Dyslexia sector calls for changes to SEN reforms

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Many children and young people with SEN could suffer when the Children and Families Bill takes effect next year because their needs may not be recognised. This was the fear expressed by a group of Peers as they joined forces with representatives of the dyslexia sector recently to urge the Government to change the Bill to take account of those with mild to moderate needs, including those with specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) such as dyslexia.

Children and young people with mild to moderate SEN may not receive support under the proposed education, health and care plans because their SEN may not be deemed severe enough. The campaigners say that as many as 1.4million children could be affected and they are concerned that alternative provision, detailed by local authorities in their local offer, will not provide sufficient accountability for parents and pupils.

The call for action is being championed by former headteacher Lord Storey, who urged Peers to back amendments that have already been tabled for consideration, when he spoke at a recent breakfast briefing in the House of Commons, organised by Dyslexia Action.

Lord Storey said that many teachers lack the skills to identify and support children with dyslexia, leading to many of these children going undiagnosed and unrecognised in schools. Even though most, if not all, teachers could expect to teach children with dyslexia, there is currently no mandatory minimum level of dyslexia training that teacher training providers have to deliver. “It really is not good enough that we have a teaching profession that is not universally trained to understand the issues”, he said.
A new policy report, endorsed by all the main dyslexia organisations in England and Wales, was launched at the briefing. It details arguments for amending the Bill and provides suggestions for effective practice.

The report, Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties: Policy and Practice Review, can be downloaded by clicking here.

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