For those of you who regularly read our blog, you may have noticed a distinct absence of news from me. It is not because I have been doing nothing, but rather that I have been doing a lot and I am shamelessly hijacking our Rathfinny blog to tell you about it!
Many of you will know that I have been actively involved in the world of dyslexia for many years now, that our Trust is part of the national Dyslexia SpLD Trust and that I have lobbied hard to change the way teachers are trained in this country. It is estimated that 10% of the population are dyslexic, that’s 3 children on average in every class.
The Fish in the Tree report that we published last year, showed that 74% of teachers didn’t feel that they’d been trained with the skills necessary to teach those with dyslexia, yet 84% thought it was important that they had this training.
The problem isn’t just about dyslexia – it’s about teachers having the skills to teach any child who struggles with literacy. The national statistics show we have a problem:
- 1 in 4 children fail to master the basics of writing in primary school.
- 1 in 9 children fail to master the basics of reading in primary school.
- A third of pupils did not reach a grade C in English GCSE last year.
- We have 6 million functionally illiterate adults in the UK, unable to read a tin of baked beans!
Over the past 5 years I’ve been working with Ark schools to put in place a literacy programme that addresses this. It’s called Drive for Literacy. None of it is rocket science but what makes it different is that it addresses the problem from a whole school perspective, from senior leadership recognising the need for their teachers to understand that some children have literacy problems like dyslexia and that there is merit in addressing this. Teachers are trained, children are screened, interventions are put in place and parents are consulted. So far, it’s had really encouraging results, with these children with a SEN (special educational need) achieving almost as well as other children without issues do nationally on their phonics test, and over twice as well as other children with SEN in our country.
Today, we’ve launched a website www.driveryouthtrust.com that details Drive for Literacy and offers easy to access, free resources for teachers, parents and dyslexic pupils. There’s a series of short films, the most poignant I think is ‘What it feels like to be dyslexic’ – and you may recognise some of the participants!!
Why am I telling you this? I need your help to spread the word to schools and teachers you know, parents of dyslexics and other dyslexics.
Join the campaign:
The #YouKnowADyslexic campaign includes a video endorsement from Eddie Izzard, who is himself dyslexic: Win a sausage (and learn about dyslexia).
The Trust is encouraging everyone to support the campaign:
· Tweet using the hashtag #YouKnowADyslexic – take a picture!
· Follow @DriverTrust on twitter
· Download free resources from www.driveryouthtrust.com
Tell all your friends and especially any teachers and parents with children with dyslexia about this free resource.