Dyslexia Action Report


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Dyslexia Action Report

  1. 1. Dyslexia Still MattersDyslexia in our schools today:Progress, challenges andsolutions
  2. 2. Dyslexia Still MattersDyslexia Still Matters:progress, challenges and solutionsThis Dyslexia Action report looks at the situation for children with dyslexia and literacydifficulties in our schools today. It explores the progress that has been made and examineswhat still needs to be done to ensure school is positive and rewarding. In the light of plannedreforms of the Special Educational Needs system and considering other key changes, we putforward positive suggestions and solutions, based on our review of what is currently workingwell in schools. This evidence of effective practice will be useful to all schools as they take onmore responsibility for delivering effective interventions and support for children with dyslexiaand literacy difficulties. The challenge of improving literacy standards in the UK is great, andwe believe that our input can make a big contribution. We are calling for a National Dyslexiaand Literacy Strategy to enable the best evidence and solutions to be brought forward to putan end to the negative and unrewarding experiences of school that are still being reported bythe parents of dyslexic children.Action is manifestations of dyslexia but that it is equally effective for children with ‘high-incidence, lower-needed now severity’ needs. The Report provides valuable examples of effective practice in support of its A call for action - recommendations; these are worthy of serious Sir Jim Rose, former attention if we are to take further decisive action Chief Inspector on dyslexia. for Schools and Jim Rose (June, 2012) author of the Independent Review The need for this on Identification and report Support for Pupils with Kevin Geeson, ChiefDyslexia and Literacy Difficulties. Executive of DyslexiaTrue to its name and purpose, ‘Dyslexia Action’ Actionhas consistently focused on responding directly Have we done dyslexiato the challenge of supporting children who need - been there and got theto overcome the debilitating effects of dyslexia. t-shirt? Are we ready to move on? Do we haveAs it is not a singular condition, dyslexia has all the answers and know exactly what dyslexiato be tackled by skilled teaching designed to is and how to identify it? Do we know whatcounter the different degrees of its severity that we should be doing so everyone with dyslexiaimpact upon children’s learning. can enjoy school and succeed in life? Are weIn this timely report, Dyslexia Action rightly claims confident it is working?that good progress has been made to meet the Dyslexia Action has been around for 40 yearsneeds of children in these respects. In reforming and there is no doubt that progress has beenthe Special Educational Needs system, the made and dyslexia is now widely recognised.report therefore urges policymakers to sustain However, evidence tells us there is still a greatthat momentum by making sure any new deal to be done to ensure all dyslexic children inarrangements are sufficiently flexible, not only schools have a better chance to succeed. Thefor children with the most severe and complex level of understanding of dyslexia in schools2
  3. 3. Dyslexia Action, June 2012varies considerably and we are a long way off are far from making such high quality practiceembedding good practice in all parts of our universal.education system. This report sets the scene fordyslexia and highlights that ‘Yes’, Dyslexia Still The main focus of the proposed reforms is onMatters, but there are still major challenges to children with the most severe and complexaddress to ensure every child with dyslexia and needs. Obviously, securing the best possible,other literacy difficulties can succeed. affordable provision for these children is cruciallyDyslexia Action is calling for dyslexia to remain important. However, the new system must alsoat the top of the agenda, otherwise we will fail secure equally effective provision for childrenmany children year on year. We need to draw with high-incidence, lower-severity needs.together the best expertise, materials and Because of time constraints the ‘SEN pathfinders’services to ensure what we know, as literacy are struggling to work out how to implement theand dyslexia specialists, can be transferred reforms and there is a risk that reliable ways tointo consistently good practice to achieve improve existing provision may not be found, thusthe best outcomes for all. In this report, we leaving all those with special needs considerablygive the findings of two surveys that look at worse off than they would have been had thethe experiences of adults, and of parents with previous system been left in place.children, who have dyslexia. We also look at theexperiences and views of teachers and what In this report Dyslexia Action offers ways forwardinterventions they find successful. We examine to help to overcome these difficulties. Thethe factors affecting children in the education need to wait for pathfinders is questioned onsystem and how proposed changes provide a the grounds that a great deal is already knownmix of hope and concern. We explore the current about how best to deliver effective support forchanges to exam access arrangements and why, children with dyslexia and literacy difficulties andwe believe, special arrangements should remain those with other specific learning and languagein place to allow people to demonstrate what difficulties. We have given many examples ofthey are capable of achieving. such practice in this report.Kevin Geeson Dyslexia Action fully appreciates that the economic climate creates pressure to find low A window of cost solutions for special educational needs and opportunity - educational provision in general. The effective John Rack, Head practice that we highlight in this report is not of Research, costly, especially in relation to the high, long- Development and term costs of failing to get it right for those with Policy for Dyslexia literacy difficulties. We also question the value of Action ‘pathfinding’ routes that are already well-trodden.The Government’s reform of the SpecialEducational Needs system presents a not-to- Our main message to Government is that:be missed opportunity to build on the sound we don’t have to wait - there are positive andplatform of evidence which shows how all kinds affordable things that can be done now; so let’sof schools deliver highly effective education work together and put an end to the sufferingfor learners who suffer from various aspects of and sense of failure that is still felt by too manydyslexia and stubborn problems with learning to children with dyslexia and literacy difficulties in ourread and write. Much to their credit, work of high schools today.quality is being done in some local authorities, John Rackin some schools and in some projects but we 3
  4. 4. Dyslexia Still MattersAcknowledgementsDyslexia Action would like to thank all the people who responded to the YouGov andDyslexia Action surveys, everyone who assisted with the research and all the teachersand practitioners who provided case-study materials and information about effectiveinterventions and support. Thanks also to the many people who have been involvedin the writing and production of this report, especially to Stephanie Anderson, KerryBennett and John Rack.4
  5. 5. Dyslexia Action, June 2012ContentsReport purpose 02Dyslexia Still Matters - Summary of findings and recommendations 07Positive and negative findingsAction neededA call for actionA way forwardSection 1: Dyslexia 11What is dyslexia?Definition of dyslexia - Rose Review (2009)Dyslexia and literacyThe dyslexia journeySection 2: Where are we now? 15The views of parentsWhat parents think should be doneThe views of adults and young people with dyslexiaSocial mediaWhere are we now? Assessment and special arrangementsExamination access arrangementsYear 1 phonics screening checkStatutory KS2 grammar, punctuation and spelling testSection 3: Literacy is a big issue for the UK 25Literacy and dyslexiaThe challengeConsequences of poor literacy - the figures speak volumesWe ‘could do better’Section 4: Interventions and models of good practice 29What works: interventions and good practiceOFSTED (2010) ‘A Statement is Not Enough’Models of good practiceSection 5: Government reform 51The current SEN systemProposed reformPathfindersSection 6: Conclusions and recommendations 55ConclusionsRecommendations and Dyslexia Still Matters reportAppendices: 60http://www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk/dyslexia-still-matters-appendices 5
  6. 6. Dyslexia Still Matters6
