Residential special schools are ‘isolated’ and lack ambition, review says

The Tes reports that vulnerable children with special educational needs are being let down by residential special schools that are “professionally isolated” and lack ambition, an independent review has found.

Some residential special schools focus on wellbeing and therapeutic support of their pupils at the expense of educational progress, according to a review of residential special schools and colleges.

Currently, there are around 6,000 children educated in 334 residential special schools and colleges in the state, non-maintained and independent sectors.

And Monday’s review, Good Intentions, Good Enough?, written by Dame Christine Lenehan and Mark Geraghty, says: “Some young people can be held back by a lack of ambition for what they can achieve. Preparation for adulthood can suffer because of this, and some LAs feel outcomes are not as good as they should be.”

The review calls for young people with SEND to get the services and support they need in their local community. 

It also says that local areas should plan and commission provision strategically, and ensure that accountability systems enable children to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Today’s (Monday) review also recommended that the Department for Education create a national leadership board for children and young people with high needs.

In a response to the review, education secretary Justine Greening wrote: “It is now time to increase our focus on the quality of the support that these children and young people receive.  This is particularly important for the children and young people in residential special schools and colleges, who are some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

Read more Residential special schools are ‘isolated’ and lack ambition, review says

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