Professionals’ views on the new policy for special educational needs in England: ideology versus implementation

Olympia Palikara, Susana Castro, Carolina Gaona, Vasiliki Eirinaki

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In 2014 a new policy for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) provision was introduced in England. As it has been the case in countries where SEND reforms were introduced, these changes raised challenges and opportunities for the professionals supporting children with SEND. However, to date, little systematic and large scale evidence has been made available on how professionals perceive these changes. In this study, the views of 349 professionals were ascertained using a semi-structured online survey. The results revealed that although many professionals agreed in principle with some of the key changes introduced, several constraints were reported including tight timelines, budget cuts, and difficulties in the collaboration between education, health and care, suggesting a rather fragmented implementation of the new policy. No significant differences were found between groups of professionals for most items, however educational psychologists and special needs co-ordinators disagree on the extension of the provision age range, on how well the children’s needs are described in the education, health and care plans, and on the professional requirements of this process. The findings are discussed in light of their implications for meeting children’s needs and in comparison with other policy changes worldwide. 

© 2018, Taylor & Francis. The attached document (embargoed until 20/09/2019) is an author produced version of a paper published in the European Journal of Special Needs Education uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-97
Number of pages28
JournalEuropean Journal of Special Needs Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2018

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