Despite decades of research about the factors and principles which can enable inclusive education, many students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) face multiple barriers to learning. School and college staff are not given the tools or access to other experts that make inclusion easier.
Numerous reviews into the perspectives of parents and carers and the benefits of school/home partnership have not led to the necessary improvements to curriculum, funding and class size from central Government.
The SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan produced by the government seeks to work with local authorities and schools on money-saving projects designed to ensure more SEND students are educated in mainstream without first putting the support mechanisms in place for this to work.
The NEU wants the Government to address these 5 immediate challenges on inclusion:
- Needs led funding – for SEND support, Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans and local SEND and mental health services.
- A strategy to reduce Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) workload.
- Support staff numbers must be maintained and increased.
- Time for staff planning, family liaison and CPD.
- DFE must support knowledge exchange and professional skills around inclusion across all curriculum subjects.
The following goals can build positive experiences for learners with SEND:
- Every child/young person attends a school/college with an inclusive ethos.
- Every student is assessed early and regularly for learning and social and emotional needs and appropriate support can be provided.
- Every child/young person has a strong relationship with a trusted adult in school/college.
- Parents/carers are engaged partners.