For both dyslexic children and their families, finding a dyslexia-friendly (specific learning disability) school can be an enormous relief. Dyslexia-friendly schools acknowledge, support, and celebrate dyslexic and different learners and ensure support is in place for student success. It is important to have the right learning environment for all students as early as possible.
To save you time, we made a list of 18 dyslexia-friendly public and private schools in Australia and New Zealand. We gathered this information from ADA.
PS: Here is a nice article if you want to learn how to get a dyslexia test.
List of dyslexia friendly schools in Australia & New Zealand
Torquay P-6 College
(03) 5261 2360
Torquay P-6 College is at the beginning of its Multisensory Learning journey. Their current principal inspired them with investigating this approach and initially sent three teachers to complete the 5-day intensive training in 2019. From there, more teachers have trained and will be introduced in the future. The Literacy Learning Specialist also ended the components to become an Associate Member of the Australian Dyslexia Association (AMADA). MSL is currently being embedded in practice across F-4 through coaching and mentoring. They support students with a learning disability.
Tarneit Rise Primary School
(03) 7002 6580
Tarneit Rise Primary School opened in 2018 for 209 prep – grade 2 children. They now have over 1000 prep – grade 6 children enrolled.
Before opening their doors for the first time, the school leadership team decided to implement MSL throughout the school; they wanted all children to benefit from a multisensory structured literacy approach, supporting students with learning disabilities.
They are committed to providing an evidence-based approach and regularly attend professional learning to ensure our strategy aligns with the science of reading.
Eighty per cent of children are English as Additional Language learners, and the explicit, structured, multisensory approach of MSL helps students thrive in their learning.
Tarneit Rise Primary School have one Associate Member of the Australian Dyslexia Association (AMADA) and 12 other staff members who are currently completing MSL Associate Member training. They include a speech pathologist, principal, assistant principals, leading teachers, learning specialists, classroom teachers and Education Support staff. The AMADA’s role is to oversee literacy instruction in the early years, lead our intervention team for prep to grade 2 children, and facilitate ongoing professional learning for all staff.
Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School
(03) 9557 2044
Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School staff are focused on evidence-based best practice in teaching and learning. The School Strategic Plan priority goals aim to improve student learning in literacy and organisational skills, emphasising the education of reading and spelling. The school decided to train a teacher in the MSL approach through a specialised educational course.
To become an ADA accredited school, a school requires a minimum of one certified MSL teacher with ADA (AMADA), whose job is to provide whole school awareness of MSL, the Science of Reading and dyslexia. At Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School, the trained teacher delivers professional learning to staff about the MSL approach and how it can be integrated into the classroom program as part of its overall Instructional Model for literacy.
Footscray High School
(03) 9689 4788
Footscray High School provides intervention for their Tier 3 students across the school but emphasises years 7–8. Their specialised staff offers the school’s teachers professional development about dyslexia. It assesses students to provide both parents and teachers with the information to establish realistic and achievable goals for the students to work toward.
They also coordinate the students transitioning from grade 6 to year 7. Footscray High School hopes to strengthen its relationship with its primary feeder schools to ensure ease of transition and a shared understanding around students with dyslexia.
Tawonga Primary School
(03) 5754 4468
Tawonga Primary School is a small rural school of 34 students (2020). Since the implementation of MSL 18 months ago, they have had all their Prep-Year 2 students achieve above-expected reading and writing levels. They look forward to seeing how this translates to the older students as we implement it across the school.
Mt Evelyn Primary School
(03) 9736 2233
With the active support of its community, Mount Evelyn Primary School maximises its students’ intellectual, social and emotional potential by providing engaging, challenging and inspiring learning developed by the highest quality professional teams.
They pride themselves on their friendly and supportive learning environment.
Chelsea Primary School
(03) 9773 2055
Chelsea Primary have three teachers trained through Institute for Multisensory Structured Language Education. They have embedded MSL throughout their school, both in class and through targeted intervention. They have implemented the MSL scope and sequence with rigour and have positively impacted their student’s growth over the past year of its implementation.
In 2020 their staff will provide one-on-one intervention for students with Specific Learning Difficulties and dyslexia across the school and continue to support their teachers to ensure they are providing best practice and meet all of their students’ needs.
Wheeler’s Hill Primary School
(03) 9561 3457
Wheelers Hill Primary School committed to refining how they teach reading and spelling three years ago—using evidence-based best practice. They systematically transform their teaching utilising a Multisensory Structured Learning (MSL) approach. Soon they will have 10 dyslexia specialised staff who have undertaken the MSL training.
Their Prep-Year 2 teaching focuses are systematic, structured and based on the MSL-Orton Gillingham approach. Next year, they extend this to their Year 3 curriculum to focus on exploring and expanding their ideas in Morphology.
Bentleigh West Primary School
(03) 9557 1228
Bentleigh West Primary School was the first ADA accredited school in Victoria. To become an ADA accredited school, a school requires a minimum of one certified MSL teacher with ADA (AMADA), whose job is to provide whole school awareness on MSL, the science of reading and dyslexia.
Bentleigh West Primary School has exceeded expectations, all teaching staff are trained in an MSL-OG approach, and all children’s literacy results are excellent. They offer professional development opportunities for other schools by appointment.
Delany College, Granville
(02) 8633 8100
Delany College is a high school with MSL classes specialising in helping students diagnosed with dyslexia and students with difficulties in reading and writing. They currently have MSL classes in Year 7, 8 and 9 and provide support for students diagnosed with dyscalculia via small group intervention in Year 7 and 8 and in-class support throughout the school.
