West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock is today in parliament calling for all primary school children to be screened for dyslexia
MP Matt Hancock's dyslexia campaign is back in parliament today as he pushes for universal dyslexia screening for children as well as better teaching training to prevent young people with neurodiverse conditions from falling behind.
The former health secretary, who is himself dyslexic, is introducing his Private Members Bill, the Dyslexia Screening and Teacher Training Bill, as part of his long-running campaign for all children to be screened for dyslexia at primary school.
He is also calling for better neurodiversity training for teachers so they can more effectively teach children with dyslexia, as well as other neurodiverse conditions like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and dyspraxia.
Only one in five dyslexic children get identified at school, meaning 80% of those with dyslexia leave school not knowing they have it.
West Suffolk MP Mr Hancock, who first launched his dyslexia campaign in December, said: "Astonishingly, still only one in five dyslexic children get identified at school. I know from my own personal experience that if you're diagnosed with dyslexia late, then you don't get the support that you need.
"Without their dyslexia being spotted and supported, many children will not only fail to reach their potential, but they'll fail to leave school with the qualifications they deserve."
Mr Hancock was diagnosed aged 18, and it was only then that he got the support that he needed.
He said: “I spent my school years avoiding any subjects where I would have to write essays. I was one of the lucky ones who got diagnosed. I was re-taught how to read and write, and it was transformative, but too many children are being failed by the system and leave school not having had that support - we need to make sure that happens.
“Without early identification and the teacher training to help all children learn, we are allowing dyslexic children to fall behind. We sadly know that far too often, these children can fall into the cycle of crime, with over half of prisoners estimated to have dyslexia. This is not because of a lack of intelligence or work ethic, but because of the lack of support from education.
"My diagnosis was a light-bulb moment for me. All of a sudden, years of frustration at school all made sense."
Since the launch of the campaign, Mr Hancock has been working with ministers at the Department for Education (DfE) to change government policy for dyslexia.
Following meetings with Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi and minister Will Quince, the DfE has committed for the first time to 'early identification' and 'teacher training' for neurodivergent conditions in schools.
Mr Hancock, who opened the UK's first ever Dyslexia Show in March, said: “Having met with the department, we've made some real progress and I'm delighted that the government has now committed to this agenda."
The bill is backed by cross-party support, including Education Select Committee chair Robert Halfon MP (Con), Tom Hunt MP (Con), Rupa Huq MP (Lab), Paul Bristow MP (Con), Rosie Cooper MP (Lab), Henry Smith MP (Con), Christian Wakeford MP (Lab), Holly Mumby-Croft MP (Con), Brendan Clarke-Smith MP (Con), Jim Shannon MP (DUP), Iain Duncan-Smith MP (Con) and John McDonnell MP (Lab).
Other supporters include Susie Dent, Sir Jackie Stewart, Jamie Oliver, MadeByDyslexia, the British Dyslexia Association, the Centre for Social Justice, Ability2Win and Conservative Friends of Education, amongst others.
Mr Hancock is working with ministers and campaigners to improve provisions for dyslexia and other neurodivergent conditions in the Schools White Paper and the SEND [special educational needs and disabilities] Green Paper.
The SEND Green Paper consultation closes on July 22 and Mr Hancock will be making a proposal with the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) for Dyslexia as well as encouraging campaigners to make their views heard on the future of education for neurodivergent children.
This bill comes shortly after New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that children in New York City will be screened for dyslexia, and every teacher will be trained using Made By Dyslexia's online, free teacher training course.