Fully qualified primary school teachers learn, during their pre-service training, to deal with a variety of reading problems, including those specific difficulties, such as dyslexia, which are accompanied by perceptual deficits. Second level teachers are not, as a rule, trained in the teaching of the basic skills of reading and writing. However, classroom observation as well as the results of assessment tests administered by guidance counsellors and remedial teachers at that level will generally indictate the discrepancy between intellectual potential and academic attainments which indicates the possible existence of specific learning difficulty.
Those students with specific difficulties who are unable to make sufficient progress in the ordinary classroom may benefit from the additional resource of the remedial education service. This is provided by qualified teaachers, the vast majority of whom have followed a recognised course in remedial education. My Department has supported such courses for many years. Since 1994 there has been a national programme of training for remedial teachers directly funded by the in-career development unit. At present, post-graduate courses for teachers at primary and post-primary levels are held in six centres in universities and in colleges of education. Each year, over 150 primary and post-primary teachers attend these courses.