Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Dyslexia Friendly Schools

The local authority is committed to supporting schools in developing a variety of approaches to inclusive practice, including Dyslexia Friendly Schools. This support has to be planned and sustained to facilitate development and dissemination of practice. An example of this is the Dounby Community School Dyslexia Friendly Schools Development. The following policy statement has been evolved by the staff at Dounby School in relation to the work carried out over a 2 year period.

Dounby Community School recognises the unique contribution of every individual in the school community. It is an inclusive school in which pupils of all abilities and from all cultures and backgrounds are valued and their achievements matter. The good progress of all our pupils is of paramount importance.

Aims

  • All pupils will make satisfactory or better progress towards their individual targets.
  • Parents will be well informed about their child’s progress so that we can work in partnership to celebrate success and overcome difficulties.
  • Any pupils or pupil group experiencing barriers to their learning will be rapidly identified and action taken to overcome each barrier.

Aspects of Practice

We strive to:

  • Create an ethos of achievement. Create a climate of high expectation.
  • Value a broad range of talents, abilities and achievements.
  • Promote success and self-esteem.
  • Remove barriers to learning.
  • Combat discrimination.
  • Promote understanding and appreciation of diversity.

Training

In our school the Support for Learning Teacher leads policy and practice and is in a position to ensure that whole school policy is translated into classroom based practice. We recognise that whole school awareness training for all contact staff is essential. A catch-up programme is in place for new staff – teachers, Support for Learning Assistants and ancillary staff joining the school.

Identification, Assessment and Monitoring

A key attribute of a Dyslexia Friendly School is the willingness to respond quickly to perceived needs without waiting for a formal assessment. This inclusive, dyslexia friendly response comes from class teachers who are empowered to identify learning issues and respond appropriately as part of their day to day teaching. There are clear referral procedures for identification, assessment and monitoring through a ‘staged approach’.

Response to Need

In a dyslexia friendly classroom learners are supported to be the best they can be. There are a range of strategies that promote effective teaching and learning for all pupils:

  • Class, group and individual learning.
  • Recognition and use of different learning styles.
  • Flexible teaching.
  • Differentiation of the ways in which pupils may record information.
  • Differentiated assessments.
  • Individual target marking to highlight selected key elements.
  • Out of class opportunities for small group or 1:1 support.
  • Where possible or appropriate, opportunities for the reinforcement of core skills are taken in before and after school sessions.

Parents as Partners

Parents or carers are actively encouraged to be involved in their children’s learning. Clear information, advice and support is available for parents.

  • The school is proactive and makes contact with parents as soon as any concerns are raised.
  • Parents are consulted both formally and informally at parents’ meetings, IEP and review meetings, home/school diaries, phone calls and consultations.
  • Staff respond promptly and sensitively to parental concerns and treat parents as partners.

Summary

At Dounby Community School we recognise that many apparent learning difficulties may actually turn out to be learning differences which can be minimised or overcome by a change in approach.

Dounby School has adopted a wide range of dyslexia friendly strategies. More information on these strategies is available from the document in the Related Downloads section.