Helen Arkell Level 5 Diploma: Teaching Learners with Dyslexia/SpLDs – KS2/3

Teacher sat on a bean bag reading to children on the floor around her

Event date:

11 September, 2024

Event time:

9:00 AM

Event location:

Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre

Venue: Farnham, Surrey

Accredited by CPD Standards Office

Approved by PATOSS (Professional Association for Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties)


The Helen Arkell Charity is a long-standing, fully accredited, externally validated provider of professional training courses, and has successfully delivered courses in Teaching Learners with Dyslexia/Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) for many years.

This course is for those teaching Key Stages 2 and 3. The Level 5 Diploma teaching Key Stages 1 and 2 is here.

The fee includes assessment material starter pack.

Why study for Level 5 with Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity?

  • Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity is the oldest dyslexia centre in the UK and has a long history of providing quality training. Helen Arkell herself was involved in the development and delivery of the first professionally recognised courses in the country.
  • We are unique in providing a very high proportion of tutor-to-candidate contact time to ensure that all candidates achieve to the very best of their ability. The tutor group system encourages candidates to share their wealth of knowledge and experiences during the weekly contact with each other.
  • Helen Arkell Charity offers a unique approach to the organisation of the teaching practices sessions on the Level 5 course. Candidates are allocated learners in state schools that are local to our Farnham Centre, and they are supervised closely by tutors. Past candidates’ evaluations of our courses have deemed this ‘hands-on’ approach to have been particularly helpful as they carry out their teaching practices.
  • There is a generous ratio of tutors to candidates on the course (maximum seven candidates to one tutor).
  • Membership of an online library is included in the course fee and candidates have access to the Helen Arkell academic library and bookshop.
  • Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity’s Level 5 qualification is unique in teaching students to identify personal targets for each child and to develop multisensory teaching based on that child’s specific needs, rather than teaching a set intervention programme.
  • This course is also unique in that teaching practice and access to learners in local schools are arranged by us, so there is no need to already be working in a school.
  • Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity is recognised as a gold-standard centre for delivering specialist teacher training. Many schools request our graduates when they have SEN vacancies, as they value the high quality of the training.

Find out more about our Course Tutors here.

Who is this course suitable for?

  • Candidates may be practising and experienced teachers, teaching assistants, or professionals who hold other professional qualifications. We are also happy to receive applications from individuals with experience supporting learners with special educational needs, including those volunteering in their local schools listening to reading, or those supporting their own children with learning.
  • You do not need a university degree or to be a qualified teacher to attend our Level 5 course.
  • Candidates should have a good level of learning support experience.
  • Candidates will need to have a high level of skill in the following key skill areas: working with others, improving own learning, problem solving, literacy, numeracy and IT.

What will I learn on this course?

The Helen Arkell Level 5 course focuses on specialist teaching. Candidates will learn how to assess for, plan and deliver a programme of specialist teaching to a learner who is experiencing difficulty in their learning.

Candidates undertake two specialist teaching practices during the course and are observed and supported by tutors each week, as they teach their learners. Candidates will learn about current theories of dyslexia, and the indicators of specific learning difficulties. Specialist reports from other professionals, such as an educational psychologist, or specialist assessor are analysed, and each candidate will be expected to show how such a report would inform their understanding of the learner’s needs.

How is the course structured?

The course consists of four modules:

Module 1 – Assess

  • Understand the importance of background information when assessing the needs of learners with dyslexia/specific learning difficulties
  • Be able to assess literacy and numeracy skills of learner experiencing difficulties associated with dyslexia/specific learning difficulties
  • Be able to interpret test results and observation of learners’ responses and behaviour during assessment
  • Be able to reassess a learner to determine progress

Module 2 – Plan, Do

  • Be able to plan lessons for learners with dyslexia/specific learning difficulties based on background information and assessment data
  • Be able to deliver specialist learning programmes
  • Be able to use a report from another professional to plan teaching

