In the past five years, children with special needs in primary and secondary schools have increased. And due to this, schools in England are to receive a cash boost to help improve facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
The number of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) has increased from 1,228,785 in January 2016 to 1,244,255 in January 2017. While this is the first annual increase since 2010, the percentage of pupils with special educational needs remains stable at 14.4%.
According to one primary school teacher, too many children “are slipping through the net completely.”
“It’s frustrating and heart-breaking,” said another.
The £215m capital funding has to be spent on increasing school capacity and boosting access for these pupils to good schools. It may be spent on specialised classrooms and facilities, but not on general day-to-day school budgets.
The news comes as many schools have complained of general funding shortfalls. Every local authority, except Isles of Scilly and City of London, will get at least £500,000 to be spent over three years from 2018. But, this isn’t enough according to teachers.
More than 80% of almost 600 staff, who responded to an Association of Teachers and Lecturers poll, said some pupils were being failed and the government said it wanted all children to reach their potential.
Of the 585 staff in English state schools who responded to the poll:
- 70.7% believed the system was failing to identify all children with special needs quickly enough
- 58.4% believed pupils officially identified as having special needs did not receive the help they need to achieve their potential
- Almost half (48.6%) said they had been unable to access the support and training they needed to meet their pupils’ needs.
A survey, which came out in May this year, followed a debtor where teachers and T.A’s expressed fears that the identification and support of special needs pupils was being compromised.
And a staff member at a secondary school said lack of funding meant they had halved the amount of support for children recognised as needing special support next year.