Dyslexia training to be mandatory in Initial Teacher Training

(120 Posts)
5beasts Wed 03-Oct-12 21:19:25

Big ask - this petition needs 100,000 in order for this issue to get Parliamentary time. Believe it or not, student teachers currently are not taught about dyslexia, a condition that affects 1 in 10 people. More signatures urgently needed. Please could you sign this, then pass it on to your friends. There is less than a month left to get 85,000 signatures! http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20674

BackforGood Wed 03-Oct-12 21:31:17

Why just dyslexia ?
The whole area of special needs needs a drastic overhaul in Initial Teacher Training. There is a massive amount of learning that is just not covered.

Meglet Wed 03-Oct-12 21:38:27

If some training can be improved then hopefully they will start to cover more areas of SEN.

It never occured to me that they don't give student teachers training in SN and dyslexia sad. <<signed>>

adeucalione Wed 03-Oct-12 22:17:27

My DN is training to be a teacher and has a weekly session called Inclusion that covers many areas of SEN including dyslexia (so 2hrs pw x 3 years) - she also has to spend some time working in a special school, working with EAL children and working with travellers. It sounds thorough o me.

noblegiraffe Wed 03-Oct-12 22:46:53

My PGCE also had SEN training. It wasn't great, but it wasn't non-existent. Are you sure you have your facts straight? I.e. that it's not covered on any teacher training course and needs a discussion in parliament to change things?

BackforGood Wed 03-Oct-12 22:58:41

As a SENCo, I had to be 'sought out' by the 2nd year (B.Ed) students as part of their placements, year after year, so they could ask me about all sorts of things. Every year I found the students knowledge to be woefully lacking, and they were really desparate for knowledge and support.

I know a couple of people who have trained in the past few years (PGCEs) at different colleges, and they reported the same.

EBDTeacher Thu 04-Oct-12 07:04:49

Agree with BackforGood.

There needs to be training in neurocognitive functioning and development and it's application to behaviour and learning in general. Not just in one narrow outdated description of a specific weakness.

5beasts Thu 04-Oct-12 13:53:37

Sorry, I should have said that there is no legal requirement to train student teachers about dyslexia. Of course, some will get the information that they need as part of their courses. However, many will not (I didn't get any as part of my PGCE).

It seems that no one at my son's school knows anything about dyslexia. The SENCo thought that the DST test couldn't be given until the child was 7 (the age is 6 and 6 months), and then administered a version of the test that had become obsolete in 2004, in which there were about 5 mistakes (both in the scoring and in the administration of the test) giving him a score that was not accurate. He has found school very hard, and has been viewed as naughty and disruptive, because he cannot write, despite the fact that we have a family history of dyslexia, and a letter from both the pediatrician and the the ed Psychologist raising the possibility of dyslexia.

I am glad that some student teachers are getting the training that they need to help and recognise dyslexia in the classroom (after all, dyslexia friendly teaching will help EVERY child in the classroom, not just dyslexics). But we need to make sure that the legal framework is in place to help every student teacher to have the framework in place to help every child. Sure there are other neurological conditions that need addressing too. However, this petition has been set up by the British Dyslexia Association, and obviously, they will campaign for what they know about. Please do read about what they are campaigning for on the petition site, as they put it much better than I can.

5beasts Thu 04-Oct-12 13:56:08
ReallyTired Thu 04-Oct-12 21:22:29

I did half a PGCE before I came to my senses and decided that I did not want to be a teacher. There was training on special needs, but it was woefully inadequate. I think a big issue is that you really need hands on practical experience in the classroom to engage in the issues.

Its not just dyslexia, but autism, MLD, deafness and emotional and behavioural problems, social problems, mental health issues covers learning. However I think some of these are better as continuing professional development rather than in a PGCE. A PGCE is very packed as is its.

Teachers need the facilty to update themselves through out their careers as ideas change all the time.

smee Fri 05-Oct-12 13:22:46

I've signed. My son's dyslexic and there are no trained staff in his school (large inner city primary). The only teacher who's on the ball is so because she's dyslexic herself. It's a hugely daft omission from training.

I do agree with all on need for specific training on other SEN, but this petition's already up and running and is specifically about dyslexia. Plea to all, PLEASE SIGN IT. I've been genuinely staggered by how little teachers know about it.

MordionAgenos Fri 05-Oct-12 13:38:37

Most teachers know about dyslexia. I've never met one who didn't(DS is dyslexic). Most teachers have never HEARD of dyspraxia (DD1 a d DD2 are dyspraxic. as am I) and quite a few of them do not believe it actually exists and is an actual thing

smee Fri 05-Oct-12 13:44:17

yes all Teachers will have heard of it, but it's about whether Teachers are specifically trained to be aware of Dyslexia and know how to both recognise it and help children who are affected.

Think you're right about Dyspraxia, that does seem to go under the radar a lot.

MordionAgenos Fri 05-Oct-12 13:46:23

@smee It does. And speaking as a parent of DCs with both conditions - Dyspraxia is a much much much worse thing to have. sad It causes far more issues in primary school, it's even worse in secondary school and it continues to be a geniuine handicap all the way through life.

smee Fri 05-Oct-12 20:52:33

sad Mordion. Seems so ridiculous it's not recognised. Makes no sense to me.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 05-Oct-12 21:07:24


"Most teachers have never HEARD of dyspraxia"

Are you sure of this "FACT"

MordionAgenos Sat 06-Oct-12 01:31:41

@boney I only have empirical evidence. But that, sadly, is overwhelming. It's also the advice we got from the experts when DD1 was first diagnosed. I note you haven't asked the OP to back up her FACT that teachers are not taught about dyslexia (which is not a fact, since they are). As a parent of children with both conditions it's quite clear to me which is the better understood, acknowledged, and catered for one. It's not dyspraxia. sad

5beasts Sat 06-Oct-12 09:30:59

Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia are all related, and often co-morbid conditions. The British Dyslexia Association touches on all of them. Hopefully, if this gets parliamentary time, then it will open the door for a discussion on catering for ALL learning differences. Please share the petition link on Facebook, Twitter etc to raise awareness :-)

EBDTeacher Sat 06-Oct-12 10:03:10

yy 5beasts and to be honest I'm not sure all the seperate labels will stand the test of time.

