2.1 Using the Framework within school as a basis for team-based professional development
The framework can be used to structure whole school improvement plans or departmental continuous professional development targets in respect of dyslexia-SpLD. Case studies of individual schools’ usage will become available after the implementation period, taking place in the Academic Year 2011-12.
Whole Team Discussion
One suggestion is to use the framework as the starting point for a whole team discussion about relevant skills and attributes. Subsequently, the printed report on the team’s strengths and weaknesses operates as a structure to plan departmental or school CPD over the course of the next one to three years.
The framework would need to be projected onto a screen visible to all and at least an hour set aside to enable team debate on each statement within the selected strand. The Literacy and Dyslexia-SpLD framework can then be completed, in the group, as the whole team assesses its collective expertise in supporting the learner with literacy difficulties including dyslexia-SpLD. The team leader should also keep a note of ‘vulnerable expertise’, whereby the team currently has a high level of expertise in a certain area, but this is not shared by most of the team and therefore could be lost if those staff members leave. Such vulnerability could be tackled by selecting a lower confidence band, which would enable the team to diversify its knowledge base.
The six strands of the framework identify core areas of knowledge. The activity of discussing each of these strands is likely to broaden team awareness of the range of skills, knowledge and attributes required for successful teaching practice.
Building on Recommendations
When the report has been compiled and printed, recommendations will be given. The next step is to identify which individuals will take part in which activity and when their learning will be disseminated back to the team. Some activities are easily accessed as a whole team, such as a video clip, which can be used in subsequent team meetings as part of a discussion. Other workplace activities might include a pair of teachers reading a key document or piece of research and then presenting this back as part of a team briefing.
The report can also be used to guide more formal CPD choices and indicate which individuals would derive and deliver the greatest benefit from available options. Moreover, such decisions can be made within the context of ‘highest need’ as identified by the report. When considering strategic direction, such as a School Improvement Plan, the report could be used to structure future plans and aspirations in the context of appropriately trained staff in the field of dyslexia-SpLD. It has the added benefit that, because it distils current knowledge as derived from key Stakeholders in this area, it provides an evidence-based structure on which to build future plans.
2.2 Using the framework as an individual
The framework can be used individually to assess a teacher’s confidence in each of the six themes, analyse their profile and recommend ‘next steps’ for their continuing professional development. This could be used to guide future course choices or suggest easily accessible materials and work-place activities to strengthen teaching practice.
The individual teacher may find it more productive to build their professional development as part of a whole-school context. Thus the final report might be used as part of an overall strategy to improve provision for dyslexic-SpLD learners throughout the school (see section above). Many of the workplace activities encourage collaboration with colleagues and thus provide the individual teacher with an opportunity to increase their impact on the school environment.
Some suggestions for the individual teacher include using the report:
- as a document for the teacher’s annual appraisal/performance review to structure the following year’s CPD needs
- to contribute to the evidence needed for keeping effective records of informal CPD, such as the Teaching Portfolio or the Institute for Learning’s REfLECT system, available on http://www.ifl.ac.uk/cpd/reflect .
- as a multi-sensory resource pack
- to mentor or support colleagues through suggested work-place activities
- to reassess individual competencies after undertaking a selection of CPD activities
The Framework provides an evidence-based overview of relevant knowledge available at any time for the individual to update their skills.
2.3 Using the framework as a teaching school or as a lead school in a cluster
The framework is a distillation of agreed knowledge, skills and competencies derived from key Stakeholders in the field of dyslexia-SpLD. This unifies a large number of diverse strands into one coherent package, enabling the lead school to disseminate its expertise within a consistent and evidence-based framework. Case-studies are currently underway, focusing on ‘Evidence of Impact’ in terms of CPD. Possible uses include:
- As an initial needs analysis tool to identify individual schools’ requirements for the creation of bespoke training programmes in Literacy and Dyslexia/SpLD.
- To support initial teacher training programmes and programmes for NQTs.
- To structure dialogue about literacy in a twilight session for teachers and TAs (see part 2.1 ‘Using the framework within school as a basis for team-based professional development’).
- As a guide to structure long-term planning for tailored professional development for individuals or schools.
- To assist in planning Action Research in Literacy support.
The framework could also be used to stimulate dialogue amongst representatives from a group of schools, outlining the key themes essential for excellent provision and enabling team leaders to plan the type of support required from the lead school, from the more knowledgeable basis of ‘knowing what they don’t know’.
2.4 Using the framework as a training provider of formal SpLD courses
The framework can be used to assess the depth and breadth of courses and training provision for dyslexia-SpLD qualifications. Using the template showing learning outcomes mapped onto each competency statement, a course provider may use the framework as a benchmark against which to assess the quality of provision currently being offered.
As part of the implementation phase in the Academic Year 2011-12, case studies will be derived to explore the various ways in which training providers find use of the framework to be most helpful. Another possibility is to use the framework for individuals before and after the course as a base-line measurement of learning outcomes.
Researchers and designers of new courses could use the framework to identify typical gaps in knowledge of a prospective target group of students. This would enable new course design to target specifically the gaps in knowledge of provision as identified by the framework.