Karen is Director of Operations at the Driver Youth Trust. Prior to this, she was Head of Impact at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and Director of the Centre for Education Economics (CfEE). She is the founder of #UKEdResChat, a regular Twitter chat for those interested in all aspects of educational research. Karen is also a school governor and a mum to two mini-piesers.
Now a literacy and SEN expert, Jules originally began life as an English & Drama teacher up to A’level and Deputy Head of Sixth form. Following a break to work in the Falklands Islands as a news broadcaster for the radio station, Jules returned and began working in Further Education and Parent Partnership for Dorset LA. It was here where she became interested in special education needs and literacy difficulties deciding to train as a dyslexia specialist teacher and assessor. Moving to Dorset LA SENSS service, Jules worked in both primary & secondary schools before becoming the literacy lead for the Dorchester Area School Partnership, a cluster of 17 schools and leader of the speech & language base at Thomas Hardye School upper school.
This session will explore the historical journey of dyslexia including two current theories in conflict today. The first links to The Rose Review (2009) which underpins current UK definitions of dyslexia used by specialists in the assessment field while the second cites Professor Julian Elliot’s research from Durham University claiming that dyslexia is an unscientific term and thus by definition does not exist. To bridge these two thoughts, Professor Dorothy Bishop’s thoughts will be used to question whether, despite the unscientific nature of dyslexia labelling, the term is still useful for utility purposes.
While reading difficulties is not denied by any experts in the field, there is a term coined ‘dysteachia’ which claims that children who cannot read have not been taught properly and that dyslexia does not exist. Jules Daulby and Karen Wespieser will run through the standardised tests used for dyslexia and set this within the context of early intervention and systematic synthetic phonics to teach children to read contrasting with a lifelong developmental learning difficulty which affects daily life.
To finish, this session will offer practical tips on how to support children with literacy difficulties in the classroom.
National Conference 2017
The self improving education system; why we don’t need to expand partial selection
Last year, the DfE consultation ‘Schools That Work for Everyone’ outlined plans to encourage all parts of the education system to collaborate more to widen opportunity and raise standards. To inform our response to these proposals, NFER undertook two new analyses. The first looked at the small but important suggestion that new partially selective schools should be established (schools that select between 11 and 99% of their intake). The second looked at the potential within the current system for school partnerships that would raise standards. This session will explore the results of these two studies and explain why NFER urged the Government to think more holistically about sources of school support.
National Conference 2016 (with Emma Kell)
Keeping excellent teachers in the classroom: the latest research on teacher retention
There is plenty of talk about recruiting more teachers, but what about keeping the excellent ones we already have? This session will share research from two of 2016’s most important teacher retention projects. Karen will share new NFER research on teacher intentions and Emma will present highlights from her forthcoming book on teacher well-being and retention. Between them, the research projects have collected views from over 5,000 teachers. Karen and Emma will present the main findings and discuss what can be done both in policy and practice to help keep teachers in the state sector.