Many different condidtions are seeming more and more likely to be sets of symptoms caused by executive dysfunction and I would include ADHD and autism in that.

I think it's important that teachers get a grounding in neurology as it relates to learning and behaviour so that they can keep up with the research in this field as it progresses. How many teachers could tell you much about how attention develops and impacts on learning? Or about the interplay between attention, cognitive inhibition and working memory? I think information about the building blocks would be more useful than learning descriptions of symptoms.

It is time teachers became more scientific in their understanding of learning.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 06-Oct-12 10:59:44


The OP is asking people to sign a petition.

If you had said that teachers did not understand dispraxia, dyslexia etc. I would have agreed but you stated that teachers heve never heard of it and went on to say that "quite a few of them do not believe it actually exists and is an actual thing "quite a few of them do not believe it actually exists and is an actual thing"

You seem to have no evidence for this.

MordionAgenos Sat 06-Oct-12 12:24:28

I do have evidence for this, I have seen it numerous times. It's only empirical evidence but it is rather better evidence than supporting the initially presented claim that teachers aren't taught about dyslexia.

EBDTeacher Sat 06-Oct-12 18:35:58

You mean anecdotal evidence Mordion. Your story of your experience with a few teachers.

Empirical suggests you have actually made some attempt to obtain data from a controlled sample from which you can draw a conclusion. You haven't done that I think?

Tinuviel Sat 06-Oct-12 22:53:03

I don't think any of the teachers at the school I work at could say that they haven't heard of any of these conditions - we deal with them on a daily basis. However, at no point in my BEd nor in my teaching career have I ever received or had access to any SEN training. I have been teaching for 18 years.

On my BEd I had to do a 6 week (1/2 day per week) SEN placement at a school, where I shadowed one pupil. It taught me nothing of any value because she had a specific and quite rare condition but not something I would be likely to/ever have come across again.

I wouldn't like to limit training to dyslexia though.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 08:55:15

I think these conditions require specialist teachers, not generalists so that we all have to deal with it. Sorry to have to say it. If this were medicine would you be happy for your GP to be doing your heart operation on the basis of some basic training in his medical degree?

EBDTeacher Sun 07-Oct-12 09:20:47

jabed you can't possibly think every kid with a specific learning difficulty, or even with more pervasive difficulties, is going to recieve full time special education??

That would neither be logistically or financially possible or, in many cases, right for the child.

Are you in Gove's camp of only wanting to educate the model child?

tethersend Sun 07-Oct-12 09:46:45

Agree that SEN training needs an overhaul, but jabed has a point- in addition to mandatory SEN training, there needs to be an SEN specialism in the same way that there are subject specialisms.

SENCos are currently teachers who have undertaken training (if any) subsequent to their teacher training; this usually consists of a handful of INSET days.

I would like to see a specially trained SEN teacher in every school.

cornsconkers Sun 07-Oct-12 11:17:53

Agree with tethers and also understand jabed's point.

bigTillyMint Sun 07-Oct-12 11:24:20

Agree with tethers. Most SENCO's haven't got a clue about the detail had any specific training in the detail of different SpLD's, nor in the scientific understanding of teaching.

MrsShrek3 Sun 07-Oct-12 11:29:12

Tethers - agree 100%!! I wanted to specialise in SEN in training - that was the path I wanted from the outset. I've done it, but went straight from ITT to specialist provision, risking my QTS in the process. I've spent 16yrs in SEN and only recently gone into a mainstream sch as sen teacher, and found my knowledge to be very different from the senco who asks me for advice every day wink

BackforGood Sun 07-Oct-12 13:05:37

Tinuviel has completely hit the nail on the head from my experience of all the teachers I have worked with (and known socially) over the last 24 years.
New SENCos do now have to do a specialist qualification ( I think it's 5 days over the course of a year, but don't quote me on that), but it's a new thing that has only come in over the last 3 or so years. However, I'd like to see a serious overhaul of ITT - by whatever route - and not accept that 'there isn't time to fit it in' because it is actually fairly crucial. But it needs to be a wider look at all ways a child can develop, including all SENs, and not just a focus on dyslexia.
As EBDTeacher said ^^ SEN is an area where there is much ongoing research and new knowledge coming out all the time, so it needs to be wider than "This is what a child with {insert condition} presents like, and this is how you can help them". That said, even this would actually be a huge improvement from what the teaching students get at present.

EBD for Prime Minister!!!!

Now there's a petition I'd sign......

BodyOfEeyore Sun 07-Oct-12 13:14:23

I would be surprised if a student teacher didn't come across at least one dyslexic child during their training, and therefore the class teacher would discuss it with the student teacher.

'I think it's important that teachers get a grounding in neurology as it relates to learning and behaviour so that they can keep up with the research in this field as it progresses. How many teachers could tell you much about how attention develops and impacts on learning? Or about the interplay between attention, cognitive inhibition and working memory? I think information about the building blocks would be more useful than learning descriptions of symptoms.'

THIS ^^ is what will save the world!!!!

EBDTeacher Sun 07-Oct-12 17:07:27

wink Thing is, in my line of work, you get it right or get hurt. Focuses the mind somewhat!

EBDTeacher Sun 07-Oct-12 17:19:08

Oh, and I wholeheartedly agree that it sould be possible to train with SEN as a specialism and that there should be an SEN specialist employed in every school.

When MN rules the world...

goinnowhere Sun 07-Oct-12 17:24:19

I think the PGCE course needs to be longer actually. So that more theory can be taught, alongside the classroom experience. For the past few years there has been so little money for training for existing teachers that new advances cannot be filtered into schools. I think improving this is more important than most other educational initiatives.

chibi Sun 07-Oct-12 17:27:21

teacher training is changing, and the number of teachers who are training on the job (gtp style or teach first type programmes -gtp is going though afaik) is increasing, and the emphasis on schools themselves overseeing training is increasing.

if training on sen was patchy before, i am not convinced that this will improve it. Given the shift toward schools taking over training themselves, the level of training will only be as good as a training school wants/needs it to be, or is competent to provide

cheesesarnie Sun 07-Oct-12 17:30:09

signed! thanks for the link op.

