Special education provides a means of learning for individuals that supports their differences and needs. This process best involves individually planned and monitored arrangement of teaching which involves adaptation, equipment, and materials delivered in accessible settings. Teaching interventions and adaptations aim to support pupil independence where possible to enable individuals to achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and education success compared to if they were only given access to a typical classroom education.
In Ofsted’s report for 2017 to 2018, it suggested that there had been an increase in recent years in requests for Education and Health Care assessments (EHC) by approximately 50% and an increase by local authorities to refuse them based on the rationale that they did not meet the needs threshold. In addition, concerns were identified regarding increasing numbers of children awaiting provision of specialist education despite having been assessed and having plans identified. The report indicated that in 2017, there were around 14,600 refusals to carry out an assessment which is a third more than in 2015. Once a child has been assessed, they may still struggle to access the services they need. In 2018, 2,060 children with a statement or EHC plan were still awaiting provision, which is almost three times more than in 2010.
Recruitment & Retention Issues
Reducing recruitment numbers has also been an issue for this sector of education coupled with teachers leaving the profession as is the case nationally.
Funding issues for individuals needing special education is a long-standing issue and the government have recently set out funding reforms in their briefing that applies to England in “Special Educational Needs: support in England.”
In July 2017, the Government announced £1.3bn of additional funding for schools, including high needs, over 2018-19 and 2019-20. However, a further £350million in funding for SEN was announced in December 2018 following consultation.
It is difficult to determine how many special needs teachers could be recruited. Ensuring a special education needs teacher has the right skill set for a particular school or college is paramount for recruitment agencies to understand to ensure the right person fits the role available.