There is a substantial evidence base which demonstrates the profound impact of literacy difficulties to children and young people, our society and economy. Our own research has shown that systemic barriers persist in the education of these children and young people, principally due to a knowledge and skills deficit in the teaching force.

The Fish in the Tree Report is evidence of how Initial Teacher Training has failed to address this deficit with 69% of teachers surveyed, responding that they had spent less than a day training on dyslexia. The legacy of this lack in capability was highlighted in our Joining the Dots Report which reported that just 19% of pupils with a Specific Learning Difficulty, such as dyslexia, achieved a Level 4 or above in literacy by the end of primary school.

The UK Department of Education’s white paper, ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere’, explains the government’s plans to deliver ‘educational excellence everywhere’, in order for all children and young people to have access to world class provision, to ensure they can achieve to the best of their ability regardless of location, prior attainment and background.

In our latest policy brief we highlight what we think are the most important aspects of the white paper for the mainstream education of children and young people with SEND and who struggle with literacy, drawing on reflections from our own research and practice and from the plans, policies and legislation set out by government since 2010.