  7. 7. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Dyslexia Still Matters –Summary of findings andrecommendationsThe main findings of this Dyslexia Action report are both positiveand negative.Positive findings Include: 4. Dyslexia is now clearly ‘on the map’. Although1. Good, effective provision exists in a wide there are still teachers (and others) who dorange of schools enabling children with dyslexia not like to use the term, there is no longerand literacy difficulties to thrive and succeed. controversy about whether it exists and how toThis provision can be seen in some mainstream define it.schools as well as specialist and someindependent settings. Negative findings Include: 1. Knowledge, understanding and expertise is2. Teachers in some schools and specialist patchy and Dyslexia Action too often still hearsdyslexia centres are doing a fantastic job for accounts of parents struggling to have theirchildren with dyslexia. The characteristics of this concerns recognised and addressed at school.‘best practice’ are outlined in our report alongwith links to further sources of information and 2. Parents continue to report that:guidance. a) ifficulties in their children’s learning are not D3. The most effective practice involves a picked up early enough.combination of the four key elements of support b) he possibility of dyslexia is usually raised by Tthat we have identified from our survey of them and not the school.practice and from previous reports: c) Expertise and resources in schools are hard to access.a) A whole school ethos that respects d) yslexic children’s experience of school is D individuals’ differences, maintains high often negative. expectations for all and promotes good communication between teachers, parents 3. Adults and young people with dyslexia and pupils. confirm that:b) Knowledgeable and sensitive teachers who understand the processes of learning and the a) ccessing help at school is difficult. A impact that specific difficulties can have on b) lack of understanding of the nature of A these. dyslexia leads to unhelpful and damagingc) Creative adaptations to classroom practice comments from some teachers which have enabling children with special needs to learn a long lasting detrimental effect. inclusively, but meaningfully, alongside their peers.d) Access to additional learning programmes and resources to support the development of key skills and strategies for independent learning. 7
  8. 8. Dyslexia Still Matters4) The issue of dyslexia, as a disability, hasnot been fully grasped across education and Action neededchanges to systems for assessment andexamination are in danger of leaving those with Trainingdyslexia at a severe disadvantage. Dyslexia All children with dyslexia need to have accessAction appreciates that no ‘reasonable to good teaching in all lessons. A co-ordinatedadjustment’ can take away the difficulties that plan is needed to improve awareness anddyslexic people will have – to varying degrees – understanding of dyslexia for people in all roleswhen they are required to read and write under in education. This should include:time pressure. But this disability, just like a moreobvious physical disability – should not condemn • compulsory model on Special Educational Athem to low achievement. Systems that are there Needs to include dyslexia as part of initialto assess ability and understanding should be teacher training.accessible to those with disabilities on equalterms but we haven’t got to this stage yet. • requirement for all teachers to access A Continuing Professional Development (CPD)National Dyslexia Strategy in the area of SEN to include dyslexia.Proposed changes to the SEN system arewelcome but we are concerned that the situation • aking special needs a higher priority in the Mwill get worse for learners with dyslexia as the training and professional development forcurrent mechanisms to support learners and those in leadership and governance roles.schools is changed or withdrawn. • plan, with resources behind it, to ensure that ADyslexia Action believes that the focus of the all schools have access to a specialist teacherSEN pathfinders is too narrow and the timescale who has a postgraduate diploma in dyslexiatoo tight to work out the details needed for the and literacy.SEN reforms. However, we have a solution forthis which is to use the information we already • scheme to enable more teaching assistants Ahave about what works for children with dyslexia to receive training in specific interventionsand other high-incidence low-severity needs. and methods of support as well as a career structure allowing them to undertake moreThe knowledge and expertise is there, to specialist roles as their skills and knowledgedevelop, advise and deliver on, a National increase.Dyslexia and Literacy Strategy to help rollout effective practice throughout the country. • roducing guidance and advice for use by PHowever, we cannot succeed with this unless inspectors in relation to effective support andwe have the commitment and support of the interventions for those with dyslexia.Government.8
  9. 9. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Identification and assessment Sharing best practiceThis is an area of practice where improvements Best practice can be delivered in practice (asare badly needed. More information needs to highlighted in this report’s Intervention Tableget to practitioners so they are more confident p.38-49), but this needs to be shared andabout making the first observations of children communicated more widely. We need to:who may be having difficulties, assessingthe nature of those difficulties and making • evelop and maintain forums for exchange of Dan appropriate response. This could include practice locally, nationally and virtually.determining the need for special arrangements • nsure that expertise from the voluntary sector Efor formal examinations. Current discussions and from those engaged in research is fullyaround the use of the Phonics Check and exam utilised.access arrangements reveal worrying levels of • evelop and evaluate new intervention models Dignorance about the use of assessment tools in schools and specialist centres so they canto support improved learning and achievement. learn what works.There needs to be: School improvement• etter tracking and monitoring of children B It is encouraging that OFSTED has been asked as they progress from pre-school through to to focus now on what schools are doing for the adulthood. pupils in the bottom 20% and that programs• clear policy on where the responsibility A such as Achievement for All are being adopted for this monitoring and identification sits and more widely. However, the pace of change here better use and co-ordination of centrally-held must increase and further action and support is data along with individual observations to avoid needed so that schools can produce credible the unacceptable delays in identifying those Local Offers under the new SEN reforms. who need extra help.• etter advice and guidance around the Year 1 B • chools need to demonstrate, through the S Phonics Check, especially about the actions local offer and in other ways, what they are that should follow from low scores. doing to support children with dyslexia and• etter access to easily-administered screening B literacy difficulties. assessments and a clearer policy about how • chools need to show that they have engaged S information is shared with colleagues and with ‘best practice’ as highlighted in this parents. report’s Intervention Table.• raining for all teachers, at all levels, so that T • unding arrangements for schools need to F they can identify signs of Dyslexia-SpLD reflect that developing an effective local offer and know what to do in terms of further is a priority and they should be encouraged to assessment and advice. draw widely on expertise, including that from the voluntary sector to help develop and deliver these plans. • FSTED needs to require schools to include O these plans and their success in implementing them as part of school inspections. 9
