The principles that underpin ‘The SEND Code of Practice’ (Jan 2015) state the importance of the child’s or young person and the child’s parents, participating as fully as possible in decisions’. So how does that translate into practice within our settings and classrooms?
Here are the top 10 tips for implementing good SEND practice within your school or setting:
1. Leadership engagement
A leadership team with a firm understanding and belief in the same ethos will allow successful implementation of SEND practice across the whole school. If the leadership team can articulate and show commitment to it, then staff will be imbued with a desire to do the right for the pupils.
Find out what already works well; there will be systems and processes that are currently implemented but it is good to have a starting point when making any further improvements. Data collection and a needs or swot analysis can seem like timely tasks but they will have a huge impact in the long term.
3. Involve parents and pupils
In order to ensure meaningful family-school relationships, it is important to involve the parents and pupils with changes or new initiatives in a collaborative way, including them at the data gathering/audit point enables their voices to be heard and participate in decisions.
4. Develop an Action Plan
Any action plans should link firmly to the overall school development plan and if possible to individual appraisal targets. Set reasonable time limits and identify possible barriers or challenges and how these may be overcome; it becomes a ‘living document’. the more concrete and specific the actions the easier it will be for staff to implement.
5. Communicate to stakeholders
The goals within the action plan can only be achieved with collaboration and ownership. It is important to communicate to staff, pupils, parents, governors and other stakeholders what their role is in the action plan is and its implementation. A variety of face-to-face, written and visual methods of communication will ensure clarity of thought.
The next step in the process should be to implement the action plan. Pupil’s specific individual needs and personal learning journey’s should be at the centre of the implementation and legal or statutory needs must be met. As with any plan; changes may need to be made but be wary of changing too much, too quickly.
Continuing Professional Development is vital to all staff working with pupils with SEND. Knowledge and skills must be kept up to date and any individual/specific training actioned whenever possible. Staff will feel supported, confident and empowered to implement your strategy.
Monitor and review the action plan then set new actions which reflect even higher expectations.
If processes and procedures within the school are working well already it is important not to start from scratch; if small ‘tweaks’ can be made to the system, then wherever possible do this.
10. Celebrate success
Ensure success is celebrated throughout the journey and highlight specific areas/people/ideas that have worked particularly well and reflect upon why. Try to capture the successes and share with all stakeholders. Remember to identify the smallest steps of progress because in the world of SEND these can be the largest!
About our Community Expert
Rachel has over 21 years of teaching experience in a range of primary, junior and special provision settings. Rachel has held various leadership roles including Deputy Head Teacher and is currently Head of Inclusion in an outstanding Junior School in Maidenhead. Rachel has held the title of SENDCo for over 20 years and is passionate about helping every individual reach their full potential.
Recently recognised by Ofsted as having the skills to ensure staff take ownership of the support and progress of pupils with SEND, they also praised her ability to imbue staff with a desire to do the right thing for these pupils.
Her drive and ambition continue to improve the exceptional support within her own setting and Rachel’s satisfaction comes from seeing children with SEND thrive.