In a series of government announcements that have put the spotlight on services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), the National Audit Office (NAO) have today released a report which assesses the support disabled children and those with SEN receive in England.
The report recognises how the quality of this support affects well-being, educational attainment, likelihood of subsequent employment, and long-term life prospects.
NAO listened to concerns from parents and carers and other stakeholders to determine the quality and impact of the following areas:
- The system for supporting pupils with SEND and the outcomes it is achieving
- Funding, spending and financial sustainability
- The quality of support and experiences of pupils and parents
Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, responds to the report:
“The National Audit Office has provided stark evidence of the growing numbers of children with complex needs and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). It is also clear that funding has not risen to meet these children’s needs, placing intolerable strain on school and local authority budgets. Even the extra cash promised for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in the education spending settlement will be insufficient to match the scale of the challenge.
But the noise about money in the system is drowning out the need for a clear, inclusive vision of education which fully meets the needs of children wherever they are educated.
In particular, pressure on special schools is leaving many with very limited aspirations for the children they look after. And hard-pressed mainstream schools look to strict behaviour policies to solve the problems of children that often have their root in impairment, mental health or deprivation.”
The full report and its findings can be read here.