Dyslexia Policy

Balfron High School

Dyslexia Policy 2015

Scottish Government Definition of Dyslexia

Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which persist despite the provision of appropriate learning opportunities. These difficulties often do not reflect an individual’s cognitive abilities and may not be typical of performance in other areas.

The impact of dyslexia as a barrier to learning varies in degree according to the learning and teaching environment, as there are often associated difficulties such as:

  • auditory and/or visual processing of language-based information
  • phonological awareness
  • oral language skills and reading fluency
  • short-term and working memory
  • sequencing and directionality
  • number skills
  • organisational ability

Motor skills and co-ordination may also be affected.


This policy takes account of recent legislation and papers as follows:-

  • The Code of Practice Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA),
  • Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act, 2004 and its Code of Practice
  • Amended as The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009
  • The Disability Discrimination Act ( DDA) 2005
  • Data Protection Act (1998)
  • Stirling Council Dyslexia Policy 2012
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) – Assessment Arrangements
  • Making Sense: Education for Children and Young People with Dyslexia in Scotland (May 2014)

Appropriate strategies and structures of support must be available for all children who have additional support needs and may be finding learning problematic.Additional support needs vary in both duration and severity so that a range of procedures, interventions and provision is required. This document sets out the policy and framework of support for children with dyslexic difficulties throughout their secondary education. It also gives pointers to promoting access to lifelong learning. It should be noted, however, that the approaches and methods described in this policy can be used to benefit all children who find the learning of literacy difficult. The majority of pupils with an additional support need will be supported primarily by their class or subject teachers in mainstream schools, and whatever the pattern or severity of difficulties the pupil with dyslexia will primarily be supported by these teachers.

For all pupils with literacy difficulties the educational aims are:

  • To assist them to overcome their literacy difficulties
  • To support them to access and achieve across the full range of the school curriculum

Dyslexic pupils should have access to the full breadth and depth of the curriculum and strategies should be found to allow each pupil to access the curriculum at an appropriate level.

If pupils require the support of a reader or scribe, extra time, notes, mind maps or copies of materials, or technology such as a word processor and/or Dictaphone or computer software to enable this access, then every effort should be made to make this support available.

Different types of support may be given by class, subject and support teachers, by non-teaching support staff and by peers. It should be noted that where a pupil is benefiting from the use of a computer and/or other aids, and is working at an age-appropriate level with the use of appropriate technology, it is important to maintain this support. It should not be withdrawn simply because the technology has brought the pupil’s academic work to an age-appropriate level.

Any intervention must be appropriate for the age and stage of the child and should not affect access to other areas of the curriculum. Identifying and implementing the most appropriate strategies is almost always assisted by taking account of the pupil’s view, and this is especially important for older pupils and young adults.

Self esteem and motivation are vital to the learning of all children and young people.

The importance of a supportive ethos cannot be overstated, and dyslexic pupils must be confident that others understand their difficulties. It is important to have a range of support strategies and that the choice of strategies should be negotiated with pupil, and wherever possible parents/carers should be involved in planning for and supporting the pupil.

The term ‘metacognition’ is often used to describe an individual’s awareness of his or her own learning styles and approaches to learning.

Helping a pupil to develop this understanding has often been found to have significant positive effects: typically such pupils feel more in control and empowered and are therefore more able to take responsibility for their own learning and are less anxious and are more able to learn effectively.

Teachers should encourage pupils to think about their own learning and to develop effective learning styles and strategies. Active participation by children in their own learning and in the learning of others can transform approaches to learning for all.

It is essential that dyslexic pupils are supported to become confident, independent learners by the time they leave Balfron High School.

