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Wrongly classed as having special needs?

(131 Posts)
DinahRod Tue 14-Sep-10 06:25:33

The article here

"In all, 1.7 million children in England are identified as having special educational needs. The vast majority come from disadvantaged homes. In three per cent of cases (250,550), the need is obvious and acute, such as blindness or deafness, and they receive the help they need speedily.

"Christine Gilbert, chief executive of Ofsted and chief schools inspector, said: "We found that schools are identifying pupils as having special educational needs when they just need better teaching and pastoral support.

"If they had been identified better in the first place, their needs wouldn't be so acute later on. More attention needs to be given to identification."

She added that there was a "poor evaluation at all sorts of levels of pupils' needs".

"With over one in five children of school age in England identified as having special educational needs, it is vitally important that both the way they are identified and the support they receive work in the best interests of the children involved.

"Higher expectations of all chilren, and better teaching and learning, would lead to fewer children being identified as having special educational needs."

The review urges schools to analyse the effectiveness of its teaching ? rather than put in for extra support ? when a child falls behind in class."

Meow75 Tue 14-Sep-10 07:03:56

Because every kid makes it patently clear that a) they have a SN and b) what that need is immediately that they start attending, oh and c) the whole process of getting a child assessed as SN isn't AT ALL the wooliest of woolly minefields designed to trip the assessor at every turn.

Why not review the stupid processes, and, like, reduce class sizes so that we have the chance to spend more than 30 seconds with each student?!?!

Bugger off, Christine Gilbert, get in the classroom with my 10 set 5 for an hour, or even better, a double lesson first thing on a Monday morning, then I'll THINK about valuing the tripe that comes out of your mouth!!

fabsoopergroovy Tue 14-Sep-10 07:41:00

Meow75 - tripe? This is NOT tripe.

Exactly this was identified as happening at my local school. There was an extremely incompetent teacher (now resigned to further her education!) and a dishonest head. The head is still there. The school had so many identified as SEN designed to boost CVA.

A great number of parents have removed their DC including a number of SEN. These children have shown remarkable improvement out of that environment and are very positively flourishing at their new schools. Parents are amazed.

This should not be happening.

OFSTED have hit the nail on the head. It's much more to do with incompetent teaching and ineffective leadership and management.

2shoes Tue 14-Sep-10 08:28:45

SN is not SEN

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 14-Sep-10 08:36:52

Message withdrawn

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 14-Sep-10 08:42:56

Message withdrawn

saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 14-Sep-10 08:43:14

Is she saying some children who have socio-economic needs are being wrongly identified as having SEN?

If so that needs to be addressed (actually I can think of a case I know where that did happen). But they need to ask why and ensure schools are given funds to cope with socio economic needs.

TotalChaos Tue 14-Sep-10 08:50:42

agree with SM about the hidden agenda here. Of course noone would argue with better training and aiming for more effective teaching. but this seems like an excuse to slash TA budgets.

btw my experience of early intervention was as similarly poor as SM's.

ramonaquimby Tue 14-Sep-10 08:52:36

I don't think parents need to be defensive. As with any profession, there are incompetent teachers AND ineffective senior management teams AND weak SENCOs. That's a pretty negative situation if they're all at the same school. I speak as a SEN teacher in specialist school - our school is now a 3 form entry and we turn away dozens of children every year.

DameGladys Tue 14-Sep-10 08:53:36

Couldn't agree with Starlight more.

It sickens me how we are 'groomed' by the media prior to government changes/cuts.

nikkershaw Tue 14-Sep-10 08:56:27

i agree with the findings though, bad teaching most definitely in my sons case. since getting a new head he has been taken off sen reg. it caused me years of worry for nothing essentially and ruined his first years at school. so am pleased it's being addressed.

ShadeofViolet Tue 14-Sep-10 09:27:38

Its just a way of cutting SEN budgets and making us feel happy about being screwed over!

ShadeofViolet Tue 14-Sep-10 09:30:17

By that I mean they are setting us up to cut the SEN budget, but hope that we will all say 'Oh its okay because half of the SEN children havent really got SEN'

Bollocks! The fact that OFSTED is being used as the puppet here is double bollocks!

UnquietDad Tue 14-Sep-10 09:30:38

Ofsted are a bunch of lame fuckers who will use any excuse to bash teachers and need to try teaching for a couple of days to see what it's actually like.

BadgersPaws Tue 14-Sep-10 09:43:02

Isn't some 250,000 children out of 1.7 million more like 15% than 3%? If this article can't do it's sums then what else has it got wrong?

"Special Educational Needs" is not the same thing as what we would consider "Special Needs". The legal definition of "Special Educational Needs" is, rightly or wrongly, anything that stands in the way of a normal education. That means, for example, that violent teenage offenders are classified as having "Special Educational Needs" as their criminal activities is a blocker to normal education.

There is also definitely a pressure from some parents to have their children classified as SEN when they're not.

cory Tue 14-Sep-10 09:45:34

According to our LEA, they do not even statement children whose SN are physical: if, like me, you have children whose physical disabilities affect their learning, your only recourse if the school proves unhelpful is to threaten to sue under the disability act.

And even for children with non-physical SN, all the health professionals I have spoken to agree that statments are as rare as hen's teeth, almost impossible to get these days, they aren't really statementing any more.

