Funding boost for pupils with dyslexia

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Education Secretary Ed Balls today pledged to pump £10 million into extra help for children with dyslexia and literacy difficulties.

Mr Balls committed the money for specialist teaching and support for schools and parents after education expert Sir Jim Rose submitted his review of current practices for identifying and teaching children with dyslexia.

His report, which is made public today, said all teachers need information to help them to adjust their classes for students with dyslexia.

Sir Jim also recommended children who need intensive support should have access to a specialist teacher.

His report added that courses should be available to help schools to develop expertise to ensure children with literacy difficulties fulfil their potential.

"It hardly needs to be said that the ability to read well is key to success in education and an essential 'life skill'," he said today.

"Responses to overcoming dyslexia and other literacy difficulties must be robust and part of a continued drive to develop literacy in all children, especially in primary schools.

"I am very pleased that all of the recommendations of the review have been accepted.

"I hope they will help policy makers and providers to strengthen practice, and assure parents that provision for children with dyslexia will be as good as we can make it."

Mr Balls said 4,000 teachers will be funded to train in specialist dyslexia teaching over the next two years - one for every local group of schools.

"The Children's Plan contained a commitment to provide children with dyslexia the help and personalised learning they need in order to fulfil their potential.

"By acting on Sir Jim's recommendations we will equip schools and teachers with the skills and knowledge they need to deliver the best education to children with dyslexia."

Mr Balls added: "No child should be held back by a special educational need.

"I have met many parents who have struggled to get the right support for their children. I am personally very committed to improving this support and making it more easily accessible to all children and parents who need it.

"Sir Jim's recommendations mean that every child's reading needs will be monitored, those who need extra help will receive one to one support, and children with severe literacy difficulties will have the help of a specialist dyslexia teacher."

Mr Balls will meet Sir Jim during a visit to Lyndhurst School in Southwark, south London, today.

Sir Jim's final report makes 19 recommendations on assessing and advancing children's progress, improving support and guidance to schools and parents, and strengthening teaching expertise and intervention programmes.

Key recommendations are:

* The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) should fund teachers to undertake specialist training in teaching children with dyslexia, to provide substantially improved access to specialist expertise in all schools;

* The DCSF should commission online courses for teachers on selecting and using techniques for giving extra help with literacy;

* The DCFS should commission clear guidance for parents and schools on the use and availability of literacy help;

* Schools should evaluate their methods of delivering extra help with literacy and make sure they have the expertise required to deliver these;

* The Department should continue funding a helpline that provides advice to parents and people working in schools on dyslexia and literacy difficulties.

Sir Jim's report consulted children and young people with dyslexia, parents, teachers and dyslexia organisations, including No to Failure who have been trailblazing specialist dyslexia training and teaching in some schools.

A DCSF spokesman said the Government will continue to work with the Dyslexia-Specific Learning Difficulties Trust on how best to implement all of Sir Jim's recommendations.