Dyslexia Friendly Schools

Here is a video clip from teachers tv. I can’t seem to embed it. Sorry. It’s worth looking at if you have 15 minutes. It looks at ‘increasing the understanding of what it is to be a learner with dyslexia at school and offers innovative classroom strategies to help dyslexic pupils to achieve’.

This session I have been working with 5 primary schools piloting our own Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge. I have worked with staff to audit extant provision and set targets, acting as consultant and verifier throughout the process. The aim is to encourage schools to promote excellent practice as it carries out its role of supporting and challenging learners with dyslexia to be successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. An effective school (with strong leadership which values staff development and pays close attention to the quality of learning and teaching) is inevitably going to be dyslexia friendly.

A Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge is recognition of how a focus on dyslexia can lead to improved learning and teaching for many pupils. To be a Dyslexia Friendly School, the issue of dyslexia needs to be seen to have status. All staff need to commit to supporting learners with dyslexia across the whole curriculum. A whole school, and ultimately region-wide, approach is necessary to translate policy into practice.

The Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge aims to support schools to:

• audit current practice,

• identify areas for development,

 ensure excellent provision for learners with dyslexia

• share best practice.

At the beginning of the session, senior management and support for learning staff and I, as the Outreach Teacher in the Dyslexia Support Service, examined provision for learners with dyslexia in the following areas: • identification of dyslexia

• intervention

• school ethos

• transitions

• training and awareness raising for staff and pupils

• practice within the classroom

• homework

• role of senior management and promoted staff

• information for parents/carers.

 We collated our audit into 4 areas:

• Focusing:

• Developing: meeting the needs of dyslexic learners satisfactorily.

• Established: supporting and promoting good practice in all areas of the school.

• Enhanced: extending outstanding practice and sharing across the region.

 A report on the progress of each of the 5 schools and a plan for further development in the next session will be presented to the department of Inclusion and Equality who will then decide whether to take the Pledge forward in other schools in the session 2009/10.

I am grateful to the BDA for its guidance on Dyslexia Friendly Schools and to Liz McKelvie of Stravaig E Consultants Ltd for advice.