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Call for SEND focus in Early Career Framework

Driver Youth Trust says SEND specialist qualifications are currently 'conspicuous by their absence'

How to move from trainee to NQT

Driver Youth Trust says SEND specialist qualifications are currently 'conspicuous by their absence'

Campaigners are calling on the government to provide more specialist training on how to teach pupils with special needs in its new Early Career Framework.

This week’s Department for Education school snapshot report found that one in four teachers don’t believe there is appropriate training in place to help them support pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

The figures come as the government launches a new recruitment and retention strategy including an early career framework to keep teachers in the job.

But Karen Wespieser, director of operations at Driver Youth Trust, said the government should develop qualifications specifically focused on teaching children with special needs.

“Provision for SEND specialist qualifications are conspicuous by their absence in the new plans to support teaching careers,” she told Tes.

“An NPQ [national professional qualification] in special educational needs would be a significant development and could offer much more learner-focused development than the current Sendco role, which can be rather more administrative in its function.

“I really hope that this will be one of the first new NPQs to be developed.”

Anne Heavey, national director of the Whole School SEND consortium, said she was “heartened” that the need to understand “how to support pupils with SEND and work with the Sendco made it into the Early Career Framework”.

However, she added there remain “a lot of details to be clarified, including can we make this work on the ground for new teachers?”

'Concern' over SEND cuts

Support and funding for children with SEND has become an increasingly prominent issue, with the Commons Education Select Committee currently investigating the issue.

Last week, schools minister Lord Agnew admitted the government was “concerned” about the rising cost of appeals against SEND spending cuts.

Research for the Driver Youth Trust conducted last year found less than half of teachers feel confident in teaching young people with literacy difficulties.

Ms Wespieser said better training would cut the cost of supporting SEND pupils in the long-term.

“Strengthening teacher training will provide additional capacity in school which means less spend on interventions specialists,” she said.

“Using the graduated approach will lead to a growing understanding of the pupil's needs and of what supports the pupil in making good progress and securing good outcomes. This isn’t currently mentioned in the framework and is an area that training can easily address.”

The DfE has been contacted for comment.

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