School failings leave dyslexic pupils feeling ‘stupid, unvalued and guilty’

Specialist dyslexia teachers ‘would be able to support learners, oversee and direct teaching and support provision’

Martin George

Dyslexia: letters falling out of a person's head

Every school should have specialist support for children with dyslexia, a cross-party group of MPs has said.

A report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Differences, published today, says that 10-15 per cent of people have the condition, making it the “most common specific learning difference” in the UK.

However, it warns that failing to diagnose dyslexia early and provide support during education often leads to short and long-term human costs.

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Sharon Hodgson, who chairs the all-party group, writes that she hears “time and time again people’s stories of how missed or poorly supported dyslexia during education has made them feel stupid, unvalued by society, guilty and disinterested in education”.

Research carried out for the committee found a large number of parents felt their schools did not support their child’s dyslexia, did not take their concerns about dyslexia seriously, and did not value or nurture their child’s abilities and potential.

The report says: “Some parents found that their children’s experiences of school changed due to the effects of their dyslexia, noting that their children did not wish to attend school and were beginning to disengage with some aspects of education”.

It says the British Dyslexia Association believes that “the clearest solution” lies in the training of specialist dyslexia teachers.

It adds: “Such teachers would be able to support learners, oversee and direct teaching and support provision, and carry out diagnostic assessments that identify individual needs.

"In this way, expertise and knowledge would be readily available to class teachers in every school or every cluster of schools.”

This would, it says, relieve pressure on the Education, Health and Care Plan system through a reduction in appeals and litigation from parents trying to secure support for their children.

The report says the British Dyslexia Association acknowledges that there has been some investment in training by the DfE, but describes this as “light touch and focused on awareness raising and not training at the specialist level” needed to support learners.

It calls for “an increased focus on SEND within initial teacher training”.

The report says that because the ITT curriculum is already crowded, NQTs should be able to access “mandatory CPD, leading to a level 2 or 3 award in dyslexia and other specific learning differences as part of a CPD programme within the first two years of becoming qualified teachers”.

It also recommends that schools invest in training to meet nationally recognised standards such as the British Dyslexia Association’s dyslexia quality mark for dyslexia friendly schools.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Our ambition for children with special educational needs and disabilities is exactly the same for every other child – to achieve well in education, and go on to live happy and fulfilled lives.

“We have introduced specific content on SEND in the framework of core content for initial teacher training as well as contracted work to introduce best high quality SEND teaching into the workforce and encourage the sharing of best SEND practise between regions. 

“Alongside the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, we have launched the Early Career Framework which will transform the support provided to recently qualified teachers in the critical first years of teaching.

"We are also reviewing the learning outcomes of specialist qualifications in SEND to ensure they reflect the changing needs of the education system.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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