This morning I have been updating my SEN action plan, which in all honesty is serving two purposes. The most important of course is that it will be my guide, helping me prioritise actions and use my allocated SENDco time effectively. The second purpose I learned from a colleague on a ‘New SENDco’ course. She recounted how OfSTED inspected after she had been in role for three weeks. She spoke of her horror when she was unable to answer any of the questions that she was asked. Her saving grace was the fact that she had an action plan. What she didn’t know was accounted for in her plan – it showed the actions that would enable her to become an effective SENDco. Being new to the role myself, it was the first thing I did when I left the course.
IEPs and GEPS
The phrase ‘additonal to or different from that (provision) normally available to pupils‘ has formed the question by which we decide whether a child needs an IEP. If it is normal school provision, it is not additional to our curriculum, therefore we are not making special provision. This has helped form our SEN practice at EHPS.
One of the first things I did in my role was host a staff meeting to share the thinking behind the new draft SEN Code of Practice and to support teaching staff to make the move from IEPs to GEPs. I used a short prezi presentation as a synopsis of the draft code, then gave each member of staff a crib sheet to explain the changes/help them make the decision about the paperwork that is right for their child. There had already been recent developments to provision at school, so naturally some staff were feeling a bit anxious about more change, but the fact that many of our children should be included in group education plans rather than individual plans, meant that paperwork would be reduced. I gave each class a folder entitled SEN interventions – working documents, because that is what they are. I want to see them annotated. I received positive feedback (given voluntarily) after the meeting, so felt that I had pitched it ok!
Personal Profiles and Case Studies
There are some children who don’t need an IEP or to be included in a GEP, because they do not need additional support for learning. Some of these children may need acknowledging for other reasons and/or highlighting to additional/new adults who may work in your classroom. For example, we have children at EHPS with ASDs, who are high ability and so don’t need additional support, but whom we need to be made aware of their views, the things that excite or challenge them and how we can support them. Equally, there may be learners who are experiencing behavioural difficulties that need addressing and supporting. In my limited experience, completing a personal learning profile with one child and his family last October had a highly positive impact. The fact that his behaviour is now starting to deteriorate tells me something – the process needs to be done bi-annually.
The other thing that I have been doing, as recommended in Seven Steps to Ofsted Success is creating case studies. My good friend Jenni shared some examples with me so I could see what they could potentially look like. Case studies could prove vital in explaining why certain children have not made expected academic progress, whilst showing the impact of provision on their social, emotional and behavioural development. I intend to do one per class to start with and will focus on children who have not made expected progress according to tracking data.
A colleague in our cluster also shared this helpful SEN tracking sheet with which I intend to track all children at school who are currently on the SEN register. I have them all named and ready, now it’s just a case of finding time to complete them! It’s not so much my time, it’s balancing the amount of time I pester other members of staff to spend time with me.
If you find any of this helpful, or have any tips to share, please let me know!