Essential reading: a study into SEN in secondary schools is published

The Special Educational Needs in Secondary Education (SENSE) study has been published by the Institute of Education at UCL and the Nuffield Foundation. This is essential reading for all secondary SENCOs, and everyone else committed to inclusive teaching for young people with SEND.

The SENSE study took a longitudinal approach, following young people  with SEND from 2011 to 2016, as well as pupils in Year 9 in 2015-16, and included both mainstream and special schools. The experiences of young people with SEND were compared to those of young people without SEND.
There were 6 key findings, entitled:
1. Organising for learning: from separation to segregation
2. Teaching assistants are central to SEND provision in mainstream schools
3. Implicit and ambiguous notions of teaching and support
4. Differentiation takes multiple forms, but practical strategies lack precision
5. The persistent problem of preparedness
6. SEND is not a school priority
The study then goes on to make some recommendations for both local authorities and schools, including prioritising the quality over the quantity of support (TA hours), considering mixed-ability grouping, and reviewing classroom practices. Perhaps the most important of all their recommendations is that school leaders do not lose sight of SEND as a priority.
We recommend that you read the executive summary and the full report
If you feel that your school needs to look more closely at their TA deployment we recomend that you read the Whole School SEND Teaching Assistant Deployment Review Guide

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