Following the release of the Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2019/20 earlier this week, nasen has officially responded to the report.
Ofsted’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that children and young people with SEND receive a quality education is welcomed. The key focus on SEND provision and support in this year’s annual report is no surprise given the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated pre-existing challenges for children and young people with SEND, their families and the workforce that supports them.
In England alone, there are over 1.3 million children with SEND – that’s 15.5% of all pupils. Schools and settings are under increased pressure to not only support and identify children and young people with SEND, but to also support those who are experiencing developmental gaps or social and emotional challenges as a result of the pandemic. It is critical that there is sufficient support in place to ensure that early identification is prioritised and that those with less complex SEND needs don’t slip through the net.
The report highlights a long-standing concern shared by nasen around accountability in SEND and a lack of clarity over who is responsible for this. The SEND Code of Practice states that every teacher is a teacher of children and young people with SEND and in order to realise this, SEND needs to be prioritised at all levels from the classroom to the board room, paving the way for meaningful coproduction and child-centred provision.
Professor Adam Boddison, nasen CEO and Chair of Whole School SEND, said: “We remain concerned that a disproportionate number of children will start 2021 with social, emotional and mental health needs and social interaction challenges. In addition to supporting our children and young people, we must also recognise and support the mental health and wellbeing needs of our education workforce who are dealing with increased stress and new ways of working.
“At nasen, we are committed to ensuring that our expertise in SEND is available to every school and setting in the UK, which is why from January 2021 our membership will be free for all individuals across the UK.”
A wide range of free resources, information and support are available from nasen and Whole School SEND to support schools, settings and local authorities, including:
- nasen information, research and resources including free webinars on how SENCOs can respond to COVID and transition back to school and the identification of SEN following the pandemic alongside nasen’s Resilience Development Pack featuring practical activities and guidance for families and practitioners in the early years.
In addition, case studies are available sharing difference approaches to annual reviews in the current COVID-19 landscape and nasen’s Identifying SEN in the early years report, authored by Dr Helen Curran. Additional resources can be found at nasen.org.uk/resource-listing.html
- Whole School SEND bank of resources including the COVID-19 SEN Review Guide, advice on returning to school after a significant period of absence and condition specific videos. Additional information is available on the Whole School SEND YouTube channel.
- Findings from the National SENCO Workforce Survey – the 2020 survey results are being published by nasen and Bath Spa University in January 2021.
Boddison concluded: “It is more important now than ever before that we work collaboratively, share good practice across mainstream, special schools and specialist settings alongside bringing powerful partnerships to fruition that can help all children and young people, particularly those with SEND, to learn and thrive regardless of their background or need.”