Dyslexia specialist shortage exposed as legacy of £10 million Government funding pledge in tatters 


  • Driver Youth Trust predicts a third of local authorities in England do not have sufficient specialist dyslexia teachers (1)
  • A freedom of information request to the Department for Education reveals they did not monitor a pledged £10 million fund to improve dyslexia teacher and do not know where the dyslexia specialists they trained now work  

Questions about a £10million pound government investment are being raised as Local Authorities across the country face a shortage of specialist teachers to support learners with dyslexia, new research by Driver Youth Trust (DYT) has revealed (1).

Coinciding with Dyslexia Awareness Week , the disparity in specialist support was revealed through DYT’s analysis of the local authority offer of every LA in England.

The news comes almost ten years since the then-education secretary Ed Balls pledged £10 million to see “at least one specialist teacher for each local group of schools”. I In the ensuing nine years, the government has only spent  just over half of the allocated money with  3000 dyslexia-specific teachers trained rather than the 4000 promised. 

A Freedom of Information request by Driver Youth Trust has revealed that the Department for Education do not collate the information of where the dyslexia specialists now resided or what work they carried out. 

This lack of information follows an announcement that Children with Special Education Needs (SEN) have dramatically different success rates across the country when learning to read. The huge variations in support were revealed in the newly released results from the Phonics Screening Check.

The analysis showed that authorities with adequate provision were able to help eight times as many children with SEND as the worst performing authorities, with just 6% of children with an EHCP in Coventry reaching the expected standard in the check compared to 47% in Hammersmith. 

Jules Daulby, Director of Education at Driver Youth Trust says “it has long been clear that children who struggle with reading and writing require specialist support, it is concerning that authorities across the country do not have an adequate supply of specialists to support children in their area”.

“Driver Youth Trust calls for SEND learners to be given the same level of priority that is afforded to those who are socio-economically disadvantaged and for an increase in the availability and effectiveness of specialist services for those with SEND”.