‘Exams are too easy, Too many children are leaving school unable to read and write to a sufficient standard, underfunded schools, special needs not being picked up early enough,’ we’ve all read the stories lately about how our education system is failing children and that they are not achieving as well as they did back in the old days. It saddens me that this is all we ever hear about especially at this time of year when many children are moving from the Early years foundation stage to start in Key stage 1 or starting reception or moving up to secondary school. We never hear about the good things that go on in many schools to help them develop.
In the past 2 years my wife and I been asked 4 times if we think our son might be dyslexic. We did bring the subject up when he was in the Nursery Class of his school, as both my wife and I am dyslexic and could see some of the traits. His teacher couldn’t have thanked us more as she suspected something. Over the past two years, although, he has not yet been assessed, the school have developed a way of teaching him and I suspect every child in his class according to their needs. In that time we’ve always been taken seriously and the school has always taught him with those needs in mind. So when my daughter had her home visit for the Nursery Class guess what one of the first questions the teacher asked was? ‘Do you think she may be dyslexic?’
I’m reminded of the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ as the school could have left it at just asking the question. But no two years on you can see clearly that they have been working on his weaknesses and pushing his strengths. For instance his teacher was quite clear that when the children who go out for extra support work they don’t miss out on PE because they see this as a way of pushing him and giving him confidence. I’ve often been amazed by what they achieve at his school. There is no question that it’s because they recognise every child is different and so learns in a different way but more importantly there is an expectation that parents and teachers work together. We actually have to go in at the beginning of the year to learn how to support their learning. Added to this is the fact that teaching staff have an understanding of special educational needs and the school has a strategy to work with the children who have them.
Because of my experiences over the last two years I’m led to two conclusions one is of the importance of a nationwide strategy for dyslexia and literacy difficulties that Dyslexia Action are calling for, in fact I can’t believe there isn’t one already. The second is that maybe there should be an IT’s ME Award for a school or a teacher. Let’s face it with inspirational teachers children can get the building blocks they need, I can name at least 4 worthy recipients, but also schools create the right environment for children of all abilities and needs to learn, often just as inspirational as those famouse people recognised through the award. We could give these people a big pat on the back for the brilliant work they do and create a few positive headlines about our children’s education.