“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”Nelson Mandela
Opportunity for all strong schools with great teachers for your child
Nadim Zahawi presented his schools white paper. ‘Opportunity for all strong schools with great teachers for your child’.
This paper for parents, sets out proposed reforms to the education systems, with the intention of securing outstanding teachers for every child.
The paper has had a mixed reception, some have applauded it whilst other are appalled by it.
Placing demands on schools to raise standards at the end of KS2 and KS4 is welcoming.
My major concern, is against the backdrop of funding uncertainties, COVID affected pupils and teachers, and the high cost of living which will affect our lowest income families and PPG recipients.
Will this make it even more difficult for school leaders to achieve these expectations? Are we heading back to schools working to stay on top of a league table, one that was not a true reflection of our schools?
The SEND Review
For school leaders, SENCos and class teachers. this review is well overdue. The SEND system has been broken for many years; schools have struggled to secure resources to meet the needs of their most vulnerable pupils.
As a result of the lack of expert behaviour support in schools, more pupils are being excluded and placed in resource lacking alternative provision and PRUs.
There is also no guarantee these provisions have access to SEND specialist staff to support these pupils, placing an added pressure on staff in these provisions.
The new plan for a universal Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in place is a welcoming change.
SENCos have been calling for early intervention with children much earlier in a child’s learning journey.
What I look forward to because of this review, is:
- Fewer neurodivergent young people and adults being left facing uncertainty and limited support to live an independent life where possible.
- Special Education Needs and Disability leads being recognised as members of the school’s Senior Leadership Teams with their contributions respected and welcomed as part of the whole school development process.
- Parents no longer having to fight for an appropriate school place for their child
- For schools to have access to the specialist support needed to support their children with additional needs.
I had the pleasure of assessing an East London primary school for their Inclusion and Diversity award.
Part of the process was to talk with pupils about what diversity means to them. One pupil spoke passionately about their year 6 class of dual registered peers from a local school and special needs centre.
She said, “We learn a lot from class 5H, I hope they learn a lot from us.”
What was also amazing, was all the children spoke about 5H but never referred to them as children with special needs.
The school did achieve their Inclusion and Diversity Award Bronze, and are well on the way to their silver award.