This means taking positive action and intervening in order to enable achievement for all by building and fulfilling the potential of every child, pupil, young person and adult. Achievement is defined in terms of the totality of outcomes described by Curriculum for Excellence, along with other out-of-school experiences. In order to bring this about, we need to:

  • acknowledge, address, affirm and embrace social and cultural diversity;
  • enable access and participation of all individual learners and groups of learners by means of appropriate pathways for progression; and
  • focus on and address the needs of all learners, remove or reduce any barriers and promote engagement and involvement so that learning is personalised and learners are enabled to meet their potential.             In light of there being no official qualification to assess for dyslexia in Scotland at present, Balfron High has adopted the recommendations from the Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (Patoss) in the Patoss Guide “Dyslexia, Assessing and Reporting (2013)”. SUMMARY INFORMATION, PATOSS GUIDE (2013)
  • The skill of the assessor goes far beyond producing test scores. Knowledge of literacy skills development, recognition of underlying cognitive processes and a sound knowledge and understanding of the specific difficulty of dyslexia and the impact on educational experience are all essential components of a professional assessment procedure.
  • Assessment for dyslexia should uncover the nature and cause of a young person’s difficulties. It should be used to explain strengths and weaknesses to encourage an understanding of how to learn best and should also provide recommendations and strategies to remove barriers to learning.



  • It is important that dyslexic pupils are supported at times of transition whether from primary to secondary, during course choice transitions and also the transition from school to further study or employment.
  • Keep a list of all tests to be used and a record of test results
  • It is important that the assessor understands and follows the detailed instructions of each test to the letter or the test results may be invalid
  • It is good practice to mix the types of assessments and the activities involved, to reduce stress
  • Tests should be delivered in an unhurried manner at a steady pace with no interruptions or distractions. A quiet location is best
  • The assessor should be organised, knowledgeable and confident about each test
  • It is important that the assessor is prepared to be flexible and to explore additional details that may come to light as a result of a particular test
  • If a pupil appears unwell or suffering from significant emotional stress, the assessor should consider rescheduling that assessment as the pupil is unlikely to perform well
  • It is crucial that there is good rapport between assessor and pupil. This may ease apprehension
  • The pupil should be informed of the nature and purpose of the test and the length of time it will take. It is important that the pupil is assured that there is a need for assessment to discover where difficulties lie in order to offer the best support strategies if required
  • It is important to give appropriate praise and encouragement for continued effort throughout the process
  • The assessor should not give feedback as to whether answers are right or wrong during a test.
  • In qualitive assessments, open questions will have the benefit of allowing the pupil to express individual thoughts, opinions and feelings and to make a valuable contribution to the assessment process
  • It is important to note pupil behaviour and other observations during a test. The way as assessment is tackled is as important as the test outcome

Was the score achieved easily or with significant effort?

Were responses correct but the time taken was significant?

  • It is important that all completed test record forms and results of other assessments are retained together and that confidentiality is respected
  • Test results should be discussed on completion of the assessment and the assessor should make a point of highlighting the pupil’s strengths and competencies
  • Ask the pupil how he/she feels and acknowledge the effort and cooperation during the test
  • Treat the pupil as an active and equal partner in the assessment sessions and also in subsequent discussions about results and the implications of findings for the individual pupil
  • Explain that careful analysis of all the test results will take time and seen as part of the whole picture
  • It is important to involve parents/guardians and keep them informed before, during and after the assessment process

Ethical, legal and regulatory considerations          

  • The pupil must be at the heart of the assessment process. Pupil well-being is the first priority
  • Confidentiality must be maintained at all time and all information only shared with permission of the pupil and parent/guardian
  • Assessors must work within the level of their competence
  • Competence means the ability to offer a high standard of practice in delivery, interpretation and reporting
  • This places a responsibility on assessors to ensure they are up to date with theoretical developments along with assessment and teaching practices
  • The purpose and nature of the assessments must be explained to all involved and prior agreement reached
  • Test materials must be securely stored
  • Their use should be restricted to those who hold appropriate qualificationsEthical practice includes awareness of relevant and up to date legislation and policyThis would include:-


Assessors should be properly insured for legal expenses and against litigation

  • The Code of Practice Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA),
  • Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act, 2004 and its Code of Practice
  • Amended as The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009
  • The Disability Discrimination Act ( DDA) 2005
  • Data Protection Act (1998)
  • Stirling Council Dyslexia Policy 2012
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) – Assessment Arrangements
  • Making Sense: Education for Children and Young People with Dyslexia in Scotland (May 2014)  

