ASCL comment on rise in number of pupils with special educational needs

Pepe Di’Iasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to new figures from the Department for Education showing that more than 1.6 million pupils in England have special educational needs.
The sharp increase in the number of children with special educational needs – particularly those with complex needs that require an education, health and care plan – is clearly unsustainable in a system that is underfunded and not fit for purpose. 

“Government funding for special educational needs support has not kept pace with rising demand, schools and local authorities cannot cope, and children and families are struggling to get the support they need. 

“The next government has to make it an immediate priority to provide the funding that is required to support these children in the here and now.

“But beyond that it must reshape the system to put much more focus on early intervention backed up by sufficient resources and specialist staff to help these children before challenges they are experiencing worsen. 

“This will pay dividends for these young people and it will make special educational needs support more affordable and sustainable in the long-run