Prof Steve Strand's research shows ethnic minority children not equally identified with Special Education Needs

St Cross Fellow Steve Strand, Professor of Education at Oxford, has found that children of ethnic minority groups are over-represented for some types of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and under-represented for other types when compared to white British pupils. In an analysis of data from over six million children in England's schools captured from 2005 to 2016, Professor Strand and his team found that:

- Asian pupils (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Other Asian) are half as likely to be identified with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as White British pupils

- Black Caribbean and Mixed White & Black Caribbean pupils are twice as likely to be identified with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs as White British pupils. 

Professor Strand, Principal Investigator for the project, said:

"While ethnic disproportionality for some special needs, like Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD), can be accounted for by socio-economic background and early attainment / development on entry to school, this research indicates that neither factor explains the ethnic disproportionality in the identification of ASD or SEMH.

The upshot is that some Asian pupils may not be receiving the access to specialist resources and support they need with autistic spectrum disorders, while some Black Caribbean children may be suffering an inappropriate or narrowed curriculum from unwarranted over-identification, particularly in secondary school."

The project was reported on by BBC News and featured on the University of Oxford's homepage. You can read more on the project's webpage, where you can also hear Professor Strand being interviewed by Andrew Pierce on LBC.


Ella Bedrock

13 March 2019