Guernsey Press

‘Screening for dyslexia being carried out by school staff’

CHILDREN are already being screened for dyslexia in schools, as the Dyslexia Day Centre sees an absence of students this academic year.

Director of Education Nick Hynes said that trained staff in schools were identifying children who may need additional support, which could be offered more frequently than at the Dyslexia Day Centre. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31952713)

The centre’s founders were concerned when they did not receive names of students to screen for dyslexia this year.

Director of Education Nick Hynes said that the resources were already established in schools and children who may need additional support were being assessed continually.

‘SENCOs [special educational needs co-ordinator] and language and literacy teachers do a diagnostic around specific areas of needs and will put specific interventions in place catered to that child,’ he said.

‘That might be within a small group where children have got similar needs, or one-to-one interventions for a shorter period every single day.

‘We’ve got the opportunity to cater more to the child’s needs, whether that be little and often every single day, instead of waiting for two 45-minute blocks with the DDC.

‘This gives us more flexibility about meeting those needs for those young people that we know really well already because they are already in our schools.’

Up to 12 teachers with a university qualification in literacy intervention in dyslexia will be in place in schools able to diagnose dyslexia.

Eight are there already, and switching funding from the DDC will enhance the amount of time they spend with the children.

Last year the DDC saw about 110 students referred to it for dyslexia screening. This year it had none.

‘It was something we kept mentioning to Education, asking when we could start screening but we were just told to hold on,’ said DDC founder Mike O’Hara.

‘In October or November, we see children who are recommended by school teachers who could benefit from the DDC, but that just hasn’t happened this year and we weren’t told why.’

Mr Hynes said that the department was looking to put a different plan in place, but the committee was also looking to reassess the continuation of the DDC.

‘We didn’t want to offer people a place on the programme and then withdraw the place. It is better off assessing those children within school environment and then putting them on intervention support programmes done directly in school.

‘At the moment, some of the intervention with the DDC is taking children out, doing a programme and putting them back in. This will be a more supportive co-ordination of needs being met across the whole school day, rather than just in pockets.’

He recognised that some parents were worried but reassured that their children’s needs would be met in a different way.

Any parent who is concerned about their child’s additional learning needs can contact the SENCO, L&L or school head teacher.