Special Educational Needs: Training

Department for Education written question – answered on 18th October 2021.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all (a) teaching and (b) support staff in schools are trained in handling children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

All teachers are teachers of special education needs and disabilities (SEND), and the high quality teaching is central to ensuring that pupils with SEND are given the best possible opportunity to achieve at school.

From September 2020, all new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence based professional development and support, starting with Initial Teacher Training (ITT) based on the new ITT Core Content Framework (CCF), and followed by a new two-year induction underpinned by the Early Career Framework (ECF).

The CCF sets out a minimum entitlement of knowledge, skills and experiences that trainees need to enter the profession in the best position possible to teach and support all pupils to succeed, including those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the SEND code of practice.

ITT providers must design their courses to incorporate the knowledge, skills and experiences detailed in the CCF into a coherent sequence to support trainees to develop their expertise. Courses must be designed so that trainee teachers can demonstrate that they meet the Teachers’ Standards at the appropriate level. This includes the requirement in Standard 5, that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs.

The Department’s vision is that ITT based on the CCF will be the foundation on which early career training and support is built. The ECF underpins what all Early Career Teachers should learn, and learn how to do, based on expert guidance and the best available research evidence. It was designed in consultation with the education sector, including SEND specialists, and covers five core areas: behaviour management, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and professional behaviours. It is designed to work for all Early Career Teachers regardless of subject, phase or school.

Alongside this, through our contract with the National Association for Special Educational Needs, the department has funded the Whole School SEND consortium to equip the workforce to deliver high quality teaching for all children and young people with SEND. This includes providing training and resources for teaching and support staff. The funding in the 2021-22 financial year will bring the total funding for this contract to over £8 million since 2018.

High-quality professional development is important for teachers at all stages of their careers, to ensure they receive appropriate support and to enable them to consistently improve their practices. Decisions relating to teachers’ professional development rightly rest with schools, headteachers, and teachers themselves, as they are in the best position to judge their own requirements, which may include further training and development relating to pupils and young people with SEND.

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