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An analysis of the educational progress of children with special educational needs

Listed author(s):
  • Claire Crawford


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies, 7 Ridgmount Street, London, WC1E 7AE; Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK.)

  • Anna Vignoles


    (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London. 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK.)

One in five children in England are recorded as having some kind of special educational need, meaning that they receive additional help in school; yet there is very little evidence of the effect of such assistance on pupil’s academic progress. This is at least partly because it is usually very difficult to define an appropriate control group for pupils with special educational needs. To overcome this issue, we make use of extremely rich data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children to assess the academic progress of pupils between Key Stages 1 and 2 (ages 7 and 11). Specifically, we compare the progress of children who have been formally identified by the SEN system as having non-statemented (less severe) needs with the progress of children who do not have SEN label, but whose class teacher reports that they exhibit behaviour which suggests that they might have special educational needs. Our results suggest that, despite our very similar control group, pupils with a SEN label still score about 0.3 standard deviations lower at Key Stage 2 than otherwise identical pupils without a SEN label. This is perhaps not an entirely unexpected result, given that there is no compulsion in the system for non-statemented SEN funding to be spent on children with special educational needs and in any case additional resources may not close the gap completely. Nonetheless, such a result clearly has significant policy implications: schools are provided with resources to help children with special educational needs and if these resources are not improving academic outcomes for these children, then this should be of concern to both parents and policymakers alike.

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Paper provided by Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London in its series DoQSS Working Papers with number 10-19.

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Date of creation: 03 Nov 2010
Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1019
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