Dyslexia Friendly Schools

In session 2011-2012, all South Ayrshire Primary schools were working towards Dyslexia Friendly status.  This project is linked to national developments, such as the 2008 HMIE report Education for Learners with Dyslexia, and the 2010 launch of the Scottish Dyslexia Assessment Toolkit, as well as Curriculum for Excellence.

In January 2012 a Secondary School pilot involving three SAC Secondary Schools was launched.

Prestwick Academy is one of these schools.

    “Research suggest that 30 % of pupils at risk of literacy failure can be reduced to 3% with effective dyslexia-friendly classroom teaching and “compensatory interaction”

    “being an effective school and becoming dyslexia friendly seem to be two sides of the same coin”
    Neil Mackay, 2001

    Poster produced by Anna Waterston (2e)

      What does being a Dyslexia Friendly School involve?

      In South Ayrshire, each Dyslexia Friendly School completes a process of self-evaluation which involves:

      • A designated  member of staff who links with key staff in other pilot schools
      • DFS as part of the school’s improvement plan
      • Training and awareness raising for all staff
      • An audit of current practice
      • Setting up a school steering group
      • Preparing a DFS action plan
      • Including views of parents and young people
      • Implementing an action plan over 24 -36 months

      School Steering Group

      • Mr Noble (PT Pupil Support)
      • Mrs Steele (Pupil Support teacher)
      • Mrs Clark (Pupil Support teacher)
      • Mrs Malkin (English teacher)
      • Mr Rivans (History teacher)
      • Mr Docherty (Pupil Support Coordinator)
      • Ms Whitehead (Educational Psychologist)

      South Ayrshire Dyslexia Strategy assumes:

      • that dyslexia can be identified as a specific delay in literacy skills which persists despite appropriate support
      • that early identification and intervention are  critical
      • that assessment and intervention begin with the class teacher
      • that  learners’ understanding of their dyslexia,  and their views on how they are supported, are crucial
      • that parents’ and carers’ views are  important
      • that the focus should be on addressing individual needs which may vary widely

      “It has to be remembered at all stages that dyslexia is on a continuum, varying from mild to severe with a range of difficulties and strengths according to the nature of the activity undertaken, the learning environment and any coping strategies and support in place.

      As a result, every individual with dyslexia will differ in the range of factors that are affected and in the level of severity experienced.”
      Scottish Dyslexia Assessment Toolkit, 2010

      Dyslexia Friendly Schools should ensure that:

      • Parents are given clear early notice of any school concerns
      • Parents’ concerns are respected and 
      • acknowledged
      • Information from parents contributes to the young person’s literacy profile
      • Workshops are available for parents to help them support their young person’s learning.

      In dyslexia friendly schools the focus has changed from establishing what is wrong with the child in order to make them “better”, to what is right in the classroom in order to enhance the effectiveness of learning.

      Schools will also be expected to have:

      • A written dyslexia policy
      • Clear guidelines on marking 
      • Clear guidelines on homework
      • Tracking of literacy skills

      Books for children and young people:

      • My Name Is Brian Brain (Apple Paperbacks) 
      • Brian Has Dyslexia (A Dr. Spot Casebook) 
      • It’s Called Dyslexia (Live & Learn)  ( Jennifer Moore-Mallinos  and Nuria Roca)
      • It’s Just Dyslexia  ( Marlene D. Hauck)
      • So You Think You’ve Got Problems? (Rosalind Birkett)
      • Dyslexia: A Teenager’s Guide  (Sylvia Moody)