Introducing CReSTeD

Posted on 6th Dec 2018 in Dyslexia

Exploring the work of the Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils...


The Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD) is a charity set up to help parents and those who advise them choose schools for children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) of which the main difficulty is dyslexia. There is however a general recognition that dyslexia rarely exists in isolation and latest research demonstrates a high level of co-occurrence with other difficulties. These include Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, ADD, as well as Pragmatic and Semantic Language Difficulties.

CReSTeD acts as a source of information which can help parents making a placement decision about a child with SpLD. CReSTeD is a valuable resource for parents, educational advisers and schools.

CReSTeD was established in 1989 and publishes and maintains a list of schools and centres accredited for their SpLD provision – the Register – annually. The schools and centres listed within the Register cover all levels of provision for SpLD pupils and include both state and independent provision. The vast majority of schools on the Register are mainstream, offering a wide range of teaching styles, environment and facilities.

The Register

CReSTeD’s main activity is to produce and supply to parents, free of charge, a Register of schools and centres which provide for pupils with one or more SpLD. The levels of provision is divided into six broad categories, five for schools: Dyslexia Specialist Provision (Category DSP), Specialist Provision Schools (Category SPS), Dyslexia Unit (Category DU), Withdrawal System (Category WS) and Maintained Sector (Category MS) and one for centres: Teaching Centres (Category TC). Children have different requirements and personalities; the categories are a way of helping match each child to the type of provision at the school or centre. A report from an Educational Psychologist or a specialist teacher who holds an Assessment Practising Certificate should offer guidance as to the level of provision relevant to the child.

A child at the severe end of the dyslexia spectrum may require a Dyslexia Specialist Provision school, whereas a child with, for example, only some slowness in spelling skills may be suitably provided for in a school from Category Withdrawal System. The categories offer this guidance. Note that the Maintained sector is only open to local authority schools and not to Independent schools.

The Register includes a checklist to help parents decide if a school or centre can meet their child’s education needs in relation to SpLD. It also provides a geographical index of schools.

CReSTeD Criteria and Visits

Every school and centre on the CReSTeD list has been independently verified for SpLD provision by CReSTeD consultants which is not the case in all other lists.

The first stage of any registration is for the school to complete the CReSTeD registration form and to provide supporting documentation, such as policies for dyslexia. This form covers staff development, admission policy, organisation of the school week, specific arrangements for SpLD pupils, examination results for the whole school and for SpLD pupils in particular, resources and a list of parents’ names so that the Consultant may check parents’ feelings about the school or centre.

These criteria include the provision of relevant and high quality information technology resources, Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) approved training qualifications for teachers, awareness of the needs of dyslexic pupils by the non-specialist staff, and arrangements to obtain and provide special provision for examinations.

Consultants, who look to see if this information is accurate and that the school or centre meets the criteria set by CReSTeD Council for the particular category, visit the schools.

Schools and centres are visited on a three yearly cycle, with possible earlier visits if there are substantial changes, which should always be swiftly communicated to CReSTeD. If the Head of a CReSTeD school changes, we require the school to inform us and ask the new Head to confirm that the school intends to continue with the SpLD provision in accordance with the criteria set by CReSTeD (at the agreed category level). This enables us to retain the school’s details in the Register without the need for an extra visit.

CReSTeD Council will initiate ‘responsive’ visits if it has any cause for concern about a particular school.


The Register is published annually and is obtainable from the CReSTeD Administrator. To encourage accuracy, Council require schools and centres to inform it of significant changes which impact on provision for SpLD pupils.

The CReSTeD website: contains all the information that is in the Register. It is updated as new information is received, or new schools approved, and contains links to the websites of all registered schools and centres as well as to other websites that may be of assistance to parents of children with one or more SpLD.

CReSTeD Council

Council includes representatives from a wide area of SpLD provision including Dyslexia Action, the British Dyslexia Association, Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust and schools.


Categories are used to explain the type of provision given by a school. One category should not be seen as ‘better’ than another, but as a guide to the provision required by the student.

There are six categories within our criteria according to the type of provision:

  • Dyslexia Specialist Provision (DSP) schools established primarily to teach pupils with Dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia Unit (DU) schools offer a designated unit that provides specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis, according to need.
  • Maintained Schools (MS) local authority schools able to demonstrate an effective system for identifying pupils with dyslexia.
  • Specialist Provision (SPS) schools are specifically established to teach pupils with dyslexia and other related specific learning difficulties.
  • Teaching Centre (TC) designated centre providing specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis, according to need.
  • Withdrawal System (WS) schools help dyslexic pupils by withdrawing them from appropriately selected lessons for specialist tuition.


CReSTeD was founded to help parents. It has had, and will continue to have, influence on the standards of provision for pupils with SpLD’s. Council is grateful for the support of the British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Action, Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust, the schools on the Register and parents.

For further information contact us via email:

Or visit our website: