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Section 7: Developing staff skills - awareness-raising and CPD

Whether you are in a college, workplace or offender setting, a whole organisation approach is going to result in more of your students or staff reaching their potential and you will be contributing to more personal and organisational success. This could mean higher aspirations and higher achievements

Options for developing staff skills

Training for staff needs to be structured to meet the needs of the organisation but more especially the needs of learners. The whole organisation needs to know what dyslexia is, and be aware of what needs to be done. Your self-assessment may have highlighted opportunities for staff development. 

It can be delivered in many ways, including:

  • Awareness-raising training for the whole organisation, but especially all teaching and support staff;
  • Access to the online CPD programme, Supporting dyslexic learners in different contexts, (Please note: you'll need to log in using your Excellence Gateway username and password to be able to access these resources); and 
  • Access to further, specialist, accredited training for appropriate staff who would then take responsibility for supporting the identification, assessment and support of learners with dyslexia. They would also have a role in supporting and advising non-specialist staff. See the case studies in the Ofsted Report Progression post-16 for learners with learning difficulties and / or disabilities (2011) for more information about the effectiveness of developing specialist staff. 

Outcomes can be improved for all

The member of staff met learners’ needs well. Her experience and training in dyslexia enabled her to present materials and tasks in ways that unobtrusively supported the learners with dyslexia.

The special educational needs and disability review, Ofsted 2010, Paragraph 65

Providers investing in staff training and use of support staff find that the staff, once trained, become a valuable resource. Frequently they develop specialisms, e.g. dyslexia, and become a whole organisation resource.

The special educational needs and disability review, Ofsted 2010, Paragraph 68

See the full Ofsted report and Section 4 for more about the benefits of staff training.

LSIS CPD programme

Supporting dyslexic learners in different contexts

A one-day dyslexia awareness programme, for staff from FE / ACL, workplace, offender and embedded learning settings. For materials visit the Introduction to the dyslexia awareness day and CPD support materials section on the Excellence Gateway. 

Aims of the training day:

  • To raise awareness of dyslexia in a range of adult contexts; and
  • To raise awareness of issues of equality and diversity.


  • Identify the key characteristics and cluster of difficulties faced by learners with dyslexia.
  • Outline how dyslexia impacts on adult learners’ access to learning and training.
  • Consider issues of equality and diversity.
  • Suggest further sources of support and information.

The training day includes the following sessions:

Session 1: The main characteristics of the dyslexic learner
Strengths and barriers with case studies.    

Session 2: Dyslexia in relation to the adult learner’s literacy and numeracy
Definitions of dyslexia and a range of interactive activities to explore the characteristics of dyslexia and the barriers that these might cause.

Session 3: Workshop – supporting the dyslexic adult learner in a range of settings
Sharing good practice using the pre-course questionnaire and issues arising from the Equality Act  2010.

Session 4: Case studies
Case studies reflecting the range of settings. Group activity.

Session 5: CPD materials
An introduction to, and overview of, the online CPD training materials, including teaching modules and video snapshots.

Supporting dyslexic learners in different contexts: online CPD

The online CPD materials consist of:

  • 26 modules in
  • Four settings, including:
    • FE / ACL;
    • workplace;
    • offender; and
    • embedded learning.

Each module offers the user the opportunity to explore how to support learners in different aspects of the curriculum. So, for example, in the FE / ACL strand the module Dyslexia and inclusive learning covers the following topics:

  • Big picture
  • Thinking styles
  • Barriers
  • Active learning
  • Assessment  

The programme uses video, audio, free text entry and many other interactive functions. Effective practice is modelled in coloured screens and more directly with models of answers. Graphics, mind maps and visual approaches are used throughout. (Please note: you'll need to log in using your Excellence Gateway username and password to be able to access these resources).