Tuesday, 15 May 2012


This morning saw proposed reforms to Special Educational Needs provision in schools hit the national headlines. One of the changes in the media spotlight - aside from the proposal for parents to have greater say in allocation of funding for their child - is proposed reforms to the way students are identified as 'special needs', specifically with a view to a reduction in numbers of students placed on SEN / Additional Needs registers in schools.

My own experience of this is that there has historically been a problem of over-identification and of students being placed on registers for a temporary difficulty, but then never progressing off them. The knock-on effect is Learning Support / SEN systems and staff become overloaded, particularly with paperwork (in the past, for every student we would write an IEP and so on) - this then distracts from practical action.

In our efforts at Thornleigh Salesian College to make our provision more efficient in identifying and addressing additional needs within our community, one of the first things we did was draft a criteria for who comes under the remit of Learning Support and importantly, who doesn't. This has allowed us to really target those students who need the kind of support we have to offer and to move responsibility for some other aspects of support to pastoral teams and subject teachers in Maths and English where, as specialists in these areas, they often have much to offer. I've uploaded the criteria we use to my TES page this morning for any colleagues interested in implementing something similar in their schools. This is an ongoing project, and any feedback is appreciated.

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