Dyslexia Making Sense Working Group minutes: August 2017

Minutes from Dyslexia Making Sense Working Group's twelfth meeting on 29 August 2017.

Attendees and apologies


  • Deborah Walker, (chair), Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government
  • Camille Sicre, (secretariat), Scottish Government
  • Fran Ranaldi, Development Officer, Education Scotland
  • Cathy Magee, Chief Executive, Dyslexia Scotland
  • Lani Florian, Edinburgh University representing the Inclusion Group of the Scottish Council of Deans of Education
  • Mike Gibson, Director, Dyslexia Scotland
  • Davey Jones, Cross Party Group on Dyslexia


  • John Butcher, ADES
  • John Urquhart, COSLA
  • Teresa Moran, Dundee University
  • Ellen Doherty, General Teacher Education Committee
  • Melanie Rice, ASPEP

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introduction

1.1. Deborah Walker (DW) welcomed members to the 12th meeting of the Dyslexia ‘Making Sense’ Working Group and noted apologies.

2. Minutes of previous meeting

2.1. Minutes of previous meeting held on 3 May 2017 had been circulated and cleared as an accurate summary. The group formally accepted the minute and this will now be published on the SG website.

3. Progress Updates

Workstream 1: To ensure all teachers, support staff, learners and parents have access to up-to-date practical advice and guidance (Paper 3.1)

3.1.1. Dyslexia Scotland ran a branch residential weekend on 13-14 May. The event was attended by 33 volunteers. The toolkit was well received and the volunteers who attended now have a key role to disseminate the refreshed toolkit and online training modules in their own areas.

3.1.2. Fran Ranaldi (FR) confirmed that there would be more free resources for teachers becoming available on the toolkit.

3.1.3. People are using the toolkit email address as part of the schools training. Cathy Magee (CM) mentioned how the toolkit is very easy to access and available on smartphone and that this is being mentioned in feedback as a good selling point. Statistics have showed that 46% people are looking at the toolkit on their mobile devices.

3.1.4. The new website has proved to be easier to map training and includes a small presentation which could be used at future Committee meetings or to use for the branches.

3.1.5. Dyslexia Scotland ran a road show in Arran on the 17 & 18 May which was mostly attended by teachers. A meeting will be taking place in Shetland to provide information on the toolkit to parents.

3.1.6. A meeting with Dundee local authority took place on 9 August and included a group of Education Support Officers for literacy. Again, very positive feedback on the refreshed toolkit. During the meeting an issue around the definition of dyslexia that is used in the toolkit was raised. The toolkit uses the Scottish Government definition, however in Dundee they are still using the BDA definition. CM confirmed that the Educational Psychologist in Dundee has agreed to look again at the definition and asked CM and FR to submit evidence that supports the Scottish Government definition. The group agreed that any progress that can be made to get local authorities to recognise that dyslexia is not always and/or in isolation, linked to literacy and that there are a number of other recognised characteristics. The group felt however, that there has been a significant move in support of the Scottish Government definition.

3.1.7. The Dyslexia Scotland Conference will take place at Strathclyde University on 28 October. The keynote speakers are Sue Ellis, Professor of Education at Strathclyde University and Anne Margaret Smith, founder of English Language Teaching Well. Paul and Julie McNeil who are well-known ambassadors for Dyslexia Scotland will be delivering an inspirational speech called ‘Dyslexia beyond the school gates’. The toolkit and training modules will be one of the key workshops which will focus on implementation resources.

3.1.8. DW confirmed that a meeting will be set up with John Butcher (JB) as the SOLACE and ADES representative to bring him up to date with the work of the group. FR offered to attend the meeting along with DW.

Action: DW to arrange meeting with JB.

Workstream 2: Career long professional learning (Paper 3.2)

3.2.1. It was confirmed that Module 2 of the three online training modules will be going live next week. Work is on-going for Module 3 and it is hoped that this will be launched early in 2018.

3.2.2. DW confirmed that the sub group meeting with GTCS took place on the 23 June and 20 July to explore options for the development of a dyslexia professional recognition award, using the new dyslexia training modules. A workable option was identified – through a pilot programme funded by SG grant to Dyslexia Scotland – a group of teachers from throughout Scotland will get supported through a serious of masterclasses to work towards their professional recognition in dyslexia identification and support. Teachers participating on the programme must sign up to apply for their professional recognition with GTCS. The pilot will support 20-30 teachers gain professional recognition. CM confirmed that the response has been overwhelming – with Dyslexia Scotland having received 90 applications for the pilot. A sift panel has been set up for the applications and it is hoped that applicants will be informed of the outcome of application by the end of the week. The first masterclass takes place on the 30 September. The pilot will run into next year with teachers expected to submit for professional recognition before the Summer 2018. The panel welcomed this news and agreed that this was welcome development to have a teacher dyslexia professional recognition routeway in Scotland.

