We would like to take this opportunity to introduce a new collaboration, Special Schools’ Voice (SSV).
We have consulted widely with special schools across the country to seek their views about the establishment of a collaborative that brings together a number of existing associations and groups to represent special schools in a more coherent manner. Responses to a questionnaire last year strongly supported this proposal, so we are now endeavouring to progress the idea. We feel strongly that in order for SSV to have the impact we seek it needs to be well organised and centred upon highly effective communication channels that will connect schools to decision makers. In today’s world of websites and Twitter we think that this is all possible. There is no cost to special schools in becoming involved with SSV.
At present Government agencies such as the Department for Education and OFSTED seek the opinion of some of the larger associations that represent special schools e.g. the SSAT, the National Education Trust, SWALSS and more recently groupings of special teaching schools and special converted academies. In total, according to the DfE census data (2014), there are 97,395 pupils attending 964 special schools. This is 1.2% of the school population.
Headteachers often talk of their frustration that their views and the interests of their schools have insufficient influence on the formation of national policy. We are therefore asking if we could do things differently, so that these colleagues and their schools feel empowered and involved. At the same time, Government policy could be further enhanced and constructed with an understanding of its impact on all children and young people.
SSV does not wish to merely ‘rehearse the challenges’ but sees itself supporting agencies in finding solutions to the challenges we collectively face. We envisage that our collective knowledge will be able to signpost agencies to best practice around the country and support the development of co-constructing system-led policies and practice.
This website has been designed to be a forum for people involved in special schools to provide their views and to inform future policy and practice. We would really welcome your involvement and engagement with SSV.