Assessment tools  

  • A screening tool does not replace formal standardised testing but they can play a useful part in a full diagnostic assessment as additional evidence
  • Test materials must be the most recent edition available
  • Test materials must be appropriate for purpose. Does the test actually provide information on the skill being assessed?
  • It must be age appropriate and standardised
  • It must cover a broad range to establish a full profile of skills, strategies and abilities
  • Assessors must make reference to confidence bands
  • Assessment result records should be completed in full and include date of test and assessor’s name
  • Test scores must be viewed with skill and judgement in relation to each individual young person
  • The aim should be to provide reliable information to enable the assessor to make informed decisions and recommendations that meet the needs of the individual pupil being assessed
  • This must include a mix of quantitive, qualitive and observational assessments in order to achieve as full a picture of the young person as possible.

Main areas of investigation        

Background information

This is fundamental to accurate assessment and should include:-

  • Exploration of family history
  • Appropriate medical and developmental history
      • Speech and language difficulties
      • Developmental milestones
      • Vision and hearing
      • Family history of dyslexia
      • English as first language
  • Consideration of social, family and home circumstances which may impact on learning
  • Pupil interests, hobbies, aspirations and perceived strengths are all important
  • School reports and any earlier assessments should be investigated and considered. Check the PPR
  • Class/subject teacher input is important to understand how the pupil performs/copes in different subject areas.
  • Information from teacher questionnaire and staff “round robin” are essential parts of the whole picture
  • Elimination of other possible explanation for difficulties

Cognitive Abilities

These fall into the following categories:-

  • Short term and working memory assessment. This is the ability to store and use information and the ability to hold and repeat information stored for a short time. It includes visual and verbal abilities.

This is key to performance of a wide range of tasks and abilities.

  • (AWMA)
  • Verbal abilities(BPVS)

This is the ability to explain the meaning of increasingly difficult words out of context and the ability to understand and use language that is heard or read.

  • Receptive language
  • Non-verbal abilitiesThis involves logical thinking and problem solving. Assessment of visual perception and the ability to understand what is seen and shows an aptitude for learning through experience
  • (A short test in DST)
  • Phonological awarenessThis is the ability to identify sounds in spoken language.

It is crucial for literacy development

  • (Phab)
  • Processing speed:-(Phab + DST rapid naming) (Copying, hand eye co-ordination, bead threading, visual short term memory in DST, AWMA and Dyscalculia Assessment ) 

This is the speed an individual can process visual information

  • Visual

This is the speed at which language can be retrieved and articulated. It will impact on rate of learning and time to complete tasks

  • Phonological  


    • Single word reading. This shows word knowledge and decoding skills without context clues and assesses sight words
    • (YARC +DST)
    • Non word reading. This is the ability to use phonemic decoding skills in reading
    • (Phab + DST)
    • Reading comprehensionThis is the ability to monitor meaning while reading and includes the ability to hold and recall information as it is being read
    • (Yarc)
  • Listening ComprehensionThe ability to understand and gain meaning without the demand of decoding
  • (With and without a reader)
  • SpellingThe ability to write or name the letters in a word accurately. Analysis of errors can provide insight as to how words are tackled and where the difficulty may lie by analysing whether sound or visual based strategies are used
  • (Vernon + Diagnostic dictation+ free writing piece and DST)
  • Free writingThe ability to organise thoughts and then write in a structured, planned way with knowledge of grammar, punctuation and spelling in context at an acceptable pace and legible handwriting
  • (Patoss timed writing piece)

It is important that the assessor observes first-hand how this is carried out

  • Note Taking. The ability to listen, remember and then record accurately. Also assesses spelling ability
  • (Diagnostic dictation)
  • NumeracyThe ability to work and understand with numbers with consideration of the skills expected for age
  • (Dyscalculia assessment / numeracy competency + Maths teachers’ comments)

