A simple SEN plan for mainstream schools

This is a simple view of SEN in mainstream – I’d like to refine it and would welcome contributions

SEN should be embedded within each educational establishment rather than an add on. Preferably with SENCO/Inclusion Manager as member of SMT in a strategic role.

There should be clear processes to identify learners with SEN/literacy/numeracy difficulties and then interventions put in place which are monitored for progression and evaluated for effectiveness.

Whole school screening would identify learners with possible specific difficulties; for those who are ‘at risk’ a full diagnostic assessment should be undertaken by a specialist employed by the school, a cluster of local schools or LA SEN service. Results from these tests should be shared with all teaching staff and a ‘passport to success’ should follow said learner through his/her school career. This would highlight their difficulties and give recommendations on how they can access the curriculum effectively.

A solid link between pastoral and SEN should be visible to ensure behaviour is not masking underlying difficulties.

Funding should be ring fenced which pays for specialist staff, training, whole school awareness, interventions and resources.

A clear strategy to involve parents will be positively encouraged – parents should feel included in interventions and given regular feedback of their son/daughter’s progress. A provision map should be shared with parents to inform them of the school’s interventions and support.

Assistive technology should be widely available to all students who require it and accepted as part of their ‘usual way of working’ within the classroom setting.

To ensure all learners with SEN reach their full potential, their needs should be identified and strategies put in place.

@aspiedelazouch has a good plan in his school – here’s the link http://aspiedelazouch.edublogs.org/?p=90

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4 thoughts on “A simple SEN plan for mainstream schools

  1. I’ve worked in learning support in two mainstream secondary schools and I’m now in 3-16 special. Your plan makes a lot of sense. I’d like to suggest that something about transition – into and out of the school – should be added. Talking with previous teachers and passing on information to destination providers is so important to ensure successful transitions – a time that so many with SEN find challenging.

    Also feel that the importance of supported work experience, over and above what would be provided for most students, is often forgotten. Where appropriate, the students in my current school experience the world of work and they gain massively from using their growing skills in a different setting. For this to be successful, a lot of preparation work needs to be done and students need support throughout the placement.

    Schools need to build on the screening and development of provision that you mentioned with a coordinated approach to getting access arrangements right for students with SEN. Many of our students can achieve accreditation with the right support and schools must do whatever is necessary to facilitate access to exams. On the other hand, exams are not always the best way to capture the achievements of what learners can do, so there needs to be careful consideration of alternative courses for students with SEN. Every effort should be made to meet their need for a different type of course that can lead to accreditation.

    To underpin all of this, there needs to be a high level of understanding of students needs across the school team. On-going training and information-sharing is the key to securing effective provision. Having students with SEN explain to staff how their difficulties affect their experience of school can be a very effective way to make sure everyone knows the challenges they face.

    Thank you for the thought-provoking post, Jules. I hadn’t planned to write such a long response, but ideas kept popping into my head! Hope you’ve got some plans for a good rest over the summer.

    Best wishes,
    Paul

    • Longer the better – thank you.

      Yes transition and work experience are very important areas for development – interesting, will need to add.

      Examination access arrangements can make a high difference; particularly for those SEN students not necessarily picked up straight away. The recent addition of Oral Language Modifiers is an interesting one – have seen grades go up considerably using an OLM – it was the carrier language these students struggled with rather than the subject knowledge. I also like the idea of alternative assessments.

      And yes, whole school awareness and training vital.

      I’ve also been thinking about deployment of TAs in more detail recently – another blog perhaps….

      Thanks for your comments, lots to add here – and enjoy your Summer.

      Jules

  2. Thanks for your reply, Jules. Look forward to your post about deployment of TAs – another essential piece of the jigsaw. What is your experience of subject-based TAs? In my last mainstream role, as SENCO, we found that placing some TAs in subject teams was very effective. Other TAs were timetabled with particular individuals or groups. This mixed approach seemed to give good outcomes and that’s the way we do it in my current school – keeping some consistency for certain subjects and using other staff with particular students, as needs dictate (being flexible as things change, of course).
    Keep up the good work with your blog. Best wishes,
    Paul

  3. I like the idea of subject based TAs – I think they can become knowledgable on resources and area – also going to faculty meetings. Agree some need to be linked to individuals to facilitate learning – ASC springs to mind – nothing worse than lots of different faces for some on the spectrum. Other specialisms too e.g. Literacy/numeracy/Learn to move/ELSA for small group or 1:1 interventions and expertise within LDs such as ASC, dyslexia, ADHD etc. Also pushing for more Assistive Technology TAs so the software is used rather than stuck in a cupboard because no-one knows how to it works – they can also adapt teachers resources to make electronic copies for laptops and tablets. TAs can underpin the learning process and support in so many ways – a vital part of the structure.

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