Rather Random Thoughts of a Nearly New SENCO

It is commonly acknowledged that children respond better to rewards than sanctions but sometimes regardless of the reward system used and the rewards offered sanctions have to be used.

It makes sense (to the adults) that children in school should be in class and learning, unfortunately not all children seem to see it this way. Some children, despite the support put in place, despite the lessons being split into bite-sized accessible chunks presented in the child’s preferred learning style, despite following all of the suggestions given by outside professionals, despite personalised reward systems being put in place some children still choose to behave in an unacceptable way. They not only deny themselves an education they persistently disrupt the learning of the other pupils.

If their behaviour continues eventually the child will be removed from the classroom, given work to complete elsewhere in the school but with less support than they…

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#Nurture15/16 Update


Welcome to this year’s update on my nurture post.

I’ve scanned last year’s post to give me a starting point and some things haven’t changed at all. Other things weren’t even on the horizon this time last year.

I’ll give you a couple of examples of things that haven’t changed. I continue to be AHT for my school. We still do not have a Deputy so that leaves myself and my colleague in charge when our HT has to leave the premises. I’ll admit I enjoy the challenge on a small scale, secure in the knowledge that I can hand the school back at some point. The thought of being in charge for ever quite frankly scares me. It isn’t what I want to do. I like a healthy mix of teaching and leadership and so I continue to be AHT and I continue to be happy with my role.

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The Tale of Max Tasen

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

Anonymous guest blog.  Needs no introduction.

Max Tasen sat back and waited for his name to appear in lights.  Various names appeared in red, accompanied by a buzz, and hobbling men, sneezing women and screaming children rose one by one,  and obediently made their way to the designated consulting rooms. Max sat, and his neck began to ache as he continued to look up at the sign above Reception.

Eventually a kindly looking lady appeared carrying a clipboard.  “Come with me,” she said.  She smiled as she took Max’ coat and briefcase; Max followed her down a long corridor where there was a  small round table and four chairs.

“Please sit down,” said the lady, gesturing to one of the chairs before popping her spectacles on the end of her nose and looking at the clipboard.  “Ah… I see you’ve just moved into the area and our GPs note you…

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A sincere Christmas thank you from #SENexchange


photo SEN exchange

Mary and Cherryl started @SENexchange  on Twitter in April 2015 with a wish to create a place where ideas, news, information and resources relating to SEND could be shared.

We are delighted that since then we have:

  • 1451 supportive followers
  • published 8 blogs
  • Held 28 weekly discussions on a range of topics suggested by our followers

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last 9 months. We appreciate the Re-tweets we get and the people who send us links to free resources to share with others.

We want #SENexchange to respond to and reflect the needs and views of the SEND community and to stay up to date with current issues pertinent to those working in the field so we are grateful to those who have suggested topics for our Wednesday evening discussion. We #Storify our discussion each week and have a Storify collection

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Differentiation is not ‘teaching all kids badly’


This morning I happened upon a thread on Twitter that had been running since last night and involved @miss_mcinerney @LearningSpy @nastyoldmrpike@Lisahansel @SimonKnight100 @rachelrossiter @nancygedge at various stages of the conversation. The tweet which captured my attention and sheer horror was this one from @nastyoldmrpike ‘differentiation is another word for teaching all kids badly’. I traced this thread back and it had originated with a post from @Lisahansel entitled ‘Differentiation’s Dirty Little Secret’. The essence of the post was that the author had visited several elementary schools and observed lessons where the whole class listened to the same introduction. After the introduction the lesson was differentiated for 3 or more groups each with different projects to complete.

The lesson described is not expertly differentiated by any stretch of the imagination and it would not be appropriate for children with SEND. I take exception to the line ‘Differentiation is supposed to provide different…

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Making the festivities fun for pupils with ASC


Whilst Christmas can be a time of great excitement, it is important to remember that this time of year adds additional challenges to young people and families with SEND.  Gareth D Morewood explains what schools can do to be inclusive at Christmas.

The last week of term

Boy tree decorations christmas winder magnifying glassYoung people on the autistic spectrum can find the last few days of the Christmas term very challenging – changes in routines, sensory overloads, not to mention the exhaustion felt by all!

This time of year can be full of plays, pantomimes, performances, parties, films, trips, etc. and it’s difficult to keep pupils focused. As no one wants to be Scrooge, this time of year needs careful planning to make it enjoyable for everyone.

Advance warning

Make sure parents/carers and young people know about the differences – possibly using a visual support like you might use for times of transition – to ensure…

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Make Sure You Know Your Special Ones #SEND


Whilst at university I was twice part of the Handicapped Children’s Pilgrimage Trust to Lourdes.  Among many wonderful memories, from thirty years ago, was the lunch time one child walked into the middle of the hotel restaurant to inform their carers they had just soiled themselves (different words used) carrying in the evidence.  I also ended up in bed with one of the teachers from my former secondary school.

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