NEU commentary on the latest research from the Local Government Association on the demand for support for special needs education and people with disabilities – FE News

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint Secretary General of National Educationsaid:

“The LGA’s call for the elimination of high needs deficits and a boost for mainstream inclusion is the right one, but a more fundamental change in attitudes and approach across the system education is needed.

“The value of an EHCP has been reduced by 29% in real terms since 2015-16, creating a funding gap of £3.6bn. Funding pressures in schools in general lead to less, not more, inclusion in mainstream schools. The loss of experienced and qualified teaching assistants and learning support assistants working with students in the classroom means that many SEND students have little or no additional classroom support in mainstream settings, resulting in an increase in EHCP requests. The green paper does not recognize the value of this support and only includes a paragraph on support staff.

“Delays in accessing support and diagnosis from specialist professionals such as school psychologists, speech therapists and CAMHS leave many SEND students without the support they need in mainstream schools. pressure on all students to take SATs and GCSEs, along with a rigid and overloaded curriculum, when for many these are inappropriate, leads to increased academic anxiety, disaffection and an increase in EHCP requests.

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Andrew B. Reiter