TES National Strategies SEN Supplement 6 Nov 09


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A sponsored supplement on special educational needs produced for National Strategies, published by the Times Educational Supplement on 6 November 2009

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TES National Strategies SEN Supplement 6 Nov 09

  1. 1. INCLUSIONIN ACTION Improving outcomes for special educational needs
  2. 2. Mainstreaming agenda seen as integral to rise in SEN pupil results What’s new for special needs This year sees three major National Strategies programmes for improving outcomes for the lowest-performing pupils with or without special educational needs (SEN) brought together for the first time. Achievement for All, launched this autumn, fuses initiatives for attaining academic targets, engaging with parents and achieving wider outcomes. The National Strategies has accessed data on progression for children from P1 to GCSE. This has been used to develop guidance for schools, local authorities and school improvement partners (SIPs) to help them set appropriate targets. Schools, SIPs and local authority staff can now also use a new e-learning professional development resource, recently launched on the National Strategies web area at www. Hands up if standards.dcsf.gov.uk/nationalstrategies. The Progression Guidance professional development course is designed to help users make effective use of data when working with you’re feeling children identified with SEN. The National Strategies and the Audit Commission have developed a Value for Money resource pack for schools. It will enable users to examine SEN funding, supported? evaluate impact and plan provision using value for money judgments. New this year to the Inclusion Development Programme is work looking at behavioural, emotional and social needs, which is building on the existing programmes and leading to next year’s final, unification phase. TES editor: Gerard Kelly A greater number of children with SEN are At secondary level, results show in 2008 Supplement editor: Fiona Salvage reaching expected levels of achievement 11.8 per cent of pupils identified with SEN despite an increase in the number of children achieve at least five A*-C GCSEs including Produced by TSL Education Limited identified with learning difficulties, according English and maths compared with 8.6 per to a brief agreed with the National Strategies. to the latest National Strategies data. cent in 2006, against a rise from 17.5 per cent Paid for by the National Strategies. Thirty-four per cent of children identified to 19.8 per cent of children identified with SEN. All editorial content commissioned with SEN reached expected levels of André Imich, a senior director, SEN, for the by TSL Education Limited. achievement at KS2 with English and maths National Strategies, says the mainstreaming To give us your feedback or to suggest ideas, combined in 2008, compared with 28 per cent agenda of “ensuring more of our teaching contact fiona.salvage@tsleducation.com in 2006. During that time, the percentage of force have got the skills and knowledge to For sponsorship or advertising opportunities, primary school children classified with SEN apply in the classroom for all children rather contact keith.dalton@tsleducation.com rose from 18.9 per cent to 19.5 per cent. than treating special needs as a separate skill
  3. 3. New Achievement for All programme uses a three-strand approach to target pupils with SEN and disabilities Radical scheme SIMON JARRATT/ALAMY is cause for great expectations Achievement for All is a new project that aims authorities. National Strategies is working to improve outcomes for pupils identified with with these local authorities through the two- special educational needs. Launched in year project, including delivering training. September, it has been commissioned by the Local authority project leaders will ensure DCSF and is being led by the National the training is extended across their area, Strategies with the National College for while leading teachers for Achievement for All Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services will work with schools to help them develop and the University of Manchester. It is split inclusive practice that will support the into three strands. programme. In addition, the NCSL is running The first strand aims to raise teachers’ conferences for headteachers on the aspirations for pupils and is an inclusive characteristics of an inclusive headteacher. approach improving outcomes through good Steven Pugh, programme director of assessment, tracking and appropriate Achievement for All, says: “Headteachers intervention. from each of the local authorities have spoken The second strand focuses on increasing passionately about why they wanted to take parents’ engagement with their child’s school part in Achievement for All and the difference through better communication to share the they feel it will make, not only for their target raising of aspirations and achievement of all pupils but for all pupils in their school.” and a separate group” played an integral part. pupils. Achievement for All is providing The first year of the two-year programme is “The Government’s SEN strategy, launched training in active listening skills for teachers targeting pupils identified with special in 2004 (Removing Barriers to Achievement), to support them with this. educational needs in four year groups: Year 1 recognised that ‘helping children with SEN Finally, the third strand focuses on for their first school experience; Year 5 for the to achieve is fundamental to sustaining improving children’s wider outcomes through end of a key stage; Year 7 for the transition to improvements in schools’ performance’ and specific school-designed activities around secondary school; and Year 10 for the pledged to do more to ensure they make bullying, improving attendance and behaviour, introduction of GCSEs. The University of progress,” says Mr Imich. “We are now seeing forming positive relationships and Manchester will be independently evaluating improvements in outcomes and are committed involvement in extended school activities. the programme’s performance. to narrowing the gap between the attainments Achievement for All is a £31 million project, www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/nationalstrate of those with and without SEN. We expect taking place in 460 schools across 10 local gies/sup1/afa outcomes to continue to improve as a number of national measures embed themselves.” Three into one does go The Every Child a Reader programme is in the second year of a three-year national roll-out. Results in 2008/09 showed schools that had an experienced Reading Recovery teacher made more progress at the end of KS1 assessments, in reading and writing at Level 2B and above. It has also seen 1,806 trained Reading Recovery teachers reach more than 20,000 children through the programme’s intensive support element, Reading Recovery or another intervention. Most of these children are the most hard to teach and achieve in the lowest 5 per cent of children nationally. Previous results indicate that, after Reading Recovery, 81 per cent will read at a level that matches their age.
