SEND learners and their right to education
Learners with special education needs and disabilities have been given the short straw in education for too long. Many recent articles in the news have warned us of an upcoming ‘showdown’ between SEND learners and the UK government.
The budget available is limited and the number of children with SEND has increased over the last two years – with ASD being the most common. Thankfully, the DfE has allocated funding to open 37 special free schools and two alternative provision free schools, creating places for 3,400 children. Will this be enough?
It has become clear that mainstream schooling does not suit all children. Other solutions such as special schools, alternative provisions and online schools are required – one size does not fit all in education. This does not mean that children with barriers to learning should be separated from their peer groups. Education providers should be able to provide learners with a safe, inclusive environment for their study – instead of isolating a student with SEND or learning differences.
UNESCO’s ‘Right to education’ campaign argues that education is a fundamental human right and seeks to ensure that every child gets access to quality education. Providers across the globe are changing their strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. With this in mind, why are there so many limitations in the UK that stop SEND learners from gaining the education they deserve?
The funding to build more special schools is a great start – but as education providers, we must also focus on the inclusion of our learners. We must ensure their vulnerability does not become their weakness.