By Sally McKeown
Nessy screenNessy: tried and tested approachA program designed to support pupils with dyslexia scooped an Education Resources Award last week. Nessy Learning Programme Deluxe, from Net Educational Systems, won the Special Needs (including ICT) category,

Trialled by the Bristol Dyslexia Centre, Nessy is a complete literacy scheme which uses a multi-sensory approach to develop and improve a pupil’s knowledge of letters, sounds and blends. Pupils move from one island to another in the Land of Ness, building their skills step by step. The games format and animation motivate pupils but underneath is a tried and tested approach which shows, teaches and tests.

The award winners (see below) were announced at a gala dinner organised by BESA and Affinity Media to coincide with the Education Show at the NEC in Birmingham. The judges welcomed the “pupil-friendly analytical tool, enabling pupils to self-diagnose and address specific learning needs”. Nessy encourages independence by offering ‘games reports’ where pupils monitor their own progress. There are also mnemonics and rules to help them deal with words which are tricky to spell.

While the accent is on building literacy skills for pupils with dyslexia, Nessy has also proved a useful tool to develop vocabulary and language skills with pupils who are learning English as an additional language. It was also successful with a wide range of pupils including those who have a limited attention span, and children with Down’s Syndrome and Asperger’s.

This is an excellent win for Nessy which the judges described as “An intuitive and engaging resource aimed at analysing the specific learning needs of dyslexic children.” They praised it for setting out its objectives clearly on the opening screens and also commended it for its “comic book explanation of how it feels to be dyslexic... making children realise that dyslexia is not their fault nor related to their potential to do well in life after school.”

Other Education Resources Award winners recognised for their contributions with ICT were Mantra LIngua, 2Simple Software, Philip Harris, EMASUK and Lewis Bronze of Espresso Education.

SallySally McKeown McKeown is a freelance writer and is an expert in special needs and inclusion. She is currently working with Accessible Futures Ltd and Northgate, supporting a group of special schools in Kent through BSF wave 4.
Her website is at


More information

Education Resources Awards 2010 winners

Early Years – Non-ICT
TTS Group, Activity Tree

Early Years – including ICT
Mantra Lingua, Talking Phonics with RecorderPEN (Pack 1)

Primary Resources – Non-ICT
Rising Stars UK, Talk and Thought Cards

Primary Resources – Including ICT
2Simple Software, 2Create a Superstory

Secondary Resources – Non-ICT
Philip Harris Education, Energy and Fuels Kit

Secondary Resources – including ICT
Philip Harris, Acquire Data Logger

Special Educational Needs – Non-ICT
LDA, Advanced Ace Spelling Dictionary

Special Needs – including ICT
Net Educational Systems, Nessy Learning Programme Deluxe

Educational Books
LDA, Fidget Busters

EMASUK, Two Can Talk

Supplier of the Year less than £1million turnover
School Surplus

Supplier of the Year between £1 and £3 million turnover
Invicta Group

Supplier of the Year over £3 million turnover
The Consortium

Education Exporter of the Year
Findel Education

Educational Establishment of the Year
South Shields Community School, Tyne and Wear

Leadership in Education
Elizabeth Steele, Glemsford Community Primary School, Suffolk

Outstanding Achievement
Lewis Bronze, Espresso Education

At the Education Resource Awards, BESA members and attendees also donated over £4,000 for the BESA supported charity group Education for All.

The Education Resource Awards are sponsored by Berol, Findel Education, NES Arnold and Staedtler and supported by the National Association of Head Teachers, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and UK Trade & Investment.

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