Reading Time: 5 minutes

Every school has the desire to help each pupil reach their full potential. EdTech has its place to support this ambition by providing the tools to meet the challenges that every classroom faces – the need for differentiated instruction; the support of additional learning needs and the capability to stretch and challenge those high achievers. All whilst promoting digital skills, encouraging independence and building confidence.

All this, whilst ensuring they meet KHDA rankings for attainment, satisfying parents demands for progress and providing support for students’ individual needs to ensure progression, literacy development and language learning. Schools now, more than ever, need the tools and the strategies to meet these challenges.

We can take a look at how a local School tackled some of these demands by incorporating edtech software Read&Write from Texthelp Ltd.  Located in the vibrant United Arab Emirates capital, The Winchester School – Jebel Ali is one of Dubai’s most respected and sought-after private schools.

Established in 2003, it’s a leading destination for quality education for families in the UAE and beyond. The Winchester School is also part of GEMS Education (Global Education Management Systems) – the world’s largest operator of K-12 schools with a network of over 70 establishments.

As a Microsoft Showcase School, it’s part of a global community of schools engaged in digital transformation to improve teaching and learning, creating immersive experiences through technology to inspire lifelong learning and stimulate the development of essential life skills.

Embracing every student’s needs

Numbering over 3,000, The Winchester School’s roll includes more than a hundred students identified as having a range of special educational needs. These range from physical disabilities to dyslexia, autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

To help these students with a wide range of everyday literacy challenges, the introduction of Texthelp’s Read&Write software has been overseen by Pallavi Mallick, Head of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  An experienced SENCO and trainer, Pallavi specialises in the design of individualised education plans (IEPs) to ensure that the full potential of every student is realised.

Reinforcing the school’s excellent reputation for supporting students with additional learning support needs, Pallavi recommended implementing Read&Write at Jebel Ali after encountering it at other schools in the GEMS Education network.

Read&Write was developed by Texthelp to provide the necessary tools for all students to support their reading, writing, vocabulary, comprehension and language development skills regardless of ability. The software has features such as text to speech, multiple language support, picture dictionary, spell check and prediction  to build confidence and fluency in students.

Virtually all the Winchester School’s primary teachers have already been trained to use Read&Write with their students. Pallavi hopes that this training will soon be extended to benefit all pupils up to the age of 16.

“Read&Write works really well for our students”, notes Pallavi. “We’ve already got it installed on virtually all of our classroom laptops. And our site-wide license also allows our pupils to have it on their own computers, helping them with homework and independent study.”

Inspiring teachers and students

Pallavi details how Read&Write has quickly found favour with students and staff alike:

“The software’s reading aloud feature is really popular with many students who have dyslexia – and it can even read PDF files, too. A lot of our teachers also love Read&Write’s vocabulary feature. It’s great for suggesting a richer choice of words for students to use in their written work.”

Staff at The Winchester School have quickly embraced Read&Write with enthusiasm as an invaluable teaching tool:

“I love Read&Write”, says Teresa: “It’s got really useful features – it’s extremely helpful to both students and teachers.” “It’s a wonderful app”, adds Shafee. “It’s very user-friendly and student oriented. I love it!” “Read&Write is a must-use”, notes Tehreem. “And it’s definitely appropriate for all lessons.”

“Read&Write helps us instill confidence in students to attempt regular tasks involving reading or writing that they would otherwise find challenging” confirms Sripadmini, Learning Support teacher.

As a leader in digital transformation, the Winchester School actively uses Assistive Technology to support each student’s personal learning journey. Available in classrooms throughout the school, Read&Write enriches teaching and learning for every student who needs discreet, friendly support with day-to-day literacy tasks.

Pratyush is a student at the Winchester School who has special needs and he really enjoys the support that Read&Write gives him. “It helps me find words – I can hear the sound of the word. And I like doing my work with Read&Write as I can insert pictures from the internet.” Pratyush’s enthusiasm is echoed by his parent: “It has helped me to help my son with his reading and writing. He loves work on the computer that way – he’s having fun and learning at the same time. When he forms a sentence, the computer reads it for him, and he’s able to understand if he has used the correct words.”

By using ‘ICT’ and in particular literacy software such as Read&Write, students and teachers are provided with the tools to address and improve language skills independently and create an inclusive, supportive learning environment for all. It’s not just for students with EAL (English as an Additional Language) or those with specific needs – it’s about empowering every student to reach their full potential.

Read&Write software is seen as a partner in the classroom, helping with the preparation of support materials, wordlists, vocabulary, use of images and translation support. This support is invaluable to busy teachers trying to provide personalised learning for all.

Parental engagement

The GEMS Cambridge International School in Dubai have also provided Read&Write to support their students development and parents have noticed the difference in their children’s development:

 “We have noticed that our daughter’s reading skills have been improved. There is a lot of improvement in her creating writing skills too. She includes more variety of words and increases her vocabulary skills.” Joyce Rodriguez  (Mother of Yr.9/3)

It helps my son to learn new words and assists him to understand his mistakes and to correct them.” Alifa (mother of year 11 boy)

This program helps my daughter to research  new words and guides her with spelling too as this is an area of weakness for her. This enhances Vishali’s creative writing skills as she can find different word instead of overusing the same and she is able to work independently.” Sivadass (father of year 10 girl)

Academic success is important for any educational institution, but the main goal is to see the difference that EdTech tools such as Read&Write can bring to every student in your classroom regardless of ability or need. For them to make progress in individual literacy and learning is one step forward but to achieve confidence and independence over their own learning is the ultimate win for student, teacher and parent.


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