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Child Development and Learning Difficulties



Archive for August, 2021

How Families with Children with Special Needs are coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lockdown January-April 2021

By Admin, on 15 August 2021


This project is part of a larger study that examines anxiety and concerns of children with special needs and their parents during the pandemic.

We first examined the anxiety and wellbeing of families of individuals with SEND, including the parent’s, the individual with SEND and the anxiety and wellbeing of any typically developing sibling, if they had one in May-July 2020.

In January 2021 a new lockdown was announced in the UK as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In order to examine how families coped with the continued impact of the pandemic and another lockdown, a survey was distributed to parents of individuals with Special Educational Needs (SEND) in the UK.

Between January- April 2021, 153 families of individuals with SEND aged 2-60 years old in UK completed the survey, including also 135 typically developing siblings.




Parents reported that their children with SEND as well as typically developing siblings continued to experience high levels of anxiety, despite having more access to schools and support


Most families had access to green space

Parents reported that they found it hard to cope with the continued pandemic



Most families reported to be keen for their child with SEND to receive the vaccine

Suggestions from findings:


  • Despite the access to schools and green space, anxiety in children with SEND and their typically developing siblings remained high during lockdown January-April 2021. Seeing that restrictions have now been lifted it would be interesting to see how children with SEND and their siblings recover from this anxiety.
  • Parents found it harder to cope with the new lockdown compared to lockdown before, our fine-grained analysis will show why and what support they need.
  • The majority of parents is keen for their child to be vaccinated. However, government guidelines for children with SEND have not yet been announced.


The EdTech Strategy UK and Special Educational Needs

By Admin, on 5 August 2021

By Hélène De Pechpeyrou Grandchamp Des Raux


The EdTech Strategy (DfE, 2019)

This is a twofold strategy, for education providers and the technology industry in the UK.

The UK government wants to support schools to use technology in ways that drive improvements in educational and technological outcomes

This strategy contains high-level principles and definition of EdTech; ‘Education technology (EdTech) refers to the practice of using technology to support teaching and the effective day-to-day management of education institutions. It includes hardware (such as tablets, laptops or other digital devices), and digital resources, software and services that help aid teaching, meet specific needs, and help the daily running of education institutions.’

There has been a relatively limited focus on SEND.

Research Aims of current study

  • What do teachers know about EdTech and which training do they get for its use with SEND students?
  • How do schools implement EdTech?
  • What are teachers’ beliefs around the value of EdTech for students with SEND?


Participants: Teachers in the UK from mainstream and special schools in primary and secondary settings (N=169)

Instrument: An online questionnaire was administered between spring 2020 and spring 2021

Data analysis: Quantitative data were analysed using chi-square tests. Qualitative data were analysed using the thematic analysis technique

Key findings

  • Only 14% of teachers are aware of the EdTech strategy.
  • Less than 40% of teachers received a training about how to use EdTech with students with SEND. Nearly 2/3 would like to receive further training on how to better implement EdTech in their teaching practices and in their students’ learning processes.
  • Overall, the EdTech skills taught in the different settings are relatively similar, but there is a stronger focus on Coding and Programming in Mainstream schools & Primary settings.
  • E-Safety is the TOP 1 Priority skill, whichever the setting.
  • Schools are incorporating EdTech with different levels of consistency.
  • The lack of resource is overall the main challenge. The lack of adapted technology for students accessing the curriculum at a low level is a concern in special schools.
  • The pandemic has been associated with different outcomes, depending on the students’ level of needs and family background. This is related with an increased attainment gap and a reduced well-being.


  • Training needed on how to link technology with pedagogical practice and on important digital areas such as coding and programming
  • Moderate differences between Special vs Mainstream settings in teaching EdTech and in priorities (sample effect: 98% participants have students with SEND in their classroom)
  • Future studies should assess whether the changes which occurred during the pandemic will endure in the longer term


Department for Education. (2019). Realising the potential of technology in education: A strategy for education providers and the technology industry. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/realising-the-potential-of-technology-in-education