Redistributing the funds currently allocated to the Dyslexia Day Centre will allow children to benefit in new ways, according to the Director of Education who has explained the plans which have been in the works for months.
It was announced earlier this month that the annual grant gifted to the charity by the States was being diverted into the States run schools instead.
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture said it decided to re-invest the grant so that even more students benefit from specialist literacy support.
ESC's plans were announced as a five point plan for re-distributing the money across all States-runs school to widen access to literacy support.
Pictured: ESC announced plans to redistribute the funds currently allocated as a grant to the Dyslexia Day Centre earlier this month.
Some people - in particular past users of the Dyslexia Day Centre, and parents of current students - have been critical of the decision.
A petition launched to try and "get their funding back" has been signed by hundreds of people over the past week.
The person who opened the petition, Hannah Winslade wrote: "In-house SENco / specialist literacy and support staff are already stretched and over worked coping with the many other children that need and deserve support.
"Please please please show your support for this outstanding service by signing this petition to get their funding back!"
In an extensive interview with Express on Friday, the Director of Education Nick Hynes explained how redistributing the funding will allow more children to access literacy services within their schools.
He also expressed a hope that the Dyslexia Day Centre will remain open as it offers vital services to other age groups as well as those for which the ESC grant was intended to help.
Pictured: A petition against removing the States grant paid to the Dyslexia Day Centre has been signed by hundreds of people.
Mr Hynes has confirmed to Express that a "really detailed, well developed plan to support all children with literacy difficulties across primary and secondary" is already in place.
He also said that the additional funding which will be available when the grant to the DDC ends will be used "to expand that provision and make additional resource through teachers and LSA's available to more children in primary schools and also to children in secondary schools as well".
Mr Hynes said all States-run primary schools already have access to one Language and Literacy Specialist, and additional LSAs have been recruited in every school. He said each early-years setting including each reception class now has at least one LSA assigned to them. The size of the school will dictate if the Specialist works for them full-time, or if their working week is split across more than one school.
Mr Hynes said these changes have already been put in across island schools and that was done following reviews into literacy and special educational needs.
A plan for improving literacy and numeracy across all schools is already part of the education strategy and the additional funds available now the DDC grant is being redistributed will help that.
"...it's really all about developing the level of support, meeting the needs of children with additional needs, but really focusing on those early reading and writing skills which are core and fundamental to being successful at school and in life," said Mr Hynes.
Pictured: Nick Hynes is the Director of Education for Guernsey and Alderney.
Guernsey currently has 12 specialist literacy teachers, and Mr Hynes said that number will grow. Eight of the teachers have an MA in Dyslexia teaching after completing courses with Chester University.
These teachers will be providing the enhanced dyslexia support provision across all States run primary schools and the States run secondary schools.
Mr Hynes explained that provision within the primary schools will continue to be delivered as it is at the moment with the specialist literacy and dyslexia qualified teachers leading the work.
"The resource is already there and the money from the DDC grant will be used to enhance and increase the level of support of those teacher resources and also to expand the LSA provision alongside them and our non-teaching SENCOs and non-teaching Deputy Head Teachers," said Mr Hynes.
With differences in size across the primary school sector, Mr Hynes explained that a three-form entry primary will likely have the equivalent of "more than one full time person" while a smaller primary - such as one of the island's one-form entry primary schools "may have just less than one person".
"We're looking all the time at the level of need in each individual primary school and if there is a higher level of need in some schools we can look at diverting resources from one school to another," explained Mr Hynes. "If there is a higher level of need for one particular year group or cohort managing that with our own resources allows us to to apply that flexibility a bit better."
In a new provision, dyslexia support will be expanded to include students in Years 7 and above at the secondary schools where needed.
Mr Hynes explained that the States grant paid to the Dyslexia Day Centre is to support children in primary schools. The DDC offers a wider range of services to older children and adults but that is not funded by the States grant. Mr Hynes said ESC can now use that money to ensure pupils moving up from Year 6 into secondary school continue to receive any support they need.
"We're going to be using part of the money from the grant to put in additional literacy intervention into secondary schools so that children who have received support in primary schools can continue to receive support into secondary.
"It's really key that they develop good reading and literacy skills in order to access the curriculum at secondary school. Those programmes will be delivered by LSA's that we will train and recruit to support that."
Pictured: The Dyslexia Day Centre is at the former St Andrews School.
Mr Hynes said how each individual child is supported through the new system, whether at primary or secondary level, will be dictated by their own individual need.
"What we focus on when we're looking at meeting a child's need is trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that we need to do to support them to improve and address those barriers to learning.
"Different children might have similar needs that you can work on together in group, some children might need bespoke, one-on-one support, and it's about looking at diagnostically what we can do to improve either their reading or writing or different aspects of literacy, and those teachers and our SENCOs are skilful in identifying and doing that.
"The DDC staff delivered a programme to meet those needs," he said. "I think where we are able to adapt and do things slightly differently, maybe in a more specific way is because those staff are working with those children on a day-to-day basis, every day, with their class teacher, on how they are addressing those needs and they can weave those strategies into whole class teaching, so they can say things like 'remember what you were doing outside with Mrs Smith, remember when you're doing this today...'. So it's not an isolated intervention that's happening outside the classroom. It's something we can integrate into that whole class teaching."
Mr Hynes praised the DDC for all of the work it has done over nearly 40 years and he hopes it will continue to provide its own programmes to the benefit of the island.
But he also said that Education has been looking at making these changes for a while as part of wider plans to enhance literacy across all pupils.
"We've been working on and looking at how we can enhance our own in-house provision for quite a while, and when we put our language and literacy specialists through the MA qualification over the last 18 months colleagues at the DDC knew we were going to do that with a view of wanting to deliver a higher level of literacy support in out schools," he said.
"I understand it is challenging for colleagues at the DDC when they find out the grant is going to be removed but we have given them a six month notice period, and then following talks with them and listening carefully to how challenging that might be we have extended that up to the end of December, so nine months not just to support the Dyslexia Day Centre transition to whatever model they're going to deliver in the future, but also recognising there are some children they're working with at the moment who may be mid-way through the programme they're working on that would find it helpful to finish that before we start supporting them in different ways through the schools."
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