Further Assessment Areas

  • Motor Control The ability to control coordinated movement. This includes fine motor skills and gross motor skills
  • (DST bead threading, balance. Pupil questionnaire and Learning style – kinaesthetic
  • Visual Stress Refers to reading difficulties, light sensitivity and headaches from exposure to disturbing visual patterns. It can be responsible for print distortion and rapid fatigue when reading. The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person. The symptoms can occur despite normal vision.
  • Observer should look out for
  • (Eye test, class observation, teacher comments)
  • Repeating lines
  • Using a finger to read
  • Losing the place
  • Repetitive eye blinking
  • Untidy written work that does not use lines effectively
  • Inability to copy accurately from board or books
  • Slow reading rate


  • Attention and concentration (class observation)– attention control- ability to inhibit a response- procrastination- organisation skills
  • – remembering the task
  • – day dreaming
  • – motivation
  • – impulsivity
  • A class observation should consider the following traits:-

If these appear to be substantial and pervasive the assessor should refer to a professional with expertise in this area


  • English as an Additional Language (EAL)
  • Prior to any assessment consider the impact this may have on test results
  • Fluency in English
  • UK standardised tests may be inappropriate
  • Cultural, linguistic influences

However the following may be useful

  • Rapid naming test in in first language
  • Reading speed in first language and in English
  • Use of non-words in English
  • Timed writing piece in first language and in English
  • Note if pupil translates from English to first language for processing and then back into English before responding as this will result in additional load for the pupil


  • Preferred Learning StyleReflection on what made the learning in a particular subject easier to remember and understand
  • VAK + Howard Gardner- multiple intelligences)
In the light of the various criticisms levelled at misuse of Learning Styles, those who engage with the concept may query whether the various theories and models serve any purpose at all.  Although the following proposals will not escape criticism, they may provide a basis for future development of Learning Styles usage.

  • An understanding of Learning Styles theory may encourage teachers to utilise a broader range of teaching strategies – thus providing for all learners a more diverse learning experience – which will increase the potential for brain interconnectivity.


  • Use of Learning Styles questionnaires may increase students’ self awareness – and hence make a contribution to their effectiveness as learners through raising their levels of motivation and self esteem.


  • A basic level of understanding of Learning Styles by students could be part of an empowering process that encourages learners to take ownership of their own development.


  • Learners who have previously written themselves off as failures may be encouraged to make a fresh start if they believe that they can now exercise some control over their own learning.


Drawing Conclusions              


  • It is essential that the interpretation of scores from the many assessments is carried out by the assessor.
  • The pupil’s responses, as well as approaches and strategies within a test situation, all impact on the ability of the assessments to accurately measure precise skills effectively.
  • The scores themselves are only the “bones of the story” NOT the whole picture.
  • Test scores must be viewed with skill and judgement in relation to the individual case.
  • The qualitive data should be added to the assessment results before drawing any conclusions.

“from this full picture we must finally REFLECT on underlying theories of dyslexia to support our conclusion.”

  • Dyslexia or low underlying ability? – We must sift through all the evidence carefully and be certain that a specific learning difficulty is present before giving the diagnostic label of dyslexia.
  • A fairly even profile of scores across a set of results would suggest that the difficulties experienced are NOT specific. A low underlying ability profile :- Comprehension will be weak; Short term memory may be good; Working memory will be poor
  • Vocabulary and use of language will be poor
  • BUT
  • Writing skills will be weak
  • Visual reasoning will be weak


A diagnostic report has no value unless it includes recommendations that match individual needs as a result of the findings of the assessment.

It is important that this should include promotion of independence as a learner. There should be due consideration of the following:-

  • Strengths
  • Prior knowledge
  • Weaknesses
  • What is achievable
  • Past learning history
  • Current concerns and needs
  • Aims, interests and aspirations of the pupil
  • Context and situations requiring support
  • Future needs
  • Staff involved
  • What is reasonable and achievable?

