Pupils given royal praise

TWO Godmanchester children have each received a special letter from the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, congratulating them on their schoolwork. Daisy Jacobsen, 11, and nine-year-old Gordon King are pupils at St Anne s Church of England Primary School an

TWO Godmanchester children have each received a special letter from the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, congratulating them on their schoolwork.

Daisy Jacobsen, 11, and nine-year-old Gordon King are pupils at St Anne's Church of England Primary School and are both dyslexic.

However, thanks to the school's special tutoring programme, the youngsters are able to write imaginative stories, and it was their creative efforts that caught the duchess's eye.

Gordon created a story about a Scottish talking bird, and Daisy wrote about an artist.


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In a letter to Daisy, the duchess wrote: "Last year you tried very hard, using great concentration and now you are producing tremendously imaginative work."

And to Gordon she wrote: "You have tried really hard and put huge energy into your work," adding that she had also heard he is a good artist and may decide to be a writer and artist when he grows up.

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The Duchess of York is patron of Springboard for Children, a charity which devised a teaching programme to help dyslexic youngsters with their literacy skills. The programme was introduced three years ago at St Anne's by headteacher Anthea Kenna, and has been a great success.

Mrs Kenna said: "The Springboard programme has had an enormous impact on our pupils' progress and their self-esteem."

As patron of the charity, and a mother whose daughter, Beatrice, 18, has dyslexia, the duchess often writes to children who she thinks have done exceptionally well. On this occasion she also sent Daisy and Gordon a signed copy of her new book, Little Red's Summer Adventure.

The duchess said: "When I first discovered that Beatrice was dyslexic she was only seven, but with expert help she has done well. At least 20 per cent of children in this country suffer from a specific learning difficulty.

"Being able to use language properly, to read and write, to speak fluently and to argue without losing your temper is a fundamental right for everyone and vital to success in whatever they do. I hope Daisy and Gorden enjoy my book. It's about a doll called Little Red. I use that name because I am very tall and red-haired and my nickname is Big Red."

The children's specialist tutor at St Anne's, Kate Hadley, said: "I often come across people who say 'I don't believe in dyslexia', which is unhelpful since it is on the statute book. Specific learning difficulties are recognised by the Department of Education and there are teaching methods designed to help and, in many cases, pretty well sort them out.

"All children with problems like this have a right to help."

INFORMATION: To find out more about Springboard for Children visit www.springboard.org.uk

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