SEN Prevalence Report Welcome But Action Plan Needed

The recently published report on prevalence of Special Educational Needs (SEN) in Gibraltar is welcome but only provides partial answers. Much more needs to be done to better understand how the increased SEN of our children can be supported. The next step is to commission an Action Plan for the future.

The GSD commends the initiative taken to conduct this review and acknowledges the importance of shedding light on the notable increase in children with SEN in Gibraltar.

We strongly urge the Government to take decisive action based on the insights provided by the report. Specifically, we call for the commissioning of an independent audit to evaluate the impact of the escalating SEN prevalence on various service providers, the community and government departments. Such an audit would identify areas where better resources or support needs to be provided to effectively address the growing needs within our community.

Atrish Sanchez, Shadow Minister for Care and Opportunity said: “This further work is necessary to tackle the support required to help the increased numbers of children with special educational needs. This Report has confirmed there are now around 30% of our children with SEN. We now need to conduct more work to plan how to support them and resource those providing support. The report published provides an insight as to the factors contributing to the increased prevalence of SEN but it now needs to be followed up by a clear Government plan addressing both present and future needs.

The community may have been provided with some answers as to the factors contributing to the increased prevalence of SEN, but they are left without an analysis of the impact that this has had on our current service provision and the delivery of our services together with what the Government plans to do about this. These answers warrant an independent review to identify key recommendations and make meaningful progress.

Although the commissioned report provides some recommendations, its scope is limited to factors contributing to the increased prevalence of SEN and not the impact that this has had on service provision and delivery. Therefore, it is imperative that the next step is taken to progress this work further by commissioning an independent audit/impact review to assess how this notable increase in SEN will be better supported across Government and by service providers. This will allow for key targeted recommendations that will hopefully lead to targeted action and improvements where needed.“