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Wednesday, October 27, 1999 Published at 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK


Early detection vital for dyslexia

Schools should make early assessments for dyslexia, say inspectors

Dyslexia needs to be identified by schools at an earlier stage, say inspectors.

In a report from the Office for Standards in Education, schools are applauded for making progress on helping children with special needs - but earlier intervention is necessary for dyslexia.

The annual report on special needs education in England says that pupils who are identified as dyslexics early in their primary schools "tend to make better progress" when they reach secondary school.

[ image: Inspectors have commended the level of special needs teaching - with 94% satisfactory or above]
Inspectors have commended the level of special needs teaching - with 94% satisfactory or above
Dyslexic pupils in primary school who receive additional support early in their school careers are "less likely to experience emotional problems", says the inspectors' report.

The report says that in some schools and local authorities pupils have faced delays in being formally assessed for dyslexia - which "wastes pupils' time and lowers their confidence".

The conclusions echo a survey by the British Dyslexia Association earlier this year that found concern among many parents of dyslexics over the failure of schools to identify their children's problems early enough.

But the report highlights overall improvements in teaching for special needs, with 94% of primary and 90% of secondary lessons evaluated as "satisfactory" or above.

Inspectors say that "the quality of teaching and support is often good or very good and, occasionally excellent".

Dyslexic pupils are making progress in spelling, but "seldom to the same extent as in reading", says the report. "Spelling and writing continues to pose problems for many dyslexic pupils after their transfer to secondary school."

Inspectors drew their conclusions after visits to 34 primary and 20 secondary schools in 10 local education authorities in England.

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