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SEN blog

Postcode lottery for accessing SEND support
By RS Assessment from Hodder Education
29 Mar

A new study from the Education Policy Institute (EPI), funded by the Nuffield Foundation, highlights how children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are identified and supported varies nationally.

The report explores how support given to SEND pupils in England, from the school or local authority, is largely dictated by the school a pupil attends, rather than individual circumstances.  The EPI report states, 'this variation in SEND support can be explained by inconsistent approach to identifying children'.

The system for supporting SEND is reliant on regular access to pupils over time, and researchers conclude that the pandemic will have aggravated the existed problems and an increasing number of pupils who need support could fall under the radar of schools and local authorities.

Summary of the findings:

  • There is a postcode lottery for accessing SEND support, with access to specialised provision heavily determined by the school they attend, rather than individual needs.
  • Pupils attending academy schools are less likely to be identified with SEND compare to other similar pupils.
  • Children living in the most disadvantages areas of the country are less likely to be formally recognised as having SEND than similar pupils in more affluent areas.
  • Pupils moving schools and those frequently out of school, along with children who have suffered abuse or neglect, have a reduced change of being identified with SEND.

Read the full report here.

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