Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Children with SEND in North East receiving less educational support

Children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) in the North East of England are receiving less help and support compared to other areas of the country, new research has revealed.

Government data reveals that just 5% of SEN students in the North East have participated in the national tutoring programme (NTP), which aims to directly counter some of the effects the pandemic had on the learning for disadvantaged children in England.

This compares to areas such as London (18%), the North West (15%) and the South East (12%) which had some of the highest rates of participation (see Table 1).

Table 1. SEN student participation on NTP by region

Region Total number of SEND students Participation rates
North East 19,348 5%
South West 27,104 7%
East Midlands 28,784 8%
Yorkshire 38,820 10%
West Midlands 39,341 11%
South East 43,066 12%
North West 53,798 15%
London 65,303 18%

The disparities in uptake in the programme reflect government data which reveals the North East also has the least amount of SEND students receiving Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans or SEN support.

Indeed, under 140,000 children in the North East received support in 2022 compared with 414,200 in London and 433,500 in the South East.

A nurturing environment

With nearly 1.5 million pupils in England having special education needs, and the North East being the region with the highest proportion of disabled people, the specialist recruitment firm Engage Education is now calling for a united effort to meet these children’s needs.

The recruitment firm is urging schools to use academic mentors and recruit more specialist teachers who can provide the support that children with SEND need.

Joseph Raffell, Head of Education at Engage Education, says academic tutors are important for SEND students as they often face challenges in keeping pace with their peers and struggle with confidence and self-esteem issues.

“Tutoring can help bridge the academic gap by providing additional support and reinforcement in key subjects. Tutors can offer specialised instruction, focusing on areas where students may require extra assistance or reinforcement,” he said.

Since tutors can also prepare for the needs of each pupil on a personal level, they can offer emotional, mental and educational support to students, enabling them to get the most out of tutoring sessions, Raffell said.

“Tutoring allows students to receive individual attention and guidance, allowing them to work at their own pace without fear of judgement or falling behind. This nurturing environment can significantly boost their confidence and motivation to succeed academically,” he added.

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