Friday 17 March 2023
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has, following discussions with the Dyslexia Day Centre (DDC), decided to re-invest the grant given to the charity so that even more students benefit from specialist literacy support.
From September the annual grant to the Dyslexia Day Centre will cease, however, there will be a transition phase in place which will allow children currently receiving support from the DDC to do so up until December 2023.
This decision will enable the funds to be redirected to:
- increase the level of support and training provided to specialist language & literacy teachers and class teachers across all States-run schools, which will enable more children with literacy difficulties to have their needs met in school, by teachers who they work with on a day-to-day basis
- ensure the early identification of literacy difficulties leading to targeted interventions to help children catch up and keep up with their peers
- provide ongoing accurate assessments of children with literacy difficulties and then provide the in-school support these children need to progress
- provide specific programmes for literacy intervention in secondary schools and increase the level of support for the students on these programmes
The Dyslexia Day Centre was set up in 1987 by Mike and Teresa O'Hara to offer specialist tuition, assessments, support and advice to islanders who are affected by dyslexia. While the charity has offered some support for some students in secondary education, its main focus has been on primary-aged children.
Following discussions between Education and the Dyslexia Day Centre, the charity agrees with the Committee's decision and recognises that the changes will lead to an increased number of students receiving targeted support. The Committee wants to express its thanks to the Dyslexia Day Centre, which should be celebrated for having fulfilled one of its original goals to help raise awareness of dyslexia and wider literacy challenges.
Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said:
'Mike and Teresa launched the Dyslexia Day Centre about 36 years ago at a time when far less was known about dyslexia, and other literacy challenges, and the support students with these challenges needed. The Centre's work was pivotal for the island at the time, both to raise awareness and to ensure many students received specialist support. Education and the Dyslexia Day Centre have always worked together closely and in recent years the expertise within the Education Office, and across schools themselves, has grown to the point where we can now take the baton from the charity and deliver this much-needed support in a different way to benefit even more young people. Mike and Teresa have shown exceptional dedication and passion to raise awareness and improve specialist support which has benefitted many island children over the years. I want to publicly thank Mike and Teresa for their commitment and their hard work over many years and also for engaging with us and accepting the Committee's decision to use the available funding in a different way to ensure the legacy of their work continues.'
Mike O'Hara, Chairman of the Dyslexia Day Centre, said:
'While we're naturally disappointed that our relationship with Education will be coming to an end later this year, having discussed their plans we can accept that they want to expand the number of students receiving literacy support. As a charity that has sought for more than three decades to raise awareness of dyslexia and ensure young people receive the help they need, we of course support all efforts to increase the number of students receiving assistance. The training of specialist staff is vital so it's pleasing to know that the redirected funding will increase the number of teachers who are trained in language and literacy interventions. We are pleased there will be a transition period up until the end of December as this will ensure a smooth transition and also allow the Centre time to restructure so that it can continue providing tuition across the wider community.'
Nick Hynes, Director of Education, said:
'The Dyslexia Day Centre has been a valued partner for a long time. While providing specialist support for students with specific literacy difficulties may not have been viewed as part of core education delivery in 1987 when Mike and Teresa launched the charity, it very much is now. That's why the capability and expertise within the Education Office and across our schools has increased over recent years, to the point where we are now quite rightly able to take full ownership and accountability for making sure students who need additional literacy support get the help they need.
'We currently have eight language and literacy teachers who hold recognised Dyslexia Teacher Qualifications and with the redirected funding we anticipate that this number will grow. We will also be able to increase the level of support and intervention for students with language and literacy difficulties across all phases of education. I also want to reassure families currently receiving support from the Dyslexia Day Centre that their children's needs will continue to be met through the transition period and then through interventions and support delivered through their school in the future.'