The provision of SEN has rapidly changed over the latter part of the 20th Century, due to important developments such as the Education Act (1970) and (1981), The Warnock Report (1978), The Education Reform Act (1988) and the SEN code of Practice that was produced as a result of the Education Act of 1993. The Code of Practice was revised in 1994 and 2001.
Before the 1970 Education Act, children with disabilities and learning difficulties were negatively labelled with names that are deemed unacceptable in today’s society. Pre 1970, the care and education of children with special educational needs was the responsibility of the National Health Service. As a result of the Education Act (1970), Local Authorities took over the control over educational provision of children with SEN. This encouraged Mary Warnock to produce a report (The Warnock Report, 1978) into the provision of education that allowed all children the right to an equal education. Later developments set guidelines and expectations for SEN providers in order to achieve a positive inclusive education for pupils with special educational needs. .
Three interesting, controversial and important issues linked with the provision of SEN provision are Assessment and Identification of each individual pupil’s needs, Differentiation within the provision in order to allow each individual pupil to reach his/her full potential, and the Labelling of Young people with special educational needs which has positive and negative implications.