Dyslexia Making Sense Working Group minutes: May 2017

Minutes from Dyslexia Making Sense Working Group's eleventh meeting on 3 May 2017.

Attendees and apologies


  • Deborah Walker, (Chair), Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government
  • Kevin Barr (Secretariat), Scottish Government
  • John Urquhart, COSLA
  • Fran Ranaldi, Development Officer, Education Scotland
  • Cathy Magee, Chief Executive, Dyslexia Scotland
  • Mike Gibson, Director, Dyslexia Scotland
  • Teresa Moran, Dundee University


  • Ellen Doherty, General Teacher Education Committee
  • John Butcher, ADES
  • Davey Jones, Cross Party Group on Dyslexia
  • Lani Florian, Edinburgh University representing Scottish Teacher Education Committee
  • Melanie Rice, ASPEP

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introduction

1.1. Deborah Walker (DW) welcomed members to the 11th meeting of the Dyslexia ‘Making Sense’ Working Group and noted apologies.

2. Minutes of previous meeting held on 6 February (Paper 2)

2.1. The minute of the previous meeting held on 6 February 2017, has 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

DW began by reflecting on the successful launch of the refreshed Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit, asking if there was any feedback from the day. Some members of the working group highlighted how well the young ambassador did with his presentation. The group also felt that the strong media coverage helped with the success of the launch. DW also asked the group whether they received any feedback on the refreshed toolkit. Cathy Magee (CM) informed the group that they were receiving a lot of queries and email feedback about the Toolkit and modules following the event. Other members stated they received many pieces of positive feedback.

DW mentioned that she had received only one piece of negative feedback, via AGASL. One LA stated they felt that the toolkit was not broad enough in terms of inclusive practice. The group discussed whether the expectations of teachers may be inaccurate, and that they should point them in the direction of resources such as the Autism Toolbox.

FR mentioned that following a dissemination event she ran in South Lanarkshire a number of attendees had asked for support to take the toolkit back to their own schools for dissemination. The working group discussed this point and agreed that it would be good practice to provide a Dissemination Support Guidance resource so that delegates attending the events are then supported to disseminate within their own schools.

3.1. Workstream 1: access to current advice/guidance (Paper 3.1)

3.1.1. FR talked about successful events she had run in August and more recently, events for North Lanarkshire and the Northern Alliance. The Northern Alliance event had teachers from

  • Highlands
  • Aberdeen
  • Angus (Not part of NA)

These events are aimed at

  • Primary school teachers (mainly)
  • Some secondary teachers
  • Educational Psychologists
  • ASN Teachers

3.1.2. At the most recent event for the Northern Alliance, FR confirmed that during the event she had heard some negative feedback in relation to some teachers attending who felt the event did not have much relevance for them.

FR also mentioned rolling the events out across the following

  • Shetland (31st May, 2nd June)
  • Inverness (September)

3.1.3. FR also discussed a parents/carers survey that Enquire Scotland had conducted, which had received over 500 responses. The survey highlighted that parents wanted to be able to find out more information about Additional Support Needs from their local school, as many felt that information from schools was poor and often incorrect or misleading.

Mike Gibson (MG) highlighted a newspaper article from The Times/Scotsman which he will send on.

3.1.4. The group also discussed how interesting it was that they are receiving a lot of feedback via social media platforms.

3.1.5. DW discussed with the group the possibility of a set of Glow Dissemination Events, highlighting that FR could do a range of seminars on this. The group also discussed the possibility of an evaluation with people who were unable to attend the event in person – such as an online survey. If the evaluation worked, they could put a link to the toolkit.

3.1.6. DW raised the Dyslexia Scotland Education Conference and Cathy Magee (CM) indicated that there was a range of workshops planned at the Conference, which is being held in Strathclyde University on 28th Oct. FR confirmed that two session at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival had been secured.

