!

Please do let your networks know about the above opportunities, whether they work in state schools and can apply for a free place, or whether they work in non-state schools, in which case they can book separately.

A huge, huge thank you to Theo Paphitis and Ryman Retail Limited for partnering with Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity on this initiative!

Onwards and upwards

PS If you’d like to subscribe to our e-news so you hear about these sorts of things first, just click here.

*Please note: all 50 Theo Paphitis Dyslexia Bursary places have now been awarded. If you would like to be added to a waiting list, in the event that this opportunity is repeated in the future, simply complete a short application form: Application Form

Non bursary places are still available, but the normal fee will apply. Full details.

By |2024-04-24T09:30:16+01:00December 14th, 2023|CEO blog, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

CEO blog Theo Paphitis, Buckingham Uni, Black Friday … and Teddy Edward is a very appealing bear

There’s lots to tell you this week, so I’ll do it in quick chunks:

  1. This week we were delighted to announce the launch of the Theo Paphitis Dyslexia Bursary in partnership with Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, to provide funding for State School teachers and teaching assistants around the UK to receive free training from our expert team. It’s brilliant that someone like Theo is using his high profile to raise awareness (and funds) to benefit people with dyslexia. Thank you, Theo! We have started working with 50 State School teachers already.
  2. I was delighted to join up with the guys at Surrey Care Trust on Tuesday, together with our Tory, to speak with their team about all things dyslexia. They are doing great things, working with volunteers to equip vulnerable people with the skills and confidence they need to change their lives. Hopefully a bit more knowledge of dyslexia will be of help to them when supporting their people.
  3. On Thursday I had the pleasure of working with the team at the University of Buckingham, where they are already supporting their students brilliantly, and they want to particularly shine the spotlight on dyslexia. Sarah Myhill is the guiding light on this initiative, excellently supported by Roger Jefcoate, who is also a wonderful advocate of our charity.
  4. We haven’t done it before, but this year we’ve entered into the Black Friday spirit, by launching a pre-Christmas sale on online assessments for adults. Since the pandemic, there have been many changes in the dyslexia field, one of which has been to enable certain assessments to be undertaken online with the same validity as those conducted in-person. We have a brilliant team of online assessors, ready and waiting to help adults with dyslexia in this way (as well as students attending FE/University). Sometimes we assume in-person is always best in life, but in our experience these online assessments can be brilliant, provided the individual’s circumstances are conducive (and they have access to a device, and internet).
  5. This year we have provided support to more people with dyslexia than ever before, but there’s so much more we want to do, simply because we are inundated with requests for help. For that reason, we have launched our Christmas Appeal this week. Any contribution, large or small, would be greatly appreciated. You can donate here, if you’d like to be part of our drive to help more people. Thank you so much!
  6. Talking of appeals, we count ourselves as very lucky to have a very appealing little bear in our team. Teddy Edward particularly proved his worth this week, standing in for our Julie when she was under the weather on Wednesday. Profuse apologies if you got licked all over when you just came in to speak to us – rest assured he does that to everybody and it wasn’t just you. He manned the phones in his own way, but we can’t share photos as he was only wearing socks and a T-Shirt at the time (normal rules don’t apply to bears apparently).

Thank you for everything you do for this charity!


By |2024-04-24T09:30:22+01:00November 30th, 2023|CEO blog, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

CEO blog – A plea from me

When I look back over recent years at Helen Arkell, I can see lots of areas where we’ve made progress. We’re helping many more people with dyslexia than we used to. We’re reaching people from a much wider geographical area. We’re helping lots more people from lower-income backgrounds with bursary-funded support. We’re training more teachers in how to support children with dyslexia in the classroom, and workplaces in how to support their dyslexic employees.

But there’s still something that we continue to be pretty rubbish at. And this is a plea from me, to do something about it, between us as a team. Because if we make progress in this area, we will really make a step-change regarding the numbers of people with dyslexia we can help with every year that goes by, long into the future.

So, let’s talk about gifts in Wills.

Other charities attract many generous benefactors who leave gifts in their Wills to ensure charitable activity can continue long after they’re gone, leaving a lasting legacy. For many charities this enables them to double the number of people they can help. But for us, this remains an area of relative weakness.

