The Driver Youth Trust in England has published another report featuring the results of a survey:
The gist of the report is illustrating a lack of a joined up approach for the field of literacy, dyslexia and special needs and the lack of any record keeping to give the overall picture nationally:
https://www.driveryouthtrust.com/wp-con ... -Paper.pdf
There is indeed a lack of joined up thinking and provision in England’s context – and part of this disconnect is the work and contribution made by practitioners with their early literacy (phonics) programmes and accompanying guidance – in contrast to the field of ‘intervention’ per se.
It is looking like the ‘DfE validated’ systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programmes appear to be considered 'mainstream', and that children who require more attention for foundational literacy – that is, ‘intervention’ – may need ‘something different’ from the main SSP programmes.
Those involved with the 'DfE validated' SSP programmes will state that, first and foremost, any 'intervention' should be with the phonics programmes’ resources and guidance but with more ‘little and often’ provision - and that this is formally accounted for. In other words, regardless of children’s individual needs and challenges, it is the same alphabetic code knowledge and phonics skills that they all need to be taught and to learn - and how to provide for ‘dyslexia’ (word level difficulties) of beginners and strugglers is still with the highest quality SSP provision delivered with the intensity required.
The Driver Youth Trust report is highlighting the scenario of record keeping to achieve an understanding the national picture of provision, the report reveals inconsistency in qualifications of 'specialists', misunderstanding (or lack of knowledge) about the various qualifications, inconsistent specialist provision in schools - and so on, but I suggest thatI the national scenario is much more complicated than that – and need not be so.
I would like to draw attention to some issues around people and organisations in England’s context which show that solutions to the teaching of reading have no joined up national thinking between the so-called mainstream SSP programmes - and intervention programmes - and the practices and training of ‘specialists’.
Take for example, my findings described here – I’m afraid some of the links no longer work but you will get the gist:
https://phonicsintervention.org/2017/01 ... ds-advice/
With regard to the Driver Youth Trust specifically and some previous reports generated by that organization, see here how ‘phonics’ was undermined quite seriously (it’s long, but doesn’t require full reading, you’ll get my point):
And then we have the recent, inexplicable set of circumstances, where the government coronavirus advisory page for literacy special needs does not lead to the ‘DfE validated’ phonics programmes, instead it leads to the Education Endowment Foundation which leads to the EEF ‘Promising Projects List’ with not a single (arguably) quality 'DfE validated' phonics programme, I provided this post:
https://debbiehepplewhite.com/the-educa ... show-this/
And Reading Recovery is still alive and kicking for ‘intervention’ in England despite the change of professional understanding from the Searchlights multi-cueing reading strategies to the Simple View of Reading thanks to the recommendations of the Rose Report back in 2006 and despite considerable emphasis on ‘systematic synthetic phonics’ and the need for ‘cumulative decodable reading books’ in England for a number of years and through a number of governmental initiatives.
Further, I have been sent, privately, the manuals from the ‘Dyslexia Action’ course, from concerned participants due to some of the content (arguably) being misguided such as drawing lines around word shapes to remember them. And often the secrecy of such dyslexia intervention courses is worrying and lacking in transparency.
The gist of my talks invariably focus on the issue of ‘chance’ of the content and guidance of teacher-training (including specialism training) and asking the question as to ‘what’ professional knowledge and understanding should the teaching profession be equipped with for reading and spelling instruction? Surely all teachers and so-called 'specialists' require the same 'evidence informed' knowledge and understanding for reading instruction? Apparently not.
[By the way, I think the whole teaching profession should be knowledgeable and trained in the English alphabetic code and phonics skills for teaching and remediation. They should all be specialists.]
Now surely the disconnect between the field of foundational literacy and dyslexia/intervention is the biggest issue of lack of joined up national thinking and action. And this is hugely inconsistent across the other countries in the UK where 'systematic synthetic phonics' provision is not even mandated for mainstream or intervention as such:
Remember Anne Glennie's petition in Scotland:
And Rob Randel's revelations in Wales:
No consistency in guidance and teacher training anywhere in the UK!!!!
The British Dyslexia Action organization, and all the other intervention organisations and their various qualifications present as formally accredited – but who reviews them?
The most helpful point of principle from Sir Jim Rose is pointing out that it is the same alphabetic code knowledge and phonics skills that all learners require despite their differences.
The Education Endowment Foundation, however, seems to think that if children by the age of 10 have literacy difficulties, they need something different such as ‘meta cognition and self regulation’ strategies. Greg Ashman has asked ‘are they really a thing’. There is no indication that the EEF thinks an investigation into the quality and content of the previous SSP provision might warrant a close observational survey – a time on task – for example, of the historic realities for the struggling children ('historic realities' - meaning whether the children's prior phonics provision was good enough, or mixed with multi-cueing reading, and whether there was sufficient or any 'little and often' phonics provision fully accounted for).
We know that SSP provision is not effectively delivered in every school in England and yet around 1,000 schools every year manage to enable nearly all the children to reach or exceed the benchmark in the Year One phonics check. Phonics check results have risen steadily for a number of years and now stalled around 82% as a national average. Teacher training needs to be improved nationally - but advisors and organisations lead teachers in opposite directions of professional 'understanding' with regard to reading instruction. Which direction should teachers follow?
I’ve also reported that Professor Maggie Snowling, renowned in the field of dyslexia, commented that ‘there is too much emphasis on phonics’ when she gave a talk about her early intervention for oral language. How can this be?
If people want to reflect on the notion of national disconnect and record keeping – lack of joined up national guidance and practice – and understanding, I hope this gives a bigger picture about intervention for literacy in England.
Since the announcement of another massive chunk of public funding in England being provided to the Education Endowment Foundation for the coronavirus ‘National Tutoring Programme’ (the EEF that does not suggest the use of SSP provision for literacy intervention), we submitted a Freedom of Information request about this funding and any procurement process.
No joined up national thinking - and action - in sight:
https://iferi.org/wp-content/uploads/20 ... fE-EEF.pdf
Eng: The Driver Youth Trust publishes a report about the national picture of dyslexia specialists and training
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