Local authorities have a duty under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended) to identify, provide for and review the additional support needs of their pupils, including children with dyslexia.
The Making Sense programme aimed to support the implementation of the recommendations from the 2014 Education Scotland review. These recommendations provided the group with the opportunity to work collaboratively with local authorities to improve education practitioners’ knowledge, skills and confidence in the identification and support of children and young people with dyslexia.
Through a series of national and regional workshops, conferences, masterclasses and conversation events, delivered in partnership by Education Scotland and Dyslexia Scotland, the Making Sense programme has worked closely with education practitioners throughout Scotland. Feedback provided by practitioners at all levels within education has been overwhelmingly positive, as this report has highlighted throughout in the progress updates. A number of teachers who attended had not been aware of the Scottish Working Definition of Dyslexia so the events were helpful in raising the profile.
The work of the Making Sense programme was presented at the International Dyslexia Association Conference held in Sweden, September 2019 and was very positively received. Delegates. In particular delegates were interested in the Scottish working definition of dyslexia and the collaborative identification pathway set within the Scottish inclusive, ‘needs led’ educational context.
Following the work to support the implementation of the Making Sense review recommendations, a number of local authorities have either adopted the Scottish Working Definition of Dyslexia or used this definition along with other definitions, such as the British Psychological Society definition.
The Making Sense programme provided the working group with the opportunity to work collaboratively to develop innovative solutions to address a number of the recommendations. These included:
- A range of professional learning opportunities to promote reflective practice and dialogue between practitioners.
- The development of national guidance on dyslexia and inclusive practice.
- The development of the three free Dyslexia and Inclusive Practice online professional learning module, developed in collaboration with Education Scotland, the Scottish Government, Dyslexia Scotland and the Open University OpenLearn Create, is one example of the innovative solutions that were developed. The modules provide education practitioners with access to free high quality online professional learning. They provide a flexible approach to professional learning for teachers and pupil support assistants and support the improvement and development of inclusive practice for all learners.
- The modules have been developed to support General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) Professional Standards, Professional Update and individual applications for the GTCS Professional Recognition Award.
- Continued support and maintenance of the Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit to ensure that it remains the most up-to-date quality resource for education practitioners. This includes the continual development of a range of free resources.
- Continued support and maintenance of the Dyslexia and Inclusive Practice online modules to ensure that they remain the most up-to-date quality professional learning resources for education practitioners; and,
- A more inclusive mind set within Scottish education.
The Making Sense programme has successfully developed an effective model of delivery which is currently being used to improve other areas of inclusion for Scottish education.
In conclusion and looking to the future, the Making Sense: Dyslexia and Inclusive Practice Programme has left a legacy of resources and stakeholder engagement for the continued and future improvement of the identification and support of learners with dyslexia. It is important that the stakeholders continue to engage with the resources to ensure that progress and momentum keeps going and that the needs of learners with dyslexia and their outcomes are improved to ensure that:
- effective inclusive practice within school communities
- the early and effective identification of dyslexia
- the outcomes for learners who are dyslexic are improved
- practitioners can access the range of professional learning developed
- data is recorded accurately and effectively.
The Scottish Government and Education Scotland would like to thank the Making Sense Working Group who worked in collaboration with other partners to improve the learning experience for children and young people who have dyslexia.
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