Don’t get me wrong, we are starting to see growing numbers of the Helen Arkell community start to write the Charity into their Wills in some way, shape or form, large or small. (Only last month, another person informed me that they had done so, which is what prompted me to write this). While that is absolutely brilliant (and these people are heroes, who will ensure that future generations continue to be helped by this charity) I would dearly love to persuade each and every person in the Helen Arkell community to at least consider updating their Will, and to consider making a gift to this charity, however small.

It doesn’t matter whether you have personal experience of dyslexia or not, or if you’ve been a teacher and want to give back to the dyslexic community, or indeed if you just happen to know someone whose life has been touched by this charity – any contribution would make a huge difference.

I would be immensely grateful if you would read the attached, and take action if you feel moved to do so. I have already written the charity into my Will. Mrs F from Northumberland wrote the charity into her Will too, and we received a gift of £5,000 to help us fulfil our mission.

As you will see from the attached information, it’s not a question of choosing between family and charity – it’s just seeing if you could spare a little gift after you’ve made provision for your nearest and dearest.

And leaving gifts to charities in Wills can bring tax benefits too.

Thank you for listening, and thank you for anything you can do to help!


Andy Cook
Chief Executive

PS  As someone who makes a pledge to Helen Arkell in your Will, you will be invited to our events, so you feel in touch with our innermost plans and activities. Please do let us know if you decide to act on the attached information, so we can be sure to include you. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine too.

By |2024-04-24T09:30:31+01:00November 3rd, 2023|CEO blog, Fundraising news, Latest news|0 Comments

Happy Birthday, Helen!

Seventeenth August 1920 was the day our founder Helen Arkell was born. So, it seems a fitting time to remember her, and all the amazing things she achieved during her life.

Born in Holland, Helen’s father Emil Huitfeldt was in the Norwegian diplomatic service and her English mother, Dorothy Latham, was born and bred in Frensham, Surrey. Helen’s childhood involved frequent moves, which led to her speaking five different languages.

Helen lived a full and inspirational life, as a pioneer in the world of dyslexia, pushing back boundaries of knowledge. Passionate about championing the special abilities of people with dyslexia, Helen earned a worldwide reputation and was awarded an MBE in 1999 for her services to people with dyslexia. In 2003 Helen was honoured as a ‘Pioneer to the Life of the Nation’ at a Buckingham Palace reception, where other guests included Nelson Mandela.

Dyslexic herself, Helen said this about her own childhood education experiences:

‘All the time I was terribly aware of my own inadequacy. When you’re with a group of people who can do things without too much difficulty and you just can’t, the inevitable conclusion is that you’re ‘thick’. And when you think you’re stupid it not only affects your school life, your confidence gets a big knock. Since I’ve come to understand dyslexia I’ve felt much the most important thing is not the reading or spelling but the knock to the confidence.’

On the other side of the coin, Helen also exhibited many of the amazing strengths that frequently accompany the dyslexic way of approaching life, including heightened creativity, the ability to think ‘outside of the box’, and a strong sense of grit and determination. She had a real entrepreneurial spirit, so typical of many people with dyslexia.

Helen became an inspirational figure for many who felt the benefit of her support, advice and expertise. Children who were chronically dyslexic but successful in adulthood give her the credit for changing their lives.

Helen spent many years battling to ensure that dyslexia was taken seriously, by the education authorities in particular and by the public in general. She rubbed shoulders with the leading influencers in the field of education at that time, as well as forging links with organisations such as Great Ormond Street. Helen also worked closely with offenders at a detention centre in Woking, where she quickly understood that people with low literacy skills are particularly at risk of ending up in prison. She really was ahead of her time. Her influence was all the stronger because of her infectious laugh, twinkling eyes and wicked sense of humour.

In 1971 Helen joined forces with Joy Pollock and Elisabeth Waller to set up the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, initially in Parsons Green, London, then subsequently in 1987 in Frensham.

The charity’s mission is the same today as it was in 1971 under Helen’s leadership: to remove barriers to learning, employment and life for people with dyslexia by providing expert, personal and life-changing support.

