Nearly one in four state school boys is classed as having special educational needs, almost double the number of girls, according to a report in the Telegraph…
Overall, almost one in five pupils across England – in both state and private schools – has some type of special educational need (SEN), accounting for about 1.5 million children.
However, campaigners have claimed that the high figures are down to poor teaching and children are being wrongly labelled by schools attempting to mask their failures.
Those identified as having SEN include children with speech and language needs, learning difficulties, behaviour issues, visual, hearing or multi-sensory impairments, physical disabilities or a form of autism.
Karen Ivens, vice chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said that the problems start in primary school, where teachers fail to control their classes and children fail to learn, leading them to be classed as having special needs.
“There is also a strong tendency toward labelling children, don’t forget there is money attached to it,” she said. “And it means that they have more excuses for under achievement when Ofsted come along.
“The answer is to teach them in a proper, structured way, where teachers can pick out the children who truly need extra help.”
A 2010 report by Ofsted claimed that 457,000 children had been being wrongly labelled special needs in order to disguise poor teaching.
A breakdown of the data, published by the Department for Education (DfE) yesterday, shows that in state primary, secondary and special schools, nearly a quarter, 24.3 per cent, of boys were judged to have special needs, compared with around one in seven, 13.7 per cent, of girls.
The number, a total of 18.7% of pupils, has dropped since last year when about 1.6 million pupils fell into an SEN category.
Jean Gross, a former government adviser on children with speech, language and communication needs, also believes that too many children are being labelled, but argues that the teachers believe it the best way to get them extra help.
“It is a way of handing them over to sort them out, but we need to put the responsibility for all children back to the teachers,” she said.
Are too many children – especially boys – being classed as having special needs, or is it the right thing to do and beneficial for them in the long term? Please let us know your thoughts on this in the comments or via Twitter…