We want to put Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) firmly on the policy agenda. Governments in the past have overlooked the 1.2 million children who have SEND and we want to ensure that this election campaign is different.
Central to the incumbent government’s campaign is the return of selective education. The government is promising ‘schools that work for everyone’. Children with SEND however are absent from this narrative of fairness and social justice, this combined with the existing stigma attached to SEND, exemplifies how SEND students are being ignored.
School funding will take centre stage in the election and we want to focus on the impact this will have on SEND learners. Not only are school standards at risk from the worst financial pressures since the 1990s, there are emerging signs that SEND learners are being turned away from mainstream schools due to a lack of funding.
Schools face an array of challenges including teacher training, accountability measures and funding. Rather than imposing another top-down structural change, we call on policy makers to provide practical support to school leaders.
Below we have set out the five key issues that we would like to see the next government to commit to ensure SEND is firmly entrenched at the heart of education: