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2009-01-14 - 15:21:00 - by AlisonW - Topic: Personal: In the news | Politics |

Labour backbencher Graham Stringer has attacked the very concept of dyslexia, claiming it is a myth designed to cover up bad teaching.

He suggests that, currently, 35,500 students are receiving disability allowances for dyslexia at an annual cost of £78.4m. "Certified dyslexics get longer in exams," he said. "There has been created a situation where there are financial and educational incentives to being bad at spelling and reading.

The story has been picked up by Janet Daley in The Telegraph who, quite rightly in my opinion, takes to task the figure given by the Chief Executive of Dyslexia Action, Shirley Cramer, that there are 6 million 'sufferers' from dyslexia – which amounts to 10% of the population! This hardly seems likely and, as Daley also points out, for those of us at primary school during the 50s and 60s it beggars belief that this high a proportion could ever be true.

It is bad, in the same way that going in to my bank to pay in three cheques and the assistant getting out her calculator to add them up – the cheques being for £40, £10 and £20 – is another comment on the atrocious state of teaching in this country.

In my view, children need to be taught how to do things and that means from first principles. Not the 'quick' way by using a calculator or spell-check to sort out their mistakes, but made to exercise their memory.

I am taking part in a televised discussion for Teacher's TV later this month – in part representing Wikimedia – and I've no doubt will make similar comments there. Know where to find the answer, sure. But know how to do it yourself too!



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