All we want is a fair education for all

When you work in any job for a while you start recognising patterns in the work you do. You can identify certain people who have a certain query and it will almost certainly be similar to another that you’ve had before. When I worked in the British Dyslexia Association’s helpline my experience there was no different. I would frequently get calls that ran a very familiar pattern. It would be from someone who was older than me, the age varied from anywhere around thirty to people in their seventies, usually they were in employment. The person would tell me about trouble that they were having in their work caused by their dyslexia and asking for help. The conversation would always come back to the same thing “Oh no, people didn’t know about dyslexia when I was in school”.

School group









The thing that made me sad about these helpline calls was that it isn’t just people in their thirties and over who went to schools where their teachers knew nothing about dyslexia. One of the other types of call I would get would be from parents who have kids in schools now. These parents would  tell me as well that their child’s teachers knew nothing about dyslexia.

It seems that little has changed. There is more awareness now of dyslexia in schools but, and this may surprise you to read, there is still no mandatory training about dyslexia for people training to be teachers.

Yes, you can still become a teacher without having learnt about dyslexia at all, and even if you do it might be just one afternoon on all disabilities. Dyslexia is estimated to affect around 10% of the population, and that doesn’t count the related conditions of ADHD, Asperger’s, Autism, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and so on. And yet teachers can get into a school knowing nothing about these conditions or how to teach these children.

Initial Teacher Training petition screenshot










At the British Dyslexia Association we think that this is unacceptable and it has been a goal of the British Dyslexia Association to make education about dyslexia a mandatory part of Initial Teacher Training since the BDA began. Now we finally have the chance to put this in place. We have started a government run petition asking the government to change Initial Teacher Training to include this teaching. The government agreement is that if petitions on their website reach 100,000 signatures then they will debate the issue in the House of Commons.

100,000 is a tall order but we believe that it is an achievable one. As such we urge you to sign our petition and to publicise it as much as possible to whomever you think may be interested. There are features on the website to tweet about the petition on Twitter, to put it on your Facebook and LinkedIn page. You can also write to your local newspaper about the petition, talk to your MP, tweet to your favourite celebrities about it. The more people that see the petition and sign it the closer we get to changing things.

Hopefully then in a few years we’ll start getting a new type of call to our helpline, calls that say “Oh yes, they knew about dyslexia when I was at school.”

To sign and share the petition please click on the following link:

Liz Woodley
Moodle and Training Administrator