  10. 10. Dyslexia Still MattersA call for action The very real risk that things will be made worse arises because the main focus of current reforms is on the smaller number of children with theSharing knowledge most severe and complex needs and insufficientThe proposed Children and Families Bill, time has been given to developing the practicalbuilding on the SEN Green Paper, provides details here. At the same time, the SENthe opportunity to deliver comprehensive pathfinders appear not to be fully addressing theimprovements in literacy throughout the system. aspects of reform related to those with high-Intervention strategies to improve literacy skills incidence, lower-severity needs. The dangerare likely to fail however, unless the Government is that the new system will leave all those withincorporates specific provisions for those with special needs considerably worse off than theydyslexia and other specific learning difficulties. would have been had the previous system been left in place.Building on reports and reviews such as those A way forwardof Lamb (2010), Rose (2009) and OFSTED(2010), the Government has signalled itsintention to create a system which is:• less adversarial In this report, Dyslexia Action is offering a way• ess bureaucratic l forward that could help to avoid this disaster. We• ives parents a greater say in decision making g suggest that it is not necessary for pathfinders• puts resources in the hands of practitioners to work out how best to deliver effective support for those dyslexia, literacy difficulties and specificThe goal is to find ways of sharing knowledge learning and language difficulties. We are talkingand spreading effective practice of systems that here about the vast majority of those, with thework. high-incidence, low-severity needs, for special provision. Why do we say this? Simply, becauseFew would argue with the Government’s we believe we already have the answers, asaspirations, but there is a very real danger detailed in this report.that proposed reforms will, at best, miss anopportunity and at worst, make matters a great Making this good practice more widespread willdeal worse. The opportunity is there to build on require commitment and resources. In short, thethe very solid platform of evidence that shows Government must put muscle and money intohow all kinds of schools can deliver effective this aspect of special needs provision. Dyslexiaeducation for learners who have dyslexia and Action is calling for individuals and organisationsstruggle with literacy. This is already being done to come together to help develop, advise on andin some authorities, in some schools and in some deliver a National Dyslexia and Literacy Strategy.projects, but that effective practice is far fromuniversal. We urge Government to take on board the recommendations of this report and to work with the NDLS team at this critical time - together we can improve the UK’s literacy standards.10
  11. 11. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Section 1:Dyslexia 11
  12. 12. Dyslexia Still MattersWhat is Definition of dyslexia - Rose Review (2009)dyslexia? Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate andDyslexia has now been clearly defined, reflecting fluent word reading and spelling.a considerable growth in knowledge andunderstanding over the past 40 years. The Characteristic features of dyslexia aredefinition was agreed by the Expert Advisory difficulties in phonological awareness, verbalGroup for Sir Jim Rose’s independent review memory and verbal processing speed.commissioned by the Secretary of State for Dyslexia occurs across the range ofEducation as detailed (right). All the dyslexia intellectual abilities.organisations in the UK have endorsed thisdefinition. It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points. Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia. A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded intervention. This definition reflects our understanding that dyslexia is a language-based difficulty which makes it harder to learn to read and spell. Other kinds of difficulties may accompany dyslexia, but it is the difficulty in dealing with word sounds (phonics) that hampers the acquisition of literacy skills. As has been known for some time, dyslexia is nothing to do with general intelligence although other abilities and difficulties affect the impact of dyslexia which contributes to its severity. Appendix 1, associated with this report, provides more information about dyslexia and how it might affect someone living with it (See list of appendices available at www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk).12
  13. 13. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Dyslexia and literacyThe information in Appendix 1(www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk) shows dyslexia isnot just a problem with literacy. It can:• ffect the ability to remember spoken A information within the short term memory system• ake it harder to retrieve words from long term M memory• ccur alongside other difficulties e.g. O concentration, arithmetic and motor co- ordinationHowever, the biggest challenge that dyslexia The dyslexia journeycauses in education and in working life Dyslexia is a subject that has caused muchis with reading and writing. It is therefore debate over the years. The first descriptionsunderstandable that the primary focus of – from over a hundred years ago – used theinterventions and support for people with term ‘word blindness’, reflecting the view thatdyslexia is on reading and that we all agree such difficulties in reading were caused by problemssupport is better provided as early as possible in in visual perception. It was not until the 1970sa child’s education. that the role of language processing was recognised and only in the last 20 years has thatHow important is it that those with dyslexia been accepted as the primary feature of dyslexia.are identified from amongst those with generalliteracy-learning difficulties? This is an issue While controversy and debate continued, itthat has sparked much controversy with some was easier for some in professional practice toeducators arguing passionately that there is ignore the issue and harder to argue for specificno need to make any distinctions and that all approaches and methods. Instead, those livingthose with literacy difficulties will respond to the with dyslexia were often wrongly labelled assame kind of support. Others have argued that ‘slow’, ‘thick’ and/or ‘lazy’, with school reportsthose with dyslexia must be identified because warning parents not to expect much from theirthey need a different kind of support. Dyslexia son/daughter!Action’s view on this issue is as follows: Controversy has also given fuel to the fires of• ot all children with literacy difficulties respond N alternative treatments and ‘miracle cures’. If to the same approaches equally well. mainstream/establishment services have nothing• he kind of literacy support that is effective for T to offer, it is no surprise that people will turn to those with dyslexia is also likely to be effective alternatives. Almost always, these alternatives for all children with literacy difficulties. are untested and often based on dubious• hen it comes to early reading support, it is W theories and claims. Whilst elements of some therefore NOT critical to identify those who may be effective for some people, on the whole, show characteristics of dyslexia, provided all they do not prove worthwhile. receive the form of teaching which we know works for people with dyslexia. 13
  14. 14. Dyslexia Still MattersThe Rose Report (2009) reflected a high pointon the dyslexia journey and one motivation forDyslexia Action’s report now, is to ensure we donot lose that ground.Other significant milestones on the journeyare when:• yslexia was recognised under the Disability D Discrimination Act in 1995 and is still specifically mentioned in the more recent Equalities Act (2010). This means that educational and workplace settings have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that those affected by dyslexia are not disadvantaged compared to their peers.• yslexia became recognised as a Special D Educational Need (SEN) and was mentioned as an example in the 1997 Code of Practice.• ecretaries of State for Education, notably S Kenneth Clarke, David Blunkett, Ed Balls and Michael Gove made public statements about the issue of dyslexia and its importance. In March this year (2012), Education Minister Michael Gove announced on Daybreak television that one in ten children are dyslexic.14
  15. 15. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Section 2:Where are we now? 15
