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Child Development and Learning Difficulties



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

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