  4. 4. New survey shows that teachers’ belief in their ability to satisfy special needs is on the up as the Inclusion Development Programme boosts self-assessment scores New programme is a ‘can do’ A survey of more than 1,000 staff who have recognised, the school’s own inclusion worked through the Inclusion Development checklist provided effective strategies for Programme (IDP) has revealed that they now teachers, though staff also found the IDP’s feel much more confident about meeting the links to other resources and websites useful. requirements of pupils with special needs. One valuable spin-off for staff has been Previously, 37 per cent had placed the desire to deepen their understanding of themselves at a basic “focusing” level, but pupils’ difficulties. Mr Norwood and one of after IDP training on dyslexia and/or speech, his colleagues are now enrolled on a speech language and communication difficulties this and language course at Kingston University. figure shrank to 6 per cent. The percentage Thanks to the IDP, staff at Penkridge who felt they were operating at an Middle School in Staffordshire are feeling “enhanced” level rose from 6 to 27 per cent. increasingly positive about offering a The statistics emerged from self- dyslexia-friendly environment. evaluations completed by teachers and “Theyaremoreconfidentbecausetheyhave teaching assistants before and after IDP moreknowledge,”says DiHinton,theschool’s training. Stephen Norwood, deputy head specialeducationalneedsco-ordinator of Chennestone Primary School in Sunbury- (Senco).“Theynowhavetheinformationthey on-Thames, Middlesex, thinks the self- needtochangetheirstyleofteaching.” evaluation is valuable because it encourages New practices include better planning and staff to analyse their skills and abilities. differentiation for pupils with dyslexia. “It didn’t matter too much whether their “The needs of these pupils are taken into self-assessment was completely accurate at account at the planning stage as well as by the beginning,” he says. “Some staff initially responding to situations which might arise rated themselves higher or lower than I during the lesson,” says one science teacher. expected, but by the end of the course they According to a teaching assistant, some knew enough to make a more realistic staff have improved differentiation by using assessment of what they needed to learn.” a variety of worksheets, changing homework Mr Norwood found that one of the main and recording work in different ways. They benefits for his school was the more rapid also found simple techniques such as using and accurate identification of children who different colours on the whiteboard and were displaying signs of dyslexia or speech, displaying an aide-mémoire of instructions language and communication difficulties. at the start of lessons benefited all pupils, “The training modules on identifying not just those with dyslexia. pupils with dyslexia and with speech, “I like the way the teachers use different language and communication difficulties coloured pens on the boards,” says one were key in raising staff awareness of the Year 6 pupil. “It helps everyone in the class.” issues for pupils,” he explains. “Teachers Another important development is that felt enthused that they were able to identify staff expectations of dyslexic pupils have pupils’ difficulties for themselves.” been raised. Once children’s specific needs were “We know that these pupils have to work A lesson in inclusion ‘It has improved the way we do things’ Margaret Cornes, assistant head at St Paschal worked through the IDP disc in pairs, using Baylon Catholic Primary in Liverpool, was twilight sessions and a half-day-off timetable. determined to implement the IDP after At this point, normal school life – Sats, hearing about it at a Sencos’ meeting. The illness, the school play, an Ofsted inspection – objectives – making schools more inclusive started to get in the way, and the project lost and removing learning barriers – impressed momentum until the IDO helped Mrs Cornes her, although she felt daunted at first. push it forward. After a second self-evaluation, “When I looked at how big a job it was going she noticed teachers were using their new- to be, it would be fair to say that my heart found knowledge to meet pupils’ needs, and sank. But the inclusion development officer received an email from the parent of a pupil (IDO) supported me from start to finish.” with dyslexia, praising their expertise. After a staff self-evaluation, the school “This has without doubt improved the way drew up an action plan and a timetable. Staff we do things for children,” she concludes.
