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Children: Reading

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what measures his Department has introduced to support pupils with dyslexia-type reading difficulties in the last five years; (195537)

(2) what measures his Department has introduced to enable parents of children with dyslexia-type reading difficulties to provide support for their child in the last five years.

All local authorities, schools, and early years settings must haves regard to the special educational needs code of practice which provides advice on carrying out statutory duties to identify, assess and make provision for pupils' special educational needs. Children with dyslexia should have their needs identified and support put in place in the same way as children with any other type of special educational need (SEN).

To help those working in schools with identifying and supporting children with dyslexia, last October we launched the Inclusion Development Programme, which will offer professional development in key areas of SEN starting with training on communication difficulties, including dyslexia. The Inclusion Development Programme materials are being developed in close consultation with dyslexia organisations.

This builds on earlier support to schools which has included: funding the British Dyslexia Association's schools resource pack ‘Achieving Dyslexia Friendly Schools’; working with the British Dyslexia Association to produce and disseminate a poster to primary schools on identifying children with dyslexia; and funding the National Strategies production of a DVD ‘Learning and teaching for dyslexic children’.

To identify and disseminate best practice in improving outcomes for children with dyslexia, we are working with a number of dyslexia organisations on the “No to Failure” project. This is supporting schools in three local authority areas to be “trailblazers”, where children are being screened for dyslexia and specialist tuition is provided to those identified with dyslexia. The impact on outcomes is being evaluated. The project is also raising awareness of dyslexia as a learning difficulty. We are providing up to £900,000 funding over three years.

As set out in the Children's Plan (cm 7280), we will develop a pilot which will evaluate the impact of additional intensive reading tuition for children identified as needing this through the ‘Every Child a Reader’ programme. If specialist provision demonstrates significant impact, we will look at how assessment and specialist dyslexia support could be rolled out nationwide as best practice.

Through the Education Act 1996, local authorities are required to arrange for the parent of any child with SEN in their area to be provided with advice and information about matters relating to those needs. We are providing £64,000 this financial year, and £86,000 next financial year to enable the British Dyslexia Association to enhance their helpline's provision of information and advice for teachers and parents on best practice in identifying and supporting children with dyslexia.