Raising awareness

Moving on


This week, schools around the country have participated in events aimed at raising dyslexia awareness.

DAW2017Last week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend ACAMH‘s conference Dyslexia from assessment to intervention, one of many events to mark Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017.

Professor Maggie Snowling talked about how research is confirming the links between language and literacy development and the heritability of learning differences. (Read her thoughts on developmental language disorder (DLD) and Dyslexia)

Continuing the Dyslexia Debate, Professor Julian Elliott said that all learners struggling with literacy acquisition must be given appropriate and timely support.

Dr Gavin Reid shared practical advice and support recommendations across the curriculum to help develop the skills and confidence for children to become successful learners.

All of the speakers agreed that early identification and support of learning differences is the key to unlocking education.

For some parents and teachers, this message is already a familiar one. For others,  it may be eye-opening, and we hope this will lead to earlier identification and support for many children. Nevertheless, there is a risk that now the fanfare is over for another year, some will move on, perhaps assuming that a ‘qualified’ colleague will take responsibility for identifying and supporting students’ needs.


There, I’ve said it. And I don’t just mean moral duty, I mean professional, legal responsibility. Here it is in black and white:

Teachers’ Standards:

A teacher must:

  • know when and how to differentiate appropriately, using approaches which enable pupils to be taught effectively
  • have a secure understanding of how a range of factors can inhibit pupils’ ability to learn, and how best to overcome these
  • demonstrate an awareness of the physical, social and intellectual development of children, and know how to adapt teaching to support pupils’ education at different stages of development
  • have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.

SEND Code of Practice:

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:  

  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age…


The Equality Act 2010 sets out the legal obligations that schools, early years providers, post-16 institutions, local authorities and others have towards disabled children and young people:

  • They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services, to ensure that disabled children and young people are not at a substantial disadvantage compared with their peers. This duty is anticipatory – it requires thought to be given in advance to what disabled children and young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage…

There are many teachers and organisations working hard to ensure every learner’s needs are identified and met. If we work together all year round, I believe we can make a significant positive impact. Here are just a few of the many related blogs and websites. I hope that you will find them helpful.

Blog: A life less ordinary

Blog: Made by dyslexia

Blog: thinkpix

Blog: SEN resources

For parents: Dyslexia Assist

For students/adults: The Codpast

Support, information, events, resources: Operation Diversity

British Dyslexia Association: parents’ page

British Dyslexia Association: educators’ page

British Dyslexia Association: employers’ page

More posts about supporting literacy learning can be found here:

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