- Read the information and look at the examples provided.
- As you do this, make notes in response to the key questions below.
- You will need to take the notes with you to your mentor session for discussion with your mentor.
The intended outcomes of this activity are for you to:
|5.7 Pupils with special educational needs or disabilities are likely to require additional or adapted support; working closely with colleagues, families and pupils to understand barriers and identify effective strategies is essential.|
|8.6 SENCOs, pastoral leaders, careers advisors and other specialist colleagues also have valuable expertise and can ensure that appropriate support is in place for pupils.|
|Learn how to|
|Develop an understanding of different pupil needs, by:|
|5c Working closely with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and special education professionals and the Designated Safeguarding Lead.|
|5d Using the SEND Code of Practice, which provides additional guidance on supporting pupils with SEND effectively.|
High-quality teaching is a key component to improving life chances for all children. Within each classroom, all pupils will require different levels and types of support to succeed. However, some pupils with special educational needs or disabilities are likely to require additional or adapted support.
The Department for Education’s SEND Code of Practice states that:
All pupils should have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. […] Teachers should set high expectations for every pupil, whatever their prior attainment. Teachers should use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious. Potential areas of difficulty should be identified and addressed at the outset. Lessons should be planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement. In many cases, such planning will mean that pupils with SEN and disabilities will be able to study the full national curriculum.
Types of need are categorised as:
- Specific learning difficulties which refer to a specific aspect of learning, e.g. a difficulty with numbers (dyscalculia) or literacy (dyslexia).
- General learning difficulties refer to a child who finds it difficult to learn, understand and do things compared to other children of the same age. General learning difficulties can be moderate, severe or profound.
Most pupils with severe or profound learning difficulties will receive support through an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP). These outline the individual needs of the pupil and the provision in place to support them. It is important that you familiarise yourself with the EHCP, and any equivalent plans your school has in place, for the pupils you teach.
Pupils identified as having moderate or specific learning difficulties may not have an EHCP and it will be up to you to implement support for them. Many students in your class and school may be identified as SEN support and will likely require a very personalised approach to best meet their needs. Close collaboration and positive relationships with colleagues – especially the SENCO and TAs – families and pupils support us to identify and address potential barriers.
The SEND Code of Practice (2015) highlights the vital role that parents play in supporting children and young people with SEND. Parents can help you understand the needs of individual learners and ensure you provide the appropriate support for them.
Parents are the best placed individuals to provide details on:
- The health and early development of their child
- The support they have received outside the school system
- Whether any difficulties have been noted at home or elsewhere
Consider how you communicate with parents and carers of SEND pupils and capture their views. Have you thought specifically about whether the information you share with families is accessible and whether they feel comfortable and confident to respond and communicate with you?
Some parents of SEND pupils may have faced negative experiences in communications with their child’s school previously. Some may themselves have additional needs. This might result in them finding it difficult to engage with teachers and school leaders and will require a personalised approach. For example, a parent may find meeting in a classroom or office intimidating. Instead, you could arrange to conduct a meeting in a soft-seating area in the school or build up to face to face meetings in the school after you have built a strong relationship through phone calls and email.
In your notepad
- How many parents/carers of the pupils with SEN have you had conversations with?
- What have these conversations told you?
- What further conversations would be useful to have?
- When will you have these?
The four broad areas of need and support are:
- Communication and interaction
- Cognition and learning
- Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
- Sensory and/or physical needs
Examples of the different types of need and potential classroom strategies are listed below. You will need to liaise with your school SENCO or other specialist colleagues to identify how best to use these types of strategies with individual pupils:
Type of need
Communication and interaction
Cognition and learning
Behavioural, emotional and social development
Sensory and/or physical
It is imperative that you know, understand and are able to action the safeguarding policy your school holds. You should:
- Familiarise yourself with the safeguarding policy
- Identify the designated safeguarding lead
- Familiarise yourself with actions to take if you need to enact safeguarding procedure
In your notepad
- Who is the designated safeguarding lead?
- Where can they be found?
- When should you contact them?
As we have seen, many people in the school community can help you understand barriers and identify effective strategies for teaching pupils with SEND. In particular, the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), has a vital role in leading schools’ approaches to supporting these pupils. As a teacher, you need to be proactive in establishing a working relationship with the SENCO.
Building effective relationships
SENCO talks about their role.
I am a SENCO of a mainstream primary school with 250 children on roll from nursery through to Year 6. I am a class teacher for three days a week and have two days a week non-contact time to concentrate on my SENCO leadership and management role. There are 62 children on the SEN Register, and many more who we are monitoring closely. We follow government and local authority guidance, using documents like the SEND Code of Practice to plan our approaches to supporting pupils.
My role is to lead on developing our policies and make sure that teachers are supported effectively to follow them. People think that my role is largely to do with paperwork: submitting referrals to outside agencies such as Speech and Language Therapists, Education Psychology, Autism Outreach, and completing applications for Education Health Care Plans, and it is true: this takes up a great deal of time. However, I am also here to monitor the quality of classroom provision for all children with SEND and advise teachers on how to make classrooms, and teaching and learning, more inclusive. I can signpost staff to other specialist help on specific needs, e.g. dyslexia and dyspraxia, and can also link teachers into CPD activities to support them to develop.
One of the things that is part of my role is to team teach or observe in class to look at a specific child or group of children and work with the teacher to develop provision for them. This can be helpful if children don’t have a diagnosis or any extra hours allocated to them as it is something the teacher can do themselves.
In your notepad
- What is the SENCO’s role?
- What support does the SENCO provide to teachers?
In your notepad
How have you engaged with the SENCO in your school up to now?
- Which pupils whom you have identified as having potential difficulties could you discuss with your SENCO?
- Choose one or two of these pupils and arrange a time to talk to the SENCO about them. Discuss the following:
- How does the SENCO use the SEND Code of Practice to plan support for pupils?
- What are the potential barriers to learning of these pupils?
- What suggestions can the SENCO give on how you can support and help the pupils overcome these barriers (e.g. types of tasks that support them, pupil groupings that help them etc.)?
- What out-of-class interventions do your pupils engage in?
- How can you draw on these to support your teaching of these pupils?
- Note any advice they provide about how best to support the pupils you identified.
- How can you link the support a pupil is receiving outside of the classroom to the support you provide in your lesson?
Read through the following scenarios and potential action steps. Decide which one is closest to your current situation and which actions might be useful for you to implement.
Actions you may take
|You have been given a class list and there are three students who have special educational needs||
|A pupil you teach who has special educational needs is clearly struggling||
|You think a pupil might have a special educational need but they have not been flagged to you||
|You are concerned about the safety of a pupil||
|A pupil makes a disclosure to you||