Since its foundation, in 1969, by a concerned group of parents, Speld has undergone many evolutions and survived many of the educational and financial changes of this global world. And so today, we are in a new phase of that evolution.
2013/2014 has seen a tremendous amount of positive change. We have seen the appointment of a new Executive Officer, a new Specialist teacher co-ordinator, and the introduction of 2 placement students who assist with our library and workshops for technology.
Our Strategic Plan created a new vision for a more self-sustained Speld. This is necessitated, as all ‘not-for-profit’ organisations move into unchartered waters, due to the growing scarcity of funding and donations. An organisation with supplied services, such as ours, needs funds to enable its growth. In addition to Membership fees, and the Direct Services Grant from the State Government of Queensland, Speld has also secured $20,000 from the Clem Jones Foundation, $10,000 from the Dick Smith Foods Campaign and $1,000 from the Edna Furey Grant and $500 from Mac and PC Doctors. We thank these Foundations for their generous contributions. However, as identified in our Strategic Plan we require at least an additional $150,000 to enable us to expand our services to meet the needs of clients in regional, rural and remote Queensland.
The Office has received a revamp, in painting and refurbishment (all donated time) and a reconfiguration of furniture and storage facilities. This has created a more efficient, professional, working environment and a more conducive area for assessment. The Library and lending area has received a cull and a revamp. Currently there are 1100 financial members of Speld. The Office addresses 900 emails and answers 150 advisory phone calls per month. We engage 71 specialist teachers working with 405 students. The assessment service has expanded to Warwick, Ipswich, Victoria Point, Ascot, Petrie, Caboolture, and a psychologist is now part of the assessment team.
Our workshops continue to be well supported with speakers sourced from within our professional community and from overseas. Of particular note this year were presentations from International Speakers in Neil MacKay’s successful tour and Big Picture Event, and Pie Corbett’s upcoming Creative Writing tour. Focus on dyslexia and numeracy difficulties, as well as other learning problems will continue to be our emphasis in the coming year.
Stronger links continue to be forged with agencies such as State, Catholic and Independent schools, including Principals’ Associations; educational bodies such as Learning Difficulties Australia and the Learning Support Teachers of Queensland; parent bodies such as, The Brisbane Dyslexics Parent Support Group and Defy Dyslexia, and voluntary organisations such as Noah’s Ark.