So, as we say Happy Birthday Helen, with fond memories, we also renew our determination to drive her charity forward in the same way that we know she would have wanted. We hope she is proud of the fact that so far this year we’ve managed to:

  • provide bursary-funded support to 460 people from lower-income backgrounds (at an average cost of £524 each).
  • provide 1:1 assessments to 1,200 people who have (or think they may have) dyslexia.
  • provide over 3,000 hours of 1:1 specialist teaching/coaching to children and adults with dyslexia (which was an area of particular interest for Helen).
  • train over 100 teachers, teaching assistants and other interested parties in how to better support children with dyslexia in the classroom.
  • give helpful hints and tips to more parents of dyslexic children, and employers of dyslexic staff than I can possibly mention.

Thank you for all your support in helping to make this possible, keeping Helen’s legacy alive today, through this charity that bears her name.

If you would like to make a donation, however small, this would be a good place to do it!

Happy Birthday, Helen!!


By |2024-04-24T09:32:53+01:00August 17th, 2023|CEO blog, Latest news|0 Comments

Between us we get the job done

It’s been a while since I jotted down a blog. Not for lack of things to say. Quite the opposite, actually. There’s just been so much going on, where do you start?

So maybe best just to focus on things that have taken place this week, and hope that somehow you’ve heard about the rest of the stuff from other sources, or maybe even from our own social media.

(On that note, I’ve reawakened my commitment to dip into LinkedIn more frequently, following our recent session with social media guru Fiona Service from Litus Digital. Are you on LinkedIn? If so, will you be my friend please?!).

This week our team have been as busy as ever, despite the holiday season, with a flurry of 1:1 assessments taking place around the country, and also online. In addition to assessments, our Farnham premises have also hosted 1:1 specialist teaching sessions with experts Ginny and Sally. Meanwhile, Claire has provided consultations over the phone to various parents who need some advice regarding the next step to take for their children.

Big news is the fact that our external Quality Assurance verifier has completed her evaluation of the coursework of our 55 candidates who have done their Level 5 and Level 7 Diplomas with us throughout the year. They (and we!) will all be waiting with bated breath to hear how they did, so there’ll be more news on that next week.

We all know that times are financially tough in the country at the moment, so we’re pleased to ‘do our bit’ by helping as many people as possible who are from lower-income backgrounds or struggling financially. So far this year we’ve already helped 450 people in this way, with the equivalent of over £230,000 of bursary-funded dyslexia support. A massive Thank You to all our brilliant donors for making it possible for us to do this, with donations big and small, transforming the lives of children and adults with dyslexia.

Of course, the main thing is to put everyone’s donations to good use, fulfilling our mission to remove barriers to learning, employment and life for people with dyslexia. So, I’ll finish with this note that came in this week from the parents of 15-year-old V:

‘We are sincerely grateful to Helen Arkell for your commitment to ensuring a thorough evaluation, as it has allowed us to take the necessary steps to support V.

Understanding his challenges and strengths through your assessment has been a turning point for our family. It has helped us comprehend his learning needs better and alleviated any feelings of guilt or uncertainty we may have had along the way. Once again, thank you for your invaluable contribution, and we truly appreciate all the effort and care Helen Arkell has put into this assessment, positively impacting V’s future.’

Thank you for playing your part in this big team effort!


By |2024-04-24T09:32:56+01:00August 4th, 2023|CEO blog, Latest news|0 Comments

Some people are just brilliant, aren’t they?

Why would anyone want to run non-stop for 26.2 miles, when they don’t necessarily even enjoy running? Which probably means somewhere between three and a half hours, to five and a half hours of very painful activity?

More than that. Why would anyone put themselves through several months of relentless training in order to manage the above in one piece? It probably means they’ve had to run on cold, dark winter’s evenings after work. Or icy winter mornings. And if you only run on nice, dry days, you probably won’t do many runs … so out you go (again) for another 2 or 3 hour run in the rain, when everything chafes twice as much as it normally would.

Why on earth would anybody do that?!

Probably the best people to answer that question are David, Debbie, Eskil, Justin, Sam and Steve, who are doing it on Sunday.

These intrepid heroes are the Helen Arkell team in this year’s London Marathon. You can read their stories by clicking on their names above, and this will give you an insight into their own individual, personal reasons for putting their bodies on the line in this way.

