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Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma: Specialist Assessment and Teaching for Literacy-Related Difficulties

The Dyslexia Action Postgraduate Certificates, Diploma and MEd qualifications are a unique and prestigious programme at Master’s level 7 that provides training to become informed practitioners and specialist teachers and/or assessors. This programme was developed and is delivered and assessed by Dyslexia Action, awarded by and quality assured by Middlesex University.  The courses are modular and flexible and are undertaken part-time, through online learning. Access is available 24/7 to the Virtual Learning Environment and all modules are tutor-supported through online forums.

If you do not hold a degree then please see our Level 5 CPD Pathway SpLD Teacher/Practitioner Route.

In order to achieve this qualification, you will have to complete the following modules:

  • DAPP21-01 Literacy Acquisition – Underpinning Theory (30 credits)
  • DAPP21-02 Specialist Literacy Teaching – Linking Theory to Practice (30 credits)
  • DAPP21-03 Psychometric Assessment of Literacy-Related Difficulties (30 credits)
  • DAPP21-04 Psychometric Assessment of Cognitive Processing (30 credits)

Why take the Diploma?

Delegates completing this Diploma 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
  • Gain a firm grounding in key statistical concepts and in-depth knowledge of a complex, standardised literacy assessment tool; gain competence with a reporting protocol for literacy-related difficulties
  • Gain knowledge of key statistical concepts associated with educational assessment; develop competence with a reporting protocol for the cognitive processing difficulties associated with dyslexia and hone consultative skills.

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.

Candidates applying for the Diploma part of the programme should normally have a final grade of 1-9 (60%-65%) at the Certificate level in order to be considered for this part of the programme.  Applicants not meeting this criterion but with significant post qualification experience will be considered with a supporting reference.

If you cannot commit to 15 notional hours per week (rising to 20 hours during the teaching practicum and at points in other modules when key formative and summative tasks are being undertaken) or do not hold a degree you may be interested in our alternative Level 5 Diploma in Specialist Teaching for Literacy-Related Difficulties (DIST) CPD Pathway or 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 learner selected for the teaching intervention programme must be available for the duration of the teaching practice (around 14 school/college weeks). If the learner is going to be away for more than a week during the teaching practice, she/he may not be suitable for this intervention, similarly learners taking examinations may not have the time or focus to fully engage. Tutors will advise on the suitability of chosen learners, based on the information provided, but it is the responsibility of participants to find and select suitable learners. Lessons must take place as face-to-face sessions; no on-line version of the teaching programme is currently offered.
See: Programme syllabus above for further details.

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.
See: Programme syllabus above for further details.

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). The remaining hours can be carried out with either the same learner or another learner (or a small group of learners). Lessons normally take place on a weekly basis allowing lesson plans to be developed, resources to be prepared and tutor feedback given. Individual lessons can be scheduled for one hour or one-and-a-half hours with the learner (as appropriate for the age and profile of the learner). 

Teaching practice and assessment administration

Participants working with children can only teach a learner within a DfE registered state or independent school with a Unique Reference Number (URN). See: get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/Search for details of how to find details of schools and schools’ URNs (this does not apply to those based overseas, although the school or college should be a registered organisation through the state authority).
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.
Further details can be found in the programme syllabus above.

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

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 Diploma Specialist Assessment and Teaching for Literacy-Related Difficulties (DAPP21-01, 02, 03 and 04) you will become a fully qualified Assessor which gives you eligibility to apply for an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC). You may also be interested in completing the Enquiry Module (M12 – 60 credits) with our sister company Real Training to gain the MEd Professional Practice in Dyslexia and Literacy.

For full details regarding progression see the 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

How to apply

1 October 2024 Cohort*

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.

*(applications will close 1 September, or sooner if the course is full)

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
  • There are no additional costs for international delegates.

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. 

The Diploma modules will require significant investment in psychometric assessment test materials which is in addition to the course fees. There is a Study Purchase Scheme for key assessment test batteries operated by the Dyslexia Action Shop.  These test materials are resources that you will be able to use in your future professional practice once you qualify. You may also be able to borrow tests from your school or college or for a limited time from the Dyslexia Guild Library.

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 Diploma: Specialist Assessment and Teaching for Literacy-Related Difficulties confers eligibility for Member of The Dyslexia Guild (MDG) recognised as the first grade of professional membership for a specialist teacher/practitioner/assessor.  This programme was developed and is delivered and assessed by Dyslexia Action, awarded by and quality assured by Middlesex University. This means that you will receive a Middlesex award upon successful completion. 

British Dyslexia Association for Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association – AMBDA* (subject to approval) and PATOSS for Associate membership. 

*further terms/requirements may apply

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 Dyslexia 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.

Assessment Practising Certificate

What is an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC)?

The Department for Education (DfE) requires that specialist teachers or support tutors who undertake specialist assessments in post-16 schools, colleges, universities, workplace training establishments and local authority assessment centres are competent and qualified to do so.

An APC is effectively a licence to practise. It confirms that you have the appropriate qualifications to undertake full diagnostic assessments and that your professional practice is up-to-date and has been externally verified as continuing to meet defined competence standards. 

The Dyslexia Guild is an APC awarding body issuing Assessment Practising Certificates on behalf of the SpLD Assessment Standards Committee (SASC).

Either of the above two route options are eligible for an application of an APC. For further details click here

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