Initial Teacher Training Campaign
The British Dyslexia Association would like to thank all those who kindly supported our petition.
In response to the Governments statement, which can be seen below, the BDA would like to draw attention to the fact that the listed Government’s interventions have so far failed to address the problem.
The BDA’s National Helpline continues to receive approximately 20,000 enquiries a year for support. With current budget restrictions 50% of these are from parents and teachers seeking advice and help.
- The new Teachers’ Standards which came into effect from September 2012 do not ensure that teachers are equipped to deal with specific learning difficulties(dyslexia).
- ITT placements in special schools or specialist settings within a mainstream school are for general learning difficulties and do not address the need for expertise with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia).
- Self help for teachers through the Continuous Professional Development Framework for teachers cannot be a substitute for specialist training.
- Funding for the Trust is insufficient alone to raise standards nationally.
Dyslexia and related specific learning difficulties make up the greatest portion of disabled pupils in schools (estimated at 15 – 20%) and can prove to be a significant barrier to learning and emotional well-being.
Early identification and appropriate specialist support for children with specific learning difficulties through specialist teacher training could offer significant savings over the current long term cost of literacy and psychological difficulties. We thank you all for your support and we would like to assure you that we shall continue to lobby Government for change.
As this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response:
The Government agrees that teachers should be well prepared to meet the needs of all pupils. However, the Government does not require Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers to deliver particular sessions within their programmes. Instead, the Secretary of State’s Initial Teacher Training Criteria specify that: “All accredited ITT providers must ensure…that the content, structure, delivery and assessment of programmes are designed to enable trainee teachers to meet all the standards for QTS across the age range of training.”
The new Teachers’ Standards which came into effect from September 2012 state that: “a teacher must….adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils,” and in particular: “have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs…..and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.”
We are mindful of the need for trainee teachers to have opportunities early in their training to learn more about special educational needs and that is why we are increasing the number of ITT placements in special schools or specialist settings within a mainstream school, from 1000 placements between 2009 and 2011 to up to 2000 from September 2012. The placements enable trainees to address the professional standards for qualified teachers (QTS) in relation to SEN/D.
The Department currently funds the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust to develop an online Continuous Professional Development framework for teachers, which includes a self-assessment and guide for further study. We are also continuing to work with the Dyslexia –SPLD trust to explore how we can make use of their expertise in further strengthening the recently published advanced materials on Dyslexia, Autism and Communication Needs. Ofsted routinely inspects ITT provision.
As part of this process, it monitors and evaluates how well individual training providers train teachers to meet the needs of all pupils with SEN and disabilities including those with dyslexia and specific learning difficulties. The quality of SEN provision within ITT has been identified as a priority as part of the new ITT inspection arrangements. This emphasis on trainee teachers meeting the needs of all pupils is further backed up by Ofsted’s new framework for ITE inspections.
The grade descriptors for the quality of training include a judgement on how training prepares trainees to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs. It is therefore the responsibility of ITT providers to ensure that they design their programmes so that trainees achieve the outcomes a defined in the Teachers Standards.
It would be inappropriate for the Government to mandate ITT providers to deliver any particular sessions. This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.
One in ten people have dyslexia and many of these go undiagnosed and unrecognised. Often this is because teachers lack the skills to identify and support children who are dyslexic and need to be diagnosed or given extra support. To help this a government report (The Rose Review (2009)) recommended that Initial Teacher Training (ITT) should include Dyslexia/SpLD. However, there is currently no mandatory minimum level of Dyslexia/SpLD training that the Initial Teacher Training course providers must deliver.
The BDA is campaigning to remedy this. In order to do this we have set up a petition on the government petition website stating that there should be a compulsory module on Dyslexia. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures then this issue will be debated in the House of Commons.
The mandatory minimum should be the existing Department of Education 2005 module; available to view at http://teachfind.com/national-strategies/learning-and-teaching-dyslexic-children-0?current_search=learning%20and%20teaching%20for%20dyslexic%20children
The petition only runs for a year so every signature counts, your signature could make a difference enabling teacher to help hundreds of thousands of dyslexic pupils. We believe that dyslexic children have just as much of a right to education by teachers that understand them and their condition as any other child.
We hope that you feel the same, if you do then please take a moment to sign our petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20674.
There is no age restriction to signing this petition, you only need to live in the UK, or be a UK citizen living abroad and have an active e-mail account.
Many thanks for your help in supporting our cause.
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