I suppose it depends on which way things are going wrt inclusion atm.

If the plan is to chuck all kids with any difficulties accessing the curriculum into 'containment' and then prison then ITT can be all about how to fill in forms.

If the plan is to close down special schools and have teachers include children with a variety of disability then they'd better make some funds available for people like EBD to go in as a consultant.

MrsShrek3 Mon 08-Oct-12 00:36:10

EBD I think it's starting to happen. I'm employed by a school entirely because I'm a sen specialist. Apparently they use their Pupil Premium to fund it. It just needs to be more widespread, and not only in schools where the pupil premium purse is big enough.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 08-Oct-12 06:48:30


I thought that the government plan with this is to give academies enough leeway to get rid of SEN pupils to make them look good and then fill any remaining state schools with SEN and (not linked) undesirable students to force them to become academies.

No, academies are being reigned in. The Government is directly or indirectly encouraging LAs to deny statements to children in mainstream. So schools and academies have to either put up and shut up or make a pathway for the child to leave.

btw, if you know what you're doing a mainstream school filled with SEN children can still be an excellent school, but many teachers/schools lack the training and knowledge.

MrsShrek3 Tue 09-Oct-12 13:35:38

Yes it does appear that the statements are getting vastly reduced. The authority here is definitely going in the direction of esap funding not statement.

Phineyj Tue 09-Oct-12 17:20:46

We did get 'trained' about SEN on teacher training but it was a day where they told us was the law was. There were no practical tips about how to manage/help a child with SEN in the classroom. So in my experience it depends entirely what sort of school you were trained in and what level of expertise your colleagues have, whether you are skilled in this area or not, whether your SENCO is good and helps you... Also on your level of interest and preparedness to do extra reading and training.

To be fair to teachers, even with the best knowledge in the world, you are going to struggle to spend more than a few extra minutes helping the students with SEN, and if (as a friend does) half your group has SEN or EBD of one kind or another, you will be lucky to teach anything at all, or it will be at the expense of the students who don't come into those categories.

Having recently visited an inspirational special school, I do wonder if the focus on inclusion for everyone is really helpful.

RiversideMum Fri 12-Oct-12 17:46:51

I think the issue is that all children are individuals so generic "training" is not particularly helpful. What is more useful in my experience is to talk about the child to an expert (eg ASD advisory teacher, LAL specialist ... whatever) about the specific issues being faced by that individual and how they are operating within the class.

jabed Fri 12-Oct-12 19:40:00

I think there could be another problem - and it may be one that has been brewing a while.

If you are going to require all teachers to become SN teachers by training them for that, I think it may end up being counter productive in terms of recruitment. I hesitate to say it because I know it will bring down a mass of criticism and probably get me complained about, but in reality not every teacher wants to be an SN specialist, or in fact have to deal with SN at all. You may turn off the brightest and best gifted teachers who would be a great asset in teaching in mainstream education and who may be of benefit to the majority of ordinary non SN needs children in a school.

Not every teacher wants to work with SN. Just like not every medical student wants to be a GP or wants to be a surgeon or a psychiatrist.

Teachers leach out of the career at a rate of knots now (meaning lots of money lost in training) and many more talented ones move elsewhere.

23balloons Fri 12-Oct-12 21:18:46

I have previously signed the petition.

My son is dyslexic, picked up by me as his primary school, where he was for 7 years were unable to pick it up. He was taught by approximately 9-10 teachers in those 7 years and not one had a clue. I mentioned it several times, even when I paid privately and produced a 16 page diagnostic assessment they weren't interested. His year 6 teacher ripped him to pieces in his final report over his messy writing and inability to follow instructions even though these were issues flagged up in his assessment.

jabed at least 1 in 10 people are dyslexic and if a person is only interested in teaching NT children then I think they should seek another career or work only in highly academically selective schools.

Thankfully my son has gone to a truly outstanding secondary school where he is thriving and receiving the help he needs to achieve highly. If only all schools could manage to help children achieve their potential.

I definitely support the petition!

jabed Fri 12-Oct-12 21:42:47

jabed at least 1 in 10 people are dyslexic and if a person is only interested in teaching NT children then I think they should seek another career or work only in highly academically selective schools

Put that into perspective properly. 9 out of 10 people are not dyslexic or if you prefer 90% of the population.

I also think you are quite right some very gifted people who would make excellent teachers will seek different employment. They already do. I am not going to speculate directly why they do that but I believe the unions have discovered many teachers are disillusioned with what they have to do - having come in to teach and finding that teaching is not possible as they deal withg other issues, SN is one of those issues.

Further, a good many of those talented ones who do stay in education will indeed seek employment in selective schools and independent schools where they can teach. Where they will also teach almost exclusively what you call "NT" pupils. That in turn increases the gulf between the slkills of state school teachers and those in private ones ...... and then folk ask why it is independent schools top the education stakes and why such schools have such a high calibre of teacher.

Unless you have some system where those who want to specialise can and those who do not can teach those NT pupils then you will doa disservice to both SN and NT children. To the former by failing to provide them with approapriately trained and specialised teachers who want the kind of work and to the latter by depriving them of good teachers who might help them achieve gretaer success.

23balloons Fri 12-Oct-12 22:00:12

jabed my response would be that those 'gifted' people should stay well away from education if they are so narrow minded.

My son although dyslexic is also on the g&t list. He completed a foundation gcse paper in Maths with ease in his y7 maths class last week and was asked by the Maths teacher to help other boys with queries as she couldn't get round the whole class. He excels at sport and won several medals representing his borough last year including winning a ticket to attend an athletics session at the olympics. Not all dyslexics or SEN children are a drain on the class, some may just require slight adjustments and understanding from the teacher. Luckily for my son I have found an excellent state school where gifted and understanding teachers are prepared to teach all children and help them achieve their potential.

