Question Sam Education

Enabling learning in primary SEN provision

What are the key aspects of enabling learning in SEN provision in primary schools?

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Answer Internal Staff

There are 1,228,785 Special Educational Needs (SEN) children in England alone in 2016 (Department for Education (DfE), 2016). Around 2.8% at present (DfE, 2016) have a Statement of Special Educational Need, which is completed by a multi-disciplinary team and provides a detailed outline of a particular child’s needs. Whether via a statement or internal staff’s knowledge and practice, swift identification of individual children’s learning needs is a critical component of SEN provision. Without a comprehensive understanding of what the barriers to a child’s learning are, processes to minimise them cannot be enacted. Following on from this, an important aspect of the process is to organise tailored support for each individual which will have a demonstrable impact on their progress. Children with SEN have a varied and intricate set of needs to be met and support offered should reflect this. The way needs are addressed should not remain static, but should be subject to continuous evaluation from all involved – this helps to identify strengths and limitations of any given approach, and allows opportunities to improve provision. Effective inclusion is also essential: Ofsted do not make separate judgements about schools’ SEN provision but the whole school’s progress, which must evaluate ‘the extent to which the education provided by the school meets the needs of the range of pupils’ (Ofsted, 2015, p. 132). SEN children in mainstream school should be offered the same opportunities for progression as all other learners, even if the rate is different, and provision is judged inadequate if it fails to ‘tackle poor teaching, learning and assessment, which significantly impairs the progress of pupils, particularly those who are disadvantaged, disabled or have SEN’ (Ofsted, 2015, p. 44). Enabling effective learning for SEN children, then, requires individual differentiation and continued support above all else.


Department for Education (2016). Special educational needs in England: January 2016. London: Stationery Office.

Ofsted (2015). School inspection handbook: Handbook for inspecting schools in England under section 5 of the Education Act 2005. London: Ofsted.