Corona Mask

@BathSpaUni - Flagship SENCO report reveals the impact of Covid-19 on pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and warns of a growing divide during the third lockdown

**New research highlights the crisis in SEND and challenges of delivering universal inclusive provision and differentiation of SEN support as teaching moved online**

**An increase in responsibilities, administrative demands and responding to national guidance during the pandemic stretched the role of the SENCO to breaking point**

**Warning that SEN pupils could fall further behind peers during the third national lockdown **

New research from Bath Spa University, in collaboration with nasen, has revealed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), and highlights concerns around the provision of specialist support for children and young people and the impact on Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs).

The National SENCO Workforce Survey 2020, which this year captured the experiences of SENCOs in response to the pandemic and the first national lockdown, revealed a key issue with universal inclusive provision and differentiation of SEN support as teaching moved online for the majority of pupils, with almost three-quarters (73%) of SENCOs stating their school experienced challenges with providing virtual support for children with SEN, and 8 in 10 finding it difficult to provide differentiated learning online.

The results also reported a sharp increase in SENCOs workload as schools responded and adapted to the unprecedented situation, which saw them faced with more management tasks and paperwork, including teaching, safeguarding, completing risk assessments and quickly responding to changing national guidance – all impacting a role that was already severely lacking in time pre-pandemic.  

Of those surveyed, nearly three-quarters of SENCOs (72%) felt that their schools had experienced challenges in providing support for children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) during the lockdown, with over half (56.7%) finding the management of risk assessments a key challenge.

Only 1 in 10 were happy with the support they received during the pandemic, reporting that expectations and guidance changed frequently. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds (64.4%) would have welcomed more support and guidance from central government – findings that have led to recommendations around the provision of national exemplars and guidance in responding to unprecedented events in the future.

Dr Helen Curran, Senior Lecturer in Education: SEN at Bath Spa University, said: “The global pandemic has exposed the existing crisis in SEND, and amplified challenges that SENCOs already faced, such as a lack of time to execute the role.

“We know that schools have worked tirelessly to support young people during the pandemic, facing daily challenges, difficult decisions and changing national guidance. As we get to grips with a third lockdown and return to remote learning, there is a real risk that children with SEND will continue to be disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, unless teachers, SENCOs and pupils are given additional support in areas like providing appropriate and differentiated virtual learning.”

Although the research highlighted a number of challenges as a result of the pandemic, there were some positive experiences of online learning reported for some children with SEND, including a reduction in social communication and interaction anxieties.

Additionally, the majority of SENCOs (84.2%) reported an increased focus on communication with parents and families, and most SENCOs (71%) in academies were satisfied with the support from their Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs.) 

Professor Adam Boddison, Chief Executive at nasen commented: “The SENCO Workforce Survey not only shines a spotlight on the strengths and challenges that impact SENCOs in their work, it also exposes some of the hidden challenges that continue to perpetuate inequalities impacting children and young people with SEND and their families.

“The pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on children and young people’s social, emotional and mental health needs, exacerbating social interaction challenges. It is vital that we support them and the mental wellbeing of our education workforce. We would like to see routine wellbeing arrangements put in place following this extended period of national challenge, including priority support for SENCOs.

“Moving forward, it is important that we work collaboratively and share good practice across mainstream, special schools and specialist settings to help all children and young people, particularly those with SEND, to learn and thrive regardless of their background or need.”

Summary of Recommendations from report:

  • Access to and accessibility of virtual learning: Access to IT for all children needs to be considered as a critical issue and schools should prioritise digital learning to support young people in their future learning. Teachers need to be provided with additional support to help them differentiate for pupils with SEND
  • Provision of central guidance and support: Guidance should be given to school leaders in advance to allow them time to plan effectively. This includes the provision of national exemplars, e.g., for risk assessments, and the development of SENCO specific guidance for responding to unprecedented events
  • Responding to unprecedented challenges: Guidance around virtual learning and learning from the positive experiences that SENCOs reported when supported by MATs, including the development of networks and sharing of resources
  • Working with families: Senior leaders to consider how the benefits reported from a closer relationship with families can continue to be realised in the longer term

The full report, National SENCO Workforce Survey 2020: Supporting children and young people with special educational needs and their families during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, can be viewed here: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/projects/senco-workload/  

As part of its commitment to ensuring expertise in SEND is available to every school and setting, nasen will be offering membership for free from January 25th.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 4 hours 28 minutes ago

Matt’s the man for the job at Middlesbrough College Group: Middlesbrough College Group (@mbrocollege) has appointed… https://t.co/T4z2oteHyB
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page