EBDTeacher Fri 12-Oct-12 23:07:23

You're a bit of a fuckwit jabed

You think 'bright' 'talented' teachers only want to teach academically able kids?

Able kids can teach themselves from a syllabus and a textbook available on Amazon. Bloody easy and really quite boring. It takes a really gifted, talented, engaged teacher to get the best out of a student with special needs. The colleagues I have the pleasure of working with now (in severe special needs) are the best qualified, most intelligent, most flexible, cognisant teachers I have ever met.

Your intimation that only crap teachers get left with the special needs kids deeply offends me. (EBD MAOxon)

jabed Sat 13-Oct-12 07:12:06

jabed my response would be that those 'gifted' people should stay well away from education if they are so narrow minded

I do not think it is about narrow mindedness. Is a medical graduate who does not want to take the option of psychiatry but instead prefers surgery to be so castigated and told he/she should stay well away. Even though they may make a first class surgeon and a poor psychiatrist

You see, I would like my DS to be taught by such a gifted person if it is possible but if they are turned away from teaching then I will not have that option and those who are attracted may not be so suitable (and I sometimes think that is what underlies the comments made on MN about teachers needing more training and about them being poor at their jobs and also underlies the Govt sound bite that we need the " brightest and the best" in teaching and qualification levels are immediately put up. But those brightest (and possibly best) do not want to teach, or often train and leave teaching.

I am not trying to be disrespectful I am just pointing out what might be happening here. Unfortunately SN is a very sensitive subject and any mere whiff of what I have said meets with a tirade of personal abuse . ..... " go elsewhere " from those who often have DC in the 10%.

jabed Sat 13-Oct-12 07:16:14

You're a bit of a fuckwit jabed

QED - asI said mention this elephant in the roonm and immediately you are personally abused. Until this conversation can be had openly , its going to remain a controversial area and I suspect leave a lot of people feeling very frustrated because it cannot be discussed. Its not for the first time its been raised now is it EBD? I have seen severalposts/ posters who have made comments and promptly had them removed ( no doubt been censured too ) on MN.

But hey, what about the rest of us - the 90% with those "NT" children?

jabed Sat 13-Oct-12 07:18:37

You think 'bright' 'talented' teachers only want to teach academically able kids?

I am not saying that at all. I am sure many gifted teachers want to teach SN. I amjust saying there may be some very gifted ones who do not and they are not being given an option (and indeed being turned away or told to leave).

We do not need to be so wasteful of talent surely?

jabed Sat 13-Oct-12 07:25:30

Able kids can teach themselves from a syllabus and a textbook available on Amazon. Bloody easy and really quite boring

So my DS is able and so he has to get along on his own. He has not right to a decent or even a good ( let alone a gifted) teacher? I see.

What happens then to those who are NT but middle of the road? Do they not have any right to a good teacher either? They may not be so ablke to get a book off Amazon and read it - easy but boring as you put it. They may need a teacher who can help them too. Its a very different skill to bringing out the best in SN children.

I respect the skill involved in dealing with SN. However, I still want to know what happens to the rest. If its all about SN really and eveyone else can go and get a book of Amazon then should all schools be SN schools? Is that what you are advocating?

The rest can go and buy a book.

mrz Sat 13-Oct-12 08:10:03

If all ITT included preparing teachers to teach reading, writing and maths effectively it might be a start.

Badvoc Sat 13-Oct-12 08:24:53

What mrz said.
There is not one trained sen/sn teacher at my sons school and for most if last year no Senco.
It is not until you have a child with sen/sn that you realise just how dire and woefully inadequate provision for these children is.
The majority of people I am sure think that there is lots of help available for these kids from the people paid by the state to help them.
Sadly that is simply not the case.
Check out the MN sn board and read about the battles parents of sen/sn kids have to go through just to get their kids an education which is their basic legal right.
Well, until gove et al decide sen/sn kids don't deserve an education....
And as mrz says, the quality if nqts has declined immensely in recent years...ds1 has had at least 2 teachers who had no grasp of grammar and could not spell.
And they were supposed to be teaching my severely dyslexic son to read?
<hollow laughter>
The vast majority of teacher training involves palmning and stategies for controlling the classroom iirc.

Jabbed, SEN is not an 'issue' unless the teacher themselves is also an 'issue'. Lack of decent sen training IS an issue.

Also an issue is that LA SEN advisors are predominantly in the role because they couldn't hack it in the class room. So basically, shit ex-teachers.

Badvoc, tbh I think that it isn't until you have a child with SEN that you realise how bad the system is for ALL children.

Badvoc Sat 13-Oct-12 10:02:54

True star smile

MrsShrek3 Sat 13-Oct-12 19:04:37

well said Mrz...

jamdonut Thu 25-Oct-12 20:26:34

There is a thread on AIBU which is complaining that teachers shouldn't "diagnose" SEN and yet on this thread it seems to imply that teachers should!confused
I think most teachers have some training in certain conditions, others are picked up with experience ,'on the job'. If there is a child with a certain condition,training is usually organised for staff. Then there is the SEN co-ordinator, who will most likely have undertaken further training, to whom the other teachers can refer to if they have concerns.

JessJones93 Mon 26-Nov-12 17:43:08

Don't think it should be covered any more in ITT I am training and have literally no time to fit any more in!!!

My suggestion would be a disabled type teachers association whereby training days/brochures/extensive website etc is available for guidance in teaching and including these challenges then would be open for all teachers who have already qualified too?

Would probably cost a lot though I'm not sure how much this associations cost!

JessJones93 Mon 26-Nov-12 17:52:35

Also why does everyone slate trainee teachers but as soon as we qualify we are now teachers and so do not warrant being essentially called inadequate and illiterate anymore? Everyone has to start somewhere!!


morethanpotatoprints Fri 30-Nov-12 22:31:42

I do see your point jabed, Many children ime both recently and historically manage to go through the school system without diagnosis nor more importantly the help and support they need.
With this in mind I think there should be specialist teachers, and yes maybe this wouldn't be right for all cases, but should be available to those who would benefit.
As a FE teacher part of my role was to facilitate a diagnostic test for all my students. I was amazed at how many were not only directed to inclusive learning but were then diagnosed in many cases with severe learning difficulties.
There are 2 points here.

