Dyslexia Action Report

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  • 1.Dyslexia Still MattersDyslexia in our schools today:Progress, challenges andsolutions

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 ismanifestations 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 itsA call for action -recommendations; these are worthy of seriousSir Jim Rose, former attention if we are to take further decisive actionChief Inspectoron dyslexia.for Schools andJim Rose (June, 2012)author of theIndependent ReviewThe need for thison Identification and reportSupport for Pupils with Kevin Geeson, ChiefDyslexia and Literacy Difficulties. Executive of DyslexiaTrue to its name and purpose, Dyslexia Action Actionhas consistently focused on responding directlyHave 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 thatwe should be doing so everyone with dyslexiaimpact upon childrens 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 theDyslexia 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 sustainHowever, evidence tells us there is still a greatthat momentum by making sure any newdeal to be done to ensure all dyslexic children inarrangements are sufficiently flexible, not onlyschools have a better chance to succeed. Thefor children with the most severe and complex level of understanding of dyslexia in schools2 3. Dyslexia Action, June 2012varies considerably and we are a long way offare far from making such high quality practiceembedding good practice in all parts of ouruniversal.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 andneeds. Obviously, securing the best possible,other literacy difficulties can succeed. affordable provision for these children is cruciallyDyslexia Action is calling for dyslexia to remainimportant. 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 drawwith high-incidence, lower-severity needs.together the best expertise, materials and Because of time constraints the SEN pathfindersservices 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, weleaving all those with special needs considerablygive the findings of two surveys that look atworse 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 educationneed to wait for pathfinders is questioned onsystem and how proposed changes provide athe grounds that a great deal is already knownmix of hope and concern. We explore the currentabout 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 Actionpathfinding routes that are already well-trodden.The Governments reform of the SpecialEducational Needs system presents a not-to-Our main message to Government is that:be missed opportunity to build on the soundwe dont have to wait - there are positive andplatform of evidence which shows how all kinds affordable things that can be done now; so letsof schools deliver highly effective educationwork together and put an end to the sufferingfor learners who suffer from various aspects ofand sense of failure that is still felt by too manydyslexia and stubborn problems with learning tochildren 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 we3 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. Dyslexia Action, June 2012ContentsReport purpose 02Dyslexia Still Matters - Summary of findings and recommendations07Positive and negative findingsAction neededA call for actionA way forwardSection 1: Dyslexia11What 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 UK25Literacy and dyslexiaThe challengeConsequences of poor literacy - the figures speak volumesWe could do betterSection 4: Interventions and models of good practice 29What works: interventions and good practiceOFSTED (2010) A Statement is Not EnoughModels 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. Dyslexia Still Matters6 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 dyslexianot 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 specialistpatchy and Dyslexia Action too often still hearsdyslexia centres are doing a fantastic job foraccounts 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 and2. Parents continue to report that:guidance.a)ifficulties in their childrens learning are not D3. The most effective practice involves apicked 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 an