The dyslexia racket and the alternative

    John Bald on the “Special Educational Needs” industry that thrives on failure

    Shortly after I started teaching in a secondary school, in the early seventies, I had a conversation with an eleven year old who had “bunked off” my English class, and who, I discovered, could not read. No-one had told me about this when I took over the class – a colleague asked me if I didn’t believe in “self-fulfilling prophecies” – and the deputy head told me with equanimity that “lots of boys in the first year can’t read”.

    There is plenty of source material for this, but a principle should be that everything a child does not understand should be unpacked, and explained so that they do understand it. This means that teachers need to know the spelling system inside out, both in its regular and irregular features – very few do, as the irregular features are rarely explained in training. Psychologists should no longer be allowed to write reports without making an impact on the problem. At the moment, they are basing reports on tests that any teaching assistant could administer, and most make no contribution to solving the problem…

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