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SEND Futures

SEND Futures is a new national study of young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The research has been commissioned by the Department for Education, who want to hear about the experiences of a wide range of young people with SEND. They want to give them and their parents or carers a say in how they can improve the support they get across the education system.

Who is carrying out the research?

The Department for Education has commissioned NatCen Social Research to carry out the study with the support of the National Children’s Bureau (NCB). NCB is a charity that has worked for the last fifty years to address inequalities which prevent children and young people from achieving their full potential. NatCen is Britain’s largest independent social research agency. All our interviewers carry photo ID cards and have been confirmed by the Disclosure and Barring Service as safe to work with children.

Why take part?

By taking part in this research, you will help the Department for Education to understand the needs and experiences of young people with SEND and their families, and to plan and provide support for young people with SEND. The evidence collected throughout SEND Futures will be crucial in helping the Department for Education to listen to children and young people with SEND and their families, and to take an evidence-based approach to fulfilling their priority of supporting those with SEND to live happy and fulfilled lives.

What will taking part involve?

There are two different ways you may have been selected to take part; in person or online.

If you are selected to take part in person, an interviewer will call at your address to tell you more about the research. If you decide that you would like to take part, they will then organise a convenient time to carry out the interview. So that you know who they are, all of our interviewers carry a photo ID with our logo on it. We understand that you may be busy, so we’ll organise the interview at a time that suits you. If you decide you don’t want to take part, just let us know by emailing or calling 0800 652 4570 or emailing SENDFutures@natcen.ac.uk.

We’d like to interview both young people and one of their parents or carers. The interviews will take about 30 minutes each, and will cover a range of topics such as experiences of schooling, happiness and wellbeing, and experiences of accessing and receiving support. And don’t worry – you don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to, we can just skip on to the next one.

If you are selected to take part online, then you will be contacted with a unique link to the survey. There is a survey for young people and a survey for their parents or carers.  Each survey will take around 20 to 30 minutes to complete and cover a range of topics, including experience of schooling, happiness and wellbeing, and experiences of accessing and receiving support. And don’t worry – you don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to, you can just skip on to the next one.

Why have I been selected to take part?

We want to interview young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities. We’ve selected 9,000 pupils from the National Pupil Database, which is a register of all pupils in England , held by the Department for Education (DfE). We were given permission by DfE to use your child’s name and address to write to you about taking part. For more details about how we have used your data and what your rights are in relation to this, please see the privacy notice.

What will happen to any information I give?

We will handle your data in accordance with the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. The study findings are anonymized and nothing we publish will identify you. The results collected will help the government make policies for children with SEND. Charities will also be able to use the findings.

To read more about how we will look after your personal information, please visit our privacy notice.

Contact us

E-mail NatCen at SENDFutures@natcen.ac.uk, or call NatCen on Freephone 0800 652 4570

If you would like to contact the DfE directly about this work please e-mail send.futures@education.gov.uk.

Further information or help about topics covered in the survey

If you want further information or guidance about some of the topics covered in the survey here are some helpful websites:

For further advice or support relating to an experience of bullying, please visit the Anti-Bullying Alliance website.

For further advice about appealing an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan you can visit the Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (known as IPSEA) website.

  • Information about data linkage

    Data linkage means adding extra administrative data to your survey answers to build a more complete picture of what life is like for you and your child.

    Learn more

  • Privacy notice

    How we use your information

    Read more