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Special Educational Needs in Secondary Education (SENSE)

Researchers: Professor Peter Blatchford | Rob Webster

Project overview

This study focuses on the experiences of pupils in mainstream secondary schools who have statements of special educational needs (SEN). This area has recently seen major changes in policy, including the introduction of Education, Health and Care Plans in September 2014.

The project follows on from an earlier study by the same team, which looked at pupils with SEN statements in primary schools. These pupils were found to experience a high degree of separation from teachers and peers, as a result of teaching assistants being their primary educator.

The new study will explore whether these experiences endure when pupils with SEN statements progress to secondary school. It aims to provide a detailed picture of the day-to-day educational experiences of statemented pupils. The researchers also aim to create the first longitudinal study of the experiences of pupils with SEN statements, by combining data from both studies.

The project hopes to inform and improve how schools and local authorities support and prepare pupils with SEN for the transition from primary to secondary school.

Latest on this project


  • Professor Peter Blatchford
    University College London
  • Rob Webster
    University College London

  • Cheryl Lloyd
    Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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