West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock’s bill for universal primary school screening for neurodivergent conditions has had its first reading in Parliament.

The former health secretary introduced his Neurodivergent Conditions (Screening and Teacher Training) bill to the House of Commons yesterday.

The Conservative MP, who broke Covid lockdown rules to have an affair with a work colleague, was diagnosed with dyslexia after he left school.

Speaking on the bill, Mr Hancock said: “This bill is an opportunity for MPs to unite behind support for all children. I believe early identification is the key to ensuring no neurodivergent child is left behind. The positive impact of promoting early intervention and better teacher training could be immense.

 “Incredibly, 1 in 5 children still leave school not knowing that they have dyslexia. I was one of those – only discovering I was dyslexic once I got to university.

“My identification was a lightbulb moment. It changed my life and gave me the opportunity to relearn how to read and write. I believe every person deserves access to appropriate identification and support, regardless of their neurodivergent condition or circumstance.”

The West Suffolk MP’s bill originally only covered dyslexia but was expanded to cover all neurodivergent conditions including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

On Sunday, Mr Hancock ran the London Marathon for the Accessible Learning Foundation, a charitable organisation set up to help those with neurodivergent conditions.

East Anglian Daily Times:

The MP continued: “According to a London School of Economics report published last November, 15% of children with specific learning difficulties are in the most affluent decile and 6% are in the most deprived. This cannot reflect reality.

“The only explanation is an unjust allocation of early identification tools within the system. There isn’t enough focus on early identification, there isn’t enough funding, and crucially, there is also an inequality in the early identification that leads to diagnosis and the development of education health and care plans (EHCPs).

“This isn't only unfair but a silent scandal that I’m determined to address.”