3.1.7. CM highlighted the increase in funding that SG is providing to Dyslexia Scotland. CM explained that some of the increased funding would be used to fund their new Ambassador education / outreach programme in schools. The programme will raise awareness of dyslexia throughout the whole school environment while embedding the Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit into everyday practice. The programme hoped to engage with 10 primary schools across 3 or 4 different LAs and provide them with a tailored programme over the academic year. In Year 1 they hope to deliver 4 workshops to 10 schools, a total of 40 workshops. Workshop one will be aimed at teachers and teaching staff. Workshop two will be an interactive working session with pupils, highlighting the concept of dyslexia and will involve Paul McNeill, a Dyslexia Scotland Ambassador and Rossie Stone, a cartoon artist and creator of Dekko comics. Workshop three will be an awareness workshop for parents. Workshop four will be a celebration of the progress and participation of the school in the programme. The group discussed which LAs will be chosen. Although the group is unaware at this stage of the local authorities involved, they agree that the events could be linked back to the pilots LA’s. The group agreed to send a list of pilots/LAs to John Butcher after the meeting.

3.1.8. CM also discussed a series of masterclass events. The first 5 events involve taking participants through the toolkit/1st module. They are also running 3 masterclass events for 20 people taking part in Module 3, linking in with GTCS as part of the professional recognition award. By March 2018, the group hope to have feedback from people who have completed the pilot module 3 which will be incorporated into the final version of module 3.

3.1.9. Teresa Moran (TM) asked if there were any plans to link the modules to SCQF. FR indicated they were working with Open University in order to see if there is scope to link with it. Having an online training resource was also discussed by the members.

3.1.10. DW confirmed that a further meeting with Ellen Doherty would take place between now and the next working group meeting in August and that we hoped to provide more detailed information on how the module 3 Professional Recognition pilot will operate and be rolled out.

3.2. Workstream 2: career long professional learning (Paper 3.2)

3.2.1. It was confirmed that FR and DW plan to meet with GTCS before the end of the month.

3.2.2. Members also highlighted there had been a productive discussion involving increased funding and how it could be used to support the rollout of module 3.

3.3. Workstream 3: initial teacher education (paper 3.3)

3.3.1. The group reflected on progress of workstream 3. It had been agreed last year that the Inclusion Framework had been refreshed and was a comprehensive guide to support ITE and agreed that at the current time no further action or work was required. However, the group agreed to identify opportunities to measure standards in relation to dyslexia and inclusion training within ITE. One of those opportunities could be through the research that Charlene Simpson had undertaken into ITE.

3.3.2. DW confirmed that the review of ITE which was being conducted by Charlene Simpson was now complete. The review report was not available yet but DW hoped that it would be before the next meeting of the working group in August 2017. DW suggested, as a course of action, that once the review report is available, she will email it round the working group. The purpose of this is for the group to discuss the report and its recommendations to inform the work and actions that the group can undertake to support workstream 3 and the improvements recommended in the Dyslexia ‘Making Sense’ Review. Members agreed with this proposal.

3.3.3. Some members asked if we were satisfied that the Council of Deans of Education were being updated on the new dyslexia training modules. TM confirmed that they had been informed. TM confirmed that she would continue to update the Council.

3.4. Workstream 4: engagement/inclusive schools (Paper 3.4)

3.4.1. DW informed the group that she and FR had hoped to have had a meeting but had been unable to do so, due to other work commitments. DW confirmed that a Doodle poll had been sent out last week to identify possible dates and this meeting should take place before the next working group meeting.

3.4.2. The group discussed the review of children and young people (CYP) engagement and the best way of utilising funding. Members suggested linking into the work the ambassadors are undertaking. Also, CM explained that Dyslexia Scotland had received separate funding to develop the young person’s website – the young ambassadors will be looking at drafts of the website and providing feedback. The information gathered on young people’s views about dyslexia and its impact will be available to inform the engagement exercise for the Making Sense group.

3.4.3. Members discussed the Journey to Excellence papers and if it would be possible to link to the pilots identifying whether there are any connections (using descriptors of excellent practice).

3.4.4. FR reminded the group that as part of the on-going school inspections programme part of the inspection visit includes obtaining views and feedback from parents and pupils. DW reminded members that one of the criticisms of the Dyslexia ‘Making Sense’ review was the perceived lack of engagement with children and young people and that the report failed to truly capture the voice of CYP.

4. AOB

4.1. MG discussed the SQA Inclusion meeting – explaining to the group that they have appointed a statistician to look at ASN stats and that he understands that EIS are also carrying out research into provision for ASN which will involve looking at ASN stats.

5. Date of next meeting

5.1. A Doodle poll will be issued to canvass availability for the next meeting of the group.

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

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