In order to meet the challenges of the plethora of change that is currently hitting our schools we have to ensure that the whole school workforce have the knowledge, skills and understanding to meet those challenges and offer the very best educational opportunity for every child and young person.
The SEN landscape will change significantly from September 2014 and all members of the school workforce will have a role to play in implementing that change.
School leaders (including Governors) need to have a very clear understanding of what “quality first teaching” looks like in their school. What is every teacher expected to offer every day for every pupil? The use of classroom observations, reflective discussion and a whole school model of outstanding practice will help to embed this across the school.
School leaders (including Governors) also need to know who their vulnerable groups are and which individual pupils need additional support over and above “quality first teaching”. They should understand what evidenced based interventions are being delivered, who is delivering them and what are the outcomes for the pupils themselves. Finally, they must provide appropriate training for staff delivering the interventions and be satisfied that they are able to monitor and assess the progress being made and make judgements about the next steps for each individual pupil.
The SENCO (a statutory post that should be held by a qualified teacher) should work closely with the Leadership Team to keep them informed of the day-to-day organisation of SEN provision, staffing, interventions and outcomes. All SENCOs will need support and guidance in carrying out their role.
Every teacher is responsible and accountable for the teaching and learning of every pupil that they are involved with. This means working very closely with additional support staff to ensure they are planned and prepared for supporting their individuals/groups whilst the teacher continues to have overall control of that pupils learning and progress.
Support staff should work closely with teachers to ensure they have a clear understanding of learning objectives, tasks to be completed and the outcomes the teacher wishes to achieve within a specific session. Recording this information and passing it back to the teacher is vital to ensure the teacher can then assess the pupil’s understanding and make a judgement about the next phase of learning.
In order for this to be achieved schools must recognise the importance of high quality professional development for all staff to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to meet the challenging complex needs that are now being identified within our school population.
In practice this is challenging both in terms of time and resources but a well trained and experienced team will offer outstanding teaching to all pupils and will have long term effect on pupil and school performance.