The Diverse Learners Team

Team Ethos at Diverse Learners:

Through 1:1 teaching and interactive workshops we will guide you on your learning journey, personalising strategies, raising awareness of the impact of dyslexia and dyspraxia, sharing stories, signposting resources, and using assistive technology so that you learn how to become a more efficient and effective learner, with confidence in your capabilities. We will work in partnership with you and your organisation to raise awareness of dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Specialist one-to-one Study Skills and Strategy Support and Job Coaching, Trainer, speaker, consultant
Kerry Pace

I have worked for the last 33 years in a variety of roles, supporting people to access academic and vocational education as well as in the workplace. Having been identified as having Dyspraxia (sometimes referred to as Developmental Coordination Disorder), sensory processing disorder and ADD as an adult I understand how – for many people – education and/or work can become a negative experience if their needs aren’t addressed, and this is why I am passionate about making the learning experience as positive as possible. I encourage students and clients to build on the strategies and techniques they know, and to develop new and different ones, giving them confidence to use their knowledge and skills in ways that work best for them.

In 1:1 sessions I will enable you to do more, in less time, and with less stress and wasted energy. and in June 2018 my professional body, The Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education awarded mt the 7 principles award noting I was an exceptional and innovative practitioner delivering quality assurance of dyslexia support that increased access to support for student in Higher Education by the use of Skype and tirelessly campaigning. Both my daughters have dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder so I can offer a unique perspective. I raise awareness of Dyspraxia, Neurodiversity and Inclusion via vlogging with my eldest daughter, blogging, tweeting lobbying parliament.

I dropped out of my A-levels courses twice and gained my degree and post graduate qualification via distance learning at 33 whilst 8 months pregnant with my 2nd child. As an Open University graduate, I can empathise with the challenges and pressures of this method of learning and I now support student son Open University Courses. You can see me at work in this video that the Open University made in 2015.

Training and Consultancy Work

In 2018 I will have delivered training to Leeds Teaching Hospitals, NHS North West Dyslexia Network, South East Ambulance Service,  MerseyCareNHS, Irish Nursing and Midwifery Organisation, Plymouth University and have been a speaker at Royal College of Occupational Therapists learning event (see video recording here) and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust Equality, Diversity and Inclusion event.

I have advised on projects and to individuals working for: NHS Employers Diversity and Inclusion team, Health Education England, Royal College of Nursing, Horizons, Cork University disability Services, numerous universities and private companies.

In August 2018 a special issue of Nurse Education in Practice I have been co-editing called Learning Diversity in Nurse Education and Practice – Current challenges, contemporary perspectives and innovative solutions will be available.

Since 2015 I have been the inclusion adviser  (Neurodiversity)to the Nursing Midwifery faculty for Plymouth University where I also am an associate lecturer most recently on the Nurse Mentorship Course. I also attend speaking events, conferences and run workshops on dyslexia, dyspraxia,  inclusion and diversity in healthcare settings for the faculty at their learning events.

I work with Dyspraxia Ireland as their employment consultant to raise awareness of  some simple solutions to inclusive approaches that employers can adopt to support their employees whether they have a disability or not. In 2016 I delivered 3 interactive workshops at the youth conference and presented at their annual conference in 2017.

Other stuff

I promote the role of technology as a strategy for inclusion and I sat on the executive committee as the Assistive Technology Officer for The Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education (my professional body) 2014-2016. I am an avid Tweeter and often team up with healthcare accounts to run tweet chats or twebinars for example WeNurses, Otalk, PhysioTalk, Plymouth University and Student Nurse Project. I have been a Fab Ambassador since 2016.

I love gardening and horse-riding and pottering about. I am married to Andrew (see profile below).

Andrew Pace

Over the last 33 years I have developed an extensive background in student support, in a wide variety of educational settings. I have supported students (many with mental health issues) in managing their learning and feeling more in control of their studies.
As a registered nurse, I have developed an empathetic approach to support, encouraging students to develop self-esteem and self-confidence, and manage their stress and anxiety through time-management and organisational strategies.

