Government planning SEND research, PM reveals


New research into supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities is in the pipeline, Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed.

She made the announcement during Prime Minister’s Questions, adding that the focus will be on identifying children with SEND and on their experiences of education.

Mrs May was responding to a question from Conservative MP Alex Chalk, where he said special schools in his Cheltenham constituency “have had to contend with an explosion in pupil complexity: emotional, behavioural and medical,” in the last decade.

He called for a “careful examination about what lies behind these seismic changes” is needed in order to ensure that the best educational outcomes are delivered in the future.

Mrs May responded by calling it a “very, very important issue” and revealed that the Department of Education (DfE) has “a number of research projects in fields relating to these children and young people”.

She explained that the government is “committed to building up that rich body of evidence on the identification and on the outcomes and educational experiences, and the department is also scoping new work that would help, again, to lead to our understanding of these issues so we can ensure these children get the right support they need”.

It comes as the Department for Education was handed a petition calling for greater funding for SEND in order to ensure that all children have access to quality education.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have worked since 2016 to enhance the framework for children with SEND by highlighting examples of best practice.

A DfE spokesman said the move is to ensure that “young people with SEND go as far in life as possible”.