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  • Writer's pictureGemma Doyle

How dyslexic thinking shaped Cavendish Education

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

By Aatif Hassan, Founder and Chairman of Cavendish Education

He will be a failure if he does not start reading”.

This is (perhaps now, looking back) one of the most ironic parent-teacher school reports that I received, aged 13. The other was “I wish he could concentrate as well in the classroom as he does on the rugby pitch”.

As a child, having to read a script out loud in Latin to a large audience with teachers and fellow classmates laughing is one of my worst memories of school. I simply did not understand how my school friends could possibly enjoy reading a book, or why I couldn’t learn in the same way that they did.

Through sport, I learnt to be competitive but I hated losing in the classroom, and although I was willing to put in the hours or work even harder than they did, there appeared to be nothing I could do about it.

On the whole, my schooling was a nurturing, caring and positive experience but that ‘struggle', what I now know to be dyslexia rather than a refusal to read, is the very reason I founded Cavendish Education; the UKs largest provider of schools for pupils with Unique Learning Profiles (‘ULP’), including dyslexia. I wanted to give others a chance to succeed.

I know from my own experience, how the power of giving a child bags of confidence and tons of support and inspiration can make a difference. Once you learn that brains are simply different, there is an 'ah-ha' moment.

The obstacles I encountered earlier in life had shown me that my dyslexia, as challenging as it was, had given me the ability to think differently, problem solve, persevere and work hard. I have learnt to focus on my strengths and coach my weaknesses. I now feel I am blessed to be dyslexic.

Today, including Cavendish Education, I employ over 2,000 people and have a role in inspiring over 6,000 pupils; definitely not a failure.



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