Help for dyslexic children

Dyslexia campaigners have welcomed a breakthrough in official recognition of the condition which afflicts up to one in 12 young people in the UK.

A government inquiry has prompted the Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, to pledge £10m to train 4,000 teachers to be specialists in dyslexia over the next two years. The specialists will take on responsibility for a cluster of schools so that every state school will have access to expertise in dealing with the condition.

The inquiry, led by Sir Jim Rose, the former Ofsted inspector, concluded: "There is a growing body of evidence on the serious short and long-term effects of dyslexia from the start of education into adolescence and beyond."

Sir Jim's report says early identification of dyslexic difficulties is essential, and the best chance of overcoming the condition is regular and systematic phonics teaching. Teachers should also seek to make use of "seeing, hearing and doing".

Mr Balls said that dyslexia often meant "many years of frustration" for pupils. "What this report does is first of all deal once and for all with the question of whether dyslexia exists. It does and it sets a challenge for us."

Judi Stewart, chief executive of the British Dyslexia Association, said: "We are absolutely delighted that Sir Jim Rose has listened to and acted upon the views of the BDA and other key dyslexia organisations.

His suggestions are a real foundation for change and progress: and will improve the education of many children with dyslexia throughout the country."

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