  16. 16. Dyslexia Still MattersThe views of parents Recognition The survey showed there still appears to be resistance to the concept of dyslexia and an apparent unwillingness to take the issue seriously. Parental quotes included: • Schools need to accept that children have ‘ dyslexia instead of trying to ignore it’ • ‘The school refused to recognise dyslexia’ • ‘My child was constantly expelled from school’ • My son had to go to a special school because ‘ the school he went to would not help him or accept he had any difficulties’ Parental concerns The responses from the YouGov survey typify comments that Dyslexia Action regularly receives from parents who come to us for support. ForDyslexia Action commissioned YouGov example, one told us that after making enquiriesto conduct an independent survey of a with the SENCO, the headteacher called therepresentative sample of parents who had parents in to reprimand them for bullying thechildren with dyslexia (sample of 464). The SENCO. Another parent in the YouGov surveyfield samples were collected from the 5th- said:30th April, 2012. More detail can be found inAppendix 3 (http://www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk/ • Schools need to take notice of parental ‘dyslexia-still-matters-appendices) but some of concerns and not become defensive whenthe key findings from this independent survey are parents do raise concerns. I had my childdetailed in the sections below. Note that these assessed privately and when I took the reportresults reflect a more optimistic view because to her primary school to discuss if any extrathey are based on a sample where dyslexia has support could be given the headteacher saidbeen identified. We know that there are many very sarcastically: ‘What do you want memore families where children are struggling with to do with that and then proceeded to dodifficulties which have not been identified or nothing until my daughter’s KS3 SATs, whenhave been mis-identified as a behaviour problem miraculously a teaching assistant read thefor example. questions for her. I’m sure this was only done to improve the school SAT results!’Identification• 0% of parents surveyed said their child was 6 Another parent said that the school did not want diagnosed before secondary school to admit they had ‘the problem’ (dyslexia) in their• 6% said the school was the first to identify a 2 school. One parent commented: problem• 5% said teachers failed to recognise a 5 problem with their child’s development• lmost two-thirds felt dyslexia was not A recognised across the system16
  17. 17. Dyslexia Action, June 2012• They (the school) never listened to me ‘ There were positive comments from the survey when I expressed anxiety that my child had however, that mentioned things such as: dyslexia and actually told me that he didn’t, on numerous occasions, until I had to get him • ritten text being given in advance of the w diagnosed privately to prove it. I was told my lesson son may have dyslexia but it was better not to • etting support when needed g get him tested as then he would be labelled for • extra time in exams the rest of his life and he would be better off • being given a laptop learning coping strategies. He has since been • 8% said that their dyslexic child had received 5 tested and given extra help such as readers help and support with their dyslexia and scribes and extra time in exams’. • 2% reported their child had received extra 5 help and made progress in reading andIn summary, parents today still report resistance spellingto the concept of dyslexia and often their • 5% of parents reported their child does 7perception is that problems are acknowledged well and feels proud of their achievementsvery late. in subjects and activities that don’t involve reading and writing • 1% reported they had a good group of 7 friends • 5% said they had positive relationships with 7 particular teachers Parents’ views appeared strongest when they felt that schools and teachers failed to understand the problem including: • My stepdaughter still believes she is thick ‘ because of early experiences despite being quite the reverse!’ • Sadly, as my son was not statemented, he ‘Help and support: received no help’While parents did highlight positive aspects of • The school didn’t seem to understand that a ‘practice, the overwhelming view is that schools child with ‘Above Average IQ’ could also have aoffer ‘too little, too late’. Also: specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia’• 1% of respondents said that their children did 6 A number of parents told YouGov that they had not receive any help and support until a whole moved their child from state to private education year after they were diagnosed; with 14% of because their child was not getting the right parents saying they are still waiting support. Others were financing additional• ome 50% of parents felt that the school did S support outside of school. One parent said: not recognise or develop individual pupil ability ‘Nobody was qualified to teach him. I then• nly 40% said that their school had an O paid for an independent tutor to help him appropriately trained teacher to support their through school’. child’s needs• 4% felt that schools do not do enough to 6 help children with dyslexia 17
  18. 18. Dyslexia Still MattersSocial impact Case Study 1Dyslexia Action knows from its work with dyslexicadults, that it is the social and emotional impactof dyslexia which can be hardest to deal with.Sadly, the YouGov survey showed that childrenwith dyslexia today are still having a hard time atschool and sometimes feel isolated or bullied.Survey results showed:• ore than 50% of parents said there are times M when their child does not want to go to school• 7% of parents surveyed felt their child had a 5 negative experience at school because of their Gavin (44) and Seanna (13) dyslexia Both Gavin and his daughter Seanna are• 3% reported their child felt different to their 5 dyslexic. Gavin was involved in a dyslexic peers intervention project in Hackney, London, when• 7% said that their child had been bullied or 4 he was 14 years old but apart from this, due to picked on at some point financial constraints, the support he received• 7% of parents reported teachers made 3 was very patchy. He has therefore fought hard unhelpful comments like ‘try harder’, which then to get a Statement for his daughter to fund her had a negative impact on self-esteem specialist one-to-one support alongside her• 5% of parents said that a teacher had made 1 mainstream schooling. public comments about their child’s difficulties and 11% said that a teacher had made fun of Gavin talks about his dyslexia and the support mistakes or wrong answers he did receive: “Dyslexia isn’t just about learning, it’s a part of everything I do. In ourWhile these unhelpful comments and reactions society if you can’t read, you can’t thrive.from teachers were not reported by all parents When I was fourteen I was lucky enough to beand clearly do not apply to all teachers, we part of a project that was funded by Hackneyregard it as unacceptable that any teacher Council and I used to go to Dyslexia Actionshould conduct themselves in this way, which once a week for support. But the funding rancan only be the result of a lack of understanding out once I started college. It was at this pointof the impact that a specific learning difficulty that I lost my way. I knew I wasn’t stupid; Isuch as dyslexia can have. knew I wasn’t a low life; I loved education but education didn’t love me; it just didn’t soak inOther disturbing comments from respondents for some reason.included that a teacher ripped up a piece ofher child’s written work in front of the class and “I did lots of jobs earning the minimum wageput it in the bin; a parent said that the teacher but it was when my daughter Seanna wascontinued to make their child copy off the board born that I had a wake-up call. My uncle is awhen this was difficult for them and another said cabbie and he said to me: ‘Gavin you can doher child was shouted at by a teacher because anything you put your mind to’. He encouragedthey were unable to complete a task. me to do ‘The Knowledge’ to become a London cabbie. This was not something that I thought I could do because of having to pass exams so I put it off.18
  19. 19. Dyslexia Action, June 2012“My mum never let me give up and in the end What parents think shouldI got back in touch with Dyslexia Action. The be done?teachers remembered me. Margaret assessed • 2% of respondents said all schools should 9me and worked with me to make sure I got have access to a specialist in dyslexiathe support I needed to get me through ‘The • out of 10 parents of dyslexic children, who 9Knowledge’. were independently surveyed by YouGov, said all teachers should have a basic level of“It took me longer to get there but my way training in dyslexiaof learning has now clicked in my head and I • 1% of respondents were in favour of school 8have found my gift. I officially achieved ‘The improvements to include measures to trackKnowledge’ in October 2010. I now have the progress a child is making in literacya London Cab. I have found my way; I am a throughout their time at schoolsuccessful man and I am happy.” From some of the additional comments made,When Seanna was seven years old, Gavin was respondents highlighted the transition of primarytold at a parent’s evening that her reading age to secondary as being poor. One parent toldwas very low. “I knew she was dyslexic but it YouGov that their child had more help in primarytook until she was ten before she got the right school than high school. Another said secondaryhelp,” said Gavin. “I took information into the school: ‘Never followed up reports from primaryschool from Dyslexia Action and have fought school and, when advised, still did nothing – Ito get the funding for Seanna. Her Statement was advised that they could have brought thisnow pays for one lesson per week at Dyslexia to the attention of the examining boards andAction, which is great but I want her to have as a result my child’s grades would have beenmore, at least two lessons per week.” adjusted accordingly’.Seanna said: “For me dyslexia is like I know Many parents commented on the need forwhat I want to say but I can’t write it down. more 1:1 support or smaller group teaching.I can see a word in my head and remember There were also many anecdotal commentsexactly what letters are in it but I just can’t say referring to teachers needing improved levels ofwhat that word is. When I used to write I used understanding.to find it hard as I could never spell the wordsI wanted to use, but now I am able to use Parents also commented that it was verywhat I am learning at Dyslexia Action to use important for them to be involved andany word I want. The support is helping me to there needed to be a much better level ofunderstand how I learn and I am growing in communication between them and the school.confidence. It is so good to come somewhere Some said they felt ignored and that teacherswhere they get me.” needed to listen to parents and take their concerns seriously. 19