1. Why do so many children go un diagnosed throughout their childhood, when it is picked up so easily at FE.
2. Isn't it far better to test children to give those that require support a better chance.

I was one of these people at point 1, and have suffered throughout my life due to lack of support

mrz Sat 01-Dec-12 20:17:47

Who was slating trainee teachers JessJones93?

mrz Sat 01-Dec-12 20:21:30

morethanpotatoprints why do you think these children haven't been picked up through their childhood? Why do you think they haven't been tested?

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 21:13:39

Sorry, a bit back in the thread but I just wanted to say:

'But hey, what about the rest of us - the 90% with those "NT" children?'

jabed, the statistic is that 1 in 10 children are dyslexic. That doesn't mean 90% are NT. It means that 90% are not dyslexic, but that 90% will include children will all sorts of other different needs, won't there? So, all the various learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders and impairments to do with sight or hearing or mobility - a teacher won't be able to avoid non-NT children and I don't think it's right they should feel entitled to. If someone did want to do that, I'd say they're not cut out for teaching.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 12:11:55


I believe that for many children it isn't picked up early for several reasons.

Firstly is the funding problem and the lack of. Next, I think that there aren't sufficient psychologists employed and that man power is stretched to limits resulting in long waiting lists. I don't think parental concern is taken seriously enough and hence some dc allowed to slip through the net.
Also the diagnostic assessment given to students in FE I am told is not suitable for children. All of this I understand but not necessarily agree with, because it seems so poor to automatically assess adults in FE but not children.

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 17:50:36

My son's teacher said he has never had a dyslexic child in his class. He has been teaching for some years.hmm

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 17:57:37

Also, many teachers have no idea who is dyslexic or otherwise in their class. The register system will say if a child has been identified as being on School Action,School Action Plus or has a statement. However, if you ask a subject teacher what a child's specific problems are he/she will probably say that they don't know as they haven't checked the info on that particular child (as the detailed info is on a different system). It is shocking.
I learned this when I was doing teacher training.

mrz Mon 03-Dec-12 18:10:22

morethanpotatoprints I think most schools are good up at recognising children with problems very quickly - often in nursery and reception but then the problems start. For me to refer I need two years of evidence to show what we have done has been ineffective hmm (if the child makes progress then what the school is doing is effective) and then if the child is assessed the advice is to do what we have been doing for two years or more. We put a dressing on the problem but don't look for the cause.
and yes there aren't enough EPs ...my allocation has been reduced to 10 hours per year! shock which can be used up on two statutory reviews.

I've never encountered a system such as PlaySchool describes and would be very worried if I thought it was widespread.

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 18:18:35

The system is having data on SIMS but having to look elsewhere, i.e., asking the SENCO or looking on another computer folder for the relevant information.

mrz Mon 03-Dec-12 18:31:39

It isn't a common for staff not to know the children in their care PlaySchool regardless of where the information is stored

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 18:43:37

I was not alone in my experience. It wasn't only one school either.

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 18:45:23

I'm talking about secondary by the way where subject teachers don't spend all day with the same class.

IndigoBelle Mon 03-Dec-12 19:56:25

mrz - what playSchool describes is what I've found at secondary.

DSs teachers have guessed he's on the SEN register, but they don't know why.

Luckily he doesn't require support in class anymore.......

mrz Mon 03-Dec-12 20:00:18

My experience with secondary was that the teachers knew but weren't willing to make changes for one child

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 20:30:49


In response to your post before.

I don't blame teachers at all, I think they already have to jump through enough hoops. I do however, totally disagree with the system and feel in many cases it doesn't work. Why are all FE students assessed via a diagnostic test and further action taken when necessary, yet dc who should be supported immediately are left struggling for years. I believe all dc should be assessed as older students are, of course with an opt out if a parent chooses.
Just because they are making progress doesn't mean to say they don't have a problem. I know priority should be for those that strategies have failed, but anybody with a disability or sn should be entitled to help.

mrz Mon 03-Dec-12 21:15:41

I would argue that most children are assessed via diagnostic tests in primary and secondary schools morethanpotatoprints and provided with appropriate support but since there is no agreed definition of dyslexia and the label covers a huge spectrum of difficulties not all of which can be corrected in school unfortunately no matter how good the teachers knowledge

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 21:26:39

mrz teachers should adapt their lessons even for one child. It is not hard. Worksheets can be made with word banks or writing frames for the dyslexic child. They can be printed on cream paper. Dyslexic children should not be expected to copy from the board or even asked to read out loud. These are all simple adaptations that teachers are expected to make but few do.
Outrageous IMHO.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 21:32:54

Hello Mrz.

Tbh I don't think its should be down to the teacher and I understand what you are saying about no agreed definition. However, the test my students took was good enough to highlight any connection to all specific learning difficulties. I know there are other sn that dc might encounter but assessing for sld would be a start. It is the referral from the test that was the important bit and students including myself were diagnosed within a couple of weeks.
Now my point is, if it is so easy to administer assessment why aren't all dc/ parents offered this? It seems so logical, especially if there are several indicators, including other professionals working with the dc identifying problems. It must be down to costs and this is wrong imo.

IndigoBelle Mon 03-Dec-12 21:39:07

It's not the testing that's the problem. It's the supporting them in class.

You don't need a test to say that a child is struggling with reading or writing.

That's why they don't test. They know the child has difficulties.

Doesn't help the teachers know how to teach them though does it.

A child can't read. Teacher is doing everything they can for them. How's a test going to help?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 21:40:11


I have just read your post and agree with you wholeheartedly.