This would include:-

  • Specialist teacher support
  • Classroom support
  • IT
  • Exam arrangements
  • Home strategies
  • Transitions – future considerations
  • Further referrals if appropriate/required

Writing the Assessment Report

Each test report should include the following:-

  • Test information – test name, date, method of testing and skill being tested
  • Quantitive information – The scores and their relationship to expected performance for age and stage
  • Qualitative information – skills and strategies used by pupil and test behaviour
  • Analysis and impact – what is the impact of any strengths and weaknesses found for the pupil
  • Recommendations should be individual, reasonable, achievable, tactful and easy to understand

It is very important to chose wording carefully when writing the final report.

“The words used to describe the assessment findings have immense power to enhance or damage someone’s self- esteem and self-confidence”

3 Key Qualities

    1. Accuracy  The accuracy of the report includes the assessor’s own accuracy in relation to spelling, grammar and punctuation
    2. Test scores are calculated and reported correctly and qualitive information should be honest, authoritative and from reliable, verifiable sources.
    3. Meets the needs of the pupil Test scores should be dealt with sensitivity as this information can be very demoralising.
    4. Recommendations should be individualised, precise and clearly structured so that they meet current and future needs as appropriate.
    5. The report should be written first and foremost for the pupil.
  • AccessibleText must also be understood by non-specialists using every day terminology to describe findings.The tone should be professional and written in the third person.     


  2. If specialist language is required, terms should be explained as they arise and jargon and acronyms should be avoided.
  3. Writing should be clear and in an accessible format.


The transition from primary to secondary education is a worrying time for many 11 year-olds, but particularly for those who are dyslexic:

  • They know it will take them longer than their peers to get used to a new routine.
  • They may be embarrassed by their limited literacy and/or numeracy skills, poor memory and lack of organisation.
  • They may also be worried that their new teachers and classmates will think they are stupid.

Pointers to help in day to day teaching:

Regardless of the age of your students you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your teaching as multisensory as it could be?
  • Are as many of the learner’s senses as possible being stimulated?
  • Are you interspersing ‘listening’ times with ‘seeing and doing’ activities?
  • Is the learner using a variety of different learning methods, for example, speaking out loud, writing on cards or talking about a topic with a friend?
  • Are you making the best use of the learner’s strengths and learning styles?
  • Are you making the most of the fact that the ridiculous/humorous is retained in the brain better than anything else?
  • Are you encouraging the use of pocket notebooks and personal checklists (stuck to the learner’s bedroom and/or classroom wall) to remind them of equipment needed for specific tasks, for example, playing netball?
  • Do you display a large timetable in the classroom with illustrations showing the days they need to bring particular items?
  • Are you making the best use of registration times to encourage self-organisation, such as ensuring that the learner has sharpened pencils and a pen that works?
  • Are you labelling equipment to help with spelling and displaying key words in the classroom?
  • Are your worksheets written simply, in large print with clear spacing?
  • Do you hand out revision sheets with a time structure to follow?
  • Do you remind the learner of the best methods of active revision, taking account of their individual learning styles?
  • Do you ask yourself whether they are sitting next to the right person for maximum concentration? Will you allow the learner to move if necessary?
  • Are you encouraging the child to wordprocess their work?


  • Do you begin every lesson by outlining its content? Do you end with a summary of what has been covered?
  • Has the school organised somewhere that children can go for help and advice as needed?
  • Are the learners given short breaks in examinations if needed?


Techniques which help dyslexic learners play a full part in the classroom, for instance, by encouraging them to answer questions

Speed of processing can be a problem for dyslexic learners. As one young person expresses it:

“When the teacher is looking at me I can’t always get the answer out – even though I know it when I put my hand up.”

A helpful tip is to have a previously agreed signal, which tells the dyslexic learner that the question is theirs to answer, but not necessarily straight away.

The signal, which means ‘I will ask you for the answer in a minute’, could be eye contact or standing next to or in front of the pupil. During that time, you could look around the class, clean the whiteboard or talk about the question to give the dyslexic learner the opportunity to collect their thoughts. Give them the chance to nod or shake their head before you ask them to answer. An orderly classroom, in which shouting out is unacceptable behaviour, is clearly crucial to the success of this technique.

