What is the Warnock Report?

The Warnock report is a document prepared by the British Commission of Education in 1978 referring to the special educational needs of children. This writing is based mostly on the British special education model.

It is named after Helen Mary Warnock, a British philosopher specializing in the philosophy of education. And president of the special education research commission in her country.

The Warnock report refers to programs dedicated to children with disabilities, emphasizing the special education sector and special educational needs.

One of its main premises is the fact that all children have the right to be educated.

Warnock Report

The Warnock report also aims to promote a model of education, where the institutions dedicated to it, are trained in special education. So, in this way, we can offer the same service to those people who have difficulties in learning.

Warnock report

At the same time, this report aims to eliminate existing differences in education. Understanding that educational needs are common to all children. And it is the school that must adapt to the individual needs of each of them.

The Warnock report also focuses on the idea that the school should be a place of education and at the same time a support center. Which can provide resources, advice and information to parents of children who attend it.

Central themes of the Warnock Report

The Warnock report has expanded the concepts of Special Education and Special Educational Needs developed up to that time.

It indicates that the first one must satisfy the second, being the special educational needs common to all children.

Among its main premises are the training and improvement of teachers; education for children under five years with special educational needs and, education for young people from 16 to 19 years.

At the same time, it reconsiders the concept of diversity and suggests that education should always have the same purpose. Being a good to which everyone has the right.

Teacher training and development

The Warnock Report states that all teachers must have the necessary conditions to recognize, identify and work with children with special educational needs. Regardless of where they work, these being ordinary or special places.

It establishes in turn, that teachers must know and accept the concept of special educational needs.

The report also suggests to include in the academic training of teachers a section corresponding to training in special educational needs. Indicates the need to incorporate a small number of students with these needs into their work. In this way to be able to put into practice the measures learned to meet the special educational needs of their students.

In addition, it promotes the idea of ​​including as teachers teachers with special needs who promote teaching, so that children can feel motivated to learn.

Education for children under 5 years of age with special educational needs

According to the Warnock report, education must begin early for those who are born or, present shortly after birth deficiency. It considers of fundamental importance the development of these children and the fact that they can receive an early stimulation according to their needs.

Based on this, it also recommends expanding the number of nursery schools and special nurseries for those who have more serious difficulties, thus promoting that these children can start the school year with peers of the same age, in a normal class.

Education for young people aged 16 to 19

The Warnock report promotes the need to create spaces where education is continued for young people who are of school age but who continue to progress in the acquisition of knowledge.

To this end, it emphasizes the importance of creating spaces that can provide these benefits, with a coordinated approach referring to postsecondary education.

Promotes the idea that these young people can specialize and have a space for social exchange. Having as a fundamental purpose the development of their autonomy and independence.

Concept of Diversity

It is a key concept used in the Warnock report, which refers to the fact that special educational needs are inherent to all children, because each of them needs and deserves individualized and comprehensive attention to learn and develop.

It is the school’s responsibility to provide the necessary educational resources and compensate for the learning difficulties of the students. To be able to attend to the different demands and avoid the difficulties.


From this perspective, there will no longer be two different groups of children. The notion of the disabled who receive special education and the non-disabled who receive education is eliminated. All children have educational needs.

What are special educational needs (SEN)?

By definition, SEN are the needs experienced by those individuals who require help or resources that are not usually available in their educational context. 

The Warnock report refers to special educational needs (SEN) as those that refer to some difficulty in learning.

These may be of a temporary or permanent nature and require specific attention and educational resources. Offering people the possibilities of their personal development through the learning experiences corresponding to the curricular design.

The special educational needs are intimately related to the individual characteristics of each child.

It is the school that must have the capacity to respond to different demands. Welcoming all children, regardless of their individual conditions, including them with a pedagogy focused on the child, and in this way being able to meet their special educational needs.

The Warnock report further argues that SEN are common to all children, focusing on their conception of diversity, according to which each child has individual educational needs to be able to learn.

Being those who present a difficulty in learning those who will need specific attention and resources.

For these cases, the Warnock report proposes five levels for the evaluation of SEN and the support or provision corresponding to each need: Special Education teachers, counselors, local and regional interdisciplinary teams and tutors or directors.

It also proposes the incorporation of individual records for each child with special educational needs. It is detailed in these the benefits that you need for your progress and personal development.

What is Special Education (EE)?

Education is understood as a good to which all people have a right, being the aims or objectives of the same, identical for all. In addition, they do not differentiate between the subjective diversities existing in a society.

This is the concept of Special Education (EE) that popularized the Warnock report, promoting a revision of the concept internationally.

The main purposes that Education should promote are the increase of knowledge of the individual about the world that surrounds him and his understanding of it. In addition, the understanding of their own responsibilities as a subject belonging to a society and  provide all the tools for the subject to acquire their autonomy and independence, being able to direct and control in this way, their own life.

According to its principles, the Warnock report establishes that the EE must have a complementary and additional character to that of ordinary education.

For this reason, it also suggests that special schools should not only educate children with severe disabilities, but also become support centers. Providing information, advice and resources to parents and ordinary schools.

Special education then consists of a set of benefits that have the purpose of satisfying the special needs of a person, having as a horizon, to get as close as possible to the achievement of the purposes of education.

Within the educational models can be found Inclusive Education, Special Education and School Integration.

Inclusive Education, born from the social model of disability. It considers that all children are different from each other, and that it is the school and the educational system that has to change to meet the individual needs of all students. Whether or not they have learning difficulties.

Special Education must be understood as a set of benefits designed to ensure a comprehensive educational process for people with special educational needs.

Understanding benefits such as services, techniques, strategies, knowledge and pedagogical resources according to different needs, whether temporary or permanent.

School Integration works as a system of unification of ordinary education and Special Education, providing individual services to children with special educational needs.

The Warnock report is based on an analysis of the situation of Special Education in England.

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Its premises and recommendations have been a model and reference for the planning and standardization of special educational resources in different parts of the world.

Since its creation, not only the concepts of Special Education and Special Educational Needs have been expanded, but also, there have been great advances in these topics.

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