Delay in helping dyslexic pupils 'costs £1.8bn a year'

The Government's delay in providing specialist educational support to children with dyslexia is costing the UK £1.8bn a year, a report shows.

Too many dyslexic children fail at school because they are being denied the early diagnosis and specialist support they need, leading to expensive knock-on effects for individuals and society as a whole, according to the charity Xtraordinary People.

Calling for specialist training for one teacher in every school in England, the charity said this would require an investment of £40m or £20 per child. It also demanded that dyslexia awareness training be made mandatory for all other teachers.

The report condemned the Government's approach, saying it was "unacceptable" that it was wasting time experimenting with pilot schemes when swift action was needed to support the huge number of dyslexic children in state schools. One in five children – or two million youngsters – has dyslexia or specific learning difficulties and many are not receiving the support they need, said the charity.

"Dyslexic children can be as successful as other children, but are currently being denied the opportunity," said Kate Griggs, the founder of Xtraordinary People. "As our latest report shows, this is having a costly effect for everyone. But even more worryingly, the report also finds that by depriving children of specialist help, the UK is wasting the potential of one-fifth of its children."

The report claimed the avoidable annual costs included £64m on pupil referral units; £280m on prisons; £266m on NHS drug treatments; £16m on supporting dyslexic children who have been suspended or expelled from school; and £1.2bn arising from the educational underachievement of dyslexic pupils.