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Level 7 Postgraduate Certificate: Specialist Teaching for Literacy-Related Difficulties


Course Overview

Qualification: Postgraduate Certificate: Specialist Teaching for Literacy-Related Difficulties (60 credits)

Start Dates: April and October

Duration: 12 months

Course type: Postgraduate – Level 7

Method: Online distance learning

Outcome: Specialist SpLD teacher/practitioner

Fees: £3,950 + VAT (payable in two instalments)


Why take this Certificate?

Delegates completing this Certificate will gain the skills and knowledge to:

  • Examine research on literacy acquisition and related difficulties; explore a range of factors that influence typical and atypical communication, language and literacy skills and review the construct of intelligence and how it is applied in learning environments 
  • Develop the complex and extensive skill-set needed to be an effective specialist literacy teacher and in order to facilitate literacy understanding in learners; conduct a placement process and deliver a series of structured multisensory learning sessions with a learner

The Certificate is split into two modules:

  • DAPP21-01: Literacy Acquisition – Underpinning Theory – 30 credits, six months, one semester
  • DAPP21-02: Specialist Literacy Teaching – Linking Theory to Practice – 30 credits, six months, one semester

Are you eligible?

The Dyslexia Action Professional Certificate and Diploma Programmes in Dyslexia and Literacy are appropriate for a wide range of professional teachers and specialists who have a relevant classroom or student learning support experience including:

  • Qualified teachers at all key stages, special educational needs teachers and co-ordinators (SENCOs)
  • Tutors and support staff in Further and Higher Education and other adult educational settings
  • Psychologists and Speech and language therapists with relevant experience


Prospective students will have:

  • Be employed (or very recently, within the last two years) in a school or college in a teaching/teaching support role working with learners with literacy difficulties/dyslexia/SpLD in the UK or overseas
  • An honours degree or equivalent
    e.g., Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Education honours degree plus Qualified Teacher Status (QTS or QTLS) and a minimum of 2 years post qualifying teaching experience
  • Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Education honours degree and a minimum of 2 years post qualifying experience, e.g., further or higher education support, employment support, independent school teaching or psychology or occupational/ speech and language therapy.
  • Candidates will need a high level of competence in the use of English, equivalent to at least IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 in all components) for applicants with English as a Second Language. For further information see the IELTS website org.
    See University Regulations for Postgraduate (masters) programmes.

Please note: We reserve the right to reject any application that does not meet the criteria specified.

If you cannot commit to 20 hours study per week or do not hold a degree you may be interested in our alternative Level 5 Diploma in Strategic Teaching Support for Dyslexia and Literacy (DADIP61) CPD Pathway or Fast-Track graduate routes

Demands of the course

Are there any live tutorials?

There are no ‘live’ one-to-one tutorials or meeting provisions within the modules or requirements to be online at particular/set times of the day).

Supervised Teaching

The Dyslexia Action Professional Programme is a competency-assessed programme. Supervised teaching is an essential part of module DAPP21-02. Tutors will supervise the practical work by giving support and feedback on the teaching practice, observed assessment administrations, lesson plans, teaching practice and evaluations. Candidates submit filmed recordings of some of the practical work. 

Working with a learner

Participants are required to find learners whose main difficulties are with literacy and who are not currently receiving any other form of specialist teaching support.  

Required Teaching Practice Hours

Dyslexia Action requires you to undertake a minimum of 20 hours of teaching support during the teaching practice. At least 10 hours of teaching support should be done with one learner individually (not in a group setting).  

Teaching practice and assessment administration

Teaching practice and assessment administrations must be undertaken within a managed educational setting i.e., a government registered school, college or other government registered educational setting.  It is not permitted for participants to undertake teaching practice or assessment administration in their own home or the learner’s family home.  

Will I need a DBS?

As a Disclosure and Barring Service Enhanced Disclosure is a requirement for working with children and young people, the person you choose to use for any practical teaching should be someone within your school or workplace, where you will already have a DBS Enhanced Disclosure.  We reserve the right to request your DBS information from you.  For further information please visit this dedicated page here.

Please note: You can only refer to yourself as a specialist teacher if you already hold a teaching qualification, without a teaching qualification you would refer to yourself as a specialist practitioner.

Further details can be found in The Level 7 Programme Syllabus above.

