Special needs pupils ‘need better support’ in schools

5 years ago

Schools in England are struggling to support the 1.1 million pupils with special needs or disabilities (SEND) in mainstream classrooms, a report says.

A survey of 1,100 school leaders found delays to assessments, insufficient budgets and cuts to local authorities were hampering the ability to cope.

The study by The Key, which provides leadership and management support to schools, calls for increased funding.

The government says it has increased funding for those with “high needs”.

Department for Education (DfE) statistics published last year showed there were more than 1.3 million children in England – 15% of pupils – identified as having special educational needs or disabilities.

Of these, 1.1 million are in mainstream schools rather than special schools.

The research by The Key suggested:

82% of mainstream schools in England do not have sufficient funding and budget to adequately provide for pupils with SEND
89% of school leaders believe cuts to local authority services have had a detrimental impact on the support their school receives 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

Head teachers’ concerns:

One said: “Teachers cannot possibly have or expect to gain knowledge, experience and skills to cope with the many differing needs of children now coming into school.”

Another said: “School funding is so stretched that schools are unable to absorb any additional staffing and funding demands for children with SEND.

“The direction the curriculum is taking is also becoming less and less inclusive for these children, meaning schools need to look at alternative interventions which cost money and teacher time.”


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