Welcome to this week’s edition of ‘The Week Ahead’
Here you will find the latest updates on literacy and SEND policy from Parliament and beyond.
Things to know:
New funding to expand places at grammar schoolsEducation Secretary Damian Hinds has announced a package of measures which included £50m to expand the number of places at selective schools. Read DYT’s fact sheet on what more grammar schools could mean for SEND learners.
£25 million package announced for SENDNadhim Zahawi set out new measures to boost support for SEND learners last week. Included was funding for Whole School SEND, which DYT is a founding member of. Although we welcome the DfE’s focus on empowering parents, this new money will not grow capacity in schools, nor will it improve outcomes for young people in the short to medium term. What is really needed is a coherent vision for how we enable all the stakeholders in the system to cooperate.
GCSE & SATs week arrives Jules Daulby has 12 tips to help students with SEND revise in TES and her new blog asks if England’s exam system is setting up children with SEND to fail in mainstream schools.
Schools Week Profile of Debra RutleyIn the latest edition of the paper, the Headteacher of Aspire, a Drive for Literacy partner school and DYT Facilitator, Debra Rutley is profiled. She gives an insight of life inside an outstanding Pupil Referral Unit.
DYT’s View: With grammar schools back on the agenda, we take a look back on DYT’s campaign against the policy. Driver Youth Trust submitted evidence to the Government’s “Schools that work for everyone” consultation on the 12th December.
DYT did not support the proposals in “Schools that work for everyone,” as the document neither addressed the risks of the proposals to SEND learners, nor does it articulate any benefit for them – in fact, they were not mentioned once in the document.
8 in 10 pupils in our mainstream schools have a SEND, yet the proposals fail to mention SEND once despite this figure. There is a worrying trend that SEND learners are being forgotten about by policy-makers. There are many people with SEND who are highly able (Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, Richard Branson and Darcey Bussell are all dyslexic) but the assessment process used to admit learners to grammar schools is likely not to champion knowledge but rather the aptitude to read and write quickly under test conditions.
Less than 0.04% of Statemented SEND learners attend grammar schools, compared to 1.7% across all schools. The percentage of SEND learners, with needs not sufficient to receive a Statement of Special Educational Need or an Educational Health Care Plan – for example, dyslexics – is 3.6% in grammar schools, compared to 11% nationally.
SEND Learners require the best teaching by skilled and knowledgeable teachers and support staff. Grammar schools attract and retain the most experienced teachers. This could lead to a further separation of the most vulnerable pupils from the best teachers