  20. 20. Dyslexia Still Matters Among the comments relating to people’s feelings on finally being diagnosed were: ‘I was worried that I was different’; ‘I cried all day’; ‘I was ashamed’; ‘my mum knew from the age of 8 but the doctors said it was just immaturity’; ‘I was bullied by a teacher and was very confused’; ‘I already knew so it just confirmed what my parents had said since I was 6’; ‘I felt stupid, angry, upset. It really knocked my confidence’; ‘I felt mixed up; my emotions were all over the place’. Most of the 16+ dyslexic respondents reportedThe views of adults and young negative experiences from their time at school;people with dyslexia with over half saying they found being dyslexicDyslexia Action conducted an online survey of frustrating. This was compounded by unhelpfulpeople over the age of 16 with dyslexia which comments from their teachers such as:asked about their experiences of being dyslexicand of education. This was something that • ‘try harder’ - reported by nearly 83% ofwe asked our own specialist Dyslexia Action respondentsCentres to promote to their learners. The sample • 0% said teachers only ever commented on 4is therefore not an independent one, in contrast spelling and never on the ideas and contentto the YouGov survey of parents which took a • 5% said teachers made them read aloud in 6representative sample. While we are only talking front of the whole class despite their difficultiesof a relatively small sample of 128 respondents, • 8.2% said their teachers made public 3the information reflects comments we hear from comments about their difficultieslearners on a daily basis. • 0% said they made fun of mistakes or wrong 3 answersLike the parents of children with dyslexia, almostall the respondents believed that teachers One respondent reported being bullied all theshould have much better training in dyslexia and time; another was told by their teacher that theythat there should be better access to specialists would never amount to anything in life, saying: ‘Iand 1:1 support. Close behind in terms of was lazy and a troublemaker’. Another reportedpriorities, the respondents felt there should be being told: ‘I was stupid and they [teachers]more measures in schools to build confidence made me stand and tell my classmates I was(85%), good access to ICT (79%) and an stupid’. Others reported being accused ofunderstanding/sympathetic school environment cheating and of being lazy.(77%). When asked about their move to secondaryAmong this sample of adults, 35% revealed school after primary, nearly 62% said theydyslexia was not diagnosed until after the struggled with the work. Worryingly, when askedage of 21. what positive experiences they remembered from their education, 20% of our respondents reported ‘none’.20
  21. 21. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Despite all their negative experiences, over half • ore support is needed at schools and Msaid the most positive thing about going through colleges because when I was there, there waseducation with dyslexia was that they felt proud no supportof what they had achieved despite it. More than • eachers need to understand what it is like for Thalf did say that dyslexia was better recognised a child with dyslexianow than 10 years ago but 22% believe much • eachers need to actually spot when a child Tmore should be done to ensure people with could be dyslexic at primary school age anddyslexia can succeed at work. The majority act with support and knowledge(60%) believed they would have been more • ll teachers need to know how to cope with Asuccessful had they received better support dyslexic children, it should be part of theirat school. 62% believed they were able to get trainingbetter jobs because of skills training or further • ur head in our local super Ofsted school Oeducation received after school and once their says: ‘it’s not a disability!’dyslexia was diagnosed. • ecognition in all schools that this is a learning R problem and with the right support and programs it could change the lives of many children/people who are suffering, myself and my two boys included • f my son had been diagnosed and at the I very least acknowledged more in his primary setting, things would of never got so bad, and the secondary school he entered would of not had to pick up the pieces • hroughout my daughter’s junior school she T felt stupid and would never ever put her hand up in class • have had to fight to get my son’s dyslexia ISocial media recognised, more needs to be done by theDyslexia Action is actively involved in various teachers, they need to take more noticeforums on the web through which people • think all children should be tested for dyslexia Iexpress their views and exchange information. as part of the school curriculum and not waitThe identification of dyslexia and getting the until the child falls well behind in reading andright support is a subject that generates very writingpassionate opinions, particularly amongst • chool kills 99% of dyslexics - it killed me! Sparents of dyslexic children. While this evidence • rain all teachers so they can stop saying: Tis not part of either of the surveys detailed in ‘there is something not quite right with yourthis section, there are a number of views and child’opinions that we feel are important to highlight. • wish all teachers studied dyslexia as part of I their credentialingThe consensus view expressed in social media is • he ‘wait to fail’ mentality is absurd Tthat the system is bureaucratic and children arebeing failed because of the lack of identificationand limited access to the right help andsupport. Some comments we have recordedfrom individuals posting on Dyslexia Action’sFacebook wall include: 21
  22. 22. Dyslexia Still MattersWhere are we now?Assessment and specialarrangementsHighlighted below are three keys areas which Changes to the current access arrangementshave had a significant impact on children with for examinations were put forward last yeardyslexia. by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) with the publication of the annual: ‘AccessExamination access Arrangements, Reasonable Adjustments andarrangements Special Consideration – General and VocationalUnder the Equality Act (2010), pupils with Qualifications’, which has caused considerabledisabilities in England and Wales are entitled concern to students, schools and parents.to apply for special arrangements in exams togive them the opportunity to demonstrate their Confusion now exists as to whether candidatesknowledge and understanding despite problems with dyslexia or other specific learning difficultieswith reading the questions, or writing the will still receive up to 25% in extra time, moreanswers, for example. For those with dyslexia in some cases, and be entitled to other supportand literacy difficulties, such arrangements such as a scribe and/or a reader. Dyslexia Actiontypically mean extra time, but other support is working with JCQ and with other stakeholdersmay be allowed such as someone reading to resolve some key issues.the questions aloud or writing the answers,depending on the individual’s specific difficulties. Dyslexia Action’s main concern is that the changes will only allow for students who have considerable difficulties, and adjustments will only be made for those who are way below22
