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SEN labelling: an excuse for poor teaching?

31 July 2013

Recent statistics from the Government have indicated that nearly 20% of pupils in primary education are labelled as having some form of special educational need. For boys, the figure is 24% and for girls it is 14% of the total primary school population. The figure is a reduction from last year’s figures but critics continue to claim that the figures are too high and are due to mis-labelling of pupils and an inability of teachers to meet the needs of all children in their class. The claim is backed up by a 2010 report by Ofsted which saw mis-labelling as an excuse for poor teaching.

Whilst such criticisms are worrying, the additional support which may come with a label of special educational needs can provide essential support to ensure the child makes progress in school.  Given the greater focus on teaching in Ofsted inspections and the changes to the SEN framework, it will be interesting to see how schools will adapt to meet the needs of all children when the availability of additional LA support is reduced.

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