London Council launches report on Inclusive Practice

The number of children with SEND in London has grown in recent years but despite the Children and Families Act 2014 giving children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND) the right to mainstream education, London Councils research has found disparity in levels of inclusion across schools in London. The research highlights some of the excellent work in London’s schools and local authorities delivering on their legal duty to ensure education is inclusive and enabling a significant number of children with SEND to benefit from a mainstream education. However, it cannot yet be guaranteed that all schools in London are inclusive by default and research also found examples of unfair admissions practice, off-rolling and inappropriate exclusions.

In its report on Inclusive practice: The role of mainstream schools and local authorities in supporting children with SEND, published last week, London Councils calls for all education partners to strengthen their collective commitment to ensuring education is truly inclusive.

Three of the reports nine recommendations for boosting inclusion in schools are:

  • Key education partners, including Ofsted, all 33 London local authorities and the 3 Regional Schools Commissioners, should champion inclusion in schools and tackle any incidents of non-inclusive practice that are identified
  • National government should update the SEND Code of Practice to stress and clarify schools’ duties in relation to supporting children with SEND, including providing a clear definition of off-rolling
  • National government should ensure schools remain financially accountable for any children they exclude.

London Councils calls on all partners to scrutinise their own practice and think about what more they could be doing to ensure that all children can access mainstream education where appropriate.