Special Educational Needs: Learning Disability

Department for Education written question – answered on 1st March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether those working in special educational needs in schools are currently required to hold the Assessment Practising Certificate or other relevant qualifications for the purposes of diagnosing dyslexia and specific learning difficulties.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Neither qualified teachers, nor special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCO), are required to hold the Assessment Practising Certificate.

Every school is required to identify and address the special educational needs (SEN) of the pupils that they support, including those with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties, and are subject to the requirements of the statutory guidance, the ‘Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice: 0-25 Years’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25.

In order for teachers to be awarded qualified teacher status, trainees must satisfy the teachers’ standards which include a requirement that they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with SEN and are able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them: www.gov.uk/government/publications/teachers-standards. ‘A framework of core content for initial teacher training (ITT)’, published in July 2016 states that providers should ensure SEND training is integrated across the ITT programme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-government-response-to-carter-review.

All maintained mainstream schools and nursery schools must designate a qualified teacher as the SENCO. Any SENCO appointed to the role after 1 September 2009, and who has not previously been the SENCO at that or any other relevant school for a total period of more than 12 months, is required to achieve a national award in special educational needs co-ordination (NASENCO). The NASENCO is a masters-level award, which covers all aspects of leading on SEND within schools and supporting children and young people with SEND.

The government has provided support to organisations, including the British Dyslexia Association, to produce a range of guidance to help teachers provide support to children and young people with dyslexia. In April 2018 the Whole School SEND consortium, led by the National Association for SEN, nasen, were awarded £3.4 million for 2018-2020 to deliver a programme of work to equip the school workforce to deliver high quality teaching across all types of SEND, including specific learning difficulties. The programme of work aims to help schools identify and meet SEND training needs.

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