Module 3 – Review

  • Be able to evaluate own lessons for learners with dyslexia/specific learning difficulties
  • Be able to evaluate the progress of individuals with dyslexia/specific learning difficulties
  • Be able to critically evaluate own development as a specialist teacher and understand the need for continuing professional development (CPD)

Module 4 – Underpinning Knowledge and Theory

  • Understand current theories of dyslexia and the indicators of other specific learning difficulties
  • Understand national legislation, policies and procedures in the context of dyslexia/specific learning difficulties
  • Undertake independent research into a topic related to dyslexia/specific learning difficulties and advise other professionals

Teaching practice, tutorials, lectures, workshops and discussions will take place on the course day. You will undertake two teaching practices, which are arranged for you in a school local to our Centre. You will be observed throughout your teaching practice and detailed feedback will be given to expand and enhance your skills

In addition, outside the course day, you will complete written assignments and undertake your own directed study and research.

Written work and assignments are marked, and detailed feedback provided by an experienced tutor in order to support each candidate to meet the required course criteria.

All modules are internally assessed and verified, then externally verified by CPD Standards Office. There is no requirement to sit written exams on this course.

How long does this course last?

The course lasts one academic year. Lectures and teaching practice will take place on Wednesdays. The course will be a combination of online delivery and attendance at Helen Arkell during term time.

Attendance at an HADC Centre, a teaching practice school or online is required for one full day a week during term time. Start and finish times can vary according to teaching practice schools but are usually 8.30am – 4.00pm.

At the start of the course, a timetable is given to each candidate that details lecture dates and when assignments are due to be submitted.

What opportunities are there to progress after successful completion of this course?

The Level 5 Diploma leads to many rewarding careers and opportunities. It enables candidates to:

  • Work as a Specialist Teacher.
  • Develop and deliver programmes of learning.
  • Work as a freelance specialist tutor.

On successful completion of this qualification, candidates may be able to progress to the Helen Arkell Level 7 Diploma in Teaching and Assessing Learners with Dyslexia/Specific learning difficulties.

See an example of SEN Job Vacancies advertised through Helen Arkell on behalf of schools and other organisations.

Course fees

The course fee is £4,945 including a non-refundable deposit on acceptance of £500. Please see our Course cancellation policy for details. There is an option to pay the fee in instalments.

What does the fee include?

  • Membership for the duration of the course to an online academic library and access to our physical library at the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre.
  • Arrangement by Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity of teaching practice and access to learners in local schools.
  • Students are provided with all assessment materials required including DRA-3 and HAST-2 tests, the Helen Arkell Auditory Tests as well as relevant record forms.

There are no additional costs to this course.


‘…one of the few courses where I have felt I have really developed as a teacher. Combination of step-by-step teaching methods combined with practical application.’ AG

‘I have learnt a huge amount in both a theoretical and a practical sense that I will use as a framework and ‘method’ for specialist teaching in the future’ AH

‘A fabulous course, delivered extremely well by knowledgeable and inspirational tutors.’ SH

‘This course has changed my life; it has opened my eyes to the possibility of primary school classroom teaching and has given me a fantastic foundation for my primary school PGCE.’ RB

‘…I have an interview for my dream job… and I have been offered (and accepted) the position… I could never have dreamed of such a job before starting my course with you and I just wanted to say a very sincere thank you to my tutor and all the other tutors who made my time at HA so memorable…’ CB

‘A completely new career for me, all thanks to Helen Arkell’

‘The Level 5 course was excellent and my experience at Helen Arkell has had a significant impact on my teaching. A big thanks, particularly to [my tutor], who guided me through the course every step of the way, but also to every single tutor, without whom, I wouldn’t have had the knowledge and techniques that I now use every day in my teaching.’ A previous Level 5 candidate’

Enquire about this course at julieh@helenarkell.org.uk.
‘Our Level 5 candidates are entitled to membership of the National Union of Students.

Course cancellation policy

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Please follow the link below to complete your application form:

Level 5 application form



  • Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre
  • 24 West Street
  • Farnham
  • Surrey
  • GU9 7DR

Event schedule details

  • 11 September, 2024 9:00 AM   -   25 June, 2025 4:00 PM
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