Whole School Approaches to meeting special educational needs
Effectively identifying SEND
All children learn and develop at different rates, and have areas of strength as well as areas for further development.
It is important to distinguish children with SEND from those who are underachieving but who can and will catch up.
A child may have a SEND if, despite appropriate classroom activities and differentiated planning and support, they continue to experience a greater difficulty than their peers in learning and developing skills.
A SEND can take a variety of forms. The wide range of strategies that can be employed by skilled staff can usually overcome such barriers by providing suitable learning programmes that respond to diverse learning needs. Examples include:
Planning appropriately challenging work for those whose ability and understanding are in advance of their language skills
Using positive behaviour management with a clear system of rewards and sanctions.
These strategies and arrangements can be effective even when children have more persistent or serious difficulties.
When to make more targeted intervention
‘The key test of the need for action (for a child) is evidence that current rates of progress are inadequate . . . A judgement (therefore) has to be made in each case as to what is reasonable to expect a particular child to achieve. Where progress is not adequate, it will be necessary to take some additional or different action to enable the child to learn more effectively’
(SEN Code of Practice)
"Reasonable to expect” is key. The LA considers that it would be reasonable to expect most children who are underachieving, in any year group or key stage, to be able to make accelerated progress with good teaching and appropriately targeted interventions.
Those children who, having received such provision, continue to struggle to access the curriculum or make progress, often because of some cognitive or emotional impairment, may need something additional to and different from the usual, well-differentiated, curriculum and methodology on offer in the school.
Involving Parents / the young person
When a school or setting begins to make special educational provision for a child or young person, they must tell their parent carers about what is happening. Involving parents and children or young people in the setting and review of outcomes from the beginning leads to better progress and improved results overall.
Graduated Approach to SEND
All education providers/settings (including academies and free schools) are responsible for meeting SEND. Most children and young people with SEND have their needs met through universal, mainstream education provision. The SEND Code of Practice makes it quite clear that all teachers are teachers of SEND.
Special educational provision is education or training that is additional to or different from that made generally for others of the same age. This means provision that goes beyond the different approaches, learning arrangements and interventions normally provided as part of high quality, personalised teaching.
All settings arranging SEND support should put the child or young person and their family at the centre of what they do. Settings need to ensure that the voice of the child is heard and recorded.
When a child is identified as having SEND, settings should provide appropriate education based on their needs. This should be provided as part of the graduated approach which includes regular review of progress made and appropriate changes to support provided as required. Provision mapping as a good way for a setting to keep track of this but some settings may prefer to use an Individual Plan.
Some children who need a lot of additional support, may need a more detailed plan that:
- Works towards a clear set of expected outcomes or results which should include relevant academic and developmental targets including preparing for adulthood where appropriate.
- Is planned and reviewed by the class or subject teacher together with the parents, SENCOs, any professionals involved and, where appropriate, the child themselves.
If a child’s needs are so exceptional that, despite a good support plan, they are not achieving their goals, an exceptional funding and/or assessment of their education, health and care needs may be necessary.
SEND Support aims to ensure a child or young person can meet their individual goals.
SEND Support may be set out through provision mapping or, for children with more complex needs, through an SEND Support Plan.
Providing for a 'Predicted (Typical) Profile
All Islington schools are likely to have children in each class with the following most frequently occurring reported local needs: Specific Learning Difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Speech, Language and Communication Needs and Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs.
It is strongly recommended that each school ensures it has at least one teacher with expertise in these areas to meet a predicted (‘typical’) profile.
- Differentiation is about matching the work expected of pupils with their ability to do it. It is about setting appropriate tasks for pupils and assessing the outcomes of these tasks in a flexible way. For example, children with language and learning issues benefit from having informatiuon presented at a slower pace. This is differentiation.
- For pupils with SEND, teachers will also need to consider expectations in relation to ability and additional resources and support.
Learning Styles and SEND
- All pupils learn in different ways and so teachers will consider different learning and teaching styles when they prepare lessons, and use a variety of teaching strategies
- For pupils with SEND, teachers will need to consider some additional learning needs in the following areas:
- Communication and Interaction
- Cognition and Learning
- Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
- Sensory and/or physical needs.
Learning styles include:
- Visual learners: These individuals see the world in pictures and enjoy doodling, drawing and watching television, films and plays. They are the people who often forget names but remember faces
- Auditory learners: They tend to think in sounds and tend to get distracted by noise. They enjoy listening to music and tapes and speaking on the telephone. They are happy to listen to verbal instructions and can attend to the spoken word/teacher talk e.g. story time
- Kinaesthetic learners: Such learners, boys in particular, use movement and touch a their way of learning about the world that surrounds them. Kinaesthetic learners can fidget and use gestures a lot. They often play with objects when listening. For some of these pupils, for example those with Attention Deficits, it may be necessary to introduce ‘movement breaks’ into the lesson. Kinaesthetic learners usually enjoy sports, games and being on the move. They remember best by ‘doing’.
Teachers need to be flexible in their teaching to meet a range of learning styles and intellectual needs. Research suggests that:
- Teachers tend to concentrate on teaching styles that favour those pupils with linguistic and logical intelligence
- Teachers will often teach to their own learning style
More effective learning takes place where teachers plan their teaching so that it appeals to a wider range of learners.
See more on how to help diferent types of learners learn.