Patoss participates with a wide range of stakeholders.

Patoss is well regarded by Government departments and other agencies enabling us to become involved in the latest consultations on matters affecting individuals with SpLD. We report these to you via new updates and our regular newsletter so that you can keep abreast of potential changes.

Announcing new guidance to support implementing the SEND reforms.


This useful guidance is relevant to all those working with the SEN reforms has a specific reference to children and young people with literacy difficulties, specific learning difficulties and dyslexia.

The guidance will help Schools and Local Authorities to:

  • Deliver a comprehensive Local Offer to those children and young people with literacy difficulties, specific learning difficulties and dyslexia
  • Review existing resources and materials which can support their graduated response
  • Signpost to existing resources and training materials to enrich professionals’ understanding and develop their skills in universal and targeted provision
  • Select good practice to support all pupils experiencing literacy difficulties in schools and colleges.

Included and available to download are: A comprehensive online guide including case studies and examples of good practice; a series of individual support resources by a range of providers; and links to training materials which local authorities and schools can use to support their practice.


To find out more information, please go to the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust website Resources for LAs and Schools to access the guide. 

Or for more information contact: Tel: 01344 381 564; Email:

Patoss is a founding member and strong supporter of the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust.

Update on discussions with BIS re DSA reforms

Patoss along with other colleagues from SpLD and student support organisations met with BIS on 8 May to explore the government department's position and help to inform decision makers.

Below is an informal note of that meeting:

BIS’ Overall Position

BIS are pleased to be working with stakeholders from the Special Education Needs and Disability sector to progress the work on modernising the current system of DSA to students in HE and ensure its sustainability and cost-effectiveness. It values feedback and advice from its stakeholders, which will be used to inform the guidance it is drafting.  BIS remains committed to ensuring appropriate and effective support is available for disabled students while they are studying in HEIs. 

We are holding a series of workshops with a variety of stakeholders, including from the following areas: Governance; HE student advocate groups, Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) practitioners, HE DSA delivery agents.

Overall Outcome of the Meeting/Workshop on 8th May

The meeting was considered to be positive, and some stakeholders viewed the announcement as an opportunity to make changes.  The main issue for the stakeholders was the short timescale.  It was agreed that the group would be contacted next month to discuss matters further and once BIS had had the opportunity to discuss matters further with other groups and challenge thinking. 

The meeting covered:

  1. Overview of timescale and process.
  2. What SpLD is, measurement and impact.
  3. Abuses in the current process and a lack of a ‘gatekeeper’ role. 
  4. How SpLD diagnosis/assessment and support works in schools.
  5. What are reasonable adjustments?  This was covered in some detail, and the group looked at various examples of where HEIs might do more to support students.  We also examined areas where this might be more difficult to achieve.  The SPACE project and also ADSHE paper on reasonable adjustments can provide useful information.
  6. How support should be designed to achieve independent, autonomous learning.  
  7. The nature of the support provided and by whom.


1.         BIS agreed to provide an example of an Equality Impact Analysis.  Stakeholders were invited to provide relevant evidence for the DSA Equality Analysis being drafted within BIS. 

2.         SPACE project and ADSHE paper links to be sent to BIS.

Further Details

Stakeholders provided information relating to the impact of SpLDs on learning, and that the impact was related more to the environment and circumstances within which students were learning, rather than how they ‘scored’ in their diagnostic assessment.  This is important when considering how to support these students. 

The meeting looked at a number of examples of good practice and also areas where HEIs could do more to support the student. 

This included:

  1. Looking at how institutions respond to short term support requirements and a consideration of implications if that support was to be rolled out further as part of reasonable adjustment.
  2. Considering what information is provided to disabled students and considering how this might be adopted as standard practice
  3. Discussions on dedicated AT expertise and networked assistive software and how the Scottish universities operate in this area.  Discussion on accessible lecture materials as a matter of course.
  4. An exploration of different areas where HEIs responses vary at the moment and a look at what reasonable adjustment means when considering good practice. 
  5. Considering what a more inclusive teaching environment may mean in terms of personal support.
  6. Discussion on 1:1 support, including the wide variations in what is provided, how this is used, good and bad practice, what HEIs may reasonably anticipate.
  7. Looking at ADSHE guidance on reasonable adjustments and considering how suggestions might be achieved.
  8. Role of Disability advisers, SFE, gatekeepers, the Needs Assessor.
  9. What Non-Medical Help services may be considered reasonable adjustments.

Agenda and Attendees:

Changes to Disabled Students' Allowances

Meeting held Thursday 8th May 2014, 13:00 to 16:00

Meeting agenda

1.         Welcome and introductions

2.         Background and scope

3.         The Equality Analysis (AKA Equality Impact Assessment) and research

4.         Range and types of Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs)

5.         What can HEIs do to support SpLDs with regard to anticipatory adjustments and individual arrangements?

6.         What role should DSAs play?

7.         Outstanding issues

9.         Next steps

10.       AOB



Sally Freeman (ADSHE); Emily Chevalier (ADSHE); Mel Byrne (Dyslexia SpLD Trust); Cathy Salisbury (ASASA); Lynn Greenwold (PATOSS); Sue Flohr (BDA); Abi James (BDA); Jacky Ridsdale (Dyslexia Action); Jola Edwards (BIS); Elaine Underwood (BIS); Paul Higgs (BIS)

Changes to DSA funding raise concerns

In April David Willetts announced major cuts to allocations for Disabled Students Allowances and how DSAs will be applied.

We have great concerns that students with dyslexia, dyspraxia and other Specific Learning Difficulties, who were singled out in this announcement, may lose out particularly as their needs appear to be misunderstood. 

