There are approximately 38,000 school-aged children in England with Severe Learning Difficulties or Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (SLD and PMLD). Around three quarters of these children are in special schools whilst the others are in mainstream schools. This is a group of children with the most complex needs, and they need to be taught by high quality, adaptable teachers, who are able to keep pace with their requirements.

The purpose of this Review is to focus specifically on the supply of teachers of learners with SLD/PMLD in special and mainstream schools. In doing so, the Review has concentrated on recruitment and retention of teachers, Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The Review notes the forthcoming review of SEN allowances by the School Teachers’ Review Body and hope that its recommendations are consistent with attempts to tackle the issues dealt with in this report.

This Review has been informed by in-depth interviews with school leaders, teachers and support staff, interviews with national representative bodies, a focus group of special schools, a call for evidence and a review of relevant UK and international evidence. The Review has also benefited from the knowledge and experience of the Expert Group.


  • Context and Evidence Base
  • Recruitment and Retention
  • Initial Teacher Training (ITT)
  • Continuing Professional Development and Progression
  • Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Appendices