Before the launch of the Institute of Teaching and the publication of the SEND Review, the Government must commit to making knowledge of SEND essential for all teaching staff. This should be reflected in ITT CCF, the ECF and all NPQs.
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Failing to require SEND training could result in more children with SEND excluded from education, hindering their preparation for adulthood.
There are over 400,000 children and young people in England with an educational health care plan (ECHP) and over 1,000,000 requiring SEN support.
The SEND Code of Practice (2014) states, ‘Special educational provision is underpinned by high quality teaching and is compromised by anything less.’ Teaching staff and leaders must be equipped with condition specific knowledge in order to meet the individual needs of their learners, thereby, improving their personal and academic outcomes.
Wednesday 9th March 2022
To achieve Qualified Teacher Status, all teachers must already demonstrate that they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs.
The quality of teaching is key to ensuring that pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are given the best possible opportunity to achieve at school.
In support of this aim we are already implementing a range of reforms to teacher training, whilst also supporting school leaders in their duty to ensure their provision meets the special educational needs of children and young people.
Reforms to teacher training
All teachers are teachers of SEND and we are committed to ensuring that all children and young people receive high quality teaching. The revised Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework (CCF) – which all new entrants to the profession benefit from – has been designed around how to support all pupils to succeed, including those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the SEND code of practice.
In addition to the mandated minimum set out in the ITT CCF, we expect ITT providers and their partners to continue to tailor their curricula to the needs of their trainees and the children in the schools where they train and will work. ITT courses must be designed so that trainee teachers can demonstrate that they meet the Teachers’ Standards at the appropriate level (including the requirement in Standard 5, that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND).
The ‘golden thread’ of evidence-informed training, support and professional development, which begins with ITT and continues into early career teaching, through to the reformed suite of leadership and specialist NPQs, ensures that teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. All teachers and leaders employed in state-funded schools and state-funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England have been able to access scholarships to undertake fully-funded NPQs since autumn 2021. Funding will continue at this level to the end of this parliament.
Consideration of SEND underpins both the Core Content Framework and Early Career Framework (ECF) which were both produced with the support of sector experts.
The ECF has been designed around how to support all pupils to succeed and seeks to widen access for all. This includes those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the SEND code of practice, and children in need of help and protection as identified in the Children in Need Review.
Further support for the workforce
Once teachers qualify and are employed in schools, headteachers use their professional judgement to identify any further training, including specific specialisms, for individual staff that is relevant to them, the school and its pupils.
Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) play an essential role in schools, supporting teaching staff to meet the needs of pupils with SEN and ensuring that schools have a clear and effective approach to inclusive education. Every maintained nursery, maintained mainstream school and mainstream academy must have a qualified teacher designated as SENCO.
The Department also recognises that schools may need further support in ensuring the workforce is confident in meeting the needs of all pupils. That is why, since 2018, we have funded a programme of work to develop the skills and expertise of the school workforce in relation to SEND. Through our contract with the National Association for Special Educational Needs (nasen), we have funded the Whole School SEND consortium to equip school staff to deliver high quality teaching to all children and young people with SEND. In 2021-22 we are providing £2 million funding, which will bring the total for this contract to over £8 million since 2018.
We have also funded the Autism Education Trust since 2011 to deliver autism awareness training to education staff in early years, schools and further education settings. It has so far reached more than 305,000 people and has developed good autism practice guidance and practice frameworks aimed at supporting and improving practice within education settings.
In February 2022, we announced more than £45 million of continued targeted support for families and parents of children with SEND. This includes funding for programmes that will directly support schools and colleges to effectively work with pupils with SEND, for example through training on specific needs like autism.
Department for Education