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will curriculum changes increase numbers of SEN pupils?

7 August 2013

The NUT claims that proposed National Curriculum changes will ‘increase the number of pupils labelled as SEN’ because it requires all pupils to ‘achieve the expected levels, regardless of any additional needs’.

Arguably, this view cannot be sustained. The Children and Families Bill retains the current definition of SEN to include pupils who have ‘a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age’. Therefore, pupils could only be properly labelled as having SEN where the majority of their cohort achieved the expected levels and they fell significantly below.

Teachers will also have ‘an even greater obligation to plan lessons for pupils who have low levels of prior attainment’ and ‘a minority of pupils’ will need the ‘different approach’ to be outlined in the new SEN Code of Practice. In any event, a large number of pupils, including those who attend academies, may not follow the new National Curriculum.

The consultation on the National Curriculum changes ends on 8 August.

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