§ Mr. Dickens
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his policy on the detection and teaching of dyslexic children; what resources are devoted to the training of teachers in detecting and teaching dyslexic children; what priority he attaches to the early detection of dyslexia in children; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Dunn
The Education Act 1981 concentrates on identifying each child's individual needs and on ensuring these needs are met. It deliberately seeks to avoid categorising children. Local education authorities and school governors have the responsibility for the detection and teaching of children with special educational needs, including those with special reading difficulties. Local education authorities should provide guidance to all maintained schools in their area of the arrangements for identifying, assessing and meeting special educational needs. It is important that any child with special educational needs should be identified as early as possible.
The criteria governing all courses of initial teacher training require that students should be introduced to ways of identifying children with special educational needs, helped to appreciate what the ordinary school can and cannot do for such children and given some knowledge of the specialist help available and how it can be enlisted. The Government have provided specific grants of about £2 million annually since 1983–84 to provide in-service teacher training to help teachers in mainstream schools to cope with many kinds of special needs.