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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!

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.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Oct-12 13:12:10

EBD for Prime Minister!!!!

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

TheMonster 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.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Oct-12 13:18:29

'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.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Oct-12 17:34:42

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.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Oct-12 09:20:31

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)

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