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Whoever invented the term polycrisis must have been thinking of SEND provision in schools in England. Its problems are multiple, serious and growing. Developed behind a smokescreen of denial, government policies are making them worse.

Last week the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) reported that two-fifths of special schools are expecting to make cuts in provision in the year ahead (Lucas et al, 2023).

Support staff numbers are being cut with no thought to the impact on SEND. Teachers’ capacities are being stretched to the limit – and beyond. At the same time – as research by Kings College London and the Edge Foundation (McPherson et al, 2023) has shown – pressure on teachers to get students through exams is limiting the pastoral and additional educational support that SEND learners need. 

This is a picture graphically confirmed to the union by thousands of our members in their responses to our regular State of Education surveys.

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