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Closed petition Require all school staff receive training on SEN children

All school staff should be required to take a course on children with special educational needs (SEN). Too many school staff don’t have any idea how to engage with SEN children! I would like to see all school staff required to take SEN training, as I believe everyone would benefit.

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I would love your help as there are so many children not getting the correct support within the school. I know because I used to work at a Primary School and had no training about SEN. It would have been of great benefit to learn the different help & support which I could have given to the children.

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Government responded

This response was given on 13 July 2021

To achieve Qualified Teacher Status, teachers must demonstrate in their training that they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs.

Read the response in full

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. The Teachers’ Standards define the minimum expectations of teachers’ professional practice and personal conduct here:

These standards set clear expectations that teachers must have an understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND.

All trainees who achieve Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they can adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils and show they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs, and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.

It is for initial teacher training providers to tailor their curriculum to suit the subject, phase and age range that trainees will be teaching.
To support all teachers to meet these standards, we are implementing a ‘golden thread’ of high-quality teacher training reforms which begins with initial teacher training and continues into early career teaching, through to middle and senior leadership.

These reforms are designed to emphasise the importance of high-quality teaching and to ensure teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed. 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:

As part of our recently announced package to support Education Recovery we will be investing over £250 million of additional funding to help provide 500,000 training opportunities for teachers so they can access this world-leading training appropriate for whatever point they are at in their career.

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. This is why we have provided funding to the Whole School SEND consortium since 2018.

Whole School SEND have provided training and resources for the school workforce on a range of specific conditions, including in relation to autism, dyslexia, speech, language and communication needs, sensory impairments, and physical disabilities. Funding in 2021-22 will bring the total funding for this contract to over £8 million since 2018. We have also funded the Autism Education Trust (AET) 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 including teachers and teaching assistants, but also support staff such as receptionists, dining hall staff and caretakers, encouraging a 'whole school' approach to supporting autistic pupils.

Department for Education

Share your views on Government's plans to improve support for children and young people with SEND

The Government has launched a public consultation on major changes it wants to make to the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP) system in England.

It wants to hear from:

- Children and young people
- Parents and carers
- People who work in the SEND sector
- Local and national system leaders

Find out more about the consultation and share your views:

You can respond until 11.45pm on Friday 1 July 2022.

What changes is the Government planning to make?

The Government says that it plans to create a "single, national SEND and alternative provision (AP) system that will introduce new standards in the quality of support give to children across education, health and care".

The proposed changes include:

- Improving workforce training through the introduction of a new SENCo (Special Education Needs Coordinator) NPQ for school SENCos
- Increasing the number of staff with level 3 qualifications in early years settings
- A new legal requirement for councils to introduce 'local inclusion plans' that set out responsibility for young people with SEND among local services

The Government has announced additional funding to implement these proposals.

Find out more about the changes the Government is proposing:

Read a summary of the Government's SEND review:

MPs questions Secretary of State for Education about the review

On Tuesday 29 March, the Government Minister responsible for education, Nadhim Zahawi MP, made a statement to the House of Commons about the review and consultation, and was questioned about this by MPs.

Read what he said and questions from MPs:

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MPs discuss SEND and alternative provision improvement plan

On Monday 6 March the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, Claire Coutinho MP, made a statement in the House of Commons about the Government's new Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan.

The Minister updated MPs on the Government's progress to improve outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities or alternative provision in England.

She said the Government will:

  • Develop new national special educational needs and disabilities and alternative provision standards to set out what support should be available.
  • Establish local SEND and AP partnerships.
  • Train thousands more early years special educational needs co-ordinators and 400 more educational psychologists.
  • Invest £2.6 billion by 2025 in new special and alternative provision places, and improve provision.
  • Publish guidance on ensuring effective transitions between all stages of education, and an effective transition into employment and adult services.
  • Invest in supported internships.
  • Expand school and college mental health support teams.

Following the statement the Minister was questioned by MPs.

What are Ministerial statements?

Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of the House.

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SEND provision and funding debated by MPs

On Thursday 11 January, Sir David Davis MP led a Backbench Business debate in Parliament on SEND provision and funding.

Along with other MPs, he spoke about the many people who have signed petitions on the issue.

He also quoted those who had shared their experiences to help inform previous debates on SEND provision and funding.

Watch or read the debate – and see the Government's response – on SEND provision and funding

What are Backbench Business debates?

Backbench Business debates give backbenchers (MPs who aren’t ministers or shadow ministers) an opportunity to secure a debate on a topic of their choice, either in the main House of Commons Chamber or Westminster Hall, the second chamber of the House of Commons.

MPs can make a request for a debate to the Backbench Business Committee, who hears requests and decides which debates to schedule.

Backbench debates can either be general debates (which do not end in a vote) or be on a substantive motion (which calls for an action and can end in a vote). This debate was a debate on a substantive motion.

Interactive explainer: Backbench Business debates

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