Special methods for giving instructions

Speed of processing also affects a dyslexic learner’s ability to take in instructions. They say:

“I really do try to listen to the teacher, but I forget. When I ask for help I get shouted at for not paying attention.”

  • Try teaching an active listening strategy to dyslexic pupils – “Stop, Look and Listen” every time the teacher speaks. By practising responding in this way dyslexic learners may find, that they recall and understand more. Remember however, that they will not be able to take notes at the same time as listening.
  • Make certain the learner is listening before giving instructions. You may need to use the learner’s name so that they are focused.
  • Don’t move around too much and make sure you have eye contact. Talk in close proximity to the learner to minimise distraction. Give one instruction at a time, until there is evidence they can deal with more.
  • Consider whether the learner needs to be given an instruction verbally and in writing or whether a visual representation is helpful.
  • Bear in mind that a weak short-term memory is usually accompanied by a reduced capacity for processing sentences. This may mean that complex instructions need to be broken down, with each part understood before the next is given. Keep sentences short and grammatically simple.
  • Be prepared to repeat instructions and clarify them by changing or redefining words and terms.

‘Learning how to learn’ and understanding how they learn best seems to be a key issue for dyslexic children. Get them to question their activities and required outcomes

Discuss the following with the class and encourage children to ask themselves:

  • Why am I doing this? – Purpose.
  • What is the required end product? – Outcome.
  • What strategy should be used? – Strategy.
  • Was it successful? – Monitoring.
  • How can it be improved? – Development.
  • Can it be transferred to another skill? – Transfer.

Methodologies include: Secondary school pupils will obviously have to face more exams than younger children. The following are useful tips:

Active revision is one tried and tested way to help children who have short-term memory difficulties associated with dyslexia:


I learned…that many people can spell correctly, but not a

  • Read the work – this is the visual channel.
  • read it aloud onto tape (someone else may need to do this) so it can be played back.
  • Reduce it – this requires thinking skills.
  • highlight the key words and note the associated ideas – try Mindmapping® or drawing a diagram
  • invent mnemonics, rhymes, acronyms or word associations – use coloured pens or arrows to link ideas
  • list key facts and number them.
  • Write it – this is the kinaesthetic channel.
  • writing down the main points helps commit them to memory. If a week later the notes are not sufficient to enable the pupil to remember all the facts then they need to go back to the text.
  • when good enough notes can be transferred to large sheets of paper and hung on bedroom walls.
  • Say it – this is the auditory channel.
  • reading notes aloud helps to reinforce memory.
  • Check it – again, this is using the thinking channel.
  • Teach someone else.
  • Encourage pupils to write a summary at the end of each topic throughout the year. This provides ready made revision material.
  • Practise exam techniques, for example accurate reading of questions and planning answers. Dyslexic pupils will always tend to read more slowly than their non-dyslexic peers of equal ability and be more prone to misreading, especially under stress. They will usually qualify for extra time in public examinations, but only if such access arrangements have been made prior to the examination.

‘Don’ts’ to be aware of:

  • Don’t overload the learner, either with too many oral instructions or demanding too much written work.
  • Don’t ever ridicule errors – very easy to do, even unintentionally – “Not you again ….”
  • Don’t make the learner completely rewrite their work.
  • Don’t ignore the signs that the learner is not understanding or losing concentration.
  • Don’t make the learner work for too long without a break.
  • Don’t make the learner copy from the blackboard.
  • Don’t always expect an immediate answer.
  • Don’t be afraid to use ‘tough love’ – in other words, if you know the learner can do better, don’t allow them to get away with a poor standard of work whereby they let themselves down. Talk through the task so they understand how to start again.

