NASUWT seeks to support members to provide high-quality teaching and learning that meets the needs of all learners including those who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) (England and Northern Ireland), who require additional support for learning (ASL) (Scotland), and who have additional learning needs (ALN) (Wales).

We engage with national ministries to highlight members’ experiences and concerns and to seek to secure policy reforms that protect the rights of teachers and leaders, as well as the rights and needs of learners who have SEND/ASL/ALN. We use evidence from members to inform this work.

Context is important. However, our evidence highlights many issues that are common across UK administrations. These include:

  • Increasing pressure on mainstream schools to meet the needs of learners with more complex needs, combined with greater difficulty accessing specialist support services. Teachers and leaders report that there are barriers to getting assessments with thresholds being raised and measures being used to delay or discourage applications for support.

  • Significant delays in accessing support.

  • Insufficient places in specialist provision, meaning that many learners remain in a school or setting even though it is recognised that the school or setting cannot meet the learners’ needs.

  • A shortage of specialist workers such as Educational Psychologists. National commitments to increase the specialist workforce continue to fall short of the numbers that are actually needed.

  • More than a decade of cuts to school and public service budgets resulting in cuts to services and staffing and the loss of expertise.

  • Lack of time to undertake continuing professional development and learning (CPDL) and difficulties accessing high-quality CPDL.

  • Huge workload pressures on teachers and other staff who support learners with SEND/ASL/ALN resulting in stress, anxiety and burnout.

  • Increasingly challenging learner behaviour, including physical assault and violence arising because learners’ needs are not being met or as the result of management failure to provide consistent and appropriate support to teachers and other staff.


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