The findings for the SEN in Secondary Education (SENSE) study have been collated and the final report has been released on Friday 30th June. Written by Rob Webster and Peter Blanchford at UCL, they have built on the findings released in their earlier Making a Statement (MAST) study, which looked at the educational experiences of pupils of SEND in Primary schools. SENSE has taken their research and looked at the educational experiences in secondary schools.

The findings call into question the overall effectiveness of provision and quality of the educational experiences available to students with statements in mainstream secondary schools. Coming at a time when schools generally and the SEND system face great challenges.

Together Rob and Peter have spent 1,340 hours of classroom observation and conducted over 490 interviews with school staff, parents and pupils which has culminated with this study and their previous MAST study.

DYT Director Chris Rossiter had this to say on the report;

  • ‘The SEN in Secondary Education Study (SENSE) gives us a real insight in to the educational experiences of SEND learners. As the largest classroom observation ever undertaken in the UK, this evidence provides us with much needed detail on the interactions learners have with their peers, teachers and the other adults in school who meet their requirements, such as teaching assistants.
  • What Rob Webster, Roy Blatchford and colleagues at the Institute of Education have done is show what school is really like for these young people; one which is dominated by time spent with teaching assistants over teachers in low ability classes.
  • It is undoubtedly true that many TAs are well trained and provide a high standard of support and yet their numbers are falling at a time of increasing demands on learners and schools.
  • As an organisation that prides itself on evidence-based practice, this study will inform our school-based consultancy, Drive for Literacy.’

For the full report click here.

Rob Webster has also written a feature in TES about his study entitled ‘The myth of inclusion’.