A common theme is that they have a determination to help us fulfil our mission to transform the lives of children and adults with dyslexia. That’s why they’re doing it.

So, please join me in saying a massive thank you to all our team, for going above and beyond for the cause of dyslexia, and for really making a difference in the world.

Think of them on Sunday morning, as they negotiate one of the greatest challenges there is. Please send them lots of positive vibes, to help get them safely to the finish line, where our Hazel and Helen will be waiting for them.

Above all, please contribute a little something to their fundraising pages, because raising sponsorship is actually just as hard and painful as the running itself.

Good luck David, Debbie, Eskil, Justin, Sam and Steve! You are all absolute heroes!!

Good luck!


PS If you feel inspired by the efforts of our London Marathon runners and want to ‘do your bit for dyslexia’ too, there are various options available to you, including the Royal Parks Half Marathon on 8 October, or Teddy Arkell’s slightly more gentle Big Walk for Dyslexia on 21 May.

By |2024-04-24T09:33:22+01:00April 21st, 2023|CEO blog, Fundraising news, Latest news|0 Comments

Holidays…what holidays?

Sometimes people assume we’ll be shut during school holidays, because they see us as being something like a school, but I can assure you that’s not the case. As a charity, we’re here to help people all year round. Often people grab the opportunity during the school holidays to seek out some extra help for their children, or indeed for themselves (we help people of all ages).

So you might be surprised to hear that we’ve been manic busy this week, and will be the same next week too.

All week Giulia has been running Touch Typing courses for children, with 3 courses taking place every day, in our own hall on the 1st floor of our home in Farnham. (If you will use technology to the max in your life, which our guys will, then it’s good to learn to type properly at an early age).

Meanwhile, on the top floor, our 4 consultation rooms have been in constant use all week, for a mix of 1 to 1 assessments, and 1 to 1 specialist tuition and coaching. Normally our specialist teachers tend to work with clients after school or at the weekend, but during the Easter holidays we’ve been offering daytime slots for specialist personalised learning sessions. Ginny, Ceri and Sally have been so busy they’ve hardly drawn breath, with new clients arriving every hour, or every half-hour, for their next session.

Talking of which, the little chap who Ceri has just been working with asked his mum if he could stay and do some more learning with Ceri, even though his time was up. “It’s been brilliant!”, he said, “I’ve really enjoyed myself!”. As they went down the stairs I could hear his mum reply “That’s amazing! You’ve done really well. If only you always enjoyed learning so much.” The thing is, after spending a few sessions with our specialist teachers, we hope that our clients will feel inspired with a new approach to learning, that will spill over into all aspects of their lives, including the classroom. And these are generally individuals who came to us for help because they hated learning, had given up trying and thought they were stupid with no hope.

You can tell we’ve been busy, and also that our clients have been mad-keen to enter into our special world here in 24 West Street, by the fact that the doorbell’s been ringing so frequently and so enthusiastically all week that it broke yesterday. It didn’t break in a subtle ‘silently-not-working’ sort of a way, but rather in an irritating ‘I’m-going-to-get-stuck-and-ring-constantly’ sort of a way. As ever, Julie sorted it out. (She also sorted the boiler, and the sticking window).

Of course, our work doesn’t all happen just here in Farnham. All around the country, all week, clients have received help from our dyslexia specialists in various regional venues across the UK, as well as online video calls. They’ve been busy with consultations for parents, tuition and assessments of all different types. We’ve just started using a second venue in London, which will be exciting. More on that in due course.

Meanwhile we’re on a mission to reach out to more adults too. Dyslexia doesn’t go away just because you get older. There are huge numbers of adults with dyslexia who have never received any help, and many come to us because they are struggling.

Our other big mission is to help more people with dyslexia from lower-income backgrounds, and who are not coping in this cost-of-living crisis. Over the past 7 months we’ve already signed-off bursary funded support to 283 individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get the life-changing help they so desperately needed. On average each of those individuals has received £596 of support. So, on the plus side, it’s good that, thanks to the generosity of our amazing donors, we’re able to help more people. But on the less positive side, it’s a sign of the times that we are receiving more pleas for help than ever.

