Satisfaction with educational provision for children with SEN or disabilities: A national postal survey of the views of parents in Great Britain

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The success and quality of educational provision for children with SEN and / or disabilities is a matter of considerable debate, with wide differences reported by parents. Extant evidence is limited by sampling bias and size making the true extent of (dis)satisfaction difficult to gauge. This paper reports systematic, comparative evidence from a factor analysis of a large sample of diverse parents (n=562) in Great Britain, surveyed on key aspects of provision such as choice of school and influence of attitudinal and environmental factors. In contrast to dominant notions of widespread unhappiness amongst parents, a largely positive view of educational provision was found. Parents of children with psychosocial difficulties in mainstream schools were the main exceptions, being the least satisfied with provision. These findings offer a timely and welcome balance in the highly contentious debate on where and how additional support for children and young people with SEN or disabilities takes place.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-47
Number of pages29
JournalEducational Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • postal survey, special educational needs, disablities, satisfaction, parent views, educational provision