Dyslexia Friendly School Pledge: 1st in East Lothian!

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Many congratulations are in order for Yester Primary School which is the first in the region to be recognised as a Dyslexia Friendly School. The school is an example of excellent practice in terms of raising awareness of, and making appropriate provision for, the needs of learners with dyslexia. A key element was the emphasis on the fact that dyslexia friendly strategies and teaching approaches are also good for all learners.

Areas of strength for development were identified using an audit tool that I devised after studying the BDA guidance (that doesn’t pertain to Scotland). Under the leadership of Lesley Cusack, SfL teacher, areas for focus were prioritised. All staff, including support staff, were involved in several CPD sessions, and a group of P7 pupils prepared and presented a lively and informative assembly for the whole school. Parents were also invited to participate and an awareness raising evening is planned for next session during Dyslexia Awareness Week.

The process will not end here: Yester will continue to develop knowledge and understanding about dyslexia with the strong, committed leadership of Lesley Cusack (and any support I can offer).

Well done Lesley and well done Yester!

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Dyslexia Friendly School in Action

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What a fabulous time I had first thing on Monday morning when I went to Yester Primary School’s Dyslexia Awareness assembly. 

This was part of the whole school’s drive to fulfil the ‘Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge’ as well as of the Support for Learning teacher, Lesley Cusack’s participation in a leadership course. The staff have done a great deal of professional development this year, both in terms of formal sessions run by Lesley and myself and the everyday, almost incidental discussions about the learning needs of individuals that go on every week of the year.

Lesley had asked for volunteers from the p7’s and got offers of help from 10 children, only a couple of whom have dyslexia.

The children told the rest of the school what  difficulties and strengths learners with dyslexia may have in a most professional and entertaining way.

Then they talked about learning styles, stressing that we are all different and that diversity is to be celebrated.

Finally they walked (or rather sang) the talk. They sang a song with actions and before asking the gathered crowd to follow suit, asked them to show whether they had preferred to listen, see or do the actions.

It was interesting to see that there were a fair few who preferred to look or listen rather than act; although of course the majority identified themselves as kinaesthetic leaners.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable session which very neatly illustrated something of what it means to have dyslexia.

All credit to the children – and of course to Lesley for her indefatigable work.