Press release issued on behalf of Mime by Julia Walton.
Analysis by specialist education consultants Mime has revealed today (Tuesday 12 November) where children in England might receive the most inclusive education.
Data experts created an inclusion index, using published information from 150 local authorities, to understand which areas have the most inclusive schools. They explored 12 indicators across areas such as the proportion of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) supported in mainstream schools, attainment, exclusions and overall numbers of pupils with education, health and care plans (EHCPs).
Inclusion scores for each local authority are available here.
For an area to have a high score on the specially developed measure, it would have a high percentage of pupils with SEND supported in mainstream education. Pupils with SEND would have fewer exclusions, plus good attainment and progress.
Key findings from this first look at inclusion over three years to 2018/19:
- Inner and outer London regions have the best inclusion score, followed by a big gap to the next regions (Yorkshire and The Humber & East of England)
- Local authorities with the three best inclusion scores are all in London – Westminster, Barnet and Kingston upon Thamthe es
- Local authorities with the lowest inclusion scores are Somerset, Torbay, and Staffordshire
- The LA areas with the most improved scores over three years are Camden, Ealing, and Merton
The main themes that emerge from the study reveal large variations across England for pupils with SEND, including the number of EHCPs issued by local authorities, and that deprivation plays a key role in levels of attainment and exclusions.
Other findings from the in-depth look at the data include:
- London has high attainment for EHCP pupils;
- Areas with high levels of pupils with social social-emotional health needs (SEMH) are also more likely to have higher rates of fixed fixed-terms, as are more deprived areas;
- The placement of pupils in either mainstream or special schools is influenced by deprivation as well as the availability of local specialist provision;
- More deprived areas have relatively smaller EHCP cohorts as well as lower attainment. These findings could be explained by lower awareness and/or means of parents in deprived areas to lobby for their children through private assessments, tribunals and appeals; and
- Decisions on where to place EHCP pupils are inconsistent both regionally and by local authority area.
Managing Director of Mime, Steve Preston said:
“An inclusive education is one where every pupil has equal access to opportunities to learn and fulfil their potential. We hope that this exploration of the available data will help decision decision-makers there is high quality, local provision for SEND pupils, and to learn from similar areas across the country. While we acknowledge that an education a mainstream school will not suit every child, especially those with more complex needs, this was our starting point for measuring an inclusive system as a positive step for most children.
“One area where there is not yet available data is social and emotional outcomes. Pupils with special needs in these areas account for a sixth of the SEND cohort in England. It is important for schools to monitor the progress of SEND pupils in all areas of their development, not just academic; in time it should be possible to analyse data about non-academic progress, for example by aggregating information from education, health and care plans.
“Lastly, we call on the government to publish off-rolling statistics so we can have a fuller picture of an inclusive education system in England.”
Despite London having the most inclusive schools, in their latest report on Inclusive Practice, London Councils stated that:
“Boroughs told us that some mainstream schools are supporting a much larger number of children with SEND than others. Some schools said that more children could be supported in mainstream settings if schools were better supported – and if other schools, according to their perception, “took their fair share.
“As the number of children with SEND in London has grown in recent years, now is the time for all education partners to strengthen our collective commitment to ensuring education is truly inclusive. London Councils is calling on all education partners to make a firm commitment to ensuring all schools in London are inclusive ‘by default’, that includes councils, national government, Ofsted, school governors and Regional Schools Commissioners as well as school leaders and staff.”