In 1985 three pilot centres at Evesham, Harrow and Watford ran the RSA Diploma for Teachers of Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties for the first time.  This was the result of years of endeavour by people dedicated to the cause of promoting a qualification in specialist teacher training for those working with children with specific learning difficulties – especially those in LEA schools.  Among these pioneers were Dr Margaret Newton, Violet Brand, Dr Victor Booth, Grace McQuaid and Elaine Miles and their vision was of eventually having a Diploma qualified teacher in every school. 

Early in 1987 three groups of successful candidates from these first Diploma courses all met at Evesham College to receive their Diplomas.  This was an exciting occasion, as the RSA course was the first award-bearing course which was targeted at teachers in LEA schools and which was approved by the Department of Education and Science.   However, it was not only LEA teachers who were recruited for the course: some were from independent schools, some from colleges of further education and some from specialist support teams or dyslexia centres. 

At the end of the meeting it was proposed that a professional association be set up to maintain links between professionals working in the field of specific learning difficulties and to work towards better understanding of the role and expertise of the specialist teacher. 

Patoss– the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties was chosen as the name of this association and the newly elected committee launched energetically into its programme of organising a conference, circulating a professional journal and, a little later, promoting the establishment of local groups.   Many members have joined Patoss every year since then, and have found the  Patoss   Bulletin, the annual conference and the informal links of friendship coming from their membership have been a lifeline in what can sometimes be an isolated professional role.