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Special needs education in London

Start date: 19 June 2017
End date: 31 December 2017

Key facts

  • In 2016 there were approximately 205,000 students with some degree of special education support in London, which represents 14.5 per cent of all students.
  • Providing quality Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) support is becoming increasingly challenging in London.  Despite major reform in 2014, the key tension between rising demand for support and adequate resources remains.
  • In a recent survey, 70% of school leaders raised concerns about budget cuts and 81% experienced diminished SEND support because of cuts to their local authority support.
  • Between January 2011 and January 2016, the number of pupils educated in dedicated SEND places in London rose 23 per cent from 18,880 to 23,127, compared to a 10 per cent growth rate in the rest of England. 
  • The nature of SEND need has changed. Since 2011, the number of pupils in Special Schools with Autistic Spectrum Disorder has increased by over 50 per cent, while the number of pupils with physical disabilities has decreased by a third. Managing such change is not straightforward and requires planning and adequate funding.

Our investigation

In its investigation, the London Assembly Education Panel will examine the challenges to providing access to SEND provision in London, including the specific capacity and funding issues facing the capital in the future.

The Panel will identify what role the Mayor can play in helping to provide adequate SEND provision to London’s growing school age population.

Get involved

The Committee welcomes contributions from local authorities, schools, school governors, teacher groups, parents, carers, foster groups, charities and all other members of the public. 

Submissions can cover any of the suggested questions below. If your expertise covers multiple categories please answer all questions which are relevant.

If your submission includes areas which are not covered in the suggested questions below, this is also welcomed by the Panel.

To contribute, please email [email protected] with your views by 18 October 2017.

Local authorities

How can we ensure that pupils in London can access adequate SEND support now and in the future?  

  1. What are the specific challenges to providing access to SEND provision in your borough, including capacity and funding issues? 
  2. How have the reforms brought in by the Children and Families Act 2014 affected SEND provision? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current system?
  3. Have you included SEND provision in your long-term education strategy? How are you informing this?   
  4. Do you see any role for the Mayor to play in helping to provide adequate SEND provision in London? (E.g. lobbying, convening etc.)
Schools / school governors / teacher groups

How can we ensure that pupils in London can access adequate SEND support now and in the future?  

  1. How many children are classified as SEND in your school (please specify if you are a special school)? How have the numbers and types of need changed over the past 10 years? 
  2. What SEND provision is available in your school? How is it given?
  3. What are the specific challenges to providing access to SEND provision in schools, including capacity and funding issues? 
  4. How have the reforms brought in by the Children and Families Act 2014 affected SEND provision in schools? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current system?
  5. Are you able to link effectively with colleagues in the NHS and local authorities to support a child if there is a health need?
  6. What support and training is available for teachers working with SEND children? Does SEND training feature adequately in teacher training? How could it be improved?
Parents / carers / foster groups

How can we ensure that pupils in London can access adequate SEND support now and in the future?  

  1. How have the changes brought in by the Children and Families Act 2014 affected how you access SEND support? How were the changes communicated to you? 
  2. Have you and your child been able to influence decisions about the support you have received?
  3. What has your experience been of your child moving through the school system?  
  4. Are there any examples of particularly good support we should be made aware of?
Young people
  1. There were many changes in the law (Children and Families Act) about how young people access SEND support in 2014. How were the changes communicated to you? And how did they affect your SEND support? 
  2. Have you been able to influence decisions about the support you have received?
  3. How was your experience of moving from primary school to secondary school, or from secondary school to sixth form or college? 
  4. Are there any examples of particularly good support you received, for example from your school, health care worker or social worker?

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