I have now started a Master’s degree in Public Health and we are all looking forward to the insight this will bring to the Diverse Learners team and the support and training that we provide.

Specialist one-to-one Study Skills and Strategy Support 
Michelle Sisson

I have 18 years of experience working with higher education students who have either a specific learning difficulty, mental health issues or a disability. I am a quality assured member of the Association of Dyslexia Specialist in Higher Education and (like Kerry) also spent two years on their executive committee. My main area of expertise is with health and social care students, and I have supported students at all levels from undergraduates through to professional doctorates and PhDs.

I am a retired midwife, so I am aware of the difficulties that come from studying and working in a variety of clinical placement settings, and within different and difficult shift patterns. My clinical background enables me to recognise and suggest techniques that you will be able to transfer between the academic and the clinical area, and Skype and out-of-hours support from Diverse Learners enables you to fit in the support at a time that suits you.

Academic life is hard for everyone, and often students don’t realize that to graduate in many fields (including health and social care) they will have effectively ‘written a book’ by the end of their studies – but that’s something to be proud of, not daunted by! I use a friendly, question, discussion and demonstration approach to support students throughout their studies, and I can help you to develop strategies to target your effort more effectively and enable you to achieve your potential.

Being able to juggle various elements of life is difficult but important, and although I want you to be the best that you can be, I also want you to have a life!

YOU CAN DO THIS … and I look forward to supporting you as you do.   

Specialist Mentor
Pauline Sumner

I have worked as a Specialist one-to-one Study Skills and Strategy Support Tutor and Specialist Mentor for over 18 years, during which time I have gained extensive experience of working together with students with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, Autism, Mental Health Difficulties and Dyscalculia.  For the last three years, I have been working as a Freelance DSA-QAG Registered Specialist one-to-one Study Skills and Strategy Support Tutor and Specialist Mentor, supporting neurodiverse students in a number of Universities in London as well as around the UK via Skype sessions; I have considerable experience of working with students at Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Doctorate levels in most subject areas.  I previously worked as a Dyslexia/Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) Co-ordinator and Senior Lecturer in SpLD at a large London University for 15 years.

I am a quality assured member of the Association of Dyslexia Specialists in HE (ADSHE), where I have been involved in a number of working parties including the production of the ADSHE 7 Principles and Guidelines for Quality Assured Professional Practice.  I am a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Association and a member of the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (PATOSS)

I provide Workplace Dyslexia/SpLD Group and Individual Training and Coaching, with experience of working with neurodiverse employees within a variety of organisations such as banks, medical departments and local authorities.  I also work as an e-learning tutor and course designer for an on-line provider of professional development courses within the field of Dyslexia/SpLD support.   Key areas of interest in which I provide interactive workshops and training lectures are:  Inclusive Practice in Higher Education; Dyslexia/SpLD Awareness for Managers in the Workplace; The Emotional, Psychological and Social Impact on Learning for Students with Dyslexia/Specific Learning Differences; Dyslexia/SpLD Awareness for Mentors/Managers of Neurodiverse students on Nursing and Midwifery Work Placements;  Pedagogic Strategies for Incorporating Difference.

I count myself as having one of the best jobs in the world as I am able to work with such dedicated, determined and diverse learners in a wide range of incredibly interesting subjects.

Phoebe Pace

I joined the team as secretary in 2016 and I have been working with Diverse Learners to offer quick responses to students, assessors and general enquiries about our services. I also help to manage Diverse Learners Twitter and Facebook including our daily tips –  #DLTips .

I make a lot of tea every day (and cake once a month) and you may see my arm at the edge of one of Kerry’s Skype calls handing her a drink.  I also have a blog about my experiences as a young adult. I also vlog with Kerry (my mum) for the Diverse Learners YouTube channel about Dyspraxia Tips for Adults giving our personal experiences, tips and advice in a light-hearted and informal way about Dyspraxia.

Kerry says I indulge the office dog but I don’t.