Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dyslexic focus in school review

An inquiry into what is taught in England's primary schools is to be widened to look at how children with dyslexia should be supported.
The government has charged Sir Jim Rose with reviewing the primary curriculum and he is expected to report next year. 

He is now being asked to recommend the best way to identify and teach dyslexic children in school. 

Dyslexia charities say they want every school to have one teacher trained to identity and support dyslexic pupils. 

Announcing the wider remit, Schools Secretary Ed Balls said Sir Jim would recommend how to establish a pilot scheme in which children with dyslexia are given one-to-one tuition from specialist dyslexia teachers or follow what is known as a reading recovery programme. 

Mr Balls said: "Jim will consult with dyslexia organisations and his recommendations should provide firm evidence as to the way forward, convince the sceptics dyslexia exists and tell us how best to get these children the help they deserve. 

"Children only get one chance at education and if a child falls behind their life chances can be blighted. 

"What I'm announcing today will help us put the needs of dyslexic children first and ensure every child has the best start in life."
The chief executive of the British Dyslexia Association, Judi Stewart, said the organisation welcomed the review - but action was needed now. 

"We welcome the review. Jim Rose is very respected. But we firmly believe that the best way forward is to have a specially trained teacher in every school. We should not wait for the pilot to happen."
She added that it would not be good for a child with dyslexia to "fail twice" by being put through a reading recovery programme which was unsuccessful because what they really needed was help specific to their dyslexia.

The government has been providing funding of £1m over three years to a project called "No to Failure" run by several dyslexia charities, led by Xtraordinary People. 

The project involves research aimed at showing the value of screening for dyslexia. 

It looks at how dyslexia, if ignored, can lead to educational failure and evaluates the impact of specialist teaching on the literacy skills and educational development of pupils found to be at risk of dyslexia. 

Tim Loughton, Shadow Minister for Children, said: "Yet another review announced eleven years too late. 

"Every child who sits their GCSEs this summer has had their whole education under Labour. The one in ten who suffer from dyslexia will want to know why the government have allowed them to become the lost generation."
The parameters of the independent Rose Review of the primary curriculum were set out by Ed Balls in January.
He has been asked to review the existing subjects and programmes of study covered in England's primary schools.
This will include recommendations on how to:
  • introduce languages as a compulsory subject in key stage 2 as recommended by Lord Dearing's review
  • give pupils a broad range of subjects without crowding the curriculum
  • "introduce greater flexibility" to help schools narrow the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers
  • improve chances of summer-born children, possibly allowing them to start school later
  • develop a framework for giving pupils "personal development skills".
Source: BBC

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