Mark Whitehead 11 June 2019

Some schools 'discouraging' admission of special needs children

Children with special needs are being discouraged from attending some primary schools, education experts have warned.

A report by the London School of Economics (LSE) says children with a Statement of Special Educational Needs who attend pre-schools based in primary schools are significantly less likely than their peers to be admitted to the school’s reception class.

The authors say the research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, backs up growing anecdotal evidence from parents that some schools are actively discouraging the admission of children with special needs.

They say 26% of children with a statements move on to other schools compared to 18 per cent of children with no recorded statement.

The report, Inequalities in the experience of early education in England: Access, peer groups and transitions, says funding cuts and reforms have reduced authorities’ ability to deal with inequalities in early years provision.

It recommends that local authorities are given the power and resources to address higher levels of transitions.

Dr Tammy Campbell, one of the authors of the study, said: 'It’s very possible that continuity of transition for children with special educational needs and disabilities has become even less stable in the most recent years.

'Funding cuts combined with target-based school accountability measures mean that schools are disincentivised from admitting these pupils. We intend to track changes over recent years in upcoming research.'

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