Assessment Practising Certificates

The BDA Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) Assessment Practising Certificate (APC), recognises the professional achievement, training and skills of specialist teachers who have followed a recognised course of study (eg. an AMBDA accredited course or equivalent) and can demonstrate their knowledge and competence in SpLD and assessment. This includes demonstrating a commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and the BDA Code of Ethics.

An APC is valid for three years from the date of issue and APC holders must also have a professional membership for the duration of the APC. Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA) is now the professional membership required for holders of an APC

An APC is invalid should this professional membership lapse. All holders of current SpLD Assessment Practising Certificates are listed on the SPLD Assessment Standards Committee - SASC - website.

DfE Changes to the Requirements for Assessment Practising Certificates (APC)
The Department of Education (DfE) announced in November 2018 that a diagnostic assessment conducted at any age, which results in a diagnosis of dyslexia, will be accepted as part of an application for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). It is no longer necessary that a report used for a DSA application is carried out post-16.  
In March 2019, the DfE confirmed that a report completed at any age will be accepted by Student Finance England (SFE) in support of a DSA application only if conducted and written by an assessor holding a valid Assessment Practising Certificate (APC), or by an HCPC-registered psychologist, at the time of the assessment.  
As reports conducted at any age may be used for DSA purposes, it is recommended that all assessors should now hold an APC, to future proof assessments for dyslexic individuals so that no further diagnostic assessment will be required should the dyslexic individual wish to apply for DSA in the future.
We appreciate that this is a substantial change and will mean that many specialist teachers will now need to apply for an APC where previously one was not required.
Applying to the BDA for an APC
To apply for an APC with the BDA, you must have successfully completed an AMBDA-accredited course, or equivalent - see the courses list on the SpLD Assessment Standards Committee (SASC) website
If applying before 31st March 2020, SASC has agreed to lift the requirement for applicants to submit a diagnostic report if they have completed the course over five years ago. 
In simple terms if you have completed an AMBDA accredited course at any time you can apply for an APC and AMBDA up until 31st March 2020, even if you have previously not applied for AMBDA or an APC. 
If applying after 31st March 2020, applicants who have completed a course more than five years ago, will need to submit a log of relevant CPD completed within the last 3 years, and a full anonymised diagnostic report for review.
Applicants should download the APC application form, pay the £180 fee and either email to or send to Accreditation, BDA, 6a Bracknell Beeches, Bracknell RG12 7BW attaching or enclosing a copy of their Level 7 SpLD certificate
Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA)
An APC is valid for three years from the date of issue. Holders of an APC issued by the BDA must hold a professional membership with the BDA for the duration of the APC – the APC will be invalid should this professional membership lapse. 
This membership will now be Associate Membership of the BDA. AMBDA will now be an annual membership and will be required for all those applying for and holding an APC with the BDA.  
This membership will be an annual fee of £70. Members must agree and adhere to the BDA Code of Ethics and Conduct.  The Code requires members to assess within their professional expertise; they should only teach and assess learners within the age range they are qualified to work with. 
AMBDA holders will receive the following annual benefits:
BDA Dyslexia Contact magazine 3 times a year
Discount on BDA conferences 
Discount on BDA open training courses 
Professional Indemnity Insurance at Members’ rate through the Alan Boswell Group
Members’ rate for the Dyslexia Journal, published 4 times a year
BDA e-newsletter 3 times a year
Eligible to be on BDA Tutor List
Invitation to the AGM and Members’ Day
To apply for AMBDA you need to:
Pay an annual membership fee of £70
Agree and adhere to the BDA Code of Ethics and Conduct
You may also apply for AMBDA via Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning (APEL) if you have significant experience in the assessment and teaching of learners with SpLD. Please contact
Renewing an APC with the BDA
Those who have gained an APC from September 2018 onwards will be required to do the following to renew their APC after 3 years:
Complete the CPD log showing 10 hours of CPD every year, including 5 hours of SASC approved training each year which covers the principles of psychometrics, statistics and underlying theory or SpLD testing methods, interpretation and test materials. The remaining CPD can cover changes in regulations and legislation relating to SpLDs, developments in SpLD research and approaches to teaching and support for SpLD. CPD can be a combination of formal CPD, e.g. attendance at conferences and training, and informal training, e.g. your own research, delivering training to colleagues. CPD which covers Exam Access Arrangements can only be used for 5 hours of SASC approved CPD across the 3-year period. SASC approved mentoring can form part of your CPD
Submit a full, anonymised diagnostic assessment report conducted within the last 18 months 
Maintain AMBDA membership throughout the duration of the APC
Those renewing an APC gained prior to September 2018, should show evidence of 20 hours CPD across the 3-year period, including 5 hours of SASC approved CPD.