Ako Aotearoa and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) are delighted to launch the Dyslexia-Friendly Quality Mark initiative, Te Tohu Kounga Whakarata Tīpaopaotanga, with a range of events taking place this week (more event information below).

Described as “the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere”, the Dyslexia-Friendly Quality Mark (DFQM) is designed to recognise organisations that take a strategic approach to creating an inclusive environment for learners, trainees, or clients with dyslexia.

Ako Aotearoa’s Director, Helen Lomax comments, “People with dyslexia will be able to identify organisations at tertiary level that not only champion their cause but offer proven, consistent support and guidance to match. I want to acknowledge our Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Cultural Capability team, particularly Programme Manager Annette van Lamoen, who collaborated with dyslexia consultant Mike Styles to develop this work.”

TEC’s Deputy Chief Executive – Learner Success Ōritetanga Directorate, Paora Ammunson, stresses the Quality Mark will benefit tertiary organisations and learners alike. “Adopting the Mark will promote best practice within organisations and not only build educator capability, but most of all, it will ensure that learners with dyslexia are fully supported in their learning journey and have every opportunity to thrive.”

The Quality Mark will be awarded to organisations that measure their practices against a set of DFQM standards in four key areas:

· leadership and management

· the quality of teaching and learning

· the teaching and learning environment provided for learners

· the quality of the organisation’s relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

The Quality Mark is awarded for three years and can be renewed after this period.

Launch week events

The main event this week is an online official launch hosted by Ako Aotearoa at 10am on Wednesday 8 September. Everyone is welcome to attend – register at: https://events.humanitix.com/new-zealand-dyslexia-friendly-quality-mark-launch-8sept

The launch will include presentations and insights from TEC and the three organisations involved in the DFQM pilot – Capital Training, Universal College of Learning (UCOL) and Kapiti Youth Support.

Feedback from the three pilot organisations

UCOL’s Literacy and Numeracy Leader, Vicky Beckwith believes that the organisation is better equipped to service the communities and employers they work with, as a result of being involved in the DFQM pilot programme.

“The Dyslexia-Friendly Quality Mark provides a good framework for us to support our students and help them move forward in their qualifications. It’s reassuring for students to be in a more sympathetic and empathetic environment, and it helps boost their confidence and raise their self-esteem.” she says.

Mike Kelleher, Managing Director at Capital Training adds, “Having the Dyslexia Friendly Quality Mark will demonstrate to our learners that we are serious about dyslexia.”

And Raechel Osborne, CEO at Kapiti Youth Support reports that “being part of the DFQM initiative has meant that staff better understand the tell-tale signs of dyslexia and how to respond.”

“We’ve changed some of our policies and procedures so that staff are able to better support young people to address their challenges and to grow.” she adds.

Other events in launch week

The project leads will also present online at two major tertiary conferences during the week – Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (7th/11am) and New Zealand Vocational Education and Training Research Forum (8th/1.30pm).

Further information

Please visit www.dfqm.nz to register your organisation’s interest in the Dyslexia-Friendly Quality Mark, or contact Annette van Lamoen on annette.vanlamoen@ako.ac.nz for more information. Watch a short video about the DFQM at https://youtu.be/QIDojWBWNVA.

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