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Sarah Casey

PhD student – Newcastle University

Host organisation: Newcastle University

PhD project title: Equity and inclusion for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) in the North East and North Cumbria (NENC).

Project summary:

The number of children and young people (CYP) identified as having Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) increased to 1.37 million in 2020. Ofsted reports and local inspections have highlighted variations in service provision for CYP with SEND and differences in processes, timescales, and primary need categories across local authorities. Limitations in the effectiveness of multiagency working, joint commissioning, and co-production with families were also noted.  Poverty and social deprivation are linked to children’s outcomes and impact on their future life opportunities. The North East has some of the highest levels of child poverty and deprivation in England and rising rates of CYP with SEND.

The aim of the project is to identify best practice and outline potential changes which could support educational outcomes for CYP with SEND by creating recommendations for equitable provision.

The research will focus on CYP with SEND and an EHCP primary need category (PNC) identified as Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH), Speech Language Communication Need (SLCN) or Severe Learning Disability (SLD). This will give the opportunity to engage with a range of health, social care and education systems. The school census data from 2019 shows these 3 as the largest categories aside from ASD at 29%. With SLCN at 15%, SEMH at 13.3%, and Severe Learning Difficulty at 11.9%.

It will investigate how individual, family, and service level factors affect educational outcomes of CYP with SEND in NENC through three objectives using both Quantitative and Qualitative research methods.

1) Investigate the impact child poverty and social deprivation has on educational attainment for CYP with SEND

2) Study how Education Health Care Plans (EHCP) are created, implemented and reviewed in different areas.

3) Identify the barriers and facilitators to equitable provision.

Expected PhD completion date: April 2024

Contact: [email protected]