Eng: 'The Battle over Dyslexia' - laying out the issues around 'dyslexia', use of public funds and accountability

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Eng: 'The Battle over Dyslexia' - laying out the issues around 'dyslexia', use of public funds and accountability

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:16 pm

This is a very good piece by Sirin Kale in The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/s ... SApp_Other

The Battle over Dyslexia

It was once a widely accepted way of explaining why some children struggled to read and write. But in recent years, some experts have begun to question the existence of dyslexia itself

by Sirin Kale

For me, the most important issue is how best to teach all children, very much including those with (shall we say) dyslexic tendencies, to read, spell and write.

This is the basis for the very existence of the International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction - that is, how best to teach reading informed by research - for all learners.

I would just like to remind people that it is the SAME alphabetic code knowledge and the SAME phonics skills and sub-skills that teachers need to teach to ALL children regardless of any learning differences or difficulties, or individual circumstances. The question is how best to do this, with what professional knowledge and understanding.

It's fair to say, however, that the educational and political scene is in a total mess regarding the inconsistency of official guidance and literacy programmes in mainly English-speaking countries.

It actually breaks my heart the way that money is squandered, in huge amounts, regarding the content and nature of the education children receive.

If all schools provided high quality, research-informed reading instruction, we could address all the issues laid out very clearly in the article - that is, children who struggle more than many of their peers to read, spell and write - and how this manifests as a high-financial cost to parents and local authorities - needing to call upon educational psychologists and those in the legal profession. No children should need to be 'diagnosed' with a specific condition simply in order to achieve high quality reading instruction informed by research and best practice.

Meanwhile, anyone following the IFERI threads will know that even in England where so much has been achieved with regard to 'understanding' for the need for research-informed reading instruction, and where we have achieved some political clout behind guidance in the 2014 National Curriculum for English for infants and primary-aged children, where we have even achieved DfE (Department for Education) scrutiny of phonics programmes and subsequent promotion and funding of 'DfE validated' SSP programmes, where we have achieved a 2019 Ofsted Inspection Framework for inspectors that provides explicit references to scrutiny of systematic synthetic phonics professional understanding and provision and a reading culture from Reception (4+ year olds), where we have achieved several government-funded phonics initiatives over recent years.


Massive public funding has mysteriously been ploughed into the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) for the latest (at the time of writing this thread) 'National Tutoring Programme', see here:


Glance at this thread regarding 'Orwellian Double Guidance', however, to learn about the types of programmes that the EEF promotes in its 'Promising Projects List' for intervention:


Here is the government page...

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus ... up-premium

which states this:

Use of funds

Schools should use this funding for specific activities to support their pupils to catch up for lost teaching over the previous months, in line with the guidance on curriculum expectations for the next academic year.

Schools have the flexibility to spend their funding in the best way for their cohort and circumstances.

To support schools to make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a support guide for schools with evidence-based approaches to catch up for all students. Schools should use this document to help them direct their additional funding in the most effective way. This could include, for example:

*small group or one-to-one tuition (particularly through the National Tutoring Programme)
*summer programmes to help re-engage pupils or extra teaching capacity from September

Guidance to support the use of tuition will be published as part of wider National Tutoring Programme communications later in the summer.

To support schools to implement their catch-up plans effectively, EEF has published the school planning guide: 2020 to 2021. This will provide further guidance on how schools should implement catch-up strategies when they return in September and supporting case studies to highlight effective practice.

But ironically, the government page then refers to schools...

Accountability and monitoring

As with all government funding, school leaders must be able to account for how this money is being used to achieve our central goal of schools getting back on track and teaching a normal curriculum as quickly as possible.

Given their role in ensuring schools spend funding appropriately and in holding schools to account for educational performance, governors and trustees should scrutinise schools’ approaches to catch-up from September, including their plans for and use of catch-up funding. This should include consideration of whether schools are spending this funding in line with their catch-up priorities, and ensuring appropriate transparency for parents.

On the topic of 'accountability and monitoring', however, who is holding the government to account for both the public money it is spending, and the programmes and approaches for literacy special needs being promoted?

In light of this question and the grave concern for the contradictory messages of the most appropriate and high quality provision for children with literacy special needs (regardless of whether they are labelled 'dyslexic' or not - and whether for first time teaching or tutoring/intervention purposes), a 'Freedom of Information' request has been submitted to the government focused on its relationship with the Education Endowment Foundation and associated organisations - and the use of public funding - and clarity around the National Tutoring Programme.
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Re: Eng: 'The Battle over Dyslexia' - laying out the issues around 'dyslexia', use of public funds and accountability

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:30 pm

Premiered in September 2020 to highlight what it's like to struggle with reading and writing:

Mical (Dyslexia Film) - A mother's tenacity to fulfil her dyslexic 7 year-old son's true potential

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LJkJrC ... e=youtu.be
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Re: Eng: 'The Battle over Dyslexia' - laying out the issues around 'dyslexia', use of public funds and accountability

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:43 pm

Someone sent me an 'evidence trail' to illustrate how the Government is inadvisedly funding the Education Endowment Foundation to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds of public money for the 'National Tutoring Programme'.

I've written a blog post about this at 'The Naked Emperor' blog:

The Education Endowment Foundation is actively undermining the Government in England and here is an evidence trail to show this

https://debbiehepplewhite.com/the-educa ... show-this/

I shared the information written in my blog post with the DDOLL network. This is one of the responses for which I have permission to post here:

Good morning Debbie

My heart sunk as I read your email, particularly following Prof. James Chapman’s heroic efforts here in NZ media to counter the pro-Reading Recovery stance promoted by our government’s Education Science (?) Adviser (who as a trustee of the Marie Clay Literacy Trust, has a similar conflict of interest to Kevan Collins, as mentioned in your post).

While NZ has been the source of many great inventions and discoveries, Reading Recovery has been more like the oxalis weed with deep and wide-spreading roots. I think its continued survival may be attributed to the cultural divide between science and education, so ably described by Mark Seidenburg in his book, “Language at the Speed of Sight” (2017):

“These differences are more than a petty academic turf war: they affect the quality of children’s educational experiences via their impact on the setting of policies at the school, district, state, and national levels. The nature of the cultural conflicts and their impact on children are manifestly apparent from what has happened to reading. This history makes it clear that differences are too deep to be overcome by simply getting well-intentioned people into the same room-once again- to hash out their disputes. In my view, the depth of this divide needs to be more widely recognized in order to open new paths to change” (p. 259).

Hopefully Debbie, your submission can be part of this much needed change!

Cathryn Bjarnesen
Learning Support Specialist

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