Classes are developed on a needs basis by personal planning with students, parents and staff. The contact person is the Leader of Diverse Learning, Kata Collimore.
St Aloysius Catholic Primary School, Chisholm
(02) 4088 8030
St Aloysius Catholic Primary School have two trained MSL educators. Jenny Samson is their learning support teacher, and Amy Matsen is their EAL/D teacher. Jenny and Amy have been successfully implementing MSL in one on one and small intervention groups across all year levels of the school. They have also been sharing MSL strategies with staff at meetings as well as lesson demonstrations. Teachers are increasingly embracing these strategies.
Russell Vale Public School
(02) 4284 4396
At Russell Vale Public School, the Learning and Support teacher has introduced MSL to all school intervention sessions. Support staff and classroom teachers have been up-skilled and employ MSL strategies in the classroom, including whole-class and small groups.
Teachers now know the science of teaching reading at our school and feel confident in identifying, with the Learning Support Teacher’s support, students who require further intervention. Parents have been trained to assist students at home with their reading. Since the MSL training, a structured literacy based scope and sequence has been developed and implemented in K–4. Spelling Mastery is executed in all grades 3–6.
Since Melinda has been trained, all K–4 classrooms have decodable readers in their classrooms. ‘Catch up’ decodable texts are used for all older students receiving support. Our students reading results have improved. Our latest 2020 Department of Education’ Check-In Assessment’ recorded their best outcomes to date. 47.5% of their Year 5 students achieved in the top two bands and only 7.5% of students in the bottom 2 bands.
Salisbury Primary School
(08) 8258 1335
Salisbury Primary School had a “hunch” that they had a decoding issue across the school. A phonics screening was used to assess students from years three to seven. This provided further evidence that there were gaps in the students decoding skills.
Their research leads them to the Institute for Multisensory Structured Language Education, whose approach is based on the study and practice of Orton & Gillingham.
The school now use a multisensory, systematic and cumulative process that uses explicit and direct instruction to teach phonics, spelling and morphology from R-7. All teachers follow an agreed scope and sequence that is cumulative. It begins with the most straightforward concepts and progresses in a logical order. Explicit instruction of decoding skills occurs for 30-40 minutes daily in every classroom.
Catherine McAuley School
(08) 8284 1666
Catherine McAuley School has a strong commitment to delivering the best educational outcomes for its students and was one of the first Catholic schools in Australia accredited with the ADA. Catherine McAuley School has been using the MSL approach since 2018 and, in 2020, will be enhancing this practice through Explicit Direct Instruction.
Teacher instruction is founded upon evidence-based pedagogies and is complimented with a rich well-being program. The school employs a multi-tiered response to the intervention model. This approach ensures that evidence-based practices are used across all class settings, and that other small groups and one-on-one support are provided to students as required. At Catherine McAuley School, every child truly matters.
St Therese School – Colonel Light Gardens
(08) 8275 5500
St Therese School was one of the first ADA accredited schools in South Australia. With several accredited IMSLE Educators and all their staff trained in the MSL approach R-6.
The School use a three-tiered response to the intervention model to ensure each student’s needs are met. All students are screened upon entry to St Therese and participate in a range of evidence-based programs alongside dyslexia aware teaching methodologies. They extended the multisensory approach to mathematics and offered specific mathematical intervention based on such.
In 2020, they extended their training to Morphology to develop a deeper skill-base for their educators. St Therese school offers regular professional development opportunities for other educators and schools to share evidence-based pedagogical practice.
Specialised Assistance School for Youth (SASY)
(08) 8227 0823
Established in 2016, the Specialised Assistance School for Youth (SASY) is the first school of its type in South Australia registered as a Special Assistance School as articulated in the Australia Education Act that provides an alternative educational setting for students.
SASY caters for students in Years 8 – 12 whose needs are better met by learning structures that may not be available in all mainstream schools. As a non-government – Special Assistance School, SASY follows the national curriculum & SACE.
In 2018 there are 135 students enrolled at SASY.
As a registered non-government school in South Australia, SASY operates within the state’s regulatory framework and Australian Government legislation and is registered by the Education Standards Board (SA). Aside from this school there is also may dyslexia tuition organisation in Adelaide
+64 6-358 1563
In 2018 Takaro School began its structured literacy journey in the Junior School. They taught using a scope and sequence and decodable texts. In January of 2021, one staff member went through the MSL training and took individuals and groups over the year with great success.
Structured literacy is now taught across the school from Year 1-8 and is supported by our MSL trained teacher. Interventions are now able to run in class as well as withdrawal to allow success for all and inclusivity.
Te Raekura – Redcliffs School
+64 3-384 3853
In 2019 Te Raekura – Redcliffs school conducted a pilot with two trained MSL teachers who provided structured literacy intervention for 20 students. The results from this pilot showed a marked improvement in the literary achievements of these students.
As a result of the pilot and positive feedback from the staff, students and school community, the school decided to implement MSL throughout the school; they wanted all children to benefit from a multisensory structured literacy approach. Over three-quarters of their staff are now trained in the MSL approach and provide classroom, group and individual MSL teaching.
The school is committed to providing an evidence-based approach and regularly attends professional development to ensure their approach aligns with the science of reading.
Many schools are now becoming dyslexia-friendly. By being aware of the learning disorder and putting in place evidence-based teaching intervention, those schools lead the way to education equity.
This list is only a small portion of the dyslexia friendly schools in Australia & New Zealand, we will be adding more soon.
If you feel your child or student might have literacy difficulty, you can use our online dyslexia screening.