AGM 2014: Chairman’s Report
Events and Activities during the past year
Our autumn lecture in November 2013 was given by Olive Hickmott who gave an interesting and thought-provoking lecture about visualisation techniques for learners.
The spring/summer lecture was given by Ian Abbott from Wiltshire Council. Ian gave an interesting and very informative lecture about the implementation of the new Special Educational Needs and Disability Act and its impact on teachers, learners and parents. We continue to work with Ian and his team on projects.
Our annual flag day was well support again this year and raised a total of £452.57.
Throughout the year our president, Gill Wallis, has continued to run our monthly drop-in advice sessions at Marlborough library and has managed our resource loan service.
Our helpline continues to support dyslexics by phone and email and has handled 51 cases this year. As usual, these included advice about the support that parents can expect from schools for their dyslexic children, how to support children at home and requests for contacts, assessments and tuition.
Many of the cases that we support are complicated and often emotional as we are often the last resort when parents have exhausted all other avenues without getting the support they are seeking for their children.
There has been an increase in the number of calls from adults and we have identified a need for a support group for adult dyslexics.
The MDDA’s original objectives for supporting dyslexics remain as pertinent to our community today as they ever were. The Merlin Project is the perfect way in which to fulfil these objectives and is a collaboration between the MDDA, St John’s Academy – Marlborough, The Excalibur Trust, Wiltshire Council and the Swindon Dyslexia Service.
Our aim is to initiate sustainable training to raise awareness of dyslexia, to improve the identification of dyslexia at primary and secondary level and to promote appropriate teaching and support.
This is an exciting new direction for us and our first training event focussed on ‘The Inclusive Classroom’ in relation to the new S.E.N.D Code of Practice. The delegates were from a wide range of disciplines and interests, comprising teachers, teaching assistants, SenCos and parents. Six taster workshops gave an introduction to the types of classroom support that should be embraced under the new Code and the keynote speaker was Dr Amelia Roberts from the Dyslexia SpLD Trust.
The Merlin Project is a pilot scheme and it is hoped that it will be rolled out across the rest of Wiltshire with the support of the Wiltshire Dyslexia Association and the Salisbury Dyslexia Group.
Committee – Thanks
I would like to thank all the committee for their sterling work this year.
Gill Wallis – president, resources and drop-in session officer
Krista Hinks – treasurer, Flag Day organiser
Gina Cooke – Subscriptions and communication s officer
Helen Hardman – Minutes secretary
Sue Kinsler – advisor
We are very pleased to have co-opted Janet Buck to our committee. Janet is an experienced and well qualified specialist teacher, a retired SenCo and also a serving SEN Governor and we are grateful to have her support and knowledge.
Our ability to continue to provide the present level of service is dependent upon having sufficient committee members – and currently we are just 6 serving members.
Therefore we would be delighted to hear from any members who are interested in joining the committee. The duties are not onerous and consist of three meetings a year, helping at our two lectures and inputting fresh ideas! We are proud to be an independent, voluntary organisation still providing much-needed support for the local dyslexic community. Please consider joining the committee.