In April the All Party Parliamentary Group met  in Westminster to discuss the Human Cost of Dyslexia. This was a a report commissioned by the British Dyslexia Association and made stark reading.  Overall it detailed how having dyslexia not only had an impact on literacy but also an emotional impact. You can read the full report here .  From my own family’s experiences I know dyslexia can contribute to poor self-esteem,confidence and have long term mental health implications.

I’ve worked in this field since 2003 and my passion is driven by wanting to ensure every child leaves school with the ability to read and write and be able to make the life choices, not only about education and employment but choices regarding health, social and finance. I wish to see children and students of all ages confident in their ability to read and spell.

The APPG report highlighted over half of the children tried to avoid school, clearly there is a very close link to dyslexia and the negative impact on mental health where individuals are not supported correctly.  Since September 2018 I have implemented a pilot study of my dyslexia programme, CodeBreakers, in some Staffordshire schools.  During the last 8, of a 12 month pilot programme, using CodeBreakers in schools, I have received not only amazing statistics and seen 75% of the students’ abilities grow in decoding and encoding I’ve also heard heartwarming anecdotal evidence from the staff involved, regarding the children’s confidence.

I spoke to the SENCO last week (May 2019) and she reported,

One of our students had experienced lots of other intervention programmes and was developing some ‘behavioural’ difficulties in school, I’m certain this was linked to his low self esteem around learning. After just a few months of 1:1, for 1 hour a week, I’ve seen an increase in his confidence and a decrease ‘behavioral’ difficulties. For the first time he’s realised he can learn to read and spell.

It’s the small changes that can’t be measured but which have such a great impact on an individual’s life, the SENCO told me,

Only last week one of my students came in with such excitement, telling me that they’d had a take-away over the weekend.  I was a little confused as this wasn’t anything unusual.  He then told me “But Miss, I tried something different for the first time ‘cos I could read the menu!”

Those confident moments can transfer to the classroom too and can have an impact wider on learning as a whole.

For the first time, one of my students using CodeBreakers put her hand up in class and was able to answer a question about spelling and tell the teacher and the whole class why the spelling was wrong.

The fabulous thing about this moment is, the student was able to clearly quote the rule behind the spelling errors, as she’d learned and retained it from CodeBreakers sessions. Not only that, she was able to transfer the learning from 1:1 into the classroom and apply it.  This was a child who previously was too shy to contribute in class.

The programme has received praise from a headteacher, she identified, after  just 20 weeks intervention, encoding and decoding skills had increased.

I just wanted to say a great big thank you on behalf of all the children that you have helped support at our school! These results are fantastic and I know that CodeBreakers has made a very real difference for our children and for our staff!

September 2019 will see the start of a second year project to identify CodeBreakers’ effectiveness in small group settings.  CodeBreakers can be delivered by TAs effectively and can also be sent  home to enable parents to participate and ensure that parents can see progress and intervention.  CodeBreakers has been devised specifically to be delivered by TAs, as they are often the staff supporting the most vulnerable students.  It’s an easy to follow programme which is systematic synthetic phonics with multi-sensory techniques.  It’s unique as it provides a number of opportunities for over learning which many programmes lack. It also works across all age ranges.  The mix of fun games and worksheets keeps children of all ages engaged. The baseline tests can be administered without qualifications and establish a start point and evidence progress.

Our year 1 project focused on 1:1 intervention.  We know funding often constrains this type of intervention.  Therefore, year 2 (September 2019) pilot study will focus on small group intervention.

If you’d like your school to be considered for the pilot study, we are currently receiving expressions of interest from primary and secondary schools. We are happy to provide a webinar based demonstration for you.

Contact us here.

We’ll be talking about the pilot study and chatting to schools at the annual SEN Jigsaw Conference on Saturday June 8th In Stoke on Trent. There are a number of specialist providing morning presentations and afternoon on SpLD workshops. This is a ticket only event, Booking is essential by 30th May.