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Cross-party group of MPs and Peers release report examining the impact of dyslexia on our education system

Friday 25 October 2019

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dyslexia and other SpLDs publish proposals for a Specialist Dyslexia Teacher Assessor for every school, exams reflective of modern workplaces and removal of most SPaG marks.

Today, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dyslexia and other SpLDs has published the Educational Cost of Dyslexia, which examines the dire state of diagnosis and support for dyslexia in education today, and proposes the policy changes needed.

The report finds that whilst the law technically provides for identification and support for dyslexia through the Equality Act (2010) and Children & Families Act (2014), in practice diagnosis is rarely an option for those who cannot afford to pay privately (currently, over 80 percent of people with dyslexia will leave school without diagnosis) and support is inadequate or non-existent, with many parents having to fight for months if not years for an Education, Health and Care Plan to get basic support.

In the UK today, despite dyslexia having no direct link to intelligence or poor behaviour, a young person with dyslexia’s chances are dramatically worse than their peers without any SEN:

  • A student with dyslexia or another SpLD is twice as likely to fail to achieve a grade 4 or above in English and maths at GCSE.
  • Dyslexia rates among university students are just 5 percent compared to 10 to 15 percent in the general population.
  • A student with dyslexia is three and a half times more likely to be temporarily or permanently excluded and youth offending institutes have dyslexia rates between 31 and 56 percent.

Yet this is a totally preventable state of affairs. With early diagnosis and appropriate support, the impact of dyslexia on a pupil’s attainment and opportunities in life can be substantially reduced or removed.

The report’s main proposal is to have a Specialist Dyslexia Teacher Assessor for every school.

For £4,000 a teacher can be trained to diagnose and support young people with dyslexia. In almost all cases, these Specialist Dyslexia Teacher Assessors can provide excellent support without the need for the complexity and rigour of an EHCP.

If a strategic decision was made to adequately provide frontline dyslexia diagnosis and support in schools, evidence indicates that the cost would be balanced out by savings later on.

It would also undoubtably see a massive reduction in emotional and mental health issues among young people with dyslexia and their families, better educational attainment, and a reduction in temporary and permanent exclusions.

The report also proposes policies be brought forward to:

  • Remove spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) marks from tests other than English Language GCSE.
  • Allow young people with dyslexia to use laptops/tablets in all classes and all exams, including English Language GCSE.
  • Allow for the spelling and grammar checking facility on laptops/tablets to be enabled in all exams apart from GCSE English Language.

Full details can be found in the report Educational Cost of Dyslexia and more information on the work of the APPG for Dyslexia and other SpLDs can be found here.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair, APPG for Dyslexia and other SpLDs

"We need to do better for young people with dyslexia. The current system is, in practice, failing to identify and support those who need it.

In my role as Chair, I have the pleasure of seeing many young people with dyslexia go on to amazing careers, moving our country forward. Yet, our education system is often hindering rather than helping them do it.

This report outlines why it is essential we change our current approach and includes some suggestions of how to do it.

We can build an education system that identifies dyslexia early and supports it well, whilst saving money directly and through wider benefits to the economy."

Helen Boden, CEO, British Dyslexia Association

"We’re throwing away dyslexia talent and there’s no good reason why. It’s costing us money, hurting businesses and leaving young people with fewer opportunities.

We welcome the APPG for Dyslexia and other SpLDs work to look at practical pathways to a system that makes diagnosis and support readily available on the frontline, and hope it begins a new era for young people with dyslexia in our country."