  5. 5. approach to SEN Programmed to progress l 84 per cent of children with SEN statements are in the lowest-achieving 20 per cent of pupils. l The SEN gap is growing wider at key stage 4; less than 12 per cent of pupils with SEN achieved five or more GCSEs in 2008, compared with 57 per cent of their peers. l The Inclusion Development Programme is part of the Government’s strategy for SEN, outlined in 2004’s Removing Barriers to Achievement. By increasing the confidence and skills of teachers, it hopes for earlier identification and more effective support. l E-learning materials online or on DVD. l Phase 1 focuses on dyslexia and speech, language and communication difficulties. l Phase 2 focuses on the autism spectrum. l In 2010, phase 3 will deal with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/national strategies/inclusion/sup1 harder to reach their potential, but we know that they can do it,” says Mrs Hinton. “Some need an amanuensis, but they may still be capable of achieving science Sats level 5.” Crucially, staff now believe they know when to seek extra support for pupils. “I am of the opinion that every teacher is a teacher of SEN,” says a key stage co-ordinator. “I am not an expert, but I do know when I need help and when I need to refer. I know who to ask when trying to support parents. I have even bought a book on dyslexia to read on the beach.” But teachers are swift to stress that the most effective way to use the IDP materials is in conjunction with expert support. To back up the IDP, Di Hinton has been able to draw on her expertise in dyslexia – she holds a certificate in specific learning difficulties – and on Senco updates and workshops provided by the local authority. These provided a simplified staff evaluation and a Staffordshire IDP Toolkit, which identified tiny URLs to enable quick location of topics in the e-learning programme. The navigation problems with phase one of the programme will be simplified in the consolidation phase next year. Meanwhile, in Surrey, Chennestone School has benefited from involvement in the local authority’s IDP focus group and a local NIKOLAI PUNIN/GETTY schools’ confederation. Both schools are now looking forward to using the latest IDP materials, which focus on autism. Susannah Kirkman
  6. 6. The National Strategies’ ‘Progression Guidance 2009-10’ has given teachers the power to set targets and raise expectations for children with learning difficulties Data enables a revolutionary approach National benchmarks have been used for expectations of pupils who are working years to set targets for pupil achievement. within what are known as P levels, who By 2020 it is expected that 90 per cent have special needs, learning difficulties and of pupils at key stage 2 will be attaining a disabilities. The system will help them to level 4 or above, and that a similar track their progress and set targets, just as proportion of key stage 4 students will be they would for any other child. gaining five or more A*-C grades at GCSE, The spur for the publication came from including English and maths by age 19. the Children’s Plan 2007, which stated a For some pupils, though, such levels of commitment to improve data on behalf of achievement are difficult, if not impossible, children who were performing below age- and the absence of national data on their related expectations. It said: “We will attainment has made it hard for schools to provide better data for schools on how well gauge their progress. children with special educational needs are In July, the National Strategies published progressing.” its Progression Guidance 2009-10, a Pauline Pitman, a National Strategies document detailing how schools can raise senior regional adviser for special needs, says work on the guidance had been taking Status symbol place over the past year. It will provide national data for schools that ‘Every pupil is treated can be used to draw comparisons with the work they are already doing in tracking pupil in the same way’ progress. She said there would be no formula set by the National Strategies by which At Hurworth School Maths & Computing schools should set targets, but they should College in Darlington, about 10 per cent use their existing assessment procedures, of pupils perform below age-related such as Assessment for Learning. expectations. But teachers use the same The aim is for children to be supported system to assess every child, regardless and guided towards narrowing the of their ability. achievement gap between pupils who do not Staff in each subject meet monthly have special needs and those who do. their academic ability, social background or to discuss every pupil’s performance, Ms Pitman says: “The Children’s Plan learning problems. including their work, any test results, their made clear there was insufficient data to “They also need to have good assessment behaviour and effort, and set each child support schools in setting targets and processes in place to ensure that they know levels to which they should be working. The evaluating the educational outcomes. exactly where each child is in terms of their projected grades give a picture of where Existing national curriculum data was of learning, and so that appropriate teaching each child is and where they are heading. little value to children who struggle to reach and interventions can be implemented to Every pupil is also assigned a mentor – age-related expectations. enable progress to take place. a member of staff who talks to them about “The Progression Guidance aims to “Schools should also take into account their targets and keeps them on track. support schools and local authorities on the child’s age and prior attainment as a “The status of our pupils is very aspects such as assessment, target-setting, starting point when considering what important to them – they feel it defines tracking and whole-school improvement, so progress the pupil needs to make.” them,” says Eamonn Farrar, chief executive they are not making a distinction for SEN The statistics gathered by the National of Hurworth School. “Our assessment pupils, but ensuring all children are being Strategies to enable schools to make system does not take it away from them taught effectively and are making progress.” comparisons have come from a number of because they can see that every pupil in She says the policy was based around sources, although they will not be complete the school is treated in the same way.” three key principles. The first was to have for another four years when a complete high expectations of all pupils regardless of cohort passes through the key stages.