Of course, we couldn’t do our work without you. Our supporters are second-to-none, and a growing number are becoming Friends of Helen Arkell, or signing-up to run half marathons or organise bake sales etc.

This Easter, if you fancy joining our big team effort and helping us to change the lives of more people with dyslexia, just let us know.

Happy Easter everyone!


By |2024-04-24T09:33:26+01:00April 6th, 2023|CEO blog, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

The trouble with leaving it, is it becomes a nightmare …

One minute I’m busy going about my business, the next I look up and see that well over a month’s gone by since I last wrote a blog. How bad is that?! The trouble with leaving it so long, is that there’s then too much to tell you, I can’t fit it all in, and it becomes a nightmare …

So in this blog, there’s no time to tell you about the cheque presentation of £1,000 from 11-year-old Charlie with his specially painted hen that he sold as part of the Haslemere Hens fundraiser (what an amazing donation!).

Nor can I mention our participation in Farnham’s Literary Festival, as we flung our doors open to the public, to hear our Claire speak about supporting children with dyslexia.

Any passing allusion to our recent Spotlight Session about the EHCP process, given by Rachael Allison, is going to have to be given a miss.

Likewise, our appearances at More House School Open Day, the community event at The Shed, Bordon, and Frensham Village Lunch (including over £200 taken in raffle ticket sales) will have to be left out.

Even a passing mention of our dyslexia training sessions with the General Medical Council and Lily’s Kitchen (part of Nestlé Purina) are going to have to be left on the editor’s cutting room floor.

I’m completely gutted that I won’t be able to tell you about Rachael and Katherine’s trip down to visit our friends at Bristol Dyslexia Centre, who are doing great work. (We meet up from time to time to compare notes, and see if there are ways we can work together. Such a shame that I can’t mention it).

So, the only thing there’s room for, is a quick bit about last weekend’s Dyslexia Show, which is the brainchild of Arran Smith, famous advocate of all things dyslexia and wearer of outrageous shirts.

It was an early start, I’m not going to lie. The alarm went off at 4am, I think. Luckily the car was packed already and ready-to-go, despite there having been an evening Trustees meeting on the night before, followed by a bridge lesson back at our house that finished later than any of us can remember.

Having arrived safely at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham at 7.30am, set up the stand by 8.30am and been joined by grown-ups Rachael and Claire (my senior management team), we were all set to welcome the public at 9.30am which is when the Dyslexia Show officially opened. And boy were we busy! A constant stream of interested parties queued up to talk about their experiences of dyslexia in the family, or in their workplace, and were keen to find out how they could be supported by Helen Arkell.  Lots of teachers and teaching assistants joined us to find out what training they could receive from us, or to re-engage with us having trained with Helen Arkell in the past.

At the end of the day, Rachael and Claire headed back down the motorway to Oxford and Farnham respectively, leaving me to attend the evening events that brought together all the stand-holders. It was good to catch up with all my colleagues in the field – there’s a real sense that we all work together as best we can, with the common aim of helping more people with dyslexia.

The following morning brought big excitement – not just because our Katherine had arrived (it was just the two of us on the stand this time) but also because there was some sort of Comic Book/Super Hero event going on in the next-door hall, which meant there were hundreds of punters in fancy dress. I’ve never seen so many Batmen and Wonder Women, let alone queued up behind them at Costa. A Dalek very politely let me go ahead of him (her?), as they were torn between a latte or a flat white. (Daleks are notoriously indecisive when it comes to coffee. I think it’s because we tend to have more choices than they’re used to).

Meanwhile, back on our stand, we sold out of nearly all our dyslexia resources. By the time we came home, we had sold nearly £2,000 of stock, most of which cost about £5, so you can tell how busy it was.

Of course, the main thing about shows like this, is to raise awareness of dyslexia in general, and to connect with people, making them aware of the services that we could provide to them. Needless to say, we came home with a long list of contacts to follow-up on, which will be brilliant if they come to fruition.

Big thanks to Arran and his team for organising this event. Let’s do it all again next year!


By |2024-04-24T09:33:27+01:00March 31st, 2023|CEO blog, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

Farewell Sir Jim

It is with heavy heart that I pass on the sad news of the passing of Sir Jim Rose CBE. This comes as a great blow to the whole dyslexia world, which loses one of its most pioneering, respected and popular figureheads.

