Innovative Anglia Ruskin Knowledge transfer partnership wins a second award

Published: 18 June 2009 at 14:40

Psychologists and educationalists team up to bring about positive change for people with dyslexia

The first ever winners of The Impact Awards, organised by Unico, the UK’s leading knowledge transfer membership association, were announced last week at a glittering award ceremony, on 11 June 2009. The national UNICO Impact Awards recognise and celebrate the process of transferring knowledge and expertise from the research base of higher education and the public sector for the wider benefit of society and the economy. 

Awards were won for a series of novel innovations in three award categories: Business Impact, Environmental Impact and Public Policy and Service Impact. Award winners include a software project that is now installed onto 20 million computers worldwide, a new low-energy processing technology that has realised wider unexpected environmental benefit; a tool to convert complex educational psychologists reports into easy-to-interpret ‘Learning Needs Profiles’ and an initiative to improve health and reduce health inequalities.

Joint winner of the Public Policy and Service Impact Award, sponsored by Research Councils UK, was the groundbreaking Learning Needs Profiler (LNP) programme developed in Cambridge which helps teachers understand the specific learning needs of dyslexic children. The Learning Needs Profiler has been developed through close collaboration between Professor Eamon Strain, head of the Psychology Department at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and Dr Daniel Sturdy, director of Sancton Wood School. Sancton Wood School, an independent school for 190 pupils aged three to 16, has a sister school, Holme Court, 20 miles away in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, teaching up to 40 dyslexic children. The learning needs software package the team have developed could revolutionise the way young people with reading difficulties are taught. And with conservative estimates suggesting that one in ten of the population has some form of dyslexia the potential for the product is vast.

A key role in developing the project has been played by Angela Barry, researcher at Anglia Ruskin University, who has been seconded to the project for two years to help to bring it to fruition. The LNP seeks to overcome the 'one size fits all' approach to the teaching of dyslexic pupils by more accurately identifying the strengths and weaknesses of individual children, making teaching easier and better directed.

Angela Barry said:

“We passionately believe that this software could have a far reaching effect on the lives of many young people. Effectively, teachers face two problems in tailoring teaching methods to individual children. Firstly, a diagnosis of dyslexia is so broad it does not clearly identify the specific problems encountered by an individual child. Secondly, having identified the specific problems, it is very difficult for teachers to obtain clear evidence concerning the effectiveness of the many available intervention treatments. Our product solves both of these problems, by providing a means of converting the complex information contained in an educational Psychologist's report into an easy-to-interpret learning support profile.”

Speaking of the award winners, Chair of Unico, Professor David Secher said,

“These awards celebrate the success of knowledge transfer and exemplify ground-breaking innovations being driven by knowledge transfer. These projects have the capacity to make a real difference.”

He continued,

“In this time of recession it is particularly important that we celebrate the achievements of successes such as these.”

The pioneering Learning Needs Profiler also earned Sancton Wood School and Anglia Ruskin University a prestigious Lord Stafford Award for ‘Impact through Innovation’ in March, and was one of the shortlisted finalists in the Times Educational Supplement’s annual School Awards in the ‘Outstanding Special Needs Initiative’ category.

Winners of The Impact Awards were announced at the Unico Conference Gala Dinner, Brighton Racecourse, on 11 June 2009.

For more information on The Impact Awards visit, or email, or call 01223 422085.