This study investigates the factors that affect the self‐esteem of learners with dyslexia. It provides a brief overview of some of the key literature in this area and then describes a small‐scale study conducted in two mainstream secondary schools in the north of England. Data were collected using semi‐structured interviews with secondary‐aged pupils who had received an official diagnosis of dyslexia. Nine pupils volunteered to be interviewed. The study considers the impact of factors such as comparisons made against other students and the impact of teachers, peers and family on pupils' self‐esteem. The results of the study indicate that these factors contribute significantly to self‐esteem for pupils with dyslexia. However, the study found that the most significant factor that contributed to students' self‐esteem was a positive diagnosis of ‘dyslexia’ and ownership of the label. The study concludes that an early diagnosis of dyslexia is essential for creating a positive self‐image and recommends that further research is necessary into the significance of the diagnosis for these learners.