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  • Read&Write

About Sheffield College

Sheffield College is at an exciting stage with a thriving student population of 17,000 students, a strong and growing business portfolio and a stunning new city campus.Their values of achieving excellence, promoting inclusiveness, great relationships, innovating and being a great place to work and learn, all support the  core value to be learner driven, which is at the heart of everything they do at Sheffield College.

The Challenge

Mark Hurdus, SEND SpLd Specialist Tutor explains the challenges that the College faced initially “The main reason we purchased Read&Write was due to exam arrangements. We have over 1000 arrangements to do each year and a high proportion of our students need a reader in exams. Read&Write saves on staffing costs associated with the provision of human readers, therefore easing the situation in exams for us. The students get to use Read&Write in lessons as a normal way of working and it also provides them with more control over their learning.”
The College also had an older version of Read&Write that didn’t work on every machine, so it made sense to upgrade to a current site licence of the software for use throughout the College. 

Sheffield College eases exam stress with Read&Write software

Sheffield College eases exam stress with Read&Write software


Mark discusses the implementation of Read&Write, “It has taken time to get the software implemented, tested and to get staff and students trained in its use (this is still in progress!). We have 1200 staff members, so it has been quite a task to get this implemented but we do see the amazing benefits that it can bring throughout the College. Read&Write is being used with a variety of students. We get a significant referral for dyslexia and we are also using it with staff in lessons. It’s becoming a software that can be used all the time.

Favourite Features

Mark outlines what students and staff find most beneficial about Read&Write, “It is easy to use. The fact that it is a floating toolbar that can be docked on the desktop makes it discreet and can integrate with other documents students are working on.  The Fact Mapper is useful to visually plan out students work.”

“The best feature of the program is study skills. Students can collect highlights for their research and generate a bibliography, which is so useful and saves a lot of time.”

“Visual stress is a huge problem for students and Read&Write’s screen masking feature provides visual overlays  for onscreen text, again, saving the College time and money in providing this when it is a built-in part of the software. The features in the software are amazing for dyslexic and non-dyslexic students alike. You can create Word and audio files, dictionary definitions can be read back to you, the picture dictionary provides visual clues rather than text and so on. Staff were also very positive about Read&Write as it can be used as a tool in their lessons. We are changing the whole culture within the College.”

Texthelp has been helping us to promote the use of Read&Write by sending some promotional items to us. We’ve also been given useful links to downloadable booklets that we can send to staff and the online tutorial videos offer great support allowing us to access them anytime we want.

Mark concludes “I would recommend Read&Write to other colleges as although there are other versions and similar types of software, they are nowhere near as good. No other software can be used in exams in this way. Read&Write is comprehensive and is recognised by Universities as a suitable supportive software for DSA students. Overall it will have a huge impact on our students and have a beneficial effect on staff. It’s used as a central resource to make exams less stressful and pressured for everyone involved.”