What’s the problem? 2018-10-31T17:17:26+01:00

What’s the problem?

Despite progress being made in improving literacy over the past ten years, outcomes for those with SEND, without exception, are worse than any other group – especially if they are from a disadvantaged background.

Further Challenges for those with SEND

Disadvantage

26.6% of pupils with SEND are eligible for free school meals (compared to 11.8% without SEND).

PRUs

The pipeline from PRU to prison in disadvantaged students with SEND is well documented. This spiral costs £370,000 per young person in lifetime education, benefits, healthcare and criminal justice costs.

Exclusions

Children with SEND account for half of all permanent exclusions despite being only 14% of the school population.

Streaming

88% of those in the bottom set in reception are still there in year 11. We are labelling these children as failures from the start of their educational experience.

Home Education

The number of children being educated at home has risen by 57% since 2013. It is highly likely that a significant proportion will have SEND.

Reasons Why

Attitude

There is a pervasive attitude within education and society that catering to the needs of those learners with SEND is the responsibility of someone else – special schools rather than mainstream, SENCos and TAs rather than teachers, specialist charities rather than mainstream literacy and education charities. We evidenced this in our Through the Looking Glass report.

Specialists

The shortage of specialists in the education system is at crisis point, meaning that children with literacy difficulties are not receiving the specialist support they require.

Teacher Training

From DYT’s Fish in the Tree report, we know that there is little guidance available to help teachers understand the needs of all learners, including those with literacy difficulties. There is still no mandatory requirement for teacher training in supporting pupils with SEND in the classroom.

System

Our education system focuses on performance as opposed to assessing the ability of learners. The exams system in the UK is increasing the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged, particularly those with SEND. There are no longer retakes of exams and exams now rely heavily on literacy, memory and speed – the three elements of dyslexia which make it a life altering disability. We are testing performance in exam situations, and not by ability and knowledge.

Our Solution

We campaign to champion the interests of learners with literacy difficulties, to ensure society is better aware of the nature and impact they can have and so policymakers decide to do something about it. We focus our campaigning efforts on areas where we believe our work can make systemic change to the lives of those young people who struggle with literacy. Find out more about our work

Embed literacy difficulties into Initial Teacher Education and CPD.

Make pupils with literacy difficulties a high priority for school leaders and policymakers.

Increase accountability for the progress of learners with literacy difficulties.

Simplify funding available for literacy difficulties (e.g. SEN support) and make it transparent.

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