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Children: Dyslexia

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of the reading recovery initiative for dyslexic children; (201774)

(2) what provision has been made for teaching dyslexic children within his Department’s (a) Every Child a Reader, (b) Every Child a Writer and (c) Every Child Counts initiatives.

[holding answer 25 April 2008]: Evaluations of the Every Child a Reader pilot—which provides Reading Recovery for children from among those having the most difficulties in learning to read—were published in 2006 and 2007. These are available on

The evaluation of Every Child a Reader in London in 2005/06 showed that 87 per cent. of children who had received Reading Recovery were considered to have made average to exceptional progress in reading comprehension. However, these evaluations did not include looking at the efficacy of Reading Recovery for children with dyslexia.

Our commitment through the primary and secondary national strategies is to ensure Quality First teaching for all. The Every Child a Reader and Every Child Counts initiatives are focused on providing additional intervention for the 5 per cent. of children facing the most difficulties with reading and mathematics. They do not provide a specific focus on provision for children with dyslexia. Every Child a Reader is being rolled out to reach 30,000 children a year by 2010/11.

Every Child Counts is currently in a research phase and will be informed by the Williams review of the teaching of mathematics which is due to be published in June this year. The intention is that Every Child Counts will be aimed at children whose attainment in the early stages of mathematics shows they are not making expected progress for their age.

Every Child a Writer is a new programme announced at the end of last year. The intention—as stated in our Children’s Plan—is that this will offer support later in primary school than Every Child a Reader and Every Child Counts and will reach a greater number of pupils. Further announcements will be made about Every Child a Writer in due course.

The SEN Code of Practice says that “effective management, school ethos and the learning environment, curricular, pastoral and discipline arrangements can help prevent some special educational needs arising, and minimise others” (paragraph 5:18). Where whole school arrangements for teaching and learning are not addressing a child's learning difficulties, schools have a statutory duty to do their best to ensure that the necessary provision is made for any pupil who has special educational needs. It follows that if a child with dyslexia is not benefiting from participation in any or all of the three initiatives, the school must make additional or different arrangements to address the child’s special educational needs.