Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) were more than seven times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion compared with pupils with no SEND, according to Department for Education exclusion figures for the 2014-2015 academic year.
This stark finding is just one of the many issues Jarlath O’Brien, who works for a multi-academy trust of special schools in London, covers in his book Don’t Send Him in Tomorrow. O’Brien takes a long look at the challenges students with (SEND) face in education, highlighting some uncomfortable truths and asking tough questions.
But the book isn’t just about education and the practical ways teachers can support students with SEND. O’Brien challenges our whole societal approach to SEND. For example, in chapter seven, O’Brien discusses the over-representation of adults with SEND in the criminal justice system, while in chapter nine he asks how we make our society value people with SEND more.
“These children are in your classroom. They are in your school,” O’Brien writes. “Yet the way our education, and society more widely, is currently organised makes it very difficult for them to be seen, let alone thrive…”
O’Brien will be joining us online on Thursday 12 October 2017 from 7:30pm to 8:30pm to discuss his book Don’t Send Him in Tomorrow and SEND more widely. We would love it if as many of you as possible took part. There are three ways you can join in:
- On Twitter, use and follow the hashtag #CCTbookclub
- We will start a thread on our Facebook page that you will be able to comment and respond to
- Feel free to comment in the comments section below this article.
You can talk about anything that particularly struck you in the book. We have included some potential themes below, but these are not prescriptive so if there is another aspect you would like to discuss or question you would like to pose, please do so. We have suggested:
- The invisibility of special schools and their students. Should teacher training include a mandatory period in a special school? Should all SENCos have to have experience in special schools?
- Inclusion. How can we make mainstream schools more inclusive?
- Exclusion. How can we tackle the over-representation of children with SEND in exclusion figures?
- Effectiveness. Special schools outperform mainstream schools in Ofsted judgements – what can mainstream schools learn from this?
- Policy. How do we ensure children with SEND are considered and understood by policy makers?
See you online on Thursday 12 October 2017 from 7:30pm to 8:30pm.