Always forthright and often controversial, Katie Hopkins has entered in to the debate about the number of children assessed as having ‘special needs’.
Tweeting from her account @KTHopkins, she writes, “1 in 4 boys in the state school system labeled as ‘special education needs’. Code speak for idle parents. I hear Tyrone, I see mum in PJ’s”
She was responding to data published by the Department for Education on 1st August. The data collected in 2010 by Oftsed claimed that 457,000 children had been wrongly labeled as SEN (special educational needs).
The data shows that in 2010, in state primary, secondary and special schools, nearly 24.3% of boys were classed as having SEN and 13.7% of girls. This figure dropped slightly in 2012.
Having SEN can include children with speech and language needs, learning difficulties, behavioural issues, hearing or multi-sensory impairments, physical disabilities or a form of autism.
Talking to The Telegraph, Karen Ivens who is vice chairman of the Campaign for Real Education seemingly challenges the views held by the Hopkins school of thought, that all problems are caused by the parents. Ivens says “that problems start in primary school, where teachers fail to control their classes and children fail to learn…”
‘Labelling’ children, therefore, could actually just be the answer to getting children help, if they require it, from a really early stage in their education. As Ivens goes on to say “The answer is to teach them in a proper, structured way, where teachers can pick out the children who truly need extra help.”