It’s the time of year when thoughts turn to transition and if you have an effective transition in your school, you’ve probably been thinking about it for a while.
I’m talking here about the move to…BIG SCHOOL.
Pupils with dyslexia often find this even more daunting than your average student.
How to ease transition for them so that they have the best possible chance of success?
Evidence suggests that performance of year 7 pupils can remain static or even decline. What might be the factors involved?
- Learners lose the consistent pastoral and academic overview of their progress by a class teacher.
- Learners must shoulder the additional stresses of new social groups, new physical environments and organisational demands.
- Learners must deal with a broader curriculum and range of teaching styles.
- Basic literacy skills are no longer a focus of teaching, unless pupils have VERY weak literacy skills and receive additional support.
- It is suggested that pupils with below average to low average literacy skills, who do not qualify for support, are likely to be particularly vulnerable to a drop in attainment and self-confidence.
- It’s hard to improve children’s standard scores in literacy through intervention (Fawcett 2002).
- Improvements in phonological skills do not always generalise into more accurate or fluent reading and spelling is particulalrly difficult to remediate (The US National Reading Panel, 2001). I attended a conference in 2017:Dyscalculia and other D’s’ and one of my workshops was with Beccie Hawes from Rushall Inclusion Advisory Team. The message?
- It’s important to recognise that for some children and families, High School is a welcome change, a fresh start and negative experiences can be left behind.
- It’s essential though that these children arrive at High School with basic skills in literacy and maths, more importantly the FLUENCY so that they can keep up.
- Apart from this, what else can be done to ensure the best possible start?
The following might make it difficult for students with SpLD and each profile will be unique but with difficulties in:
- Tme: managing time, sequencing, organisation,
- Basic skills: impacted by memory, processing speed, self-regulation, attention, fatigue.
- Spatial Awareness (simply getting around school).
- Sensory needs (which impact on attention, therefore memory and basic skills). Sensory needs also come into play at play and lunch time, is the child sensitive to noise, doesn’t like crowds?
Relationships are key to a smooth transition and the ideal situation is where the pupil, parent/carer, original school and receiving school are all working together to support the child.
A detailed One Page Profile ensures that everyone knows key information about the child, provides a positive framework, focuses on moving forward and puts the child at the centre, drawing upon the experise of the young person and their family.
It may help the child to have additional vists with the school, meeting staff and other children who are attending, Hawes even suggests arranging pen pals with other dyslexic children which I think is a nice idea.
Beccie Hawes suggests a ‘buffet’ approach rather than ‘set menu’. The child is changing, the environment is new – emphasis is on flexibilty. Things that worked for the child before may not now. Review and amend provision constantly.