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What the department for education and employment is doing;Cover story;Dyslexia Awareness Week

Under the 1996 Education Act all schools must secure suitable special educational provision for any pupils who have special educational needs, such as dyslexia, and the DFEE monitors that provision.

Concerned by the rising number of statements being issued for dyslexic children, and increasingly aware of the benefits of early intervention, the Government has taken steps to raise dyslexia awareness and provide support. It has distributed a "Handy Hints to Primary School Teachers" poster as well as funding the "Achieving dyslexia friendly schools" resource pack produced and distributed by the British Dyslexia Association (details on website: www.open.gov.ukdfeesensenhome.htm) In his foreword to the pack , Education Secretary David Blunkett, who has dyslexic children of his own, states: "As I know from first hand experience, dyslexia is not something a child grows out of and when it goes unrecognised it can be the source of much misery, frustration and under-achievement. It is equally important that we recognise that the effects of dyslexia can be alleviated by appropriate teaching strategies and committed learning."

Government-funded research into dyslexia has informed the development by Manchester Metropolitan University of a multi-sensory teaching system for reading to be taught alongside the literacy hour. Packs entitled "Multi-sensory Teaching System for Reading" have been distributed to every local education authority. Funding has also informed a spelling teaching pack developed by the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, "Spelling Methods" pound;8.35. Tel: 01252 792 400.

Up to pound;35,000 has been provided through the Teacher Training Agency to support the Dyslexia Institute's post-graduate diploma in dyslexia, and the Government is also working with the institute on a project to evaluate the effectiveness of its intervention programmes.

The Government claims to have put more money into special educational needs provision generally. The DFEE states that in 1999-2000 pound;57 million has been targeted for SEN provision over and above the revenue cash LEAs receive from Government. Up to pound;21 million has also been made available for professional development of those working with SEN pupils, including learning support assistants.

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