ASCL comment on NFER report on growing SEND challenges

Margaret Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to a report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), which states that special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision in multi-academy trusts and schools is coming under increased pressure.
“This report rightly points out the brilliant work being done by SEND Leaders and Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs). However, the truth is that a fundamental lack of resources is undermining their efforts to tackle the many problems facing the SEND system.
“Whether that is through funding for support staff being unavailable, a lack of time for training, or delays to assessments as a result of growing demand, schools are under a huge amount of pressure. The external support that schools are able to access is too variable, with some local authority high needs budgets in deficit.
“Despite the best intentions of teachers and school leaders, the special educational needs system has been brought to its knees through lack of investment. Unless more resources are made available, some children will continue to miss out on the support they need to thrive at school.”