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Reasonable adjustments in education

Dyslexia can have a substantial and long term adverse effect on normal day to day activities, and is therefore a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010.

The Act states that schools and higher education institutions have a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled students (including students with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia). A school or college must ensure that pupils with additional needs can fully participate in the education provided by the school, and that they can enjoy the other benefits, facilities and services that the school provides.

Many reasonable adjustments are inexpensive and involve a change in practice rather than expensive equipment or additional staff. Small considered changes can have a big impact on a student's education and can benefit all students.

Examples of reasonable adjustments

  • Provide coloured overlays as some dyslexic learners can experience visual discomfort when they read black text on a white background which can make reading more difficult
  • Provide handouts in lessons rather than asking pupils to copy text from the whiteboard or take notes
  • Provide all handouts on coloured paper
  • Use a sans serif font on all printed materials, such as verdana, arial or calibri and make sure the font is at least 12 point or above
  • Change the background colour of a whiteboard or computer screen
  • Provide highlighters so learners can track text that has been read, or highlight important pieces of information
  • Provide access to assistive technology such as a computer for pupils who find it difficult to read large amounts of text or to write quickly enough in class
  • Use multi-sensory ways of teaching
  • Allow additional 'thinking' time
  • Break information up into smaller 'chunks'

In addition to reasonable adjustments in class, Access Arrangements in exams allow equality of access to assessment in education - they can help dyslexic candidates show what they know and can do without changing the demands of the assessment. Access Arrangements can include extra time, a scribe, a reader, assistive software or exam papers printed on coloured paper. For more information visit the Exam Access Arrangements webpage.