SEND Education Briefing – March 2021
The APPG on Independent Education heard from leaders in independent school SEND provision in March this year, exploring how independent schools support pupils with SEND, and how they work with state schools to improve support for all SEND pupils.
We would like to thank our guest speakers: Dr Duncan Pritchard (formerly of Aran Hall School), Jen Weeks (LVS Hassocks), Claire Wellington Smith (St Peter’s, Exmouth), and Barry Huggett OBE (More House Foundation)
The briefing heard from independent special schools about how they could support children who have failed to fit into mainstream schooling. One school provides a range of functional, vocational, and academic curricula – with those on the academic path often progressing to mainstream 6th Forms. They have found small class sizes – no more than 8 pupils – to be key in achieving this.
Good relationships with local authorities are also key. Speakers discussed how local authorities can be nervous about using mainstream independent school places – but that these places can often be in the best interests of the child. There needs to be a shared focus on the child, and closer links between independent and state professionals.
Independent schools can also contribute research into managing SEND conditions – one speaker at the APPG had regularly published research in international journals and has two chapters forthcoming this year. While not able in every independent school, the specialised environments of some schools allow them to make contributions to the whole sector.
Thanks again to all our speakers, and for attendees asking insightful questions on therapy, complex needs, and pharmacological interventions.