Country information for UK (England) - Teacher education for inclusive education

Teacher education – initial and continuing professional development

The government has sharpened the focus on meeting the needs of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities within the standards for qualified teacher status. The government’s aim is to have a well-trained and confident teacher workforce which is equipped to identify pupils’ SEN and disabilities at an early stage and put in place appropriate support which addresses their needs.

As part of this, the government aims to improve access for serving teachers to undertake specialist special educational needs and disability (SEND) training and professional development opportunities. It has published materials on its online portal,, which have been developed with and are maintained by a leading UK SEN association, Nasen. They consist of five specialist modules (autism spectrum disorders; dyslexia/specific learning difficulties; speech language and communication difficulties; behavioural, emotional and social difficulties; and moderate learning difficulties), a resource library for teaching pupils with SEND in mainstream schools and a set of complex needs training materials.

The Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training, published on 19 January 2015, recommended the development of an advisory framework of initial teacher training core content to include content on SEND (Source: CPRA – UK England Country Report, p. 30).

Furthermore, the government has conducted the fourth round of the National Scholarship Fund for Teachers. This provides part-funding for teachers to undertake specialist postgraduate SEND qualifications individually or in collaborative groups. Some 645 awards have been offered to teachers through this round of the fund.

The government is also continuing to support the commitment to the importance of the SEN Co-ordinator (SENCO) role in mainstream settings. All mainstream schools are required to appoint a qualified teacher to the role of SENCO. According to the Code of Practice, the SENCO provides professional guidance to colleagues and works closely with staff, parents and other agencies (Source: CPRA – UK England Country Report, p. 24).

After funding 12,000 SENCOs since 2009, the masters-level National SENCO Award has been successfully handed over to the school-led sector to fund, accredit, award and lead.

In addition, the government is supporting clusters of schools, through its teaching schools network, to identify and share expertise and high-quality practice in SEN and disability to raise the quality of provision across the school system.


Last updated 27/03/2018

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