The BBC has highlighted a survey undertaken by the Key for School Leaders that reveals that schools in England are struggling to support the 1.1 million pupils with special needs or disabilities (SEND) in mainstream classes. The survey of 1,100 school leaders reveals that delays to assessments, insufficient budgets and local authority cuts to services are hampering the ability for schools to cope.
The report follows the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014 that came into effect in September of that year. Under the Act, special education needs statements and learning difficulty assessments have been replaced by education, health and care plans (EHCP) which cover people up to the age of 25.
Councillor Roy Perry, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board said, “We were clear with the Department of Education at the time that implementing the SEND reforms in the Children and Families Bill was significantly underfunded by the government and this has been borne out in reality. Councils are working hard to ensure all children and young people are being moved from SEND statements to EHCP by the deadline of 31 March 2018 but the transition process is complex.”
The report revealed that:
- 82% of mainstream schools in England do not have sufficient funding and budget to adequately provide for pupils with SEND
- Three-quarters of schools have pupils who have been waiting longer than expected for assessment of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan
- 88% of school leaders think initial teacher training does not adequately prepare teachers to support pupils with SEND
The survey discovered that it is primary schools that are under the most strain in heir provision for pupils with SEND with 8 in 10 primary school leaders reporting that their budget was insufficient and 9 in 10 at primary level have had the support they receive for SEND provision affected by cuts to their local authority. Things are not a whole lot better at secondary level with 7 in 10 school leaders raising concerns about funding and 8 in 10 claiming cuts have been made to the support they receive for SEND provision from their local authority.
The Department for Education spokesman has stated that SEND training will form part of the new core content for initial teacher training. This is widely welcomed news and provides real hope for future generations of school children with special needs that their difficulties will be identified early and appropriate interventions and support put in place.
CPD Bytes provides professional training in SEND issues which would bring the current generation of NQTs and cohorts of teachers already well-established in their profession up-to-speed in this important area. We run free courses on this key training including Introducing Hidden Dyslexia (All Education Staff) or for a 12 month subscription your school could have access to further courses including Inclusion: Introduction to SEND for TAs/LAs (England) and Inclusion: Defining and Identifying SEND (England).