I know I am from a completely different era but can verify the humiliation felt when asked to read out loud. Copying off a board, only to get halfway and then the rest rubbed out. (I'm sure this wouldn't happen now).
The worst one was reading a story and having an open class comprehension, being singled out and punished for not concontrating because you hadn't listened. When you had, but didn't remember a thing.
I know times and methods have changed but the problems still exist and until a trained professional who understands these problems is actually in the class with these dc, their chances will not improve.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 21:53:55


I agree about the support in class. I mention testing because whilst I don't necessarily agree with labelling, at one time it did seem to open doors for support. If this is not the case now I apologise for my ignorance.

I do know that my dd is dyslexic and dyspraxic as she has very similar problems to me. She received Speech Therapy during pre - school years and development was slow.
I told school on entry and they said they would monitor her. She struggled through rec, y1, y2, y3 but because she got a level 2a and a 3 during sats there was no way they would aknowledge any problem.
She is now H.ed, not for these reasons I must add. There are several areas in which I am worried and I am always looking for strategies and different methods to get certain aspects across. The difference is I have all day to do this on a 1 to 1 basis. It is mad to expect a teacher to do all this and teach 29 others. What works in one case, may not work for another.
So bearing this in mind surely the problem is one of complexity, not just ITT, or qualified teachers, or testing, or even support but a mix of all of these.

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 21:55:01

indigo It is not as simple as you seem to think. Sadly, my DS' school share your opinion.

Every dyslexic child is different and there is a multitude of factors that will cause a child to struggle with reading and writing. It may be auditory processing, working memory, visual processing, eye tracking and so on that hinder a child's progression. It is vital to find the cause of the dyslexia to address the problem. It is just not true that one method of intervention will suit all pupils struggling with literacy.

There are a lot of young people leaving school with very low levels of literacy. I'd say that part of the reason for this is because not enough is done for dyslexics.

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 21:56:36

Morethanpotatoprints agreed!

mrz Mon 03-Dec-12 22:02:31

"^However, the test my students took was good enough to highlight any connection to all specific learning difficulties.^"

The test identifies the specific learning difficulties but doesn't identify the cause of those difficulties which in many cases requires interventions from "medical" professionals

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 22:15:21


Yes I agree, but that was my point. As soon as a problem was identified on the diagnostic test we were told to advise them to go to inclusive learning. From there they were given an appointment to see the right professional. I worked in a degenerated area, with high unemployment and few of my students had more than 2 GCSE's at D grade. Many of them tested had sld that had not been picked up during their school years. I find this sad that so many people are unable to reach their potential at school.
The test itself was only a simple yes/no do you struggle with x, type of test done on the computer. We are also only talking about 2008/9 so not all that long ago.
The weird thing is that I also took this test with my first students during ITT, they witnessed me receiving my report and a few of us went off to inclusive learning together. I have never looked back and now I understand why I struggle sometimes and I don't feel stupid anymore.
There are thousands of people who go through life and don't have the opportunity to realise their potential, it has to stop.

IndigoBelle Tue 04-Dec-12 05:52:53

PlaySchool - I am absolutely aware of all the underlying problems dyslexics have.

My point is that knowing this doesn't help teachers at all. They have no way of helping with auditory or visual or memory problems. There are no effective interventions out there (which are available to school) which help.

So why bother testing for stuff you can't help with? Again it is obvious if a child has a memory problem. No way does a teacher need to be told this by an EP.

There is lots parents can do for these problems. But as schools don't know what parents can do, and they certainly won't recommend anything in the private sector to parents, again what's the point?

I have cured my DDs severe dyslexia through a huge amount of things. The school EP report did not help one bit. School helped not one bit. And all of the things I did for her school couldn't have done or recommended

For example going gluten free dairy free helped tremendously with DDs dyslexia. School are never going to recommend that. Neither are EPs

While schools and EPs are only allowed to recommend free or virtually free things and while they're only allowed to recommend things that have the LEA / NHS backing their reports and recommendations and support are worthless.

Ronaldo Tue 04-Dec-12 06:15:27

This may come as shock but Iknowwho all the DC with SN are in my classess. I knw what their needs are too. I do not get this information from a register but usually from the pupils.

I know who gets extra time and who gets a computer ( and why) and even those who get readers. I also know their ALIS and GCSE predictions and in some cases the ed psych report is on my desk ( given to me by the pupils parents.).

This though does not change my teaching very much. At the end of the day it is not my job to support the students but theirs to find strategies to help themselves. No amount of my support will change the fact they will sit an exam in exam conditions as everyone else does.

I have a couple of students I send notes and ws on the computer for.
I do run the extra time in class tests. I will act as reader when required
(although other pupils will do this too).

Anything else is their own responsibility as they have to become independent learners and work it out for themselves. No one in RL is going to "support" them.

I have some lovely hard working and bright SN ( usually dyslexic) who do well. But its down to them not me. I am tired of all this making the teacher do it all or blaming the teacher.

What do parents want me to do? Sit the exam for them? Then tell it to the exam boards and Mr. Gove.

nooka Tue 04-Dec-12 06:26:08

My dyslexic son received neither assessment nor assistance at primary school. Having him assessed privately meant that he got more understanding but that was about it. He was recently reassessed (completely different schooling system as we've emigrated) with pretty much the same result. This time around the SENCO equivalent said she'd never seen results like his, as in their experience dyslexic children were never also gifted (ds is very verbally adept but struggles to write, which to me is pretty classic dyslexia).

I don't believe that teachers get nearly enough SEN training (dh had none when he did his secondary PGCE) and think that SENCOs should be abolished and replaced by people who actually know what they are talking about because they have been properly trained.

I was also saddened by jabed's comments. My other child is (as far as we know) NT, and this is the case across my family, with most of my generation going to independent selective schools, dyslexic and NT too. Given the range of different SENs, SNs, mental health issues, emotional challenges of one sort or another that children experience growing up etc etc it is ridiculous to suggest that there should be special schools for those who will never have any problems (how would you know in any case?) and somewhere else for everyone else.

I have worked in healthcare and even there if you don't have an understanding of people (and those with extra needs receive healthcare too) you'd struggle to be a good doctor if you have any patient contact at all (and those that don't can be and often are terrible doctors sad to say).

