Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Inclusion was a key theme at Bett 2020. SEND covers a broad spectrum of student learning difficulties and are grouped in the following areas; communication and interaction difficulties; cognition and learning; social, emotional and mental health needs; and physical and sensory needs.
DfE statistics from January 2019 show that the proportion of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities has increased for the third year running. There are 1,318,300 pupils in England with SEND, representing 14.9 per cent of the total population.
Ensuring that your SEND pupils feel welcome, included, supported and enabled to learn is a considerable challenge, especially against a background of budget cuts and staff recruitment. Class teachers, especially newly qualified teachers, need support to understand each of these broad areas of need, but more importantly to understand how they can adjust their teaching to support ALL students in their class.
Technology can and is playing a vital part in improving accessibility, with every major operating system now coming with assistive technology built-in as standard. Assistive technology products and services can provide support for children, young people and adults, helping them to develop independence, and develop life skills.
Bett programmed a series of talks with a SEND and Inclusivity focus across the week. There were a particular focus on Friday 24 January, with a concentration of CPD sessions and keynote talks, covering primary education through to higher education and beyond. Experts and educators spoke to the challenges giving practical advice, case studies, inspiration and useful information. There was also a SEND Trail to guide visitors around the show floor so they can discover products and suppliers.