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Working effectively with colleagues to personalise support

Posted by Bernie Callanan on Wednesday, 3 October 2018
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You're likely getting into the swing of things by now and gaining a good grasp of the key personalities within each class.

I recently wrote about the importance of early identification when you suspect underlying learning issues for a student. In this piece,  I am going to take you through the potential next steps.

Once you have identified a student is struggling and passed on your concerns to the SENCO it is useful to dig a little deeper. This information is what the SENCO will be after. It's likely they won't have the capacity to immediately offer direct support (unless the student is already known to them).

So how do you dig deeper?

One of the first things you can do is find out who else teaches this student and speak to them about their experiences. Have they noticed the same things as you? Maybe they haven't, perhaps things are working really well for this student elsewhere.

Teacher meeting-1

If so, don't take it personally! Instead, ask to observe the student in your colleague's lesson (only needs to be for 10-20 minutes).

A dialogue can then happen between yourself and the student about how impressed you were by what you saw.

"Speak to the student about how you can support the student in replicating similar progress in your lessons."

It might be that your colleagues have the same concerns as you. My advice here would be to discuss possible Quality First Teaching (QFT) strategies with them and continue discussions moving forward. I'll share some effective QFT strategies in my next blog.

What approaches worked well? Which ones were less successful? Between yourself and your colleague, you'll start to build a picture of supportive strategies and where areas of concern remain.

What next?

Share your conclusions with the SENCO. When teachers share with me what approaches they have tried, it is really useful in helping me to arrange pertinent support for the young person.

Sometimes I'll arrange further observations. Often I"ll send the strategies which teachers have advised to all staff involved once I have met the student.

student with hearing aid

Most students with identified difficulties should be supported with personalised teaching alone, hence the importance of sharing your findings with colleagues.

For my upcoming blogs, I will detail potential learning difficulties which will require more extensive input.

In the meantime enjoy being a teacher detective!


About our Community Expert


Bernie Callanan


Over 10 years of SEN experience in a number of settings. Developed whole-school approaches to ensure students with SEN are catered with the support they need.

Placing the student with SEN at the heart of all decisions made regarding their education, whilst liaising with all stakeholders involved.

Bernie is our education expert who provides SEN related content.

Topics: Teacher development


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