Dyslexia in Higher Education

A national and local profile

HESA figures for 2005/6 reveal 23, 635 dyslexic students domiciled in the UK in the sector.  This represents 2.6% of the total HE population.  The figures at the University of Leicester are 1.4% based on HESA statistics and data from the Registry at the current time.  Within the general population about 10% of people are thought to be dyslexic.  In HE the figure is likely to be around 4%.  Many people and students are not in a statistical count because they have not disclosed or because they have not been assessed.


A wide range of students with specific learning difficulties access study advice in the AccessAbility Centre.  This support is largely offered on a face to face basis, but distance learning students or students who live some way from the University have been supported as far as possible via telephone or email contact.     The Centre is also accessed by International students and a number of post graduate students.


In the academic year 2006/07, the Study Advisers provided 644 hours of study support to 262 students with specific learning difficulties.  Some students see the Study Advisers on a weekly basis, while others may only seek appointments once or twice a year.  The nature of the support includes:

·        Initial screening for dyslexia;

·        Feedback on Educational Psychologist assessments;

·        General study skills support (note-taking skills or revision skills for example)

·        Specialist support (such as work on spelling or phonics)

·        Writing skills in relation to course assignments.

Support for home students is funded by the Disabled Students' Allowance; there is no direct source of funding for the support of International Students.


Of the 262 students who were seen by Study Advisers during 2006/07, 132 requested initial screening for dyslexia.  After screening, 122 students were thought to be at risk of dyslexia, and therefore referred to a specialist assessor or educational psychologist for a full assessment. Only 9 of these students were assessed as NOT having any specific learning difficulty.  Therefore, a large proportion of students who presented for initial screening were assessed as having a specific learning difficulty whilst on course.  The screening therefore forms quite a large part of the Study Adviser role.


The Study Advisers also meet with prospective students with dyslexia to offer pre-entry advice, and on occasion support students from other Universities who live in or near Leicester. 

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