Many schools are rejecting children with special educational
needs and disabilities because they fear they will bring down their
performance and affect their place in the league tables, according
to an Audit Commission report, writes Sally
‘Special Educational Needs: a mainstream issue’, calls
on the government to give schools more incentive to accept children
with special needs.
It recommends introducing new systems for recognising
schools’ work on SEN, by raising its profile in school
inspection and awards for schools that can show inclusive
Under the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001,
which came into force in September, schools must not discriminate
against children with these needs.
But Sir Andrew Foster, controller of the Audit Commission, said:
“League tables weaken schools commitment to working with pupils
with SEN – for fear they will drag down their position. This
has a damaging effect on staff morale and explains the reluctance
of some headteachers to admit pupils with SEN.”
Caroline Cooke, research and public policy officer at Scope,
said the charity welcomed the report and the way “it highlights the
tension that exists in the government’s agenda”.
She added: “It is promoting the policy of inclusion at the same
time as failing to value anything other than the achievement of
To read the report