The last sixty years have seen considerable changes in the education of pupils with special learning needs. An estimated 1.7 million pupils in the United Kingdom have special educational needs (SEN) (Russell, 2003), however vast improvements for children with special needs, including those with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD), now known as social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMHD), have been made, which have led to them receiving more options and learning opportunities.
This assignment will show that in the case of those pupil’s whose social, emotional and mental health needs are complex, a fuller understanding must be acquired in order to determine an appropriate intervention and achieve success. Reference will be made to the national and local framework to demonstrate their significance in the understanding and support provided. Further to this, the settings’ relevant policies and practice will be considered through the use of data collection techniques, which will include an interview of the settings’ SENCO and a teaching assistant who supports a pupil whose primary area of special educational need according to the Education, Health and Care Plan, is Social, Emotional and Mental Health. Before any data collection was undertaken, strict guidelines were followed as per the ethical guidelines. Ethical guidelines are set out to uphold respect and support for all those involved in educational research. This guidance is based upon the British Educational Research Association’s Ethical Guidelines (BERA, 2011). It should, however, be mentioned, that this is a small-scale investigation and cannot be considered conclusive in any interpretations it generates. It should also be noted that any referral to the term SEBD as the area of need in a child’s learning difficulty in the SEND Code of Practice (2014) has changed from Behavioural, Social and Emotional Development (BESD) to Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMHD). Literature regarding this definition is limited and as such, any analysis will be based on the term SEBD or BESD.
In the past, children with SEN were not always given the option of mainstream schooling. In the 1940’s children with SEN, including those with physical and mental difficulties, were educated away from mainstream schools in hospitals or institutions. Indeed, the Education Act (1944) (p.5) specifies that “a local education authority shall, in particular, have regard - to the need for securing that provision is made for pupils who suffer from any disability of mind or body by providing, either in special schools or otherwise, …education by special methods appropriate for persons suffering from that disability”.
In 1978, papers from the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Health and Social Security recommended that the child guidance service should be centred on a multi-professional team, providing assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment and other help. LEAs and health authorities were asked to broaden the offered help to children with behavioural, emotional and learning difficulties (Gillard, 2011).
The Warnock Report was sanctioned “to review the educational provision in England, Scotland and Wales for children and young people handicapped by disabilities of body or mind, taking into account of the medical aspects of their needs, together with arrangements to prepare them for entry into employment” (Warnock, 1978 p.1). This report changed the view of inclusive education. From this report, children with SEN were given the right to learn alongside other children. The report further declared “full time education in an ordinary class should be the aim for many children with special education needs. It should be possible to achieve this aim in the case of the