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Get Prepared for the New School Year

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As summer comes to an end and the new school year is upon us, we know that you are busy preparing for a brand-new year.  New curriculum, new targets and of course new students await you. How then, can you prepare for students with SEN?

At the heart of the SEN reforms is the premise that every teacher should be responsible and accountable for the progress of all children in their class, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

Whilst we all agree with this, taking responsibility and accountability for the children in your class can be hard when you don’t feel equipped and supported in carrying out this role.

Teachers require more than 'Anna has ADHD'

Preparing for students with SEN requires more than identifying their needs. Luckily, you should have access to robust internal SEN Support Plans and EHC Plans for any of your students who have been allocated one by their Local Authority.  Both plans will list a multitude of recommendations for individual students based on their needs. This will already provide you with a whole host of provisions to put in place for your students.  Whilst this may seem overwhelming as you come to prepare for a new school year, a clear strategy is key to ensuring your new students with SEN don’t get left behind.

What will this look like in the classroom?

It is important for teachers to envision what this will mean for you, and for every class they teach in the classroom. However, you are not alone.

Various factors are critical here, from teacher training and access to specialist input, to time allocated to prepare lessons. This requires leadership from the SENCO and strategic planning from the school. With the SENCO as project lead, specialists should be brought in, resources allocated, and training arranged as necessary.  Moreover, the range of needs with the headline ‘SEN’ is so wide it is also critical that the whole school SEND systems and processes has ensured the students’ needs profiles are thorough.

Previous teachers should have provided significant contributions to support a fit for purpose needs profile, so it is vital you have processes to facilitate this. The SEND Code of Practice recommends the use the broad areas of need structure, which in my experience can lead to a robust analysis of a child or young person’s needs, and I will return to this subject for a future blog. Success is in the detail.

So, as you come to face a brand-new year, how are you prepared for your new students with SEN? Be responsible and accountable for the progress of all children in your class and go beyond the assessment that ‘Anna has ADHD’.

Teachers need the training, whole school systems and resources to enable them to meet their own internal expectations for excellence in their practice.