12:13pm Friday 15 December 2017

New hope for children with special needs

The Government funded pilot at 450 schools was praised following an independent evaluation by a team led by Professor Neil Humphrey and Dr Garry Squires from The University of Manchester.

Professor Humphrey, who is based in the University’s School of Education said: “Our various analyses suggest that Achievement for All has been extremely successful in improving academic and other outcomes for children with special educational needs.

“These are among the most vulnerable children in the education system, and as such the findings are very encouraging indeed.

“AfA is not about revolution, but rather the evolution of systems, processes and practices designed to support pupils with special needs in school.

“It provides a clear framework for action but also allows schools flexibility so that they can tailor the suggested strategies and approaches to their own needs and circumstances”.

According to the team, the scheme’s strengths included using data to track pupils’ progress, setting curriculum targets and intervening to ensure children make progress in their learning.

They applauded the use of regular ‘structured conversations’ with parents, which enable an open, ongoing dialogue about their child’s learning.

Other strategies relating to attendance, behaviour, bullying, relationships with teachers and peers, and after-school clubs were also praised.

The pilot programme received over £30 million funding over two years and the Manchester team were commissioned by the Department for Education to evaluate its effectiveness.

They tracked a cohort of children in each of the participating schools, and compared their progress to children in similar schools not implementing the scheme, in addition to national datasets held by the Government.

The team also conducted case studies in 20 schools, interviewing staff, pupils and parents, and observing lessons.

Notes for editors

The report is available at http://www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/research

Professor Humphrey is available for interview

The report was commissioned before the new UK Government took office on 11 May 2010. As a result the content may not reflect current Government policy and may make reference to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) which has now been replaced by the Department for Education (DFE).  The views expressed in this report are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department for Education.

For media enquires contact:

Mike Addelman
Media Relations
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881567


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