Change Special Educational Needs Reporting in Schools in the UK

We need positive change for children with ADHD in the UK


The Department of Education does not know how many children it has who have ADHD, or dyslexia, or almost any other condition. It doesn’t know the outcomes for those children. It doesn’t know if it is succeeding for them or failing them. Our own information suggests very strongly it is failing them.

Individuals in the Autism community succeeding in making Autism a tracked characteristic. That data is collected, analysed, and used to lobby for change. The success that has been created should be replicated for all Neurodiversity. We are asking for proper data collection to allow the Department of Education to understand its pupils better.

What happens now

At present, if a school administrator is asked to note ADHD on a pupils record they can opt to do it one of two ways:

Option 1 – as a medical note. This is then kept privately by the school. It will not be passed to the exam board for consideration of adjustments. It will not be passed to any new school so a pupil will need to re-register. The notation is added as a text note. That means it cannot be collated or form any part of statistics. This data is not reported in consolidated form to the Department of Education.

Option 2 – as a flag as “Special Educational Need”. There is then a text box that the administrator can add details about. They might write ADHD, A.D.H.D, Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder. The lack of cohesion means the detail cannot be collated or reported on. The Department of Education does ask for consolidated data for SEN pupils (Attendance, results etc.) but doesn’t know how different groups are achieving.

What we want to change

We need to formalise the recording of Special Education Needs and Disabilities on a pupil’s record.

The SEND flag needs a simple amendment from having a text box to a drop down. The drop down should allow one or more conditions to be ticked. It should include the option for other. The consolidated reports on that data should be sent to the Department of Education as part of the termly data requirements.

What would that achieve?

The data will show how children with different Special Educational Needs and Disabilities are doing in Education.

It allows needs to be uncovered and positive change targeted. The data would be the basis for a revolution of positive impact and impact hundreds of thousands of lives.

Who can make this change?

The Secretary of State for Education can make this decision. They do not need an act of Parliament. They can make the change by Ministerial decision.

Who can influence this change?

This is a political decision at the national level so the main targets are those that can influence there. They include:

– your MP

– local leaders (Councillors, NHS leaders, Schools, GPs) being asked to lobby the local MP

– direct questions sent to the Secretary of State for Education, the Shadow Secretary of State of Education, and all other party Education representatives.

Devolved nations have the ability to make this change themselves and should also be lobbied.

How to get involved

We need you to help us make change happen. National change happens at the local level. We’re organising into NHS areas – so you can lobby your area for change. You support our programmes, you have the option to attend monthly “ADHD UK Insider meetings” where we discuss our current programmes and future programmes. You can use those to influence and change our plans. You then get involved in lobbying at multiple levels in your area – your local NHS, your MPS, and your councils to create a successful pincer movement of compounding pressure on decision makers. Councils have particularly strong connections with their local NHS and are often forgotten in lobbying campaigns.

Local Campaigns are led by an individual, or teams of, ADHD UK Ambassadors. You can learn more about the Ambassador program here. If you’re not ready to be an Ambassador but would like to get support locally you can register to be an ADHD UK Change Maker here.