Involving all staff in provision for SEND
Barcroft Primary School is a larger-than-average primary school in the West Midlands, with almost 500 pupils on roll. The proportion of pupils with SEND is relatively small (approximately 55 are on the SEND register) but the proportion of disadvantaged pupils is just over half the school, which is very high.
Two members of staff share the role of SENCO: one experienced teacher and a younger colleague who will soon be undertaking National SENCO Training. Both work on a part-time basis.
I've been pleased with the development of provision for SEND, and decided to find appropriate recognition for the work we'd done. We also felt that teachers would be encouraged to refine their classroom strategies for meeting individual needs if they knew that everyone was working towards formal accreditation for the school.
Our deployment of teaching assistants (TA) has been a key area of consideration. Before starting the award we had already made positive staffing changes, and established a training schedule specifically for TAs. However, it became clear that teachers needed to involved.
It was far too easy for teachers to 'hand over’ provision for SEND to a TA or the SENCO
It was far too easy for teachers to ‘hand over’ provision for SEND to a TA or the SENCO. If they were tasked with identifying some targets for an individual pupil, it was seen as an exercise rather than something to be undertaken on a daily basis.
We took on Optimus' SEND Inclusion Award (SENDIA) as a developmental tool. We wanted to check what was being done well and what needed to change. The specific requirements for each of the award’s key objectives helped us to pick up on areas we might otherwise have missed.
Our staff have been very grateful for the support the award advisors have given us along the way. The writing of the action plan was painless thanks to their input, and their visits have definitely helped us stay on top of things!
Our staff have been very grateful for the support the award advisors have given us along the way.
We're looking to complete the award by Easter 2018 – which will be 15-16 months in total. Our next steps include collecting and uploading the material required for the evidence folder.
I'm reliably informed that the day-to-day business of a SENCO has oftentimes put SENDIA activity on the backburner, as have ‘curved ball’ situations such as family illnesses.
Next term, we plan to appoint a designated member of staff to be in charge of uploading evidence to the portfolio and managing the SENDIA information on the school’s website. Our advice to other schools: ‘share the workload and don’t rush!’
A new approach
On the back of the award, we now have a system whereby each child on the SEND register has a ‘red book’ in which to record their individual targets. The teacher and TA will annotate and sign to record any progress towards a target.
Our advice to other schools: ‘share the workload and don’t rush!’
The SENCO will monitor these books in an effort to see if teachers are addressing individual needs in their daily classroom practice. They can then direct their attention to colleagues who haven’t fully engaged with this new approach.
Other plans include further training for TAs and teaching staff, and most importantly we will build on recent success with a coffee morning for parents.
After all, there’s much to celebrate already!