The special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice (2015), states that ‘A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, that is different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age’.
To ensure that every child or young person gets the support they require, the SEND code of practice (2015) outlines a graduated approach, which schools should employ to meet the needs of pupils with SEND. This graduated approach should take the form of a four-part cycle (Assess, Plan, Do, Review), which should provide a growing understanding of the pupil’s needs and the provision which best supports the pupil to make good progress.
All staff play a key part in the identification of special educational needs, which should always be the result of building a picture of the child’s needs over time. There is a large emphasis on the class teacher being directly responsible and accountable for the progress of all pupils within their class, including those receiving additional support from other adults. This should be whole school practice, which is embedded within all school systems and policies.
So, how can teachers ensure that pupils identified as having special educational needs are able to participate, learn and make progress? Teachers need to:
- Assess and identify a pupil’s strengths and needs
- Set learning targets
- Identify appropriate provision (based on their assessments)
- Deliver appropriate teaching and learning opportunities
- Track small step pupil progress
- Evaluate and monitor intervention using pupil progress
All of which can be achieved by using the Birmingham SEN toolkits, as they support you at each stage of the graduated approach, for those pupils with cognition and learning difficulties. The toolkits support all school staff to:
Assess: The language and literacy continuums and maths frameworks are used to assess a pupil’s current skills against the National Curriculum descriptors. By clearly identifying what a pupil can do, the profile created will highlight the next steps in learning. Teaching staff can use this profile to set appropriately challenging success criteria, whilst ensuring that pupils can access the lesson.
Plan: The profile that the assessment framework builds can be used to support teachers to plan appropriate provision, including high quality teaching strategies and identifying the level of additional support required.
Do: Teaching staff are supported by the teaching and learning ideas, to use a range of strategies, approaches and evidence based interventions, based on the individual pupil’s gaps in learning.
Review: Marking the pupil’s work acts as an ongoing review and their learning profile can be updated as required, to demonstrate and track small step progress to inform future planning.
This ongoing cycle will enable all school staff to gain a growing understanding of the pupil and what works well for them. The progress pupils make should be tracked, monitored and shared with parents at least once a term. The provision for pupils with special educational needs should be continuously reviewed and this evaluation should inform future planning, to enable the support to be refined and personalised, whilst taking account of pupil and family views.