3.2.3. CM also confirmed that Dyslexia Scotland will be applying for a GTCS Award that recognises organisations that support teacher lifelong learning. This award will add to the credibility and quality of the pilot and the online training modules.

3.2.4. FR recognised the support received from the Open University in supporting the development of the online training modules and confirmed that Module 1 of the online training modules has been shortlisted for the Glasgow Herald’s Global Game Changers Awards under the category of ‘Collaboration for Change’. The awards will be presented at an evening dinner event on Wednesday 13 September at the Glasgow Science Centre.

3.2.5. Davy Jones (DJ) suggested that the group look at other avenues to promote the online training modules and mentioned that CoSLA have an award for local authority staff training.

Action: DJ will check with CoSLA regarding local authority staff training award.

3.2.6. FR confirmed that her secondment to Education Scotland is due to end in October, however it is hoped that an extension to her secondment can be negotiated, if this goes ahead it is hoped the extension would be until June 2018. The group welcomed the commitment of Education Scotland and the Scottish Government for the extended funding for the secondment post and acknowledged the commitment and progress that FR has made in this key role and driving forward the recommendations from the ‘Making Sense’ review. The group agreed that the Development Officer post within Education Scotland has been key to the success of implementing a number of the recommendations.

Workstream 3: Initial teacher education and postgraduate awards/courses (Paper 3.3)

3.3.1. DW referred the group to the Initial Teacher Education Content Analysis report that was emailed to members. The report has quantitative information on the content of ITE programmes in Scotland and is a first attempt to understand the way in which ITE providers support student teachers to develop their knowledge and skills to be a teacher in 21st century Scotland.

3.3.2. One of the key findings of the report was that the dedicated hours of contact for literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing, equality and data literacy was wide ranging. DW explained that further research would be undertaken as the quantitative data was only part of a much wider picture. Further research would be to collect qualitative data, especially around Teacher preparation as this appears to be one of the significant variables in the difference in the performance of new teacher education.

3.3.3. DW asked if there was a way to promote the use of Module 1 in ITE programmes. CM confirmed that an offer to run a masterclass event for teachers and ITE students in Dundee in January at Dundee University has been offered. FR confirmed that a number of places at the masterclass event in Edinburgh on 26 September had also been offered to ITE students. The group welcomed the involvement of ITE students in the masterclass events and that it would be interesting to see the opinion of ITE students at the masterclasses. FR offered to meet with some ITE students and discuss their thoughts on whether the module could fit in their course.

3.3.4. Lani Florian (LF) explained that some variance in the content of ITE must be expected. There are approximately 8/9 ITE providers in Scotland. While there are GTCS standards that all ITE providers must meet, each provider is different and offers a range of ITE programmes and experience. LF suggested that a deeper level of mapping of ITE programmes was needed. LF explained that a mapping tool had been developed through funding from the Council of Europe to support education in the Balkans. LF explained that she had found the mapping tool very useful and suggested that she could raise this at the next SCDE Inclusion Group meeting in September as a way to offer to map inclusion content within ITE.

Action: LF to email DW the mapping tool and some background information. DW to check with ITE policy colleagues that a mapping exercise would not be duplicating any work that they are planning to do.

3.3.5. FR confirmed that SCEL are moving to Education Scotland.

Workstream 4: Improving the quality of educational outcomes for children and young people with dyslexia (paper 3.4)

3.4.1. FR confirmed draft on inclusive practise will be out around September.

3.4.2. Dyslexia Scotland have funding from the Scottish Government for a Dyslexia Ambassador education/outreach programme for schools to raise awareness of dyslexia. This programme will provide support to those pilot schools already identified within Glasgow, Midlothian and South Lanarkshire. CM provided a brief outline of the programme and members of the group were invited to contact CM if they wanted more information.

3.4.3. DW suggested that this programme could be a vehicle to undertake some meaningful children and young people (C&YP) engagement. FR also highlighted this could also be done through some early evening conversation events for C&YP.

Action: DW to arrange sub group meeting of WS4 with aim of developing a strategy proposal for C&YP engagement.

3.4.4. DJ highlighted a recent report on Mental Health in schools that shows the impact that Dyslexia has on Mental Health in young people.

4. AOB

4.1. DW asked members for their views on the life span of the Dyslexia ‘Making Sense’ working group. She suggested that as a number of key works are currently on-going, some of which we will not be able to evaluate until June/July of next year, that a review next year would be appropriate. Members agreed to review the work of the group, remit and life span of the group in June 2018.

5. Date of next meeting

5.1. The next meeting will be arranged around November this year. A Doodle Poll will be sent to canvass the most suitable date and time.

5.2. DW thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting was brought to a close.

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