  23. 23. Dyslexia Action, June 2012the average in absolute terms. We know that presented and about the actions that will resultDyslexia ranges in severity and that many people from its use.can develop compensatory skills and strategiesso that they can achieve well. However, when Children who fail to reach the necessary levelunder pressure of time, it is often the case that should not wait a whole year before the effectsuse of these strategies breaks down. It is also of additional actions are assessed - that will besignificant that a very able person with dyslexia too late.may have their career options limited becausethey appear to be ‘within the average range’ in Teachers should not rely only on the informationterms of literacy whereas without the impact in the check - they will have other informationof their dyslexia they could perform well above about what a child’s literacy levels are andaverage. Should special arrangements be there should already be taking action to support thoseto level the playing field, to compensate for who have been identified as struggling muchdisability and to allow people to demonstrate earlier than the end of Year 1.what they are capable of achieving? Or are theyjust to lift the lowest in literacy to the lowest level The check may serve as a useful safety net toneeded to get through the exam? pick up children who appear to be progressing well but who lack the foundations in phonicYear 1 phonics screening check skills. Teachers need to be reassured that action A new, statutory phonics screening check to support children who seem to be doing ‘ok’ isfor all pupils will be introduced in 2012 for worthwhile in terms of longer-term gains.children aged six who are getting to the endof Year 1 in primary school. The purpose of Not a ‘catch-all’ solutionthe phonics screening is to determine whether We are also concerned that the response to aindividual pupils have mastered the basics of low result on the check should not be ‘more ofphonic decoding. Pupils who have not reached the same’. It is important that schools receivethis standard at the end of Year 1 should then support on delivering additional interventionreceive support from their school to ensure they models, with the accompanying training forcan improve their phonic decoding skills and teaching staff and teaching materials.they will be checked again a year later. Our main concern about this check is that itThe check involves reading words and non- could be presented as a complete solution towords. If a child has developed good phonic- the challenge of identifying those who havedecoding skills they will be able to work out how difficulties with literacy. Dyslexia Action believesto pronounce the non-words because these that this is a step in the right direction but it iswords cannot be read ‘by sight’. not a ‘catch all’ solution. Some children with dyslexia may do well enough to pass this checkThe introduction of the phonics screening has at this stage in their education, particularlycaused considerable debate with many teachers those who are more able or have been taughtthreatening to boycott it. Dyslexia Action has exceptionally well. However, they may havesupported the use of the check because the difficulties later down the line. Similarly,difficulty in acquiring phonic decoding skills is decoding is central to reading but it is not thealmost the ‘hallmark of dyslexia’. It is therefore whole story so teachers need to be aware ofvery helpful to identify children early who have possible difficulties in other aspects of literacysuch difficulties. However, we have some and take action to develop wider literacy skillsconcerns about the way this check is being instead of focusing just on phonics. 23
  24. 24. Dyslexia Still MattersStatutory KS2 grammar, Summarypunctuation and spelling test This short review on current issues inA new statutory test of grammar, punctuation assessment highlights that the issue of dyslexia,and spelling will be introduced for children at as a disability, has not been fully grasped acrossthe end of Key Stage 2 from May 2013. This education. Dyslexia Action appreciates thatfollows the Government’s decision to improve no ‘reasonable adjustment’ can take away thethe assessment of English writing. This decision difficulties that dyslexic people will have – towas informed by Lord Bew’s recommendation varying degrees – when they are required to(DfE, 2012) that writing composition should read and write under time pressure. But thisbe subject to teacher assessment only, with disability, just like a more obvious physicalthe more ‘technical’ aspects of English - such disability – should not condemn them to lowas punctuation and spelling - assessed via an achievement. Systems that are there to assessexternally marked test. The introduction of this ability and understanding should be accessiblenew test reflects the Government’s beliefs that to those with disabilities on equal terms but wechildren should have mastered these important haven’t got to this stage yet.aspects of English by the time they leave primaryschool and that appropriate recognition shouldbe given to good use of English throughout theirschooling.As with the Phonics Screening Check for 6-year-olds, some have objected strongly, including theNUT (2012) which says the ‘pass/fail test for sixyear olds is wrong’ and the National Associationof Head Teachers which believes the new testswere ‘a waste of taxpayers’ money’ (Sellgren,2012).Dyslexia Action has a more neutral view onthis. We would rather see an explicit test ofspelling punctuation and grammar than have anassessment of other subjects ‘polluted’ by therequirement to mark down candidates in thesesubjects who have poor spelling and grammar.We regard it as totally unacceptable thatsomeone who spells badly should be denied thechance to gain top marks in, for example, historyor geography.24
  25. 25. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Section 3:Literacy is a big issuefor the UK 25
  26. 26. Dyslexia Still MattersLiteracy and dyslexiaDyslexia may have only just got on the map in It is well documented (Stewart, 2005) thateducational terms, but literacy has been there there are huge social and financial costs as afor a long time. Those who campaign for the result of illiteracy. There are implications bothimportance of literacy may have some different for the individual that struggles to read and ourperspectives and terminology but they tend to economy as the result of underemployment,share the same overall goals as those who are unemployment and crime. These are directlyconcerned with dyslexia. Dyslexia Action has related to literacy problems as the result of poorworked closely and productively with various academic achievement, vocational training andorganisations such as The National Literacy reduced employment opportunities.Trust (www.literacytrust.org.uk) and we havefound much common ground on issues such as Appendix 2 (http://www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk/engaging boys in reading, home reading habits, dyslexia-still-matters-appendices) details thementoring and improving access to high quality trends in literacy standards across the UK overresources for teachers. the last 5-10 years based on SAT results and GCSEs (DfE, 2011). On average there has beenMany, but not all, literacy organisations and an improvement. In 1995 only 49% of childrenspecialists accept the issue of dyslexia and at KS2 were meeting expected levels in literacyrecognise that specific training support and (Level 4) but this has improved to 81% (KS2adaptations are needed if the wider world of results for 2011). But it is those with the poorestliterature is to be opened for them. At a more skills that remain static. Approximately 20% offundamental level however, Dyslexia Action is children are still not meeting expected levels inarguing that no strategy to address the challenge reading.of ‘universal literacy’ will succeed unless itacknowledges dyslexia and incorporates specific According to the Department for Business,measures for people with dyslexia. Innovation and Skills (BIS, 2010) ‘Skills for Life Survey’ the number of people with relativelyGetting it right for those with dyslexia will poor literacy skills has declined, whilst thetherefore do a great deal to lift overall standards number with the poorest skills has not changedin English language and could help lift the significantly.UK from its lowly position in the internationalcomparison league-tables. Figures from the European Commission’s Eurostat (2011) put the UK 19th out of 33The challenge countries ranked according to the proportionTrends in literacy standards through SAT results of the population aged 25 - 64 with an ‘upper(Jama Dugdale, 2012) at the end of Key secondary education’ (equivalent to A-levels).Stage 2 (KS2) show us that approximately one Just 76.1% of Britons are educated to A-levelin five school aged children are still not meeting standard compared to 92% in Lithuania forexpected levels in literacy. This means that there example.are approximately1.62 million children in Englishschools who are prevented from accessing theschool curriculum because they are unable toread well enough. These children are at a hugedisadvantage and are affectively excluded fromengaging in classroom activities.26
