At Overdale Junior School we recognise that many apparent learning difficulties may actually turn out to be learning differences which can be minimalised or overcome by a change in teaching approach.
We have adopted a wide range of dyslexia friendly strategies - more information is available in our Dyslexia Friendly Policy (below) and Dyslexia Friendly School statement.
What is dyslexia?
The British Dyslexia Association's definition (1999):
"Dyslexia is best described as a combination of abilities and difficulties which affect the learning process in one of more of reading, spelling, and writing. Accompanying weaknesses may be identified in areas of speed of processing, short-term memory, sequencing, auditory and/or visual perception, spoken language and motor skills. It is particularly related to mastering and using written language, which may include alphabetic, numeric and musical notations."
Some children have outstanding creative skills; others have strong oral skills. Dyslexia occurs despite normal teaching, and is independent of socio-economic background or intelligence. It is, however, more easily detected in those with average or above average intelligence.
For more information on dyslexia visit the British Dyslexia Association website
Overdale Junior 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 a paramount importance.
- 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 and 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.
In our school the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) leads policy and practice and is in a position to ensure the 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, teaching assistants (TAs) and all other staff joining the school.
Identification, screening monitoring
The school has a 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, screening and monitoring through a ‘staged approach’.
Response to need
In a school that recognises pupils may have dyslexia, classroom learners are supported to be the best they can be. A range of strategies promote effective teaching and learning for all pupils:
- class, group and individual learning;
- differentiation of the ways in which pupils may record information;
- differentiated assessments;
- out of class opportunities for small group or 1:1 support.
- Classroom based resources and strategies include:
- -Dyslexia conscious colour choices and font on all materials
-Multisensory activities – a mixture of visual and practical
-Visual timetables displayed in all classrooms
-Key vocabulary and word banks made available for lessons
-Up-to-date learning walls which can be referred to in lessons
-Daily phonics sessions for those who need it
-Facing the board with no obstructions
-When writing isn’t the main outcome we offer alternative ways to record learning
-Dyslexia supportive Font, layout, coloured overlays and coloured paper
-Reduced background noise and distractions – ear defenders available and no busy displays or anything unnecessary displayed at the front of the classroom
-Instructions given clearly
-Extra time for thinking, processing, speaking and listening
-Use of timers
-Use of pencil grips
-Use of writing slopes
-Use of talk tins
-Work is strongly scaffolded and modelled
-Recall activities are planned and carried out regularly to reactivate prior learning
-Cold calling is used to support children to stay focused and be ready with answers (this is done with knowledge of the child and questions are targeted to their abilities)
-Lessons are structured to reduce cognitive overload
- Knowledge organisers are provided to support foundation subjects
We did not reapply for the dyslexia friendly status to be renewed as we already have all of these things embedded.
Where possible or appropriate, opportunities for the reinforcement of core skills are taken in before and after school sessions.
Parents as partners
Parents and carers are actively encouraged to be involved in their child’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’ evenings, IEP (Individualised Education Plan) and review meetings, home/school diaries, phone calls and consultations.
- Staff respond promptly and sensitively to parental concerns and treat parents as partners.
At Overdale Junior School we recognise that many apparent learning difficulties may actually turn out to be learning differences which can be minimalized or overcome by a change in teaching approach.
We have adopted a wide range of dyslexia friendly strategies. As a school, we recognise that children can have dyslexic tendencies that, without adequate support, can act as a barrier to their learning. Due to this, we have a number of strategies which support all children, many of which are recommended to support dyslexic learners.