A Ross Duncan Interview

Education forms such an important part of your life that somethimes we easily forget how important it is to get it right the first time. Therefore the role of OFSTED, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills for  England and Wales, is a very important one.   It is the regulatory body which inspects schools to ensure that individual schools maintain a high level of educational standard for all pupils at all levels.

Back in 2006, OFSTED appointed Dr Zenna Atkins as their new head who had no formal qualification abut also had dyslexia. According to her dyslexia does not stop anyone from achieving as demonstrated by many brilliantly successful people in all walks of life. She firmly believes in her own i-built ability, in that having dyslexia can be frustrating but also given her a number of strengths, something she has developed in order to compensate for not being able to learn the traditional way. Being dyslexic is, for her, neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. This can be best summed up in her previous responsibilities in being chairs/directors and found of a number of charities and organisations.

The responsibility of OFSTED cannot be underestimated. Although they may not  be there specifically to inspect for dyslexia provision, they do however put great emphasis on examining that the needs of all are fully met. According to Dr Atkins a good standard of education provision recognizes that people learn differently and further recognizes that skills other than passing exams are the key to improving the employment prospects of people with dyslexia.

Post mainstream education can be a particularly daunting time chiefly when having to cope and to readjust to a new way of life. This can be put down to predominately feeling labelled or unusual in an unknown environment. But according to Dr Atkins the  very skills you develop in how to survive with dyslexia through school, may not be those that are easily recognizable to some. However, they are in fact very useful, particularly in the workplace – such as creativity, imagination, group brainstorming, good sense of humor and emotional resilience.