States funding for the Dyslexia Day Centre will end this year with the money being redirected into schools with new training for class teachers and literacy specialists.
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has announced the change today, along with details on how the new system will work.
It says that "even more students" will benefit from specialist literacy support once the money is re-invested across island schools.
In response, the Dyslexia Day Centre has said it will work with ESC and schools during the transition period while restructuring its own services so it can continue to provide tuition to the community.
The charity - which was set up in 1987 by Mike and Teresa O'Hara, who are both still involved - has offered specialist tuition, assessments, support and advice to school children from the age of seven who are referred through the Education Department.
It receives an annual States grant, which goes towards its running costs but does not cover them - with fundraising making up the shortfall.
In 2021 the States grant to the Dyslexia Day Centre was £253,000. In 2020 it was £262,000, while in 2012 the grant was £138,000.
Mike O’Hara is still actively involved as Chairman of the Dyslexia Day Centre and has been involved with discussions with education officials about the new direction it is taking.
"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."
Pictured: The Dyslexia Day Centre works with children aged seven and over.
Mr O'Hara continued: "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."
Mr O'Hara also confirmed the work of the Dyslexia Day Centre will continue.
"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."
Deputy Andrea Dudley Owen, President of ESC, and Nick Hynes, Director of Education, both thanked Mr and Mrs O'Hara, and their team, for the hard work they've all put in over the past 36 years.
Deputy Dudley Owen said a lot more is known about dyslexia now, compared to when the charity was founded but the legacy set by the Dyslexia Day Centre will continue.
"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," she said. "The Centre’s work was pivotal for the island at the time, both to raise awareness and to ensure many students received specialist support."
Pictured: The funds previously allocated to the Dyslexia Day Centre by way of a grant will now be redistributed through island schools.
"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."
Mr Hynes described the Dyslexia Day Centre as "a valued partner for a long time", saying that while the work it has done may not have been viewed as essential in the 1980s, it 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," he said.
Mr Hynes added that nothing will change in the immediate short term and parents will be kept informed during the transition period.
"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."
Pictured top: The Dyslexia Day Centre operates out of the former St Andrew's Primary School.
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