St Saviour’s School in Bath is raising the profile of dyslexia with its pupils and staff as part of one of its core School Development Objectives for the coming year.
“At St Saviour’s we are changing the narrative around dyslexia and raising the profile,” explained Executive Headteacher Joe Beament. “We have been training our staff, identifying our dyslexic learners and adapting our teaching to build on the children’s strengths and supporting them with their challenges. We are so determined to get this right that we have made it one of our main School Development Objectives this year across our two schools.”
This initiative has included surveying the staff on dyslexic understanding, analysing their teaching, evaluating the learning environments, understanding the thoughts and feelings of dyslexic learners, and making changes to allow them the best opportunities to learn. This includes investments in dyslexic friendly books, working with the charity Made By Dyslexia to learn and share ideas, and developing teaching based on the research available.
In addition, teachers and staff have considered the use of ‘thinking time’ for dyslexic children, allowed all day access to supportive materials in the classroom, creating clear routines in each classroom to support the children, supporting dyslexic learners with ‘big picture’ thinking, using soft coloured backgrounds to support reading from the whiteboards and incorporating technology to support the children.
“The big bonus with all this work and these changes is that it supports all learners in our classrooms and not just our dyslexic children,” added Joe. “We recognise the challenges of dyslexic learners but also want to change the narrative and celebrate all our differences, what makes us special and what are all our ‘superpowers’!”
Responding to the initiative, one of the school’s dyslexic pupils commented, “My teacher knows me really well. I always get enough thinking time to give questions and challenges a go. My writing is really coming along, I have practiced loads and learnt so much.”
Another pupil added, “I love school. The teachers and teaching assistants know how I learn and how to help me, I have resources in the classroom I can access, and the teachers support me and give me the help I need. All the adults and children at St Saviour’s know about dyslexia and I am always happy to share what it’s like to be dyslexic.”
“We are now developing a strategic plan for dyslexic screening of children in our schools in order to understand which children are dyslexic and what support they might need,” said Joe. “We are also planning a parent and carer information event to share everything we have learnt about dyslexia and changes we have made to make sure our dyslexic learners thrive at St Saviour’s.”