How will you be assessed?

The assessment strategy for this programme covers both theoretical and practical elements and is designed to develop practical skills in specialist teaching and assessment and encourage evaluation of the research and evidence-based, so that theory is integrated into practice. A combination of assessment tools is used and these include:

  • Assignments (formative and examined), essays and assessment reports
  • Exercises and peer evaluation discussions on Moodle
  • Practical teaching material assignments, case studies
  • Quizzes and other online self-assessment instruments
  • Reflective reports
  • Weekly lesson plans and evaluations (specialist teaching)
  • Filmed evidence of assessment administration (psychometric assessment) and teaching practice 

Progression to become a full assessor?

After completion of the Postgraduate Certificate Specialist Teaching for Literacy-Related Difficulties (DAPP21-01 and DAPP21-02) you can move on to study Modules DAPP21-03 and DAPP21-04 which will enable you to become a fully qualified Assessor and give you eligibility to apply for an Assessment Practising Certificate. for full details regarding progression see programme brochure above.

Transfer of credits/recognition of prior learning


The Dyslexia Action Postgraduate programme is a competency-assessed course at Level 7, Master’s level, which requires tutor assessment of the candidate undertaking teaching and assessment. This means that other academic programmes that have not included competency assessment or are at a lower level (e.g. Level 5 or Level 6) will not qualify for accreditation of prior learning (APL).

For further details see: Recognition of Prior Learning

Start Dates and fees

Postgraduate Certificate Specialist Teaching for Literacy-Related Difficulties 

  • October 2022 – Bookings open, places are limited

Cost: £3,950 + VAT (payable in two instalments)

How to apply

4 October 2022 Cohort – bookings open, places are limited

Step 1: Download, complete and save the Application Form |(including the entry essay).

Step 2: Complete your registration through this link and upload your completed application form, degree certificate and ID.

Please note:

  • Once your registration and application have been accepted, this will be reviewed by the postgraduate administration team and senior tutor. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • When you are offered a place on the course you will be emailed with further details of how to register online for your first module and make your payment.

Professional Practice Materials Costs

Professional Practice Materials

Applicants should note that the Dyslexia Action Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma qualifications are intended for individuals who wish to work as specialist literacy teachers and/or assessors in educational settings. You will need personal copies of your own test materials, books and resources on the course and you will then be able to use these for your own professional practice following the course. Costs for DAPP21-01 will amount to around £60 for the core texts.

You will be sent a full list of required resources including assessment tests, practical teaching materials, books and materials once you have registered for the course


Dyslexia Action courses have been in existence for 50 years and have a national respected profile in specialist teacher training and support. Our courses meet several accreditation criteria reflecting the importance we place on the quality of our courses and high standards of teaching and learning which are intrinsic to our programmes.

The Postgraduate Certificate: Specialist Teaching for Literacy-Related Difficulties confers eligibility for Associate Membership of The Dyslexia Guild (ADG) recognised as the first grade of professional membership for a specialist teacher/practitioner and is awarded and quality assured by Middlesex University. This means that you will receive a Middlesex award upon successful completion. 

British Dyslexia Association for Approved Teacher Status or Approved Practitioner Status – ATS/APS (subject to approval) and PATOSS for Associate membership. 

Free membership of The Dyslexia Guild

Candidates will automatically become student members of The Dyslexia Guild for the first year of their course while they are actively studying on a Postgraduate Certificate: Specialist Teaching or Postgraduate Diploma: Specialist Assessment and Teaching Programme with Dyslexia Action. The Guild is a membership network and professional association for practitioners in Dyslexia and SpLD, which aims to promote discussion, information and best practice as well as keep members informed of developments in the field through publication and distribution of topical news, updates and maintenance of an up-to-date library. 

The Guild provides its members with a wealth of information relating to dyslexia and SpLDs through its online library (the National Resource Centre for Dyslexia), a single-easy to access online platform that produces focused search results accessible by members 24/7. The library is supported by a Chartered Librarian and provides a unique, e-resource collection, covering the fields of dyslexia and other co-occurring difficulties. Participants have access to an online collection of over 800 specialist e-books, hard copy books and resources as well as simultaneous access to an online EBSCO database of over 1,600 full-text education and psychology journals.

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