Moderate Learning Difficulties

Updated: 23/08/16

Children with Moderate Learning Difficulties require support as they may learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation.

Pupils with MLD will have attainments well below expected levels in all or most areas of the curriculum, despite appropriate interventions. They will have much greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills and in understanding concepts. They may also have associated speech and language delay, low self-esteem, low levels of concentration and underdeveloped social skills.

The school environment/curriculum can present a range of barriers to participation and learning for pupils with MLD. The SEN Code of Practice says that pupils who demonstrate features of MLD, SLD, PMLD or specific learning difficulties require specific programmes to aid progress in cognition and learning.
In particular, pupils with MLD may need support with:

  • understanding instructions and the requirements of tasks
  • acquiring sequencing skills − for example, when following a recipe or science experiment
  • understanding how they affect and relate to their immediate surroundings
  • personal organisation over the short, medium and long term, and
  • visual and auditory memory for information, processes and instructions.

Careful assessment of baselines and monitoring of progress will help ensure that their progress can be recognised and built upon.