To state "Students with Specific Learning Difficulties will continue to receive support through DSAs where their support needs are considered to be more complex" implies support for those with ‘less complex’ needs are no longer to be funded by DSA. This shows a clear misunderstanding of specific learning difficulties. The issue is if the SpLD impacts the individual sufficiently to comprise a disability, then appropriate recommendations and support must be made available to address it. It is not a matter of refining complexity. The detailed specialist diagnostic assessment and subsequent needs assessment complement each other in this respect, carefully identifying the disability in order to determine support.

We have been working as members of the Disabled Students Stakeholder Group with BIS and Student Finance England on improving the DSA support since 2010. The breadth and depth of these changes, the lack of clarity in how they will be applied and misplaced implications in this policy are regressive and not what we could endorse.

There is much work that needs to be done on how the new policy will be implemented and to assure that disabled students in HE get the support they need to succeed in their studies. We are committed to continuing our work using these groups as well as our own networks to further develop and provide guidance for disabled students and those who are working to support them to assure their needs are met.  

“The size and scale of these cuts is unprecedented and represents a retrogressive step in equality for disabled people.  Our sector has been working hard with BIS to ensure quality support is targeted, cost effective and provides value for money. We are extremely disappointed that this has been swept aside. We want that work to continue.”  Paddy Turner, NADP



Ministerial Statement on DSAs 7 April 2014  

Student Finance England Student Support Information Note SSIN 1/15 April 2014 

'Calls to protect support for Disabled Students' NADP Press release 12 April 2014

ADSHE statement 

Patoss replies to Children and Families Bill

Patoss welcomed the opportunity to reply to the draft legislation on Reform of provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs.

For our full response click here.

Update on the Literacy and Dyslexia-SpLD Framework

'The Literacy and Dyslexia-SpLD Professional Development Framework has now undergone 'Phase 2' and includes the following new features:

 * You can download your personalised results from each strand, including your top ten recommended resources

 * There is a 'Schools Page', with a step-by-step guide for the busy teacher

 * An 'introductory video' including voice-over and screenshots to show you exactly how to do a self-assessment (also available on Youtube)

* Information on how to create an INSET from the framework, including two example Powerpoints. One covers 'Theories of Dyslexia'; the other covers 'The Phonics Screening Check'.

 * There is a voiced-over Powerpoint presentation that explains the Framework and discusses some possible ways of using it.

 * There is a new 'Add to Favourites' feature to bookmark the resources you like best.

 * There is also a 'Send to' feature for you to share your favourite resources.

 * We have added some cutting-edge professional development materials, including videos of Models of Good Practice, from the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust, which shows schools showcasing techniques and strategies to support literacy learning. We also have the new TDA materials which contain interactive modules on a range of topics including School Leadership, Assessing Reading and Assessing Writing. These are all free!

There is also still more to come, including teacher toolkits; case-studies from teaching schools who have used the Framework to tailor-make courses for their cluster schools and updates of courses from nationally recognised training providers. We will let you know as soon as they 'go live'. There is no charge to the user for any aspect of the Framework.

The Framework can be accessed on:

The Dyslexia-SpLD Trust

Patoss is a founding member of the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust and strong supporter of the Trust.

The Literacy and Dyslexia/SpLD Professional Development Framework is a key resource developed by the Trust as an easy to use online tool that encompasses the levels of knowledge and skills required across the education workforce to support all learners with dyslexia/SpLD. Patoss has co-led on its development and dissemination. Literacy and Dyslexia/SpLD Professional Development Framework

The Trust signposts to other key resources for schools and parents developed through the Trust or provided by member organisations. The Trust has produced a 32 page brochure entitled 'Trust Offer to Schools and Pathfinders' available to view or download below. The document includes information on all the Trust's freely available resources - a professional development framework, an on-line searchable database of effective interventions, a suite of case studies and models of good practice and a support network to empower parents and carers.

The Trust was established to bring together and provide a combined voice amongst the organisations working to improve outcomes for individuals with dyslexia and specific learning difficulties. It provides reliable, unbiased information to parents, teachers, schools, local and national government and acts as an important communication channel between government and the community and voluntary sector.

The Trust does not seek to replicate or replace services and roles that are fulfilled by the partners, but rather to support partners and others to:

  • ·         enable those services and roles to be delivered to common standards that reflect the evidence of best practice
  • ·         enable the provision of clear and consistent information to support parents, young people, teachers, schools, training agencies, local and national government and others concerned with the education and well-being of individuals with dyslexia or specific learning difficulties
  • ·         work with government and its Strategic Partners to promote and develop the capacity of VCS organisations.

Member organisations include: Patoss, the British Dyslexia Association, The Driver Youth Trust, Dyslexia Action, Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, Springboard for Children and Xtraordinary People.


SASC [SpLD Assessment Standards Committee]

This steering committee is a standard-setting group concerned with the diagnostic assessment of specific learning difficulties in an educational setting. SASC serves to

  • provide guidance on training, implementation of standards
  • oversee and approve processes of awarding SpLD Assessment Practising Certificates.


and through its sub-committee, the SpLD Test Evaluation Committee [STEC]

  • evaluate test tools
  • review the approved/recommended tests of the SpLD Working Group 2005/DfES
  • provide a forum for sharing good practice from a range of interested bodies.

Parliamentary Debate on Dyslexia in Education

Patoss contributes to debate on Educational Support for Dyslexia.

An important Parliamentary Debate was held on Educational Support for Dyslexia on 14 December 2011. Patoss contributed to informing the debate through its briefing document Informing the Debate: Educational support for dyslexia .

The debate can be viewed here Educational Support for Dyslexia