I often get asked the question, “What qualification do you need to be a dyslexia tutor?” or ‘What qualifications do I need to work with children with Dyslexia?” The answers to these questions can vary as it depends in what setting the teacher/ tutor is working in and how they are employed.
To explore this further let us consider the role of the Teaching Assistant. Within schools, Teaching Assistants support the class teacher and often support small groups of children with SEN. At this level, a TA would benefit from taking a Level 3 course,such as “Supporting the Dyslexic Child at School and Home” to help them understand the needs of the Dyslexic child and how to support them in literacy and numeracy. If they support groups of children with more diverse needs and other Specific Learning Difficulties they may benefit from a course which goes into less depth about Dyslexia but gives an overview of other Specific Learning Difficulties such as our ‘Supporting Students who are Neuro Diverse.’
A parent wanting to support their child at home or undertaking voluntary work in a school could benefit from the Level 3 course but may prefer a slightly shorter course just focusing on Literacy only such as, "Supporting Dyslexic Learners' Literacy Skills.
Let us now think about the busy class teacher who has three dyslexic children, one child with ADHD and another with ASD in her class. She has received little training in her Initial Teacher Training Course and sometimes feels ill-equipped to support these children. She is however happy in her career and hopes to get a promotion to a SMT position soon. A Level 3 Dyslexia or Level 4 Dyslexia Course would be ideal for her as both will give her the tools to spot pupils with dyslexic tendencies in her class and to support them by using multi-sensory teaching methods and reasonable adjustments. The methods and knowledge she gains will help her progress in her career.
Let us considerabout another teacher now who wants to make a move into Special Needs and work in the SEN department as a SENCO. She would benefit from a Level 4 or 5 course. The level 4 will give her plenty of skills but won't be as demanding on her time or finances as the Level 5. However, the L5 will provide her with the title of ‘Dyslexia Specialist Tutor', and she will be abl e to gain recognition form the BDA or PATOSS for her level of achievement (ATS or similar). A level 5 Course is needed for anyone wanting to work privately as a Dyslexia Specialist Tutor or to work in a role designated for a Dyslexia Specialist.
Finally, we have Dyslexia Specialist who are qualified to MA level (Level 7). These individuals have done further training post level 5 in Psychometric Testing and assessment and are formally qualifies to assess for Dyslexia. Many hold AMBDA status and a Practising Certificate which shows their commitment to ongoing CPD. Many SENCOs find this a useful qualification, and at secondary level it allows them to assess for access arrangements.
So, to return to the original question it can be seen that the level of training required will vary depending on the requirements of the individual engaging in study, but to be formally recognised as a Dyslexia Specialist Tutor you must have a Level 5 Qualification in Dyslexia.
As a parent looking for a 1:1 Dyslexia Tutor you should ask if the Tutor has a level 5 qualification and for assessment a L7 qualification. Furthermore, a L7 Assessor should also hold an APC ( Assessment Practising Certificate) which sjows commitmnet to ongoing CPD ( professional development) and means the report he/she writes will be able to be used for the Disabled Student's Allowance ( DSA).