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What are the facts?

  • With one in 10[i] of the population estimated to have dyslexia, more than 6.3 million[ii]  in the UK potentially have dyslexia.
  • 1 in 5[iii] children leave primary school with below the national expected levels in all of reading, writing and mathematics levels (formerly below national Level 4)
  • 1 in 10 children [iii]  do not reach the expected national Level 4 in reading by the time they finish primary school (National Curriculum KS2)
  • 1 in 6[v] adults still only have the reading skills of an 11-year-old
  • Pupils with special educational needs (SEN) (with and without statements) account for 7 in 10[vi] of all permanent exclusions.
  • Pupils with SEN without statements are around ten times[vii] more likely to receive a permanent exclusion than pupils with no SEN; compared to pupils with a statement of SEN who are around six times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion.
  • At secondary level, over a third of young people did not achieve the expected level of an A+ to C in English in 2014[viii].
  • There are approximately 955,000[ix] young people (aged from 16 to 24) in the UK (August, 2014) Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).


Teaching children with SEN - the facts

  • In relation to teaching those children who struggle with literacy: 60% of teachers surveyed[x] did not feel satisfied that their initial teacher training provided them with the skills they need to teach those who struggle to learn to read and write.
  • In relation to teaching children with dyslexia: 74%[xi] of teachers did not feel satisfied that their initial teacher training provided them with the skills they need to identify and teach children with dyslexia.


What parents think

  • In an independent YouGov survey, commissioned by Dyslexia Action (2012[xii]), almost two-thirds of parents felt dyslexia was not recognised across the system.
  • 92% of respondents said all schools should have access to a specialist in dyslexia.
  • 9 out of 10 parents of dyslexic children said all teachers should have a basic level of training in dyslexia.


Cost of illiteracy

  • Research[xiii] by KPMG finds that each illiterate pupil, by the age of 37, has cost the taxpayer an additional £44,797 - £ 53,098 when you add up extra costs relating to the education system, unemployment support and the criminal justice system.


Getting the right help and support 

Many people who are dyslexic have had good support and encouragement and have not been held back at school or work.  If things are progressing well there is no need to seek help.  

If there are concerns about progress, or frustrations about difficulties or mistakes that are made in every-day life, then do seek advice. With the right help and support, strategies to overcome difficulties associated with dyslexia can be learnt and dyslexia need not be a barrier to achievement. Find out how Dyslexia Action can help and about the other support available.


[i] Pennington B F, (1990) The Genetics of Dyslexia, The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry [Online] Volume 31, Issue 2, pages 193–201. Accessed from:

[ii]   Census (2011)

Office for National Statistics  (ONS), 2012; Mid-year Population Estimates for England and Wales, 2012; Accessed from:

Office for National Statistics  (ONS), 2012; Mid-year Population Estimates for England and Wales, 2012; Accessed from:

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, Department of Finance and Personnel (2012); Census 2011, Population and Household Estimates for Northern Ireland, published July 2012;

Accessed from:

[iii] National curriculum assessments at key stage 2 in England, 2014 (Provisional)

[vi] &  viiDfE Statistical First Release: Permanent and Fixed Period Exclusions in England: 2012 to 2013 (published 2014)

[viii] Social Mobility & Child Poverty Commission; State of the Nation 2014: Social Mobility and Child Poverty in Great Britain.

[xii] Dyslexia Still Matters; Dyslexia in our schools today: Progress, challenges and solutions (2012)

Alex’s Story

Alexandria achieved higher levels in her SATs tests thanks to one-to-one tutoring with Dyslexia Action. Alex, 11, from Coalpit Heath, is not severely dyslexic but her mum realised something was wrong when she noticed a difference in her reading ability, compared to her older siblings when they were her age.

Read real life stories and learn how people cope with the difficulties they face as a result of their dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty. Learn about what it is and how it’s recognised in the law.