A Government-funded pilot of a new scheme to improve outcomes for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has produced excellent results, according to an independent evaluation carried out by the
. Because of this, the Government now aims to fund its implementation in schools across the country. University of Manchester
The Achievement for All scheme has been running in 450 schools for the last two years, and has resulted in children with SEND make greater progress in attainment, behaviour and attendance than other SEND children outside of the pilot. The report also finds that the scheme successfully narrowed the attainment gap between SEND and non-SEND children, with some children in the pilot even exceeding the progress of children without SEND.
Key findings of the report include:
- 37% of children achieved or exceeded expected levels of progress for all pupils nationally in English. The figure was 42% in Maths.
- There was an average reduction in persistent absence of 10%
- Teachers reported fewer incidents of bullying and behavioural problems
- A big rise in schools reporting excellent relationships with parents – from 12% to 48%
The report found that the most successful schools shared several key factors. Good results were built on strong leadership from the head teacher, regular conversations with parents about educational outcomes and targets, and the sharing of results between schools. The report also found that children with free school meals, English as a second language, or complex needs made progress that was good but slower than their peers. It recommends focusing resources on additional support for these groups.
The Government is now providing £14 million for the programme to be rolled out across the country, and estimates that 1,000 schools will have signed up for the programme by next April. Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:
"It's fantastic to see that Achievement for All has had such impressive results. This shows just what can be achieved for children with SEND with strong school leadership, innovative thinking and close working with families.”
The programme is being delivered by a new charity, Achievement for All 3 As, supported by PwC. Brian Lamb, who headed the enquiry into SEN and now chairs the new charity, commented:
"The evaluation totally endorses Achievement for All's approach. For the first time we now have a proven intervention that can improve outcomes and change the lives of children and families. By adopting this approach schools can ensure that children with SEN have the chance to reach their full potential."