PlaySchool Tue 04-Dec-12 11:37:21

Ronaldo It sounds like you ARE giving support to SEN kids.

I agree, dyslexics need to be independent learners but I do think that teaching must take into account their needs. I never said they should do nothing for themselves!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 04-Dec-12 14:50:05


You are definitely supporting those children.

There are plenty of teachers who won't know which children are on a sn register, nor even see a copy of the report.
You do what is necessary to support and this imo is all any parent could want from you.
However, I do agree that there does need to be training for other professionals to help dcs find strategies and working methods to become independant learners, the same as every child learns this through school college and university, to different degrees.
I too agree that a teacher knowing of a dcs sn doesn't provide support in itself. But understanding and allowance can go along way in supporting the dc to become confident and know they can learn.

mrz Tue 04-Dec-12 17:26:16

My son's many EPs said my son should use a computer for his work in Secondary school but none of his teachers would accept word processed work and insisted he copied work and homework from the board even though they were well aware of his problems ...

morethanpotatoprints Tue 04-Dec-12 22:59:38


I think thats disgusting, did you complain and what was their response if you did? I ask because how is that attitude being fully inclusive.
I can remember during my PGCE they harked on about inclusivity almost constantly and throughout our written work and teaching observations we had to demonstate where we had achieved this.
There again, it seems like Post Compulsory there is far more emphasis put on to support and diagnosis. I know I keep saying this but why can't it happen when they are younger, why wait until college. It seems so unfair.

Mrz. I certainly would have followed the recommendations in the report because I would have been in so much trouble had I not. angry

Niceweather Wed 05-Dec-12 06:45:34

I think there are many reasons why nothing is done earlier but one might be that you find yourself on dodgy ground if you try and differentiate between children. One child with dyslexia might be underachieving by several years but might be within average range whereas another child might be working at the top end of their ability and also in the average range. My DS is chugging along in the average range yet underachieving drastically. There are loads of children who will be doing worse than he is. Why should he get any extra help? You have to be 2 years behind average to qualify for help. Someone with dyslexia could be 5 years behind their potential based on IQ but still in average range - a bit of a minefield for a teacher to negotiate so easier to ignore. By the time they get to college, it will be more obvious that they are actually, surprise surprise, quite bright and have difficulties that are not in line with their intelligence.

PlaySchool Wed 05-Dec-12 10:06:30

Niceweather You have an excellent point. All my kids have literacy difficulties and I had one tested and found that he is moderately to severely dyslexic. His teacher told me in Yr 4 before I had him tested that he would get no extra help because there were children in the class far worse than him. After I got the diagnosis the school had to pull their finger out and his grades went up significantly.
My point would be that all children should be encouraged to achieve to the best of their ability. Ignored dyslexia is likely to make them slide down.

picketywick Wed 05-Dec-12 12:44:39

A bit of true gossip. Gabby Logans husband, a rugby international, had severe problems at school, which were not treated until he married Gabby.

She amusingly describes how she ended up sitting in a specialists waiting room with hubby and some 11 year olds.

Apparentland teachers had treated him as a boy by sending him into the corridor. Things have improved, surely, since then.

PlaySchool Wed 05-Dec-12 14:28:51

Apparentland teachers had treated him as a boy by sending him into the corridor. Things have improved, surely, since then.

Not much. In Year 4 my dyslexic son had his book held up in front of the whole class as an example of messy work.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 05-Dec-12 18:32:50

Pickety and Playschool.

I'm not sure how old you are but I am ancient. grin. The experience of Gabbys husband is mild compared to how I suffered and others during the time. I was physically and emotionally abused and bullied by teachers throughout school and it was allowed. You can't begin to imagine the sickness I felt every morning knowing it would be exactly the same as the day before. I don't think I will ever truly get over it although I have come to terms with it now.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 05-Dec-12 18:45:38


I have just read your last post. How awful for him. That is emotional bullying.

I hope he is ok, I feel so much for children with sn or slds some truly suffer and it needn't be like this. Has he had many incidences like this or is it usually ok for him?

I think even if new policies and procedures and training were to happen, there would still be some teachers who acted unprofessionally.

mrz Wed 05-Dec-12 20:19:07

morethanapotatoprint their solution was not to teach him for two years hmm

morethanpotatoprints Wed 05-Dec-12 20:45:33

Good grief it gets worse, poor child.

Playschool, I hope he recovers or did recover well from this. How totally unacceptable in this day and age. I am really sad for him.
Please tell me he is doing well and getting support now

PlaySchool Wed 05-Dec-12 22:28:33

morethanpotatoprints Thanks. He was very traumatised by that particular teacher. She also made another dyslexic child (undiagnosed at the time) sit at a desk on her own at the front for most of the year. That child was very upset by her too.

However, both my son and the girl are doing really well now. They are in Yr 7. I was so proud of him the other day when he told me that he had been put in the top set in English! His spelling, handwriting and punctuation are still awful but he seems to get by through his understanding and good ideas.

There are people who are inadequate at their job in all professions.

nooka Thu 06-Dec-12 06:02:14

Niceweather you are assuming that the dyslexic child who might have been achieving at an average rate but had great potential gets to college. My experience is that as children get older reading and writing get more and more important at school, and the dyslexic child is therefore likely to slip further back without help. Plus frustration levels increase, and they may either start thinking that they are not in fact bright, but stupid and stop trying, or they may respond by becoming more and more disruptive (or both). Also early intervention is much more effective than later intervention.

That's not to say that I don't understand the rationale for helping the children who are struggling the most, more that it makes far more sense (and is more cost effective) to intervene in early childhood than during further education. If there are aides or solutions then apply them as early as possible so that adults don't have to overcome the stigma or pain they have completely unnecessarily suffered growing up.

Niceweather Thu 06-Dec-12 08:02:15

Nooka I totally agree with you. My comment was meant to be addressing the question about why kids don't get picked up until they reach college. There must be dyslexic children in the bottom sets of every school in the country who are underachieving and have been written off. If it's right to assume that almost all dyslexic kids are underachieving to some extent, then it may be only the very bright ones with milder dyslexia will find a way to even get to college. Dyslexics are over represented in entrepreneurship, creative professions and the prison population.

