Relating the Framework to roles

Stages and how they relate to roles associated with teaching and supporting of learners with dyslexia/SpLD

The Dyslexia/SpLD Professional Development Framework has five stages which relate to various professional roles found in a variety of settings and the increasing levels of specialist knowledge and skills required of those roles as their careers progress. Each stage builds on the knowledge and skills of the previous stage. These reflect the type of support learners may require

  • Universal – that will be required from all teachers in all schools;
  • Targeted – that some learners will need and some teachers will need to provide and
  • Specialist & Complex– that some learners will need and where provision may be provided by resources outside the school or shared amongst schools.  


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

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

Development to the next stage:  briefly describes the knowledge, skills and understanding required for progression to the next stage.

Stage 1 [Universal]

Practitioners at Stage 1 are likely to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or equivalent knowledge and experience. At this level, most will be working in an educational setting, or have recent experience of working in such a setting. Most teaching assistants (TAs) will have a Level 3 qualification relevant to their role, or the equivalent knowledge and experience. Practitioners at this stage are likely to have accessed the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) and/or the Teacher Development Agency (TDA) Toolkit for SEN to support and inform their practice.

Transition from Stage 1 [Universal] to Stage 2 [Targeted]

From a knowledge perspective the transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2 requires a professional to have a more developed understanding of language and literacy development and of theories relating to dyslexia. From a competency perspective, the professional is then expected to use this knowledge to be able to identify and assess learners with dyslexia/SpLD with greater independence and prepare challenging but appropriate targets. A professional should be confident with planning, preparing and teaching with a range of specialist and differentiated resources as appropriate to meet the specific needs of a learner. A professional at Stage 2 is expected to be able to contribute confidently and with expertise to multi disciplinary teams and institutional initiatives that support learners with dyslexia/SpLD.

Transition from Stage 2 [Targeted] to Stage 3 [Targeted Strategic]

From a knowledge perspective the transition from Stage 2 to Stage 3 is not considerable. The main developments take place in the  competency and attributes strands [C,D,E and F], particularly with respect to managing and supporting other professionals to support learners with dyslexia/SpLD. However, a professional at Stage 3 is expected to have a greater understanding of the relationship between language, literacy and learning, the relationship between phonological awareness and phonological processing and the structure of language. Within a setting they should be able to advise on strategies and appropriate teaching materials and monitor the progress of all learners with dyslexia/SpLD. A professional would be expected to lead multi-disciplinary teams, contribute to institutional improvement initiatives which support learners with dyslexia/SpLD and evaluate the impact of relevant CPD in the setting.

Transition from Stage 3 [Targeted Strategic] to Stage 4 [Specialist]

From a knowledge perspective the progression from Stage 3 to Stage 4 is a very important element of the transition, as Stage 4 requires an expert knowledge and understanding of the development of the language system and the interrelationship between language, literacy and learning development. This is combined with a deep knowledge of dyslexia and other SpLDs and how they can affect language, learning and literacy development. The professional at this level will have to possess a more informed knowledge of assessment, in order to conduct tests of attainment for learners who may have dyslexia/SpLD and subsequently devise and implement teaching and support plans for other professionals to follow. From a competency perspective, the professional at this level may be in an advisory role (perhaps combined with a management role) and will therefore need to keep abreast of recent developments and evidence based practice in the field in order to advise on the teaching and support of learners with dyslexia/SpLD and on valuable CPD practice. The high profile nature of the role will require that the professional is able to demonstrate personally as well as advise on leading and working in diverse teams, developing effective relationships with learners, parents/carers and a range of professionals.

Transition from Stage 4 [Specialist] to Stage 5 [Specialist Complex]

From a knowledge perspective the progression from Stage 4 to Stage 5 focuses on understanding the complex relationship between dyslexia and other difficulties such as Specific Language Impairment and dyscalculia and the causal, cognitive theories which differentiate various SpLDs. A key element of the progression from Stage 4 is at the competency level and in particular the ability to employ a range of psychometric assessment tools in order to carry out diagnostic assessments for dyslexia-SpLD and make recommendations for the teaching and support of learners with dyslexia/SpLD. These skills may also be required to fulfil requirements for assessment for special arrangements for public examinations that apply in your setting and for any other benefits to which dyslexic/SpLD learners may be entitled. The professional will need to be able to lead and advise on improving outcomes for learners with dyslexia/SpLD, mentor, coach and train others and contribute to developing policies and practice across settings.

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