“The needs of SEN pupils are being severely, negatively impacted by the Coalition Government’s education policies. The fact that free schools and academies can employ non-qualified teachers is unacceptable for any pupil, but does not bode well for SEN provision in schools. All too often school and local authority budget cuts mean that the most vulnerable pupils in schools are not receiving the support needed.
Free schools act as their own admission authorities and analysis of their intakes shows they are not representative of the communities they serve. Academies have excluded pupils and carried out fixed term exclusions at a far greater rate than state maintained schools. This is a pattern that has been evident over a number of years and one which needs to be addressed. For the NUT every child matters.
Schools should have access to a curriculum that engages all pupils and recognises all abilities. Vocational education needs to be recognised alongside academic subjects and the methods of testing and examinations revised. For many SEN pupils the change to a one-off three hour exam for GCSEs will not give a true reflection of their abilities.”