Following a successful first reading, Matt Hancock’s bill to require screening for dyslexia in primary schools is due for its second reading next week.
The bill seeks to ensure that young children have their dyslexia picked up earlier, and can begin to get the proper support they need early in their education. As it stands, an estimated four in five school children leave school with their dyslexia unidentified, meaning that they enter university and the workplace without receiving the support they need.
Speaking to Chamber UK, Matt Hancock said:
“Thank you to everyone supporting my dyslexia campaign. We need better screening, teacher training and support for dyslexia in schools so every child can fulfil their potential.”
As was noted by the former Health and Social Care Secretary in the Bill late last year:
“Dyslexic people think different. Yes, we have problems with the written word and word formation, but dyslexia is associated with positive skills, too: creativity, visualisation, imagination and lateral thinking. Those are the skills that dyslexics tend to have in abundance and that the future of work values more and more.”
The Bill seeks to address a very important problem, namely, the large gap in outcomes between the dyslexics who are identified and subsequently receive the support that they need, and those who slip through the cracks. While it is estimated that 10% of people are dyslexic, dyslexia is significantly overrepresented in certain segments of society, based on the support they receive. 40% of successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic, while it is also estimated that over half the prison population is dyslexic. It is clear then that dyslexic people, when given the proper support to reach their full potential face a very different set of experiences than those who go undiagnosed.
It is this disparity and injustice that the bill seeks to address, to try and weaken the links between dyslexia and unemployment, drug usage, school exclusions and homelessness. Indeed, it is certainly in the interests of the UK to do so. Narrowing this gap has the potential to create more successful entrepreneurs across the UK and benefit the future UK workforce immensely.