In England today there are 1.1 million pupils with special needs or disabilities (SEND) in mainstream classrooms. A recent report claims that English schools are struggling to support them.
The report based on a study by The Key, a leadership and management support provider, calls for increased funding based on surveying 1,100 schools. Meanwhile the Government says that it has increased funding for those considered as 'high needs'.
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The Department For Education (DfE) published statistics last year that showed that there were 1.3 million children in England with 15% being identified as having SEND.
So there is an striking difference in statistics quoted for the study and what the English Government is reporting.
Key points in the research by The Key state;
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.
The report follows Government reforms, which came into effect in September 2014 aiming to provide a more child centred approach to support.
Under the Children and Families Act 2014, special educational needs statements and learning difficulty assessments (LDAs) have been replaced with education, health and care plans (EHCP) covering people up to the age of 25.
The report seemed to suggest that the most strain was felt in the primary education sector.
Eight out of ten primary schools said that their budget was insufficient compared to seven out of ten secondary schools raising concern about funding.
Nine in ten primary schools have had their support for SEND affected by cuts to their local authority compared to eight in ten for secondary.
Delays in SEND assessments and ECHPs seem greater for primary level learners. Eight in ten primary schools claim that they are waiting longer than expected.
Fergal Roche, chief executive of The Key said 'A year on from major reforms to the national system for SEND provision, these findings represent an important wake up call from school leaders.
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