Republished with permission from the author.
Dear Colleague ,
Public Policy Exchange will be hosting a webinar on Dyslexia in Schools: Ensuring All Children with Dyslexia are Diagnosed and Supported which will take place on Tuesday, September 13th 2022 between 9:30 AM — 1:00 PM.
Andy Cook, Chief Executive of Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity
Rachel Morrison, Specialist Teacher & Professional Diagnostic Assessor
Dyslexia, a learning difficulty which impacts reading and writing, affects between 6.6 and 9.9 million people in the UK, around 10 to 15% of the population, making it the most common specific learning difference. Between 800,000 and 1.3 million young people in education in the UK have dyslexia. A 2019 report by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) found that, due to budget cuts, schools in England are failing to diagnose at least 80% of pupils who have dyslexia and that families of dyslexic children are having to pay up to £1,000 for help with their child’s education, with pupils from poorer backgrounds being left behind. The report added that diagnosis and support was the worst it had been since government funding for dyslexia started in the 1980s. According to a 2019 Commons report, 70% of parents of dyslexic children felt their school did not support their child’s dyslexia, 76% of parents felt the school was not doing a good job supporting their dyslexic child, and 72% of parents felt their child’s school did not value or nurture their abilities and potential. According to a 2020 report by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, around 40-60% of young people with dyslexia have some kind of psychological difficulties, including anxiety, depression and attention deficit, compared to one in eight children across the broader population.
The Equality Act 2010 and its accompanying guidance and case law established that dyslexia is legally a disability. Meanwhile, the Children & Families Act 2014 legislates for support for young people with dyslexia in education, and the SEND Code of Practise 2014 sets out the guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities, including dyslexia. The 2014 Act provides support for children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) across education, health care, and social care. The system is now locally managed, with local authorities required to publish a ‘local offer’ that sets out the services available for children and young people with SEND, who are provided with special educational needs support and an individually tailored Education, Health, and Care Plan. Changes have also made to funding for schools with pupils with ‘high needs’, through a National Funding Formula, with tighter restrictions in place since 2018-19 on the extent to which councils may use wider school funding. In 2019, the Department for Education announced £31.6 million fund to train more educational psychologists in schools.
A 2019 report by the APPG for Dyslexia and other SpLDs, however, noted that “It is unusual for [specialist teaching provision to meet the needs of dyslexics] to be accessible within a mainstream setting, as resources tend not to allow the budget for such specialist dyslexia intervention.”
In March 2022, with the existing SEND system widely recognised to be failing to deliver for children and young people, in part due to significant funding shortfalls, the government launched its long-delayed Green Paper review of SEND provision for children and young people in England, with the public consultation on the government’s proposals to improve the system closing in July. In June, a Private Members’ Bill to make provision for screening for dyslexia in primary schools and to make provision about teacher training relating to neurodivergent conditions – the Dyslexia Screening and Teacher Training Bill – was introduced in Parliament by Matt Hancock MP. The Bill’s second reading is scheduled to take place on Friday 16 September. The BDA has said that the government could help affected pupils by letting them use laptops or tablets in all classes and exams but that, in the longer term, every school needs to employ a specialist teacher who is able to diagnose dyslexia, support strategies and train peers, which would require a substantial investment.
This timely symposium offers local councils, education authorities, SEND professionals and specialist dyslexia teachers, disability rights groups and other key stakeholders the opportunity to examine the government’s SEND Review proposals and the Dyslexia Screening and Teacher Training Bill and discuss strategies for improving dyslexia support for children and young people.
Discuss the impact of COVID-19 on schools’ ability to provide adequate support for students with dyslexia
Consider effective strategies to overcome emotional and psychological impact of poorly supported dyslexia
Discuss the relationship between dyslexia and allied reading difficulties and mental health difficulties, including anxiety, depression and attention deficit
Evaluate how the Children and Families Act 2014 has impacted SEND support systems for children and young people with dyslexia
Reflect on how the Department for Education’s fund to train more educational psychologists in schools has impacted early intervention and support
Assess the effectiveness of government programs such as Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) and Access to Work funding in levelling the playing field for people with dyslexia and other special learning differences
Discuss the current SEND crisis and formulate strategies for addressing resulting inadequate provisions and children being educated in inappropriate settings
Consider the government’s recent publication of the long-awaited SEND review and its implications for children and young people with dyslexia
Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the new Dyslexia Screening and Teacher Training Bill
Assess what is needed from central government to ensure that all children with dyslexia are identified and provided with adequate educational support
If you or your colleagues would like to attend this webinar, please fill in your details in the attached registration form and send it back to me; I will confirm your place(s) and drop you an email with all the details shortly.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.
Shrishti Jugoo (Miss)
Public Policy Exchange
15th Floor, Millbank Tower
London SW1P 4QP