1. Introduction to the Framework

The Professional Development Framework is a free web-based tool accessible to all. It is a self-assessment tool that provides the user with a full personalised report based on a ‘gap-analysis’ of their confidence in key areas related to dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties [SpLD]. This report defines the levels of additional knowledge, skills and professional attributes that are required to fulfil relevant job roles in the school and educational workforce to support literacy acquisition and dyslexic-SpLD learners effectively. It offers suggestions for next steps in CPD, including key reference texts and research literature; work-place activities; teaching resources; web-based resources and other professional development materials.

The framework is divided into six strands:

  • Development of language and literacy
  • Theories of dyslexia-SpLD
  • Identifying and assessing dyslexia-SpLD
  • Supporting and teaching learners with dyslexia-SpLD
  • Communicating and working with others
  • Professional development and dyslexia-SpLD
Each strand is further divided into the following Stages and corresponding roles:


Type of Support

            Professional Roles

Stage 1


  • All staff teaching and supporting learners in all levels of educational setting

Stage 2


  • Practitioners confident with planning, preparing and teaching with a range of targeted specialist and differentiated resources.
  • Practitioners in specialist settings

Stage 3


Targeted Strategic


  • Higher Level Teaching/Special Assistant in all settings
  • SEN Teacher
  • SENCo
  • Teacher in main stream seeking to specialise in dyslexia/SpLD
  • CPD leader for teaching schools

Stage 4





  • Dyslexia/SpLD Specialist Teacher
  • Dyslexia/SpLD Advisory Teacher
  • Specialist Teacher Assessor

Stage 5*


Specialist Complex

  • Specialist Teacher Assessor
  • Dyslexia/SpLD Advisor
  • Dyslexia/SpLD Trainer



The framework maps onto relevant professional development frameworks, thus enabling it to inform senior management teams within schools on competencies and qualifications required by existing staff and for recruitment purposes. The ultimate goal is for the framework to provide a starting point for strategic decision-making which will have a positive impact across schools and other learning environments improving the outcomes for dyslexic–SpLD learners.

The framework is designed for:

  • Head Teachers, College and School Leaders
  • SENCOs
  • Literacy and SEN Specialists
  • CPD leaders
  • Class teachers and TAs
  • School Governors
  • Course providers
  • LA advisers
  • Policy makers

The Framework is evidence-based, created by experts and stakeholders in the Dyslexia-SpLD field.  The work was funded by the DfE as a response to the Rose Review “Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties” June 2009.  It has been carried out by the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust under co-direction of PATOSS and Dyslexia Action and in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders across the profession.

The purpose of the Framework is to:

  • raise knowledge and expertise of staff
  • support institutional improvement and strategic plans
  • Help schools to meet OFSTED requirements
  • provide information and resources for focused, cost and time effective CPD across the workforce resulting in the capacity to improve learning experiences and outcomes for the Dyslexic-SpLD learners and their parents.

[*] Teachers working at this level would be expected to be qualified to undertake full cognitive diagnostic assessments for dyslexia-SpLD.

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