The data published by the Department for Education is causing concern with many believing that schools are using the special needs label to dispute poor exam results. In the other corner, many parents and teachers believe that boys learn differently and are meant to learn ‘on the go’ rather than trapped behind a sedentary desk.
Either way it is discouraging to note that the study found that boys are much less likely to pass primary school tests in the three-Rs or go on to gain good GCSE grades.
Compared to girls who have a much less chance of developing special needs - figures indicated that just 13 per cent of girls – 268,675 – had problems that would affect their ability to participate fully in school life, whilst 23.8 per cent of boys – 510,985 – were diagnosed with some form of special needs in this current academic year. Although this is one percent down on last year’s results, it still makes for troubling reading.
The same research showed that more and more very young children are being diagnosed with difficulties and that 173,525 children aged just five or under had problems which went on to require specific attention from teachers. It definitely asks the questions whether the increase in technology is undermining the learning experience and whether the short attention span and inability to focus comes from our new obsession with the internet and gaming? However that does not answer the question as to why more boys than girls are facing these difficulties in the classroom.
Many people are dubious about the results, and rigorous screening measures are now being introduced to prevent pupils from being termed special needs and requiring special needs resources when really they have just fallen behind or are disruptive in class.