A toolkit for the identification and support
of learners exhibiting literacy difficulties

Supporting Learners and Families

Effective Communication

Effective communication, respect and partnership working are key requirements between schools and families. They are essential in supporting appropriate and effective identification, planning and monitoring of literacy difficulties and dyslexia.

The first sign that a child/young person is experiencing difficulties with literacy or showing indications of dyslexia may arise from school staff, parents/carers or the young person.  The ongoing process of identifying and supporting the needs of the learners should be clearly communicated to everyone involved.

Effective Communication School Learner and Parents ADT
Effective Communication School Learner and Parents ADT


It is important that:

  • Parents and carers feel that they are being listened to and their views are valued.
  • Parents and carers are informed of all the support their child receives. This will reduce perceptions that no supports are in place as they are often discreet and the learner may not be fully aware of the additional support they are receiving.
  • Parents and carers are provided with information on what assessment and support means within the ‘needs led’ Scottish educational context - the ‘label’ of dyslexia is not in itself required in order for resources or support to be made available for learners. Equally, the label of dyslexia can be very valuable to the learner and their family in terms of the learner’s sense of self and understanding from others.
  • Local authority staged levels of intervention are followed and information on the process is made available to the parents and carers.
  • Effective consultation takes place with parents and the young person, and if the young person is old enough to understand what is happening, participation in meetings.

Good Practice  for Parental Engagement


This short film shows the importance of effective communication between parents and schools.

Some schools and local authorities have established parental engagement/working groups to support the development of and improve effective partnership working to:

  • Improve the educational experiences, achievements and outcomes for learners with dyslexia
  • Share experiences from different perspectives e.g. parents, learners, staff
  • Improve school communities’ understanding of dyslexia and inclusive practice.  

The Education Endowment Foundation published guidance, based on an overview of existing research, in December 2018 to help schools considering how to support parents in improving children's learning.  Click to download 'Working with parents to improve children's learning'.

Independent or Private Assessments


The Additional Support for Learning Act - Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 as amended - is very clear that education authorities must take account of independent assessments unless they have a good reason for not doing so. The Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice states the following:

“The education authority must also take account of any relevant advice and information provided to them by parents on behalf of their child, by the child or the young person. For example, if the parents have privately commissioned an assessment or report on the child or young person, or the child or young person has commissioned the report, then the authority must take that report or advice into consideration if asked to do so. Also, the authority must seek and take account of the views of parents, children and young people themselves. Further information is provided in chapter 7 of the Code of Practice which considers working with children and families.”

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions by teachers and parents about assessment.







Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) is the national approach in Scotland to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of our children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people.  It supports them and their parent(s)/carers to work in partnership with school and the services that can help them.

The Getting it right for every child approach reflects a determination to make sure every young person is safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included. The initiative aims to ensure that employees in all the agencies involved in children's lives work together in children's best interests and share information appropriately to ensure the children's needs are met. Information about this can be found here.