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Revised approach to SEN set for national roll-out

A Government project to help teachers overhaul the way they work with children with special educational needs is set to be rolled out nationally.

Achievement for All (AfA) aims to get schools to review their support for all pupils, rather than just labelling some as having special needs.

The programme, designed to improve the aspirations of the lowest-performing children, reduced persistent absence by 20 per cent in participating schools and improved behaviour in others when it was first piloted.

The pilot scheme began in September 2009 in 460 schools in 10 local authorities. It will end this August.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been awarded a contract by the Department for Education to manage the expansion of the programme into more areas. All schools can now become involved if they choose to do so. Around 200 more have already registered to join.

Children's minister Sarah Teather hopes Achievement for All will help schools to deliver many of her SEN reforms, outlined in the recent green paper. She wants to stop the "over-identification" of children with SEN.

Schools will also be held more accountable for how well they support children with special educational needs. Their progress will be shown in detail on league tables.

Sonia Blandford, who led the AfA pilot, approached PwC to lead the expansion. She and a group of headteachers have set up a new charity to develop Achievement for All, called "AfA (3As)".

A DfE spokesman said: "This partnership brings together the business rigour of PwC with the expertise of some of the most innovative school leaders who understand system improvement. In time the consortium will be run solely as a not-for-profit social enterprise."

AfA will eventually be run as a social enterprise. Brian Lamb, who led a recent government enquiry into SEN, has agreed to chair the charity's board of trustees.

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