Last week the British Dyslexia Association announced that the Joint Council For Qualifications have made the process of applying to use a reader or assistive technology in examinations much easier. So what has been changed and what do some SENCO’s think about those changes?
The British Dyslexia Association and the Joint Council For Qualifications have been working together to simplify the process of helping to secure a human reader or the assistive technology equivalent for a child with special educational needs (including dyslexia) in exams.
For some children and young people with dyslexia, being under exam conditions causes undue stress and anxiety as they are under pressure to read lots of text within a time-bound period. Challenges with the speed of processing questions, trying to physically read text and memory, whilst difficult enough on a day-to-day basis, can be often much worse when under exam pressure. These needs are often exacerbated due to anxiety.
One of the challenges in getting support has been the form filling required to be able to have that support in place in an exam scenario, therefore in making the process of application simpler, SENCOs will be able to make more of an impact in supporting pupils with these needs under exam conditions.
The BDA made the following comments about the changes:
CEO of the BDA, Helen Boden, said the following about the changes:
So how has this news been received by SENCOs?
Of course, the schools across the UK are enjoying their summer break but I was able to contact a couple of specialist teachers from the Cadogan Learning Centre at St David’s College in Llandudno, a leading mainstream independent school known for it’s high standard of dyslexia provision.
So at first glance, it would seem that the announced changes are a positive step in the right direction in empowering young people with dyslexia and other SEN as they take exams. It would seem that there are definitely more steps that need to be taken to deliver a more comprehensive approach in exams in terms of support for dyslexia.
My thanks go to Faye Favill and Lisa Parry for taking the time out of their summer break to comment on these changes.