  27. 27. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Consequences of poor literacy –the figures speak volumesDepartment for Education Ministry of JusticeThe latest figures from the Department According to the Ministry of Justice (2011)for Education (DfE, 2011) show that an the prison population at 31 March 2012 wasestimated 5,740 children and young people are 87,531 offenders in England. Dyslexia Action’spermanently excluded from primary, secondary own research demonstrated that there is anand all special schools. Pupils with SEN overrepresentation within the prison populationstatements are around eight times more likely to compared to the UK population as a whole ofbe permanently excluded than those pupils with those with literacy difficulties and those whono SEN. According to the DfE, 75% of all school have dyslexia/SpLD. Around 50% of the prisonexclusions, some 4,260 children are permanently population, which is 30% above the populationexcluded. norm, have poor literacy skills and 20% of offenders were found to be dyslexic, which isNational Foundation of 10% above the population norm. According toEducational Research (NFER) the NOMS Annual Report and Accounts 2010-The NFER (The Dyslexia Institute, 2006) noted 11 the cost on average per prisoner is just underthat the additional cost of provision for a child £27,000 per year. The UK tax payer is thereforethat is permanently excluded is approximately paying in excess of £710 million per annum just£10,000 per annum. The cost of supporting for the overrepresentation of those with poorchildren with SEN who are excluded is therefore literacy skills.over £50 million per year. This funding wouldhave been better used to provide appropriate Department for Work andearly support in school. Pensions According to the Department for Work andYouth Justice Board Pensions (2012) the benefit expenditure forAs detailed in the Corporate and Business England and Wales in 2009/10 on IncomePlan 2011-12 to 2014-15 (D133) of the Youth Support was £7,558 million and on JobseekersJustice Board for England and Wales (2011), Allowance was £4,276 million. In 2010/2011the National Audit Office has estimated that it was £7,073 million for Income Support andthe total cost to the UK economy of offending £4,044 million for Jobseeker’s Allowance.by young people could be up to £11 billion peryear, and the proportion of young people whoreoffend stands at around 37%. 27
  28. 28. Dyslexia Still MattersInstitute of Economic Affairs Peter’s storyProfessor Len Shackleton, a fellow of the Case study 2:Institute of Economic Affairs, comments: “Lowlevels of literacy are associated with a higherrisk of unemployment in all countries. Thenumber of unskilled jobs requiring little or noliteracy (though still significant) has been fallingsharply in the UK. Perhaps, as importantly,access to jobs increasingly depends on fillingin forms and writing CVs - impossible withoutquite reasonable literacy. Another way in whichilliteracy makes people difficult to employ isthrough prison experience. Of those in prison,illiteracy is shockingly high. It’s probably thecase that prison sentences are themselves more Peter (an adult learner)likely if you are illiterate, for any given level of Peter is an example of someone who isoffence. Once incarcerated, your employability in getting his first chance of an education in hisfuture is dramatically reduced. Our literacy rates 50s. Here Peter discusses the impact of hisnow compare rather badly with emerging Asian difficulties on his career and how he tried toeconomies as well as some (though not all) keep his dyslexia a secret from his employer.European economies.” “At 52 years old I burst into tears when IWe ‘could do better’ had to tell my boss I was dyslexic. ThereThere are clear and well documented was pressure on me to get professionallong-term and significant social and economic qualifications following a restructure. I wentcosts associated with not taking a strategic to pieces. I was on medication for depressionand comprehensive approach to educating and was seeing a counsellor. I was terrified Ichildren with dyslexia and literacy difficulties. would lose my job now that my secret was out.Improvements in literacy standards have beenmade and we are making progress but we ‘could “I am now slowly coming to terms with mydo better’ at providing good literacy education situation. I now realise that being dyslexic hasfor all children and we need to do more to nothing to do with my ability. I am good at mysupport those in the lowest 20%. We could do job. Thanks to the support I am now getting Imore for people like Peter - see case study 2 am having my first opportunity at an education(right), if we help dyslexia sufferers when they and qualifications. This has helped make meare young. accept things and has given me a greater understanding about my dyslexia and about me. In time, I hope to be able to progress my career once I feel ready to sit those exams!”28
  29. 29. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Section 4:Interventions andmodels of good practice 29
  30. 30. Dyslexia Still MattersWhat works: interventionsand good practiceRecent reports such as Rose 2009 and Children and young people’s learningOFSTED 2010 have highlighted those features was least successful when:of practice that promote successful outcomes. • xpectations of disabled children and young EOFSTED’s report was concerned with good people and those who had SEN were lowlearning outcomes in general, but the points • ctivities and additional interventions were Amade are relevant to literacy and dyslexia. inappropriate and were not evaluated in terms of their effect on children and young people’sOFSTED (2010) ‘A Statement is learningNot Enough’: • esources were poor, with too little thought R having been given to their selection and useChildren and young people learnt • eachers did not spend enough time finding Tbest when: out what children and young people already• eachers presented information in different T knew or had understood ways to ensure all children and young people • eachers were not clear about what they T understood expected children and young people to learn• eachers adjusted the pace of the lesson to T as opposed to what they expected them to do reflect how children and young people were • ommunication was poor: teachers spent C learning too much time talking, explanations were• he effectiveness of specific types of support T confusing, feedback was inconsistent, was understood and the right support was put language was too complex for all children in place at the right time. and young people to understand - the tone• ssessment was secure, continuous and acted A and even body language used by adults was upon confusing• eachers’ subject knowledge was good, as T • he roles of additional staff were not planned T was their understanding of pupils’ needs and well or additional staff were not trained well how to help them and the support provided was not monitored• he staff understood clearly the difference T sufficiently between ensuring children and young people • hildren and young people had little C were learning and keeping them occupied engagement in what they were learning, usually• espect for individuals was reflected in high R as a result of the above features expectations for their achievement• esson structures were clear and familiar but L allowed for adaptation and flexibility• ll aspects of a lesson were well thought A out and any adaptations needed were made without fuss to ensure that everyone in class had accessSee table 1.1 at the end of this section for examples of interventions and good practice.30
