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Warnings about lack of SEND support in classrooms

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Insufficient staff who are trained to support SEND pupils, fewer TAs and long waiting times to access mental health services mean that vulnerable children are not getting the help they need:

    ‘Four in five teachers say there are not enough staff in their school who are appropriately trained to support pupils with SEND effectively.

    A snapshot survey of 1,026 primary and secondary schoolteachers in England has also revealed the decline in numbers of teaching assistants – with 73 per cent of teachers saying there are now fewer TAs to support them, and 94 per cent saying this is having a negative effect on pupils with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities).’

    What are your views about this issue? Should the government do more to stop the gradual loss of adequate support for SEND pupils? What more could or should be done? Is the situation already at crisis point?

  2. BTBAM85

    BTBAM85 New commenter

    The government should, but they won't. This Government don't care about the most vulnerable people in society, in fact they actively wish to harm them.
    phlogiston and thekillers1 like this.
  3. Hellsbells999

    Hellsbells999 New commenter

    So short sighted:-(
    agathamorse and thekillers1 like this.
  4. SomethingWicked

    SomethingWicked Occasional commenter

    From the TES website, Feb '18:

    "In 2002-3, primary schools spent 11.1 per cent [on TAs] [...] But TAs' share of school budgets continued to grow, to 18.1 per cent in 2016-17. Secondary schools saw a similar trend."

    "With teaching assistant numbers up by 40,000 or 30 per cent between 2011 and 2016, primary schools probably spent a good deal of their pupil premium money on employing extra teaching assistants."​

    Today's news of a drop in TAs sounds more like a market correction to me. In an ideal world, yes we'd have more TAs, but the last ~20 years have been booming for their corner of the industry, and people shouldn't be foolish enough to think any system is above the law of boom and bust.
  5. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Yet CEOs have higher rates of pay, but teachers and TAs receive unrealistic terms of payment. Wait until all permanent teaching and support staff are on zero hour contracts regardless if they’re supply or not, meaning no holiday and sick leave. Plus, waiting for the flat pay rates applied to all schools.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    fadeyushka_1967 likes this.
  6. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    We also have more children with significant SEND problems in mainstream schools which would account for the increase in TAs.

    Based on my experiences as a classroom teacher, we're at breaking point. About a third of my class have SEND and trying to support them with very limited help is an impossible task. At least 2 of my children require an EHCP. However, we can't afford for an educational psychologist to assess them. Welcome to academisation.
  7. janerain72

    janerain72 New commenter

    We have a significant number of children throughout our school with complex needs. There's no alternative provision for these pupils and very little funding for TA support for them in our mainstream school. As a result, these children have a massive detrimental impact on the learning of the rest of the pupils. It's an incredibly sad situation for all.
  8. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    thekillers1 and agathamorse like this.
  9. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    15 years in service and still waiting for proper support for send students.......
    What did happen was that these children were placed in amongst groups of 32, in the name of ‘integration’......with one specialist subject teacher after another who was supposed to show continuous evidence to the powers that be in schools that they are doing all sorts of ‘differentiation’ to raise their attainment along with the rest of the group whilst also monitoring and adapting lessons to individual complex needs as well as students on pupil premium.
    One adult........! 44 to 46 hours of teaching lessons......in whose book did this ever make any sense?
    The only big change when Gove and his cronies got their paws on dfe funding allocation was that suddenly big money was available for CEO salaries and big contracts for their friends to build new academies. Inside these glass and steel structures everything in individual classrooms carried on as usual except they tried to cut down teacher pension expenses by getting rid of upper scale teachers via performance management policies and now advertise there will be lots of opportunities for ‘professional development’ which means overworked staff have to sit and listen to nonsense for an hour or two every bleddy week.....after particularly tiring days of dealing with a very very large range of needs on their own, they may even have to model think pair share on post its and pretend they still have some energy left for that despite being almost driven to their knees with exhaustion.
    Sometimes they hire parents of children in the school, (some who also have learning needs)....but since they keep changing timetables, with good reason, the students who need stability the most rarely get it.
    As for students with mental issues.......again one adult to 32 children......to differentiate for each becomes well nigh Impossible so the problems with behaviour build up pretty quickly and become part and parcel of such schools.
    The leaders are more concerned with keeping up the superficial appearances of data and teacher performance management to be concerned with the day to day and hour by hour reality for those on the firing line......
  10. Mental health concern, for parents, staff and children, both in school, in home education and when exclusions occur, is keeping me awake at night. Last week it was reported that 270 children committed suicide in the UK last year. I don't know statistics about school staff mental health, and I agree, TAs are overlooked. My evidence base and background? I am a Thrive practitioner, Senco, teacher with 20 years experience. I am no longer working in school, so am free to speak out without fear of possible criticism from management. My concerns are for my children, grandchildren, looked after children, friends and family. I have just seen politicians yesterday suggesting children strike during holiday time, quoting the cost of one lesson to be £1600 and £1900 for primary and secondary, respectively. I think they are missing the point! I would love to hear from anyone who has a concern or suggestion, to find ways to try to make our voices heard. Carol
  11. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    Teacher suicide rate is also concerning. Female primary school teachers are 42% more at risk of committing suicide than general population. The education system definitely needs fixing.
  12. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    Or is it that primary school teaching attracts a 'certain' kind of female?
  13. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

