Teachers and pupils at Sedbergh School met on Tuesday to mark Dyslexia Awareness Week. This year’s week, held from 3rd – 9th October, carried the theme of Identification of Dyslexia and three members of staff shared their personal experiences during a Morning Break gathering.

Dr Emily Fitzherbert, Biology Teacher, and Simon Arnold, Head of Design and Technology, spoke about the stigma attached to a diagnosis of Dyslexia in the 1980s and early 1990s, and talked about how they found their own coping strategies as very little specialist support existed.

Dr Fitzherbert highlighted how, in the 1990s there was some confusion about how to help a pupil with dyslexia who might be achieving academically; easier to understand was those dyslexic pupils who were weaker at academic subjects. 

Chris Hattam, School House Housemaster and Religious Studies teacher, shared his own daughter’s recent diagnosis and talked about the whole family having grown in understanding despite having initially resisted any tests. 

Kate Sarginson, Head of Learning Support, said: “The support for this event was very encouraging and I think we were all very grateful to those teachers who spoke for giving such insight into their personal lives and experiences.

Knowing if you are or might be dyslexic can be the catalyst for change in people’s lives and so anything we can do as a school to remove the barriers, the costs, the confusion and myths are a positive way to utilise Awareness Week.

Some staff completed voluntary audits of how they are changing their lesson planning and delivery to accommodate pupils with Dyslexia and we are reviewing the results.

Given the fact that dyslexia is often a hidden disability and the most common learning difficulty in school, we echoed the British Dyslexia Association’s plan which was to prompt people to think and consider if they themselves or close to them could be dyslexic.”

Sian Pittman, Design Technology Teacher specialising in Jewellery Making (GCSE/A Level), was inspired to try a new technique in one of her lessons.

She said: “I received a new visualiser, so had Year 10s watching my demonstration of working on a silver ring, and this was projected live on to the screen.

This was recorded and set to run on a loop throughout the lesson – it meant that the pupils weren’t trying to peer over my shoulder at a tiny piece of work.

From a Dyslexia point of view, the students saw the demonstration and had good, immediate, access to seeing the steps again – no worksheets or text required.” 

Rebecca Hubbard, Physics teacher, used flow charts and coloured pens. She said: “I found this worked particularly well when I was summarising the instructions for the practical activity.”

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