Schools to specialise in special educational needs

Twelve schools in England are to become the first to specialise
in catering for special educational needs, Children’s
Minister Margaret Hodge announced last month.

Previously, schools signed up to the Specialist Schools
programme could only specialise in an academic discipline such as
maths, languages or sport. But the new SEN Centres of Expertise
will concentrate on one of four areas of SEN teaching and learning:
communication and interaction; cognition and learning; behavioural,
emotional and social difficulties; or sensory and/or physical

The new SEN centres will be expected to undertake outreach
activity and share their skills with mainstream schools. Hodge also
said additional funding would be provided to improve the SEN skills
of teachers not trained in meeting special educational needs.

Hodge said: “We need to build the confidence of trainee
and existing teachers in the good work they are doing identifying
and supporting children with special educational needs in the
challenges they face. Children with SEN have the right to enjoy,
achieve and excel, as with all children.”

The twelve “trailblazer” SEN specialists are due to
start operating in September 2005. They are:

Emily Forte School, Leicester City
Marjorie Kinnon School, Hounslow
Clifford Holroyde School, Liverpool
Holley House School, Derbyshire
Penn Hall School, Wolverhampton
Ashfield School, Leicester City
RNIB New College, Worcester
Mary Hare School, Berkshire
West of England (VI) School, Devon
New Rush Hall School, Redbridge
Firwood School, Bolton
Cuckmere School, East Sussex

The specialist schools website is:

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