  14. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    It's hardly scientific I know, but looking back on my PGCE several decades ago, I remember sitting in the groups lectures with Primary and Secondary school trainees. It was like oil and water.

    The few guys on the Primary course, chose it because they felt it would be easier. One wanted to continue doing magic tricks with children and riding a unicycle. I always wonder what happened to him. ;)
  15. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    We have a Government keen on selection. The call for "a grammar school in every town" is a powerful emotional tool. It feels from where I sit that they want to encourage a sort of social Darwinism / survival of the fittest. Lots of resources to the high achievers who they want to enable us to compete internationally (nothing necessarily wrong with that), but chuck those who can't keep up on the scrapheap.
    I know they say that they want every child to do well - but then they have an assessment scheme only fit for the most academic.
    2nd thoughts edit: (looking at the rise in mental health issues - I'm not even sure it's fit for them either).
    agathamorse and Catgirl1964 like this.
  16. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    It was ever thus! Typically, when the SEN student first came into the mainstream class, they came with a minder for each lesson. Then (in science, anyway), the minder would only come in for practical sessions, then only s,for some practical sessions, and then they would stop coming altogether.
    agathamorse and Piscean1 like this.
  17. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Occasional commenter

    During a recent briefing, we learnt that mixed ability classes currently only utilised in Yr 7 will be rolled out to include Yr 7,8 and 9. Also we will be changing to 6 forms per year group from 7 meaning larger groups of about 30. As a TA, I have been asking teachers in whose classes I support how they have found mixed ability teaching so far. Not one has said they prefer it as it means differentiating to the nth degree, all at a time when schools are supposed to be looking at ways to reduce workload, not increase it. Of course it makes my job far harder too, as with no foreknowledge of each lesson content, I have to think on my feet to enable my weaker students to learn something and demonstrate it. I am not looking forward to the coming months/years. We have a large number of SEND students and a larger than average number of EHCPs too.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    Differentiating to the nth degree is difficult. I have children working as low as reception level and as high as above age related in my key stage 2 class, not to mention everything in between!

    I actually agree with mixed-ability groups but they should be genuine. Grouping them within a classroom and giving different activities is just the same as setting as far as I'm concerned, on a smaller and less manageable scale. That's how I'm forced to differentiate and I find it to be ineffective and workload heavy. It might be useful for some lessons but for all? Nope!

    Not only that, but it places a ceiling on what the "lowers" can attain. How are they ever supposed to make accelerated progress if they're still not accessing the curriculum fully?
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Occasional commenter

    Our department's main remit is to 'close the attainment gap' ironically.
    Piscean1 likes this.
  20. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Then CEOs and SLT have pay rises.

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