I don't get this post by fabs:

"A great number of parents have removed their DC including a number of SEN. These children have shown remarkable improvement out of that environment and are very positively flourishing at their new schools. Parents are amazed."

So how does the fact that children are flourishing when properly supported prove that they do not have SN? Are children with SN never allowed to flourish because that proves they haven't got SN? hmm Isn't that the whole point of SN support: to give children a chance to flourish?

DinahRod Tue 14-Sep-10 09:55:29

At secondary it's a case of being under diagnosed ime. Was so shock to discover a child in my yr 8 class who could not write and had to really push the school for the appropriate assessment (revealed autism, ocd, processing disorder), despite a paper trail going back to preschool angry

At dcs' primary the head freely admits they are good at identifying and getting SEN support, even for handwriting, as it's more bods in the classroom.

Claw3 Tue 14-Sep-10 09:57:39

Special education is the education of students in a way that addresses the students' individual differences and needs.

SEN is for children who are failing to progress for whatever reason, as well as for those who have disabilities.

Seems what the report is saying is teachers should be able to cope without any support or help from specialists, in a very obscure way. Code for lets get the public to believe that teachers/parents are to blame, then no one will object to cuts.

GettinTrimmer Tue 14-Sep-10 09:59:01

Fab - What does CVA stand for?

My ds was classed as special needs from Reception to Year 2 because he needed emotional support (would cry if he couldn't find his hat for example, and would be upset for most of the day), didn't understand instructions, was delayed with handwriting and had help from the ELSA.

He is very young in the year and now he's year 4 he copes more easily and he's no longer on an Individual Education Plan.

I am not clear about this, a teacher friend said when a child is on an IEP (as many of them are) because they need more support in the classroom the school just calls them special needs as a way of identifying where extra resources are needed. I remember a teacher friend saying this is 'action special needs' then children who need more help or have a statement are a different level of special needs.

So is the inspector talking about children who have just been identified as needing extra help and are on IEPs (1 in 5)?

DinahRod Tue 14-Sep-10 10:06:07

Cory, ime find no-one wants to take responsibility or fund the support.

The child I mentioned for instance needs a statement but won't get one. And yes, the SENCo lacks the skills to do the job but, understandably, bemoans slashed budget for outside support (happened 2 yrs ago before the big cuts looming), massive % increase of the cost of support services in school and just not being able to find people who can give specialist help. Can totally see why parents are disillusioned, as ok, he's now got the diagnosis but where's the specialist intervention beyond what I can do for him? He's not going to get it sadangry for him and at feeling being so impotent.

If his parents chose to sue under the DA, as you mentioned, they'd have every right.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 14-Sep-10 10:10:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purits Tue 14-Sep-10 10:15:51

badgerpaws "Isn't some 250,000 children out of 1.7 million more like 15% than 3%? If this article can't do it's sums then what else has it got wrong?"

I think that it was badly worded. There are approx 8m schoolchildren. 1.7m are listed as SEN, 250,000 are 'obvious and acute' SN.
So the 250,000 are 3% of the whole population, not 3% of the SEN population.

You have to admit that it doesn't sound right that one-in-five children have special educational needs. As others have admitted happens in their schools, it is the usual suspect - manipulation of data to meet targets. If more SEN means more money going to the school then of course Headteachers are going to be overenthusiastic about recording SEN.

Bramshott Tue 14-Sep-10 10:19:04

It seems to be something of a mixed message, saying "these children don't have SEN, they just need extra support in school". Well fine, but the system as it is means that the only way to get extra support in school is usually through the SEN route. Surely if your child needs more help than can usually be provided in a class of 30, then either the system is flawed, or they do have a special educational need, because they need more than the "standard" education system. I think she is mixing up SEN and SN personally hmm.

Claw3 Tue 14-Sep-10 10:21:08

Gettin - A rough idea.

1. SA (school action) is the first step ie a child has been identified as not progressing. IEP time.

2. SA+ (school action +) despite intervention from school, child is not progressing and outside specialist help is required.

3. Statement despite, school help, outside specialist help, child is not progressing.

It would appear the report is referring to children at stage 1 or 2 of above. It appears to imply that only statemented children have a real need.

It fails to mention just how bloody hard it is to get a statement or how many obstacles are put in the way.

It also fails to mention that even with outside specialist help, teachers are just left to get on with implementing the recommendations.

So lets blame teachers/parents, when what is needed is more specialist provision.

spiritmum Tue 14-Sep-10 10:22:42

I might be wrong but I think there seems to be a bit of a mix going on here. My cousin is a TA and she was told that 80% of children have some kind of SEN because of 'abuse' at home - such as believing that teh new baby brother was prefrred to them. It doesn't take a bog leap to see how a child going through the usual childhood stuff gets labelled as having SEN on an emotional level.

At the same time children who really do need help with things like dyslexia and dyspraxia and HI aren't getting it. I know that funding is an issue but is there a tendency to dignose disruptive pupils the SEN as a way of justifying their behaviour? Is it easier to do that than tackle the kinds of SEN that requires specialised teaching or one-to-one help?

Then there is the secondary school that my bridesmaid went to that got itself declared a 'special school' because it got more funding. Something similar happened at the school that another cousin works, they made it looks as though there were more problems than there were because it brought in more money.

Coudl it be possible that this is signalling not just cuts but the end of the 'inclusion' policy?

Genuine questions here, I really have no idea if this is right or not.

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