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Neil MacKay
Dyslexia Friendly Strategies & Support

The Dyslexia Aware Schools Quality Mark

Celebrating Quality First Reasonable Adjustments for learners "at risk" from Dyslexia

The Motivation

  1. To become recognised as a school which is "Dyslexia Aware" and which successfully meets the needs of most dyslexic learners through reasonable adjustments
  2. To achieve a national award  - The Dyslexia Aware Quality Mark - which celebrates the ways in which policy, practice, ethos and culture combine to enable dyslexic learners to be the best they can be.
  3. To meet the requirements of the Inclusion Development Plan while gaining recognition for good practice


The Quality Mark acknowledges and celebrates "Dyslexia Aware" best practice in the classroom and across the school. Evidence of achievement indicating the positive  impact of dyslexia aware practice is the key to the award.  This evidence is sought through the monitoring and tracking which all schools undertake as they assess for learning and also through the more formalised data collection which is available in SEF, RAISEonline, Fischer Family Trust etc.  The 5 outcomes of Every Child Matters are also a cornerstone of the Dyslexia Aware Quality Mark.

What's In It For Me (WIIFME)

Dyslexia Aware INSET (So?)

A key element of the Quality Mark is the whole school "Dyslexia Aware" training event.  The training is delivered by Neil MacKay, from Action Dyslexia. This training can be either:

  • a conventional full day event for all staff
  • or
  • a combined consultancy and twilight - a half day consultancy for lead personnel followed by a twilight training session for all staff

This Dyslexia Aware training is practical, pragmatic yet inspirational - teachers and support staff are presented with just enough "theory" with  which to develop and extend their best practice, supported by a wealth of inclusive strategies which are the basis of "things to do slightly differently tomorrow."   The training will be closely linked to achieving the Quality Mark and the Inclusion Development Programme, with particular regard to developing house style and shared responsibility for the progress and achievement of the potentially vulnerable 10% of learners who are dyslexic to some degree.  So, unlike other Quality Marks, the commitment to becoming Dyslexia Aware is launched and driven by top quality training, ensuring that all staff hear the same message and are supported to reflect on their practice.

Quality Mark Evidence required - record of whole staff attendance at a training day

The Audit : (So what?)

Following completion of whole school training delivered by Action Dyslexia,  schools will complete the Dyslexia Aware Audit.

The audit will focus particularly on evidence measuring the impact of school and classroom best practice on  three "target learners" selected according to the criteria laid down in the Audit Form.

Guidance will be given during the training day to support colleagues to develop their "Dyslexia Aware antennae" and to establish in-house ways to measure the learning journeys of children who think faster than they read, write, spell and do number.

Quality Mark Evidence required -submission of completed audit form and supporting data

The Action Plan (So what now?)

The Action Plan is the instrument of change developed from the audit.  Schools will prioritise audit issues to develop a graduated response which feeds in to the School Development/Improvement Plan.

Quality Mark Evidence required - Action Plan feeding in to School Development/Improvement Plan highlighted to indicate Dyslexia Aware action

Compiling the evidence

The penultimate step in the accreditation process is to repeat the audit in order to identify learning journeys and put together the evidence base. This will comprise:

  • Completed Audit form with supporting evidence demonstrating the impact of the school's Dyslexia Aware practices and relating, in particular, to the achievement of the three target learners
  • Action Plan
  • Extracts from School Development/Improvement Plan addressing issues from the Action Plan
  • "Before and after" evidence of achievement and attainment from the three target pupils - to show where they were before the Action Plan and where they moved to after the Plan has been put in place - to assess the quality of learning journeys

The Verification Visit

The final step is the verification visit which will include the following elements:

  • Interviews with:   
    • SMT and Lead Person
    • Parents
    • Pupils
    • Governor
  • Lesson Observations:   
    • Whole Class
    • Supported Learning

The focus will be on improvements in the quality of Quality First classroom teaching, including reasonable adjustments and "notice and adjust strategies in response to need.

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Client Feedback

I just wanted to say thank you so much for such a stimulating and thought provoking staff meeting yesterday. The staff left inspired and there has already been a lot of discussion this morning. It was a pleasure finally meeting you and I hope we have the opportunity to maintain a link and work with you again in the near future. Kind regards
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