  31. 31. Dyslexia Action, June 2012Features of good practice Effective learningSir Jim Rose’s review (2009) highlighted the In summary, effective learning for childrenimportance of teachers having an understanding with dyslexia depends on:of the normal processes of developmentin reading and spelling and, in particular, 1. A whole school ethos that respects the Simple Model of Reading. A survey of individuals’ differences, maintains highpractitioners who were consulted for this review expectations for all and promotes goodidentified the following features of good practice communication between teachers,as most important. parents and pupils 2. Knowledgeable and sensitive teachers • sing multisensory methods for teaching U who understand the processes of encouraging multisensory learning learning and the impact that specific• lanning and delivering lessons so that pupils/ P difficulties can have students experience success 3. Creative adaptations to classroom • lanning and adapting the teaching P practice enabling children with programme to meet individual needs special needs to learn inclusively and• eaching a structured programme of phonics T meaningfully, alongside their peers• uilding in regular opportunities for B 4. Access to additional learning consolidation reinforcement of teaching programmes and resources to support points already covered development of key skills and strategies• aintaining rapport with pupils/students M for independent learning• lanning a purposeful and engaging balance of P activities in lessons In the next section of this report we look at• eaching pupils/students to be aware of their T the realities of good practice in a selection of own learning strategies schools, local authorities and voluntary sector• eaching pupils/students to develop effective T providers. We chose examples here simply learning strategies to illustrate a range of practices in a range• howing sensitivity to the emotional needs of S of settings and we do not attempt to give an pupils/students exhaustive list. There are other useful sources of• eaching pupils/students to improve their T advice and information about good practice and working memory we do not wish to duplicate what is found there.• electing appropriate resources to support S See for example the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust’s particular learning needs ‘Interventions for Literacy’ website: www.interventionsforliteracy.org.uk. The commonThe features of good practice identified by thread in the examples chosen is that the bestOFSTED and by Rose show close agreement, outcomes are achieved by provision that is notand resonate well with the reports from confined to one key area but encompasses manyparents about what they have found helpful of the four features that were summarised above.or unhelpful. It is interesting to see that goodpractice for those with dyslexia is not just aboutindividualised learning programmes and thespecific content of these programs. The ethosand organisation of learning within the classroomand across the whole school also make a bigdifference. 31
  32. 32. Dyslexia Still MattersModels of good practiceSee Table 1.1 (p38-49) for interventions, results and case studiesfor all of the following examples.Achievement for All that the CDA and the Local Authority decidedAchievement for All is a tailored school to formulate its own accreditation process andimprovement framework, delivered in partnership quality mark. The purpose was to incentivisewith leaders, teachers, parents, pupils and schools to get additional training for its staff, insupport professionals. It aims to raise the return for the kudos of the quality mark.aspirations, access and achievement of pupilsidentified with Special Educational Needs Sarah Wright, CDA Chair, said: “We believeand Disabilities (SEND). A two-year pilot all qualified teachers should receive properhas demonstrated unprecedented impact for training in dyslexia and all schools should showpupils with SEND, who progressed faster on their understanding of this specific learningaverage than all pupils nationally in English and difficulty by achieving a quality mark. Strategiesmaths. The programme is part of the charity that help dyslexics help all of the class. TrainingAchievement for All 3As which is led by its in dyslexia has to be compulsory and deliveredChair, Brian Lamb OBE, author of the influential by initial teacher training providers or localLamb (2010) review on SEN, and Professor authorities. Our award is called the ‘InclusiveSonia Blandford, CEO and National Director. Dyslexia Friendly Schools (IDFS) Quality Mark’,Achievement for All is about giving pupils so it highlights its commitment to a dyslexia-opportunities to develop their strengths in other friendly approach in classrooms, which promotesways which gives them renewed confidence and inclusion of all children regardless of theirself-esteem. learning style.”Cornwall Dyslexia Association Currently, schools in Cornwall apply to theThe Cornwall Dyslexia Association (CDA) was LA if they want quality mark accreditation andestablished in 1991 by a group of parents undertake one-day training run by its dyslexiawho were concerned about their own children advisers in association with the CDA and anbecause of the little support and provision educational psychologist. So far IDFS Qualityavailable. With five years funding from the Mark awards have been given to 42 of 234Government through the Parenting Fund, and primary and 10 of 31 secondary schools in thethree years from the Lottery, the CDA provided county.free support for dyslexic families in Cornwall.This included free screening and assessment Croydon Literacy Centrefor adult dyslexics and young people; a free Croydon Literacy Centre teaches children withdrop-in advice centre; awareness training literacy difficulties including dyslexia. Childrenfor businesses, organisations and education are referred by their schools and attend theproviders; support courses for parents and Centre once or twice a week for 90 minuteschool training. Now government funding has sessions. Schools or parents pay, sometimes theceased, schools have to pay for the service. cost is shared. The Centre works closely with both parents and schools. They also carry outCornwall was one of the first to pilot the British training for teachers and teaching assistants inDyslexia Association’s ‘Dyslexia Friendly Schools schools and at the Centre to increase their skillsQuality Mark’ (2012). It was such a success in supporting children with literacy difficulties.32
  33. 33. Dyslexia Action, June 2012The Centre strongly believes that the children practical skills such as interview preparation andthat are referred to them would not achieve writing applications. The specific aspects of thein the same way if they had not received programme depend on the needs and prioritiesadditional support. Normally they see a dramatic of the learner but will usually have a core ofimprovement in self-confidence and self-esteem skills development with the aim of producingbecause many of the children had already failed independent and confident learners.in their school and felt bad about themselves.Their work with parents and the child helps to Dyslexia Action also delivers training for teacherschange this perception over time. The Centre and teaching assistants from initial awarenesssays that many of the children make such sessions for classroom teachers and up toexcellent progress that they are within the norms postgraduate qualifications for specialists.for their year group after having ‘support’ inschool. Dyslexia Action has a track record of providing expert and effective support to individuals asA Croydon Literacy Centre spokesperson said: shown in the twice-yearly progress testing that“Teachers need special training in dyslexia. A pupils are given when following the Dyslexiacombination of initial teacher training and local Institute Literacy Programme or its Units ofspecialist courses would work best. Until you Sound Programme. Typical gains by poorhave experience in the classroom, the reality of readers, in the 2010 results, were five standardthe difficulty you might have moving a child on is score points on comprehension and three pointsunimaginable.” on word identification over a six-month period. Improvements in standard scores indicate ‘catchDyslexia Action’s Centres up’ to the average level. These typical findingsDyslexia Action (DA) has 26 main Centres, agree with the results of the SPELL-IT study47 teaching outposts and over 100 units (Rack 2005) where a sample of seven-year-oldsin maintained and independent schools with very poor reading skills made two standardthroughout the United Kingdom. We provide a score gains over a 24-week intervention usingcomprehensive service for children and adults the DILP programme, whereas a comparisonwith dyslexia and literacy difficulties including group monitored over the same time fell back bydiagnostic assessments, advice sessions for two standard score points.parents, workplace consultations and adviceon adaptations and use of technology, as wellas group and individual tutoring in teachingcentres and partner schools and colleges. Wealso provide early intervention for primary agedchildren; study skills for teenagers; programmesfor those with maths difficulties; workplacecoaching for adults and tailor-made programmesfor all. Much of our work focuses on developingthe sound-symbol relationship in written andspoken language using highly-structuredmultisensory teaching programmes. It alsoinvolves a focus on the individual special needsof learners, whether that be with organisationaland memory skills, developing vocabulary or 33