The Team

Arlene Wake – Head of Centre



BSc(Hons), Adv.Dip.Ed, PGCE, MEd,SpLD APC

BPS Register of Qualification in Test Use Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties        

Arlene is the Founder and Director of Canterbury Dyslexia Centre. She is a Specialist Teacher and Assessor registered with the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties and the British Psychological Society, Psychological Testing Centre.

Arlene returned to education as a mature student, whilst raising her three children. On completion of her first degree in Psychology she undertook an Advanced Diploma in Special Educational Needs and a Masters degree in Education. Following a Post Graduate Certificate at Canterbury Christ Church University, she joined East Court School, a specialist school for children with dyslexia and dyspraxia. Here she worked as a Specialist Teacher and Manager of the Junior Department. During this time she completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia and Literacy, with Dyslexia Action, and gained a Certificate of Competence in Education, validated by the British Psychological Society. Following her time at East Court Arlene worked as an Inclusion Manager at a local primary school and delivered a range of school INSET. Before setting up Canterbury Dyslexia Centre in 2012 she worked as an Independent Assessor for Ashford Dyslexia Centre, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.

Arlene also helped to establish DEKS (Dyslexia East Kent Support), a local charity set up to support local dyslexics and their families. She has since been the Chairperson for the past fifteen years. For further information on DEKS, please click here.

Kate Whiteside

Dyslexia Institute SpLD Cert Literacy, Certificate in supporting children and young people (CCCU), Children’s Workforce Practitioner (CWDP)

Kate joined Canterbury Dyslexia Centre when it opened in 2012. She works a specialist tutor and also runs the Touch Typing classes. In addition she teaches small intervention groups during the summer holidays.

Her work with dyslexic children started in 1996, where she was employed in a social care and pastoral role at East Court School, an independent boarding/day school for children with dyslexia and dyspraxia. Kate soon became interested in the children’s education and learning styles, as well as their mental and personal wellbeing, and was given the opportunity to split her roles, spending the mornings in the classroom and the evenings continuing with her pastoral care. In 1999 she took a full time role as a classroom assistant and started her training. Firstly gaining her City and Guilds in Learning support, followed by a Dyslexia and Literacy in the Classroom Certificate, with the Dyslexia Institute. She also developed a dyslexia friendly typing program, which she taught throughout the school.

Following her work at East Court, Kate worked in a mainstream primary school for a short while, where she held intervention groups and social and communication groups, for children with specific needs, including dyslexia, who found classroom expectations challenging and social interaction difficult.

Whilst at Canterbury Dyslexia Centre Kate has continued her professional development by undertaking additional training courses and attending relevant seminars.

Kate is also one of the founder members of the Dyslexia East Kent Support group (DEKS), which was started in 2005. She initially worked as the main fundraiser, to enable the group to get up and running and then soon took on the role of treasurer, which she continues to do.

Linda Pritchard




Diploma in Dyslexia and Literacy

After completing her degree in special needs teaching, Linda worked as a class teacher in Key Stages 1 and 2 for 30 years.

In 2009, she gained a diploma in Dyslexia and Literacy, through Dyslexia Action, and has been a Specialist Tutor and worked at Canterbury Dyslexia Centre since it opened in 2012.

Sophie Edmonds



SpLD TPC (Patoss)

Sophie originally studied Publishing and Production at The London College of Printing and worked in marketing for The Walt Disney Company for many years. However, after having a family, she found her work volunteering at her children’s nursery school so much more rewarding and enjoyable, that she decided to retrain as a Montessori Teacher. Her Montessori training and experience taught her about child development and the importance of child-centred education.

On re-locating to Kent she decided to undertake a Diploma in teaching learners with Specific Learning Difficulties while working part time at her local primary school. She spent five years working with primary pupils, supporting them in Numeracy and Literacy before joining CDC in 2015. Sophie’s lessons focus on building confidence and making learning fun, through using imaginative resources tailored to the needs and interests of the child.

Jane Ladds


OCR Level 5 Diploma

Jane Ladds worked in law and journalism in New Zealand before returning to her family’s roots in England some years ago. Moving to Kent and having a daughter of her own, she began volunteering as a reader/helper at the local primary school. It was this experience and her subsequent work in a boys’ grammar school which sparked her interest in dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties. She completed her OCR Level 5 Diploma and is currently studying for her Level 7 assessor’s qualification.

Joanne Collier



Post Graduate Dyslexia Diploma (Hornsby)

Joanne has been teaching pupils with specific learning difficulties/dyslexia at both primary and secondary level since 1997.

She has taught mainly in independent schools in the UK and internationally. Her last position was Head of Enhanced Studies at The English College in Dubai where she set up a dedicated dyslexia unit. On returning to the UK in 2014 she joined Canterbury Dyslexia Centre.

Although experienced at working across all age groups, Joanne finds it particularly rewarding teaching at secondary level. She has been a form tutor for years 7 to 13 and actively involved in pastoral care, supporting with career advice and UCAS applications. She views key stage 3 as the last opportunity to focus on spelling, reading and writing skills before the demands of the GCSEs. She works on study and revision skills, time management and organisation, and is up to date with the requirements for GCSE English Language and Literature. She is fully resourced for the examination boards’ set prose, plays and poetry. Students are equipped with strategies to learn subject-specific vocabulary and key facts as well as how to study and analyse unseen poetry. They are further supported with analysing questions, planning and structuring their writing.

In 2007 Joanne was invited to co-author Dyslexia Guidance published by GL Assessment. She contributed the chapters on secondary and further education. The book lays out guidance for all those involved in the education of children and young people with dyslexia. It offers information, guidance and activities and is based on her real classroom and teaching experience.

Helena Meikle

BA (Hons) PG Cert in Specialist Assessment for a Specific Learning Difficulty: Dyslexia: Dyslexia SpLD APC, AMBDA

Helena started off her career as a professional cellist, working with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Glyndeborune Opera Festival. After breaking her arm badly, she had to take a step back from her full time career, at which point she also became a mum to two children, both of whom have dyslexia. This brought about an interest in working with children who do not respond well to a ‘one size fits all’ educational system. The following years have been spent working in a 1:1 capacity teaching children with specific learning difficulties as well as teaching the cello (sometimes to the same pupil).

She has since gained her Level 7 PGCert in Dyslexia from Christchurch University, Canterbury and started teaching and assessing at CDC earlier in the year.

Helena tailors her lessons to suit the needs and personality of each individual, recognising that we learn best when we feel ‘seen’ and (where possible) by having a bit of fun too!