Underachievement, in a rich industrialised country such as the UK, has profound effects emotionally and economically. For instance, what would it mean for me, a 46 year old professional adult? How much less would I earn? How much smaller would my house be? How much less interesting would my job be? Would I have somebody less intelligent than me in charge of me? What would that feel like? It must be very difficult. Would I drive a new car? Or would I struggle to get an MOT every year some old banger? Underachievement is important; I don't want it to happen to me, I don't like the sound of it at all. So why do we accept it?
Some would say that children in UK schools are allowed to underachieve on a gross scale. Assessment by an educational psychologist is only available to the most severe of cases, such as children who are reading many years behind their chronological age.
Others would argue that schools have complex support systems for children who are underachieving and are pretty sophisticated on the whole when addressing special needs.
Often schools in the state sector focus their limited resources on the children with the most severe underachievement. Many parents contact the Dyslexia Centre because they feel that whilst their child is achieving within the average range, they could and should be achieving at a higher level. Often these parents have had their concerns recognised by the school, but it has been explained that there are simply insufficient resources to address higher level underachievement. At this point, parents may make a decision to seek an independent assessment and intervention if they are in a position to do so. It was for these parents that we developed the fixed fee assessment.