VIEWPOINT The importance of
support for dyslexic finding the right
RAN SMITH is one of the big names in dyslexia and is about to launch the first Dyslexia Showat the NEC. Here he talks to SalMcKeown.
I was quite lonely in primary school. I was bullied and depressed and knew I was
sister is three years younger than me, but she was a better reader. I couldn't get my head around silent reading because I need to listen to the words to get meaning from text and so I used to s the ceiling tiles in instead.
the classroom it and count
When I went to high school I found the comfort blanket of the Learning Support team. There was a room I could go to at lunchtime and I went to Computer Club and discovered laptops. Although I was still struggling with reading and writing I was learning about other things.
The biggest change came when I went to the Lei Dyslexia Association where I had lessons in computi an English teacher. I stayed with the Association an I became the chairman.
d six years ago ng and with cestershire
So here I am, a 35-year-old with severe dyslexia and elements of ADHD ASD and dyspraxia.My
ADHD can be troublesome when my mind is jumping from one idea to another and dyspraxia means that I tend to fall over, and I cannot draw. On the upside, I have discovered the joys of technology: text to speech and speech to text are so liberating and like many people with dyslexia I have an entrepreneurial streak and have been director of two companies.
It amazes me that Initial Teacher Training has no mandatory awareness modules and there is little CPD. A company called B Squared has started up a VConference. This is an interesting model: attend on the day or watch the recordings afterwards. Three keynotes and 12 sessions for just £60 and delegates can share the material with colleagues which really helps to raise awareness. It is extraordinarily good value.
I have recorded two podcasts with B Squared: the first one is about what dyslexia is and the second one is about technology and how it can support dyslexics. This has been a brilliant opportunity because through the podcast I can discuss the difficulties and advantages that dyslexia brings – from the perspective of being an entrepreneur with dyslexia.
I have a background in organising events and a year ago I started to explore the idea of a Dyslexia Show, with a free exhibition. I wanted dyslexics, parents and teachers to have access to ideas, information, technology and resources. It will take place at the NEC in Birmingham 20/ 21stMarch. I was hoping to get 1500 visitors but so far we’ve got 4000 people registered, 35 exhibitors, with more registering each day, and there is quite a buzz on social media.
Statistics say that one person in 10 has dyslexia in the UK. On a personal level I would say that you will have difficult days but with support from family and friends and the right technology you can succeed.
Four steps to successful new staff induction
In his column thismonth, GRAHAMCOOPER, Product Strategy Director, Juniper Education, suggestsways for schools to refresh the teacher induction process.
It’s a puzzling predicament. The candidate you
boxes, but several months down the line, they’re interviewed back in the summer ticked all the
not living up to expectations. Despite having bags of experience, flawless credentials and enthusiasm for the role, your new recruit has been like a fish out of water since they started. If you recognise this scenario, it could be time
to revamp your teacher induction process with this checklist: 1. Cover all the bases
Whether your new member of staff is an NQT or a senior leader with 20 years’ experience behind them, they need to know how things are done in your school.
Set aside time to run through your school’s policies on
safeguarding, HR and equality & diversity, and introduce the new teacher to the people who lead these areas. It’s not enough to simply hand over a pile of policy documents – give your new member of staff the opportunity to ask questions.
While many aspects of policy are common to all schools, your school may do certain things differently, and new teachers need to know what these are.
ke it easy and accessible
It’s important to protect your school and your new employees by obtaining evidence they have read and understood all the documentation.
Some schools ask new joiners to return signed copies of each document. This can generate a mountain of paperwork for the new teacher as well as the school. To avoid a lengthy paper trail, it can be worth considering a staff induction app.
Allowing a new staff member to access documents on their smartphone or tablet during a quiet moment at home or on the train makes the process simpler and more manageable. You can then access data that confirms they’re been read.
3. Clarify fy your expectations
Starting a new teaching job is always a challenge, but if you’re not sure whether you can make a personal call, what the dress code is or how to report a safeguarding concern, it can be the stuff of nightmares.
Teachers need the confidence to make d ensures they’re not left in the dark.
Familiarising a new teacher with your school’s code of conduct ecisions that reflect your
school’s culture, rules and ethos, so make these clear. For example, if you expect teachers to join in with costumes onWorld Book Day, or set regular homework, let them know.
4. Provide ongoing support
If half a year has gone by and your new recruit is still struggling to fit in, they may need more of a helping hand.
Consider implementing a buddy system which matches new teachers with longer serving staff members who can mentor them through their first year in the school.
It’s worth thinking about a new teacher’s personal circumstances too. If they have relocated for the job they may be finding it hard to settle. Some tips on the area such as good places to shop, eat and explore could make all the difference.
With a successful induction programme, your new staff will receive the support they need and their talent will shine through.
To find outmore about howJuniper Education can helpwith your teacher induction, please visit https://juniper educa
t/school-staff ff- f-induction-programme/ www.education-today.co.uk
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