Monday, 19 May 2014


Does it make you feel good?
Or despair?

Special Needs Jungle, along with a number of parents' bodies in England, is taking part in an eleventh-hour consultation on explaining to parents the new world of 'special educational needs'. Apparently an explanatory 'booklet' is coming together and already exceeds 250 pages...

A slogan for the future
Every teacher is a teacher of children with special educational needs

A self-evident and self-righteous slogan, unquestionable and irrefutable, meaning everything and nothing.

I wonder whether this stirring principle will sink without trace. Or perhaps it will live on to justify all sorts of doing nothing – because nobody will admit to having no idea of what to do and therefore, obviously, there's nothing different will be possible and no alternative needs trying.

'Special educational needs reform' is coming to England on 1 September. There will be no need for the word word 'can't'. Do, however, watch out for cant.


'Cant' is is a venerable English word meaning thieves' jargon
The more general sense of cant is insincere talk: affected language often used with an assumption of piety or moral high ground. But in philology, cant refers to the sublanguage of street criminals and people on the fringes of society, such as gypsies, hobos, beggars and rogues.

Not just the criminal underworld, of course. The professions and semi-professions have long had their own cants. Now the state is moving in. As officialdom in England advances apparently unopposed into the appropriation (theft) of the theory, philosophy, language – the very ownership – of childhood, watch out for and relish Newspeak slogans such as the one quoted here, deployed as further diversion to substance and understanding in the new special needs jungle.

This slogan comes, I believe, from the Code of Practice and could be set to attract the status of Holy Writ.


Tirraoro, T. (2014) Pitching the SEN Code of Practice to parents, Special Needs Jungle, 19 May


  1. "Every teacher is a teacher of children with special educational needs". Nothing new, Andrew. Heard this nonsense years ago. Can't be bothered to refute it.

  2. I can't be bothered about struggling with it any more either. I certainly have no heart to try to refute it with some Jackanapes (and Jillanapes) at the DfE, or with slaves to Ofsted desperate to adorn their school websites with magic spells to ward off the Evil Eye (yes, this slogan is spreading like a rash on school websites).

    I am content now leave it to others. The pity is that this is all really too important to be just a spectator sport. And I should prefer to spectate Premier Division games.