Exam provision

  • Extra time
  • The amount of extra time requested or provided to a candidate in an assessment should accurately reflect the candidate’s assessment needs. While the candidate will always have the option of using or not using the extra time, you should monitor the overall use of extra time in any timed class assessments to check the accuracy of your assessment of need.
  • Information, Communication and Assistive Technologies  7
  • It is important, however, that where ICT is used, it is appropriate to candidates’ needs, and that there has been sufficient time and training to ensure that they are able to use it effectively.
  • For many disabled candidates and/or those with additional support needs, communication and assistive technologies (including word processing software and text/screen readers), provide an effective means of communication. ICT can often allow disabled candidates to demonstrate their attainment more effectively and independently than would be possible with human support such as readers and scribes.
  • Human reader
  • Please note that the provision of a human reader may not be possible in relation to some qualifications. For example, in the National Literacy Units, the provision of a human reader is not permitted because reading skills are explicitly assessed.
  • A reader is a responsible person who reads out text verbatim in an assessment to enable the candidate to access the assessment. This may involve reading out all written instructions and questions to the candidate, or only certain questions and words as directed by the candidate. Candidates may also ask that their responses are read back to them.
  • The use of a human reader can be allowed to meet the needs of candidates who have substantial difficulties with reading text and who cannot access the assessment material by any other more appropriate means, eg using a text/screen reader.
  • Scribe   Please note that a scribe is not allowed in the assessment of writing in National Literacy Units. In these Units, candidates are required to demonstrate the ability to write technically accurate texts.
  • Please note that a scribe is not allowed in the assessment of writing in Modern Languages and Gaelic (Learners). As it is the overall quality of the written language, including spelling accuracy, that is being assessed, a scribe can only be used if the candidate is able to explicitly instruct the scribe with regard to spelling out words and to the placement of diacritics (such as accents, umlauts, circumflexes). For example, the spelling of a particular word in French can indicate a particular tense. The French word passer, sounds the same as passez, passé, passée, and passés — the candidate would need to spell out the correct word, as it is not acceptable for the scribe to choose the word (and tense) that should be recorded.
  • A scribe is a responsible person who writes down (or word-processes) a candidate’s dictated responses. This may involve scribing all the candidate’s responses or the candidate may request only certain questions or words are scribed. The scribe cannot enhance or refine the candidate’s dictated responses, but can use their discretion with regard to the correct spelling of a word and, where necessary, the correct punctuation.
  • The use of a scribe can be allowed to meet the needs of candidates who have substantial difficulties with writing and who cannot produce written text by any other more appropriate means, eg using ICT.
  • Transcription with correction of spelling and punctuation
  • The use of transcription with correction may be allowed to meet the needs of candidates who have substantial difficulties with writing and who cannot produce written text by any other more appropriate means, eg ICT.
  • Transcription without correction
  • This arrangement is designed to meet the needs of those candidates who have illegible handwriting and who are unable to use word processing software.
  • Prompters
  • A prompter is someone who can be present during an assessment to ensure that a candidate stays on task. A prompter may be required where a candidate has little or no sense of time, or has significant concentration difficulties. The prompter may sit beside the candidate to keep their attention on the assessment.
  • Supervised breaks or rest periods in an external examination
  • Rest periods and supervised breaks are permitted. The time taken for the break does not count towards the time allowed for the examination concerned.
  • Referral of a candidate’s examination script to the Principal Assessor


  • In certain external examinations where extended written responses are required, centres can request that the eamination scripts of candidates who have substantial difficulties with their written communication be referred to the Principal Assessor (PA).
  • Jones A. and Kindersley K. (2013 Ed)        Dyslexia: Assessing and Reporting, The Patoss Guide, Hodder Education, London.
  • MacKay N. (2012 Ed)     Removing Dyslexia as a Barrier to Achievement, SEN Marketing, Wakefield
  • Reid G. (2009)   Dyslexia, A Practitioner’s Handbook, Wiley- Blackwell, Chicheste
  • Dyslexia Scotland


  • Patoss


  • GL Assessment


  • Stirling Council


  • Scottish Government


  • Scottish Government, Education for learners with Dyslexia (HMIe 2008)


  • SQA – Assessment Arrangements


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