Jim’s renowned ‘Rose Report’ of 2006 led to important changes to the way reading was taught in schools, and his definition of dyslexia has been instrumental in enabling countless thousands of children and adults with dyslexia to access the help they need.

Some people leave a lasting mark in their lives, which continues for generations and generations to come, and Jim is one of those people. His dedication in the field of specific learning difficulties was second to none, and so trusted was he by the authorities, that the government of 2009 committed £10 million to the training of 4,000 specialist dyslexia teachers, on the back of one of Jim’s many independent reviews.

Above all, Jim was a lovely, helpful man. A real gentleman. He was a great friend to Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, as he lived just down the road.

He had already worked closely with several of my predecessors before I joined the charity in 2017. At that time, Jim was chair of the Dyslexia/SpLD Trust, so I had the honour to meet him on several occasions, as I attended on behalf of Helen Arkell. He had a great sense of humour and bottomless patience when explaining the issues surrounding the subject of dyslexia to me as a new boy in the field. He sent me countless links to research papers and articles, to help me settle in, and I was so grateful for that.

The last time I saw Jim was just before Christmas, at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dyslexia and Other Specific Learning Difficulties. Sadly, this was again on Zoom, which did not give the opportunity for a cup of tea and a catch-up, but he was clearly still deeply committed to the cause of education in general, and dyslexia in particular, right up to the end.

Jim, you will be sorely missed by the whole dyslexia world and by the whole Helen Arkell community. We will do our best to carry on where you left off, and to show the same passion and commitment as you did. You left the world in a much better place for people with dyslexia than when you joined it, and you should be extremely proud of everything you achieved.

Our thoughts, best wishes, and most sincere condolences are with all your family.


PS A note from Bernadette McLean, former Principal at Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity:

Jim Rose’s passing is a sad loss, not just for his family and friends, but for all who knew him in the world of dyslexia.

His professional accomplishments were many and his influence on policy was instrumental in achieving extra support for pupils and their families.

First and foremost, Jim was an educator embodying all the aspects of good teaching, particularly patience and observation of what works and what doesn’t. These qualities were not confined to the classroom but to the whole of his professional life and these attributes ensured that he and HADC founder, Helen Arkell were kindred spirits.

Retirement did not slow him down. He was busier than ever and involved in a multitude of educational projects. After he suffered a serious car accident some years ago, we shared car journeys to many venues. On these I came to learn of the many interests Jim had well beyond the teaching of literacy; his passions included poetry, music and gardening.

Jim and his late wife, Pauline had moved to Surrey to be closer to their grandchildren who remained an important part of his life. He encouraged his family to call his grandson Ben, a phonic regular word, easy to learn. Always the teacher!

His words and wisdom will endure but he will be missed.

Bernadette McLean

PPS, from Dr Geraldine Price, Trustee of Helen Arkell

Sir Jim Rose: friend and inspiration

Sir Jim Rose was a champion for dyslexia and reading. He was a former head teacher so knew the education system from all levels, warts and all. He was passionate about providing the best and most appropriate education for ALL children. His depth of knowledge and understanding of SEN insured that his voice was heard. He was influential and people in power listened to his words of wisdom. I was privileged to work with Jim when asked to join the government-commissioned committee which looked into the identification and teaching of young people with dyslexia and literacy difficulties. The outcome of this is known as the Rose Report. The committee consisted of different professionals involved in this educational field: all with differing views and different research bases. It is to Jim’s credit and expertise that some consensus was achieved. Indeed, the definition of dyslexia is used widely in schools today as a benchmark in the identification process.

Jim was always down-to-earth and asked incisive questions when the debates within the committee were intense. He made us all sit up and reconsider our ideas. Thus, he helped professionals to look at things differently. He guided us to take practical solutions which were all adopted by the government. He achieved this with his sense of humour and kindness.

He worked tirelessly with many dyslexia charities and educational associations. He was generous with his time with Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity. He will be sorely missed.

Geraldine Price

By |2024-04-24T09:33:57+01:00February 1st, 2023|CEO blog, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments


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