Before she moved to the UK in 2013, Jacqueline Taylor was teaching A-level English Literature and Language and International Baccalaureate in Singapore. Her new job teaching functional skills to post-16 students at a further education college in North East England couldn’t have been more different. She knew from support staff that some of the students in her classes had dyslexia but felt unprepared to meet their needs. “I didn’t really know what functional skills were and I was surprised that the students’ literacy skills were so poor. In Singapore, there is less awareness of dyslexia than in the UK, and less emphasis on the inclusion of students with special needs in mainstream education. Additional Learning Support (ALS) is in its infancy. A tiny minority of students receive extra time in examinations but I don’t remember anyone receiving extra support, one-to-one or in a small group,” she says.
It was a brief CPD session that first made her aware of dyslexia and its impact on learning. Through internet research, she came across Dyslexia Action’s postgraduate Professional Certificate in Dyslexia and Literacy. “It seemed perfect. I could study online, so I didn’t need to travel.” She funded the course herself, struggled at first with balancing long working hours and Masters level studies. “The course helped me so much with developing the skills I needed for my job,” she says and describes The Dyslexia Guild library service as ‘outstanding’.
Having completed the first part of the postgraduate course, and spurred on by the success her learners with dyslexia have achieved, Jacqueline is now completing further Level 7 modules in assessment and hopes to complete her Masters. She is considering a change of career in the future, perhaps with a greater focus on specialist dyslexia support. She recommends Dyslexia Action to others particularly because of the quality of the support it provides. “They really understand the needs of working delegates like me,” she says. “They have great expertise and they offer you the support you need.”
At the time of the interview, Jacqueline was an Associate (ADG) member who has now become a Member (MDG) of The Dyslexia Guild.
Interview by Annie Grant, 2019.
To join as an Member (MDG) of The Dyslexia Guild please click here
Please note: Anyone can join The Dyslexia Guild and our network of professionals, to have designatory letters after your name you are required to have a certain level/type of SpLD qualification. The Member (MDG) level of membership is awarded to those who have completed level 7 specialist teacher/assessor qualification in dyslexia/SpLD.