  7. 7. RICHARD HANSON However, currently it includes data from The good child guide teacher assessments, which has allowed some plotting of progress of pupils working ‘We have expectations as high as any other teacher’s’ at level 1 at key stage 2 to achievement at key stage 3, as well as some national P level Staff at the Holbrook Centre of Autism in academic performance and the areas figures collected over the past two years. Derby (above) have been working with that can place barriers in the way of The information comes from local their own version of Progression Guidance achievement. We identify where they need authorities and commercial organisations for the past five years. to improve and give each one an individual that monitor pupil attainment, and will allow Every child is assessed on entry to the education plan. schools to see how their pupils are faring school on their attainment in English, “Our pupils tend to be better at reading when compared with children elsewhere. maths, science, PSHE and IT. They are and writing than speaking or listening, and This means schools can work with also assessed against the school’s own better at number work than applying maths. school improvement partners on their autism-specific curriculum, which includes We want to overcome those barriers and have attainment levels and look at guidance data independence and ability to manage expectations as high as any other teacher’s.” to support some of the discussions they emotions, behaviour and stress levels. Teachers review progress on the autism have about individual pupils and what they Caroline Bell, deputy head at Holbrook, core curriculum three times a year, while the need to help them to progress. says: “We look at the whole child – their P scales are reviewed once in May or June. Dorothy Lepkowska
  8. 8. The Lamb Inquiry reinforces the Disability Equality Duty to increase inclusivity and parental confidence Trust in the system Every parent wants the best for their child Shining lights at school, but for parents of children with a disability or SEN, getting what’s best Chailey School, East Sussex have some form of SEN, but are included in hasn’t always been easy. Even before Chailey School put in place school life – the classroom, extracurricular Brian Lamb, chair of the Special its disability equality scheme (DES), it had activities and school trips – as much as Educational Consortium and the man been recognised by Ofsted for being “very possible. “We celebrate diversity here,” says tasked with finding ways to improve inclusive” in supporting its 200 pupils with Anna Foxwell, the school’s inclusion manager. parental confidence in the SEN assessment some form of SEN. The school was quick to put in place a process, summed up the situation in a letter The school began developing its DES in DES but, says Ms Foxwell, “Our practice to Ed Balls, Schools Secretary, in August: 2006 with a working party that included was already in place – it was more a case of “Throughout the inquiry we have met some children with SEN and their parents. making a few adaptations and documenting of the happiest parents in the land – and It came up with several what we already did.” some of the angriest.” recommendations that resulted in some Parents and pupils were involved in the At the time of going to press, Lamb’s final changes to the curriculum and physical scheme’s development. The school likes to report hadn’t been published, but he has environment: the painting of steps for be welcoming to parents, even in simple already made several Government-endorsed visually impaired children, for example. things, such as letting them pick their child recommendations to raise confidence It also set up a student body through up from the classroom, rather than waiting including a right of appeal for parents if which pupils could have their say. outside the school gates. a local authority decides not to amend a Recently, two deaf parents were looking statement after a review, and a requirement Alfred Salter Primary School, around the school for their child (who that Ofsted reports on the quality of education southeast London doesn’t have a hearing impairment) and the provided for children with a disability. Alfred Salter has an excellent reputation for school provided a teacher who could use Parents’ confidence should be further inclusion. About a quarter of its 400 pupils sign language to help with communication. increased by the knowledge that schools have a duty to promote equality for children with a disability or SEN under the Disability Chailey School in East Sussex, which have scheme, parents will be more confident in Equality Duty (DED), which came into force embraced not only the law, but also the spirit the school as a whole,” says Mr Imich. in December 2006. Among other things, of it,” he says. “They have a positive, vibrant Victoria Furness this requires schools to publish a disability culture where people go the extra mile to equality scheme and involve disabled people take account of everyone’s needs.” l National Strategies: www.standards. (pupils or parents) in its development. The National Strategies visited one school dcsf.gov.uk/nationalstrategies/inclusion/ André Imich, a senior director for SEN at in each local authority last term to ensure specialeducationalneeds/sup1 the National Strategies, admits he wasn’t they are complying with the Disability l DCSF Guidance – Promoting Disability sure what difference these schemes Equality Duty and to identify good practices. Equality in Schools: www.teachernet.gov.uk would make at first. A self-evaluation resource for schools will be l What Works Well: www.standards.dcsf. “That was until I visited schools like published this month. “If a school has a good gov.uk/whatworkswell