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Special Educational Needs

Posted on 28 October 2015

Special Educational Needs (SEN) is a huge area, one you may be struggling with, may be involved with already or just want to know more.  As a starting point here is a brief quote from the National Curriculum with regards to SEN. 

'Schools have a responsibility to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils.  The National Curriculum is the starting point for planning a school curriculum that meets the specific needs of individuals and groups of pupils.'

This statutory inclusion statement on providing effective learning opportunities for all pupils outlines how teachers can modify, as necessary, the National Curriculum programmes of study to provide all pupils with relevant and appropriately challenging work at each key stage.  It sets out three principles that are essential to developing a more inclusive curriculum:

A. Setting suitable learning challenges
B. Responding to pupils' diverse learning needs
C. Overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.

A minority of pupils will have particular learning and assessment requirements which go beyond the provisions described in sections A and B and, if not addressed, could create barriers to learning.  These requirements are likely to arise as a consequence of a pupil having a special educational need or disability or may be linked to a pupil's progress in learning English as an additional language.

Teachers must take account of these requirements and make provision, where necessary, to support individuals or groups of pupils to enable them to participate effectively in the curriculum and assessment activities.  During end of key stage assessments, teachers should bear in mind that special arrangements are available to support individual pupils.

Pupils with special educational needs

Curriculum planning and assessment for pupils with special educational needs must take account of the type and extent of the difficulty experienced by the pupil.  Teachers will encounter a wide range of pupils with special educational needs, some of whom will also have disabilities .  In many cases, the action necessary to respond to an individual's requirements for curriculum access will be met through greater differentiation of tasks and materials, consistent with school-based intervention as set out in the SEN Code of Practice.  A smaller number of pupils may need access to specialist equipment and approaches or to alternative or adapted activities, consistent with school-based intervention augmented by advice and support from external specialists as described in the SEN Code of Practice, or, in exceptional circumstances, with a statement of special educational need.  Teachers should, where appropriate, work closely with representatives of other agencies who may be supporting the pupil.

Teachers should take specific action to provide access to learning for pupils with special educational needs by:

  1. providing for pupils who need help with communication, language and literacy
  2. planning, where necessary, to develop pupils' understanding through the use of all available senses and experiences
  3. planning for pupils' full participation in learning and in physical and practical activities
  4. helping pupils to manage their behaviour, to take part in learning effectively and safely, and, at key stage 4, to prepare for work
  5. helping individuals to manage their emotions, particularly trauma or stress, and to take part in learning. ‘


10 Reasons for Inclusion

(taken from CSIE – the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education)



All children have the right to learn together.


Children should not be devalued or discriminated against by being excluded or sent away because of their disability or learning difficulty.


Disabled adults, describing themselves as special school survivors, are demanding an end to segregation.


There are no legitimate reasons to separate children for their education. Children belong together -- with advantages and benefits for everyone.  They do not need to be protected from each other.




Research shows children do better, academically and socially, in inclusive settings.


There is no teaching or care in a segregated school which cannot take place in an ordinary school.


Given commitment and support, inclusive education is a more efficient use of educational resources.




Segregation teaches children to be fearful, ignorant and breeds prejudice.


All children need an education that will help them develop relationships and prepare them for life in the mainstream.


Only inclusion has the potential to reduce fear and to build friendship, respect and understanding.




At what age would you give your child a mobile phone?

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