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How to become a specialist teacher

Approved Teacher Status (ATS)

What is ATS?

Approved Teacher Status (ATS) is an accreditation for those who hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and have successfully completed a BDA accredited course for teaching learners with specific learning difficulties/dyslexia.

Holders of ATS are recognised as specialist teachers and are able to conduct informal, curriculum-based assessments and deliver specialist teaching programmes to learners with SpLD/dyslexia up to, and including, 18 years of age.

Who can apply for ATS?

Applicants who have successfully completed a BDA accredited course for ATS within the last three years, and hold Qualified Teacher Status, can apply.

Applicants must have a minimum of two years (1,900 hours) relevant professional experience teaching/supporting learners up to, and including, 18 years of age. This may be a full-time or part-time posts.

You may also apply for ATS via an Individual Merit route if you have significant experience in the teaching of learners with SpLD.

How to apply for ATS

To apply for ATS you will need to start your online application via the Application box on the right of this page

  • You will need a completed Tutor form signed by your course leader and upload it as part of the application process
  • You will need to read and agree to adhere to the BDA Code of Ethics
  • You will need to pay the fee of £70 via the credit/debit card link in the application process
  • If your employer/school is paying complete the invoice option in the application process

Courses accredited for ATS

All courses are taught at postgraduate Level 7 unless otherwise stated.

Course provider

More information

Miles Dyslexia Centre, Bangor University of Wales

Advanced Certificate of Further Professional Studies in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia)

Bath Spa University

Specific Learning Difficulties/Dyslexia

University of Birmingham (eLearning)

Language, Literacies and Dyslexia Postgraduate Certificate

University of Brighton

Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) PGCert

British Dyslexia Association (BDA) (blended learning/eLearning)

Level 5 Certificate in Dyslexia, Literacy, Support and Intervention

Canterbury Christ Church University

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Specialist Assessment for a Specific Learning Difficulty: Dyslexia

MA Additional Learning Needs

University of Chester

Dyslexia Research and Practice

Dyslexia Action (blended learning)

Level 7 Professional Certificate in Structured Teaching Intervention for Dyslexia and Literacy

Dyslexia Action (blended learning)

Level 5 Diploma in Strategic Teaching Support for Dyslexia and Literacy

Edge Hill University

Postgraduate Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia)

Liverpool Hope University

University College London, IOE

Post Graduate Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia)

Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) MA

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)

Postgraduate Certificate Specific Learning Difficulties

Northumbria University at Newcastle

Postgraduate Certificate Teaching Pupils with Dyslexia within an Education and Training Setting

University of South Wales

Postgraduate Diploma SEN Specific Learning Difficulties

Stranmillis University College, Belfast (eLearning)

Master of Education (MEd) Addressing Difficulties in Literacy Development

Wrexham Glyndŵr University

Postgraduate Certificate in Dyslexia

Progressing to AMBDA

On successful completion of an ATS course specialist teachers can apply for courses leading to Associate Membership of the BDA (AMBDA) which will enable them to conduct formal diagnostic assessments, write diagnostic reports and assess for exam access arrangements.

To find out more visit the AMBDA webpage.

Keeping ATS 'Active'

We expect holders of BDA accreditations to keep their practice up to date and submit a CPD portfolio every three years on the anniversary of their award.

Find out more on the Continuing Professional Development webpage.

Professional Membership

With Active ATS you may apply for Professional Membership of the BDA and be included on the BDA Tutor List.

Find out more, visit the BDA Professional Membership webpage.




Payment for £70.00

Please confirm you meet all application requirements