Exclusive: DfE scrapping need for costly post-16 dyslexia assessments

Campaigners say the move will prevent families of students with dyslexia paying 'over and over'

Caroline Henshaw

What's it like being a teacher with dyslexia?

Students who were assessed with dyslexia while at school will no longer need a costly second assessment after the age of 16 to receive support at university or at work.

Currently, young people need post-16 reports to access support at university and many workplaces, even if they have already been diagnosed with the condition.

These normally cost between £600 and £800 but campaigners say in some cases they can run into thousands of pounds.

But from February the DfE will scrap the need for multiple assessments, in a move that has been welcomed by campaigners.

A DfE spokesperson told Tes: “From February 2019, students will be able to provide a diagnostic assessment report as evidence of their disability in respect of an assessment undertaken at any age.

“We are not scrapping the post-16 dyslexia assessments. It will remain the case that young adults past the age of 16 can still access a dyslexia test should they need one.”

About 10 per cent of the population, or an average of three children in every classroom in the UK, are thought to have dyslexia.

Sue Flohr, policy manager at the British Dyslexia Association (BDA), said the change will make a huge difference to those students and their families.

“This is very good [news] for us because currently we have calls to our helpline from parents and students alike saying I can’t afford another assessment,” she said.

Dyslexia “is the only disability where you have to keen proving you’re disabled… If you have dyslexia you have it, it doesn’t go away.

“There were people who were having to pay over and over and this was just discrimination.”

The BDA has been lobbying for the change after discovering the vast majority of dyslexic students have been assessed multiple times.

A survey on social media found 80 per cent had undergone at least two assessments and more than a third had been assessed three or more times.

This is despite the fact that half had been diagnosed as dyslexic before they went to university.

“We wanted to stop this constant need for diagnosis,” said Ms Flohr. “We’re hoping universities will honour any early evidence as dyslexia doesn’t go away.”

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Caroline Henshaw

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