Warwickshire to review dyslexia policy after criticism

Council had been attacked in the House of Lords this week for saying dyslexia diagnosis was ‘scientifically questionable’

Warwickshire County Council is reviewing its guidance for pupils with literacy difficulties after facing criticism for questioning the science around dyslexia.

The council faced heavy criticism in the House of Lords this week for saying research in the field “lacks consensus” and “the diagnosis of dyslexia is scientifically questionable and can be misleading”.

Labour peer Lord Watson said its approach “ignores the science and refuses to recognise that dyslexia is a medical condition”, comparing it to global-warming denial.

Warwickshire said it was reviewing the guidance as part of an upcoming consultation on inclusion and support for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

“We wish to state categorically that the council does recognise dyslexia along with many other special educational needs,” the council said in a statement sent to Tes.

“We also accept, following discussion in the House of Lords on 30 October, that [the guidance] may not offer sufficient clarity about our approach. As such, we have decided to withdraw it in order to review its contents in the context of our upcoming SEND and inclusion strategy consultation.”

British Dyslexia Association chief executive Helen Boden welcomed the decision.

“This sends a clear message that organisations responsible for providing these services must be mindful that their guidance, policy decisions and practices will be subject to scrutiny and, where necessary, challenged,” she said.

“While the BDA is aware that many councils nationally are looking to cut costs, there remains a clear statutory duty to support individuals with dyslexia and other SEN.”