Niceweather Thu 06-Dec-12 10:01:15

Nooka Also, there will be some dyslexics who learn strategies and use their creativity to compensate - hence the over representation amongst entrepreneurs. Some might even say that it was the experience of school that gave them the drive to succeed and prove themselves. Plus many may have special talents that rise the fore as they specialise at college. But yes, at the same time, others will fall into a cycle of failure.

picketywick Thu 06-Dec-12 11:55:55

PLAYSCHOOL In telling the experience of Gabby Logans husband I am sorry if
I overstated the extent to which things have improved.

As was pointed out there are failed members in all professions;and that includes teachers. I mean to say going back a long time I can remember teachers who were clearly in the wrong profession.

I have learned a lot from this thread about dyslexia and other problems.

nooka Thu 06-Dec-12 15:46:47

My apologies. I thought you were endorsing rather than explaining. It just touched a sore point as that's pretty much what our primary school told us - oh ds will struggle for the next ten years, but never mind he'll fly at university!

Goofygoober79 Mon 10-Dec-12 11:14:40

When I was in teacher training, we had a very short lecture on SEN. No discussion about different needs, mental, physical, behavioural - nope, just an hour on the fact that we will encounter children with SEN in our classes.

I am against 'inclusion'. Many teachers are, but we can't say it officially. Why should one or two children with extreme problems be in my class and ruin the education of the rest of the children? Some schools are better than others - some have the funding to give these children the one-to-one support that they need. Most don't, or pretend not to so that they have more money to spend on other things.

I sympathise with parents of SEN children. I feel that they are not getting the best for their children in our state schools. In special schools, children are looked after and taught according to their needs and abilities - in state schools the children are sidelined, 'looked after' by unqualified, unwilling staff (no blame on them, they didn't sign up for it by the most part) and generally not learning as much as they could.

The fact remains, though, that many classes I have taught have been made so much more difficult by the behaviour of one or two (sometimes more) children. Imagine trying to teach the rudimentaries of fractions to Year 3 children when one is screaming obsceneties and smashing things up in a corner. Don't laugh - this is a true example. Or when I'm teaching Year 6 about writing using flashbacks, and a SEN child is wailing the whole time, loudly. Even though by Y6 the kids are trained not to react, it's still distracting for all of us.

If my child had Special Educational Needs, I would want them to be in a place where they were cared for, looked after and taught what was appropriate to them. None of this happens in most 'mainstream' schools.

Ronaldo Mon 10-Dec-12 15:47:29

Ah, a voice ofreason goofygoober79. Unfortunately where SN areconcerned reason is left at the door.

O agreewith all you say. However, I did getmore than an hour of SN on my course. But that isnt the point. The point is everyone should be entitled toan education that suits them. That is clearly very different for SN and "NT" DC ( heck I resent the lable NT being given to my DC or to myself just because someone wants a bloody label!)

Inclusion does not work and as you said, many teachers are privately against it. Of course, we are back to that elephant in the room.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Mon 10-Dec-12 16:06:04

Inclusion does not work because teachers and schools side with the LA in their lies, denials and delay tactics insead of the parents who have their children as their only agenda and a fairly good understanding as to how they could learn in the classroom with minumal disruptions.

Ronaldo Mon 10-Dec-12 17:53:40

Inclusion does not work because teachers and schools side with the LA in their lies, denials and delay tactics insead of the parents who have their children as their only agenda and a fairly good understanding as to how they could learn in the classroom with minumal disruptions

The truth of it is that those of us at the chalk face side with no one. We have avsolutely no control over what happens. I dont know where you get the idea we do.

Of course as a parent you have your child as your agenda. As a parent of an "NT" child I have my childs interests as my agenda but as a teacher I have to have the needs of between 20 and 30 DC as my agenda - not just yours or mine

Ronaldo Mon 10-Dec-12 17:54:40

IMVHO any disruption , no matter how "minimal" (and how do you measure that exactly) is a disruption too many.

PlaySchool Mon 10-Dec-12 18:46:44

Ronald's,do you think teachers are treated as professionals by the government and SMT or do you think they are programmed to simply follow instructions?

PlaySchool Mon 10-Dec-12 18:47:18

I mean "Ronaldo". Silly spellcheck.

Ronaldo Mon 10-Dec-12 19:26:09

Ronald's,do you think teachers are treated as professionals by the government and SMT or do you think they are programmed to simply follow instructions?

The government stopped treating teachers as "professionals" more than 30 years ago. If in fact they ever did treat teachers as professional at all. There has always been a debate about exacly how "pofessional" teaching was. It was more a technicians role than considered a profession.

SMT ( following govt orders since 1985 or thereabouts) have no trust at all in teachers professionalism. If there were any so called trust you wouldng have ofsted, constant observations and the National Curriculum amongst other things. Teachers would be in charge of their own classrooms. Teachers would be allowed to teach DC according to their actual needs and abilities rather than target chasing and tick listing.

I say that. Working in an independent it remains fairly autonomous and professional as it is possible for teaching under the current educational climate I think

aroomofherown Mon 10-Dec-12 19:47:14

I went to a SEN conference recently and the story there was that even the UK government doesn't really have a choice in their policies re inclusion etc as they are just an arm of what is happening globally.

Another interesting fact was that whilst the UK has about 20% of their students on the SEN register, most of Europe only has about 3% - the equivalent of our % of kids with statements.

Education around the world is starting to look the same everywhere.

PlaySchool Mon 10-Dec-12 19:53:15

Ronaldo I know it is a digression from the OP but I did part of a PGCE recently and gave it up for the very reason that I realised that teachers are not treated like professionals at all. Having been in another professional career, I would never be able to adapt to a job where I was made to follow instructions to the letter and given no autonomy. I think teachers are treated by both the government and each other with no respect.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Dec-12 20:06:38

I feel that I am given plenty of autonomy in the classroom and am treated as a professional. I do teach children according to their own needs.

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