The large majority of teachers believe there is a significant problem of misdiagnosis of SEN in schools, meaning that some children with real problems are being overlooked

This Week: The struggles of SENCos and the misdiagnosis of SEN

This week, an article on TES by Lynn McCann (autism specialist, teacher and consultant at Reachout ASC), focusing on the struggles SENCos faced, made for a disheartening read. SENCos have always had an extremely tough job, acting as strategic leader, administrator, counsellor and diplomat, all in a highly emotive and political context. Even before the financial situation described in the article started to hit home, they were agonising over difficult decisions surrounding the allocation of scarce resources – on a daily basis. So, a role that was already incredibly hard now borders on the impossible, as support for our most vulnerable children is systematically eliminated. 

One SENCo in the article explains that part of the challenge relates to identification, which links to the report we have published today. In a GL Assessment/YouGov poll of 800 teachers about SEN diagnoses in schools, one message came out loud and clear: that the large majority of teachers believe there is a significant problem of misdiagnosis of SEN in schools, meaning that some children with real problems are being overlooked.

We can make a powerful case that in this plight, when money is very short, necessitating harsh decisions in regards to which children get support and which don’t, there exists all the more reason for those decisions to be informed by reliable, objective evidence. Our assessments allow SENCos to direct the most time and money to the children who really need it.

GL Assessment’s ‘Hooked on labels not on needs’ report will be available to download from gl-assessment.co.uk/hookedonlabels.

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