Raising SEN support expectations

Leaders know the educational outcomes of schools in the local area particularly well. They carry out a detailed analysis and identify those schools where outcomes are not good enough. This includes pupils’ progress in writing, which by the end of key stage 2 is below that of reading and mathematics.

Many schools have received reviews to check on the teaching, leadership and outcomes being achieved by children and young people with SEND. This is helping improve outcomes, including in writing.

Local Area Ofsted SEND Inspection 2019

As leaders of SEND, one of our key roles is raising expectations: the expectations of the pupils that we teach, the expectations of our school staff and the expectations of the wider community that we serve. All children and young people should expect to receive an education that enables them to achieve the best possible educational and wider outcomes, and become confident, able to communicate their own views and ready to make a successful transition into adulthood.

  • To achieve these goals ELP have four key priorities 2018-2020 driven and monitored by the SEN Executive board.
  • To support schools/other educational settings to embed the highest expectations for children and young people/adults with SEND, reducing inequality.
  • To develop clear transitions and improve progression pathways through the curriculum to support better preparation for adulthood.
  • To improve the quality and timeliness of the statutory assessment process, co-production of EHC plans and establish a new funding model for all children and young people with SEND.
  • To ensure the local area offer is developed further to meet current and future needs of our children and young people.

The advice given in this document is relevant to all early years settings, schools, academies/free schools and further education providers. It sets out clear expectations of what should be provided from within school delegated funding for pupils at SEN support on top of the quality teaching that should be provided for all children and young people.

A child or young person is said to have SEN when their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision to be made for them, namely provision that is different from or additional to that normally available for others of the same age. A small number of such children and young people will require an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan.

When considering children and young people in need of SEN support schools are expected to operate a Graduated Response resulting from careful identification, assessment, planning and reviewing. It is expected that this approach will provide for most learners needs in their settings. It will include the use of evidence-based interventions and proven strategies to promote positive development over time.

If the evidence demonstrates that a range of approaches have not worked effectively, then it may be necessary to undertake statutory assessment.

Our target is that by 2020 all schools will be judged at least good by Ofsted, with a high proportion judged to be outstanding. The gap between those identified for SEN support and their peers will be reduced.

This guide is structured around four key areas. Section 1 will be essential reading for the leadership team, including SENCos and Inclusion Managers. Section 2 onwards will be relevant to teaching staff and SENCos.

Roles and responsibilities

School leadership is regarded as a prominent factor in improving student outcomes. This has been firmly acknowledged in the field of SEND. Moreover, the importance of school leaders and their SLTs in demonstrating a firm commitment to developing an inclusive culture within a school has long been regarded to be as important as the systems, practices and policies that are implemented to improve outcomes.

Quality first teaching

Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, including where pupils access support from specialist staff. High quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEND. Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching (CoP 2015).

SEN support and interventions

Strategic resourcing and strategic thinking are closely linked (Robinson, 2011). As leaders of SEND, we should question and challenge assumptions about the links between resources and the needs they are intended to meet. We need to ask what conditions are required to ensure a resource works for the learners that are being targeted and what evidence there is to show that using a resource in a way will help to achieve the intended goal.

Useful resources

As leaders of SEND, we should commit to evidence. Section 4 provides links to further reading, research and resources that will support leaders to implement an effective SEND strategy for learners at SEN support.

DFE supported professional guidance is also made available through the SEND gateway (NASEN) where there are additional sources of information relating to the four broad areas of SEND:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Speech, language and communication
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Physical and sensory.
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Last updated: 30 Aug 2023

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