The scandal of neglect
In spite of the UN convention on the educational rights of special educational needs and disabled (SEND) children, there is growing evidence that these children are being side-lined, excluded or simply neglected by school teaching staff.
After visiting 20 mainstream schools to assess how well children with statements of Special Educational Needs, now re-named Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), were performing, two Cambridge University professors were shocked by what they found and their report reached damning conclusions.
They discovered that children with dyslexia and autism, Asperger’s syndrome and cerebral palsy, were being punished for being “lazy” and “lacking a work ethic” or were excluded by staff who lacked the training and knowledge to understand children’s individual needs or simply didn’t have the resources to include and engage with them fully.
Charities such as National Autistic Society and Mencap are also increasingly concerned about the plight of SEN children in mainstream schools. Read a recent article about this here.
A survey conducted by The Key, an organisation that provides leadership and management support to almost half of schools in England, found that schools claim that swinging cuts to local authorities’ mean they no longer have sufficient funding and budget to adequately provide for their pupils with SEND. Almost nine in 10 (89%) school leaders have seen the support they receive for these children affected.
These are the shocking headlines from the report:
- More than eight in 10 (82%) mainstream schools across England say they do not have sufficient funding and budget to adequately provide for pupils with SEND.
- Almost nine in 10 (89%) school leaders believe cuts to local authorities’ services have had a detrimental impact on the support their school receives for pupils with SEND.
- Three-quarters (75%) of schools have pupils who have been waiting longer than the expected maximum six weeks to hear if they will get a statutory assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
- Almost nine in 10 (88%) school leaders think initial teacher training does not adequately prepare teachers to support pupils with SEND.