Creating a belonging culture and supporting student well-being
There are 160,000 autistic school children in the UK.
Building inclusion in schools and colleges
Working together to value and support every SEND child is the key to enabling them to thrive and be successful. Staff need the time to work together and with other agencies, to develop inclusive approaches.
After a three year wait for the ‘SEND Review’ we are disappointed with many of the proposals. The NEU and wider SEND sector had called for a person-centred inclusive system which allowed every child and young person’s achievement to count.
The Green Paper proposes ‘creating a financially sustainable system’ which bears little relation to supporting schools or meeting the needs of SEND young people.
The consultation runs until 22 July.
The latest information and advice for school staff who are at greater risk from Covid is here.
The Joint Union Safety Checklist for Schools has been updated to support leaders to put in place appropriate measures that will keep both students and staff safe. Government guidance permits leaders to adopt additional proportionate safety measures where they wish to do so. This checklist sets out a range of measures that we urge settings to adopt as standing practice, subject to review at half-term.
Despite decades of research into enabling inclusive education, many students with SEND face multiple barriers to learning. School and college staff are not given the tools or access to other experts which make inclusion easier.
Central government has also not acted on numerous reviews into the perspectives of parents and carers and the benefits of school/home partnerships, that showed the necessary improvements to curriculum, funding and class size.
The Government must address five immediate challenges on inclusion:
And four goals to build positive experiences for learners with SEND:
The NEU school uniform/dress code guidance gives advice on flexibility for SEND students, poverty proofing and developing a culturally inclusive policy. It suggests that schools include flexibility in the dress code for SEND students who find uniform issues a barrier to regular school attendance and listen to the student and their family to discuss alternative options.
The Government’s National Disability Strategy emphasises the importance of implementing the social model of disability, focusing on removing the barriers faced by Disabled people, staff and students.
The social model requires society to adapt, not individual Disabled people, with holistic change across education and national policies on curriculum, assessment an accountability.
Current DfE advice on discipline and behaviour may undermine a commitment to disability equality and better outcomes for students with SEND.
It will require more investment and imagination than the Government are proposing in the current strategy.
Creating access for students with SEND involves more than making a few adaptations for SEND students. Funding to create smaller class sizes and to maintain and increase SEND support staff is necessary for the system to be maintained at current levels.
To effectively achieve the step-change that is needed to improve the life chances of SEND young people the Government need to listen to education professionals and families, be prepared to adopt a wider vision for education and make a commitment to the long-term funding needed to really make a difference.
Reducing workload and targeting staff time on the activities which are most fruitful will benefit all staff. Get involved with reducing staff workload.
Sanction-based systems of behaviour management have a highly negative and exclusionary impact on SEND students. Following the Covid pandemic and the governments emphasis on catch up SEND students are facing greater pressures with reduced support from specialist TAs, LSAs and mental health professionals.
Government needs to align its review of the behaviour and exclusions advice more closely with the promised SEND Review and the Mental Health strategy to make a difference to prevent and reduce the suspension, isolation and exclusion of SEND students. To achieve this the government will need to: