Tag Archives: action plus

SEN Reform Aspirations – You Decide!

19 May

So, yesterday, I appeared alongside little man, in one of our local newspapers! This was for two reasons, #1 in celebration of my success at becoming a Mad Blog Awards finalist for the Second year running, and #2 the governments (Department of Education) update on its pending plans for Special educational needs (SEN) known as the “Green Paper – Support and Aspirations”

It’s this I wish to expand on, here on the blog today!

OK, the government published it’s progress report on the above paper, earlier this week. Reading the report I still find myself worried on a number of different levels.

Now, although I’m up for the whole idea of children with a disability or SEN receiving support up until their early adult years (25 years of age) the overall majority of this progress report still strikes me as worrying.

Excuse me but I can’t seem to shrug this niggling feeling I have at the back of my mind, that this is either some kind of money-saving tactic, a way of shrugging a degree of responsibility on to somebody else, or just an ill thought out process! What’s more it’s in my opinion that some of the most important issues remain unresolved or somewhat unclear let alone progressed!

Actually it would seem that some of these proposed changes, are anything other than changes at all!

For example: section 2 giving parents control!

“parents will have a clear Choice of school with equal rights to express a preference for any state funded school”

Ok, so we can make our preference known and the local authority has a duty to meet those preferences… Right?

Hang on a minute… That is unless

#A It’s unsuitable to the child age, aptitude, ability or sen

#B Incompatible with the education of other children of whom the child would be educated

and lastly… the all important factor, the get out of jail free card…

#C An insufficient use of resources

Mmm… Isn’t that how the system is meant to be working already?

Does this system actually get families anywhere currently? No

That’s why I thought we were meant to be changing it!

Scanning through the entire proposal, it seems a lot of the stuff we need changing isn’t actually changing at all, wheres the things we don’t want changing (just slightly amending) are being scrapped altogether!

These seem to be the things us parents cling to when trying to obtain efficient education for our children (remember the law states efficient is all our children require)!

A great example of this would be the graduated approach (School action & action plus) which is all set to be removed leaving parents of unstatemented children quaking in their boots, and rightly so!

So, why has the government made such a decision? This is due to their worries concerning labelling or should I say “Over labelling” Although to some degree, I agree that this is a problem to some extent, I’m also worried that this will stigmatise those that have a genuine need for additional support, support that only that of a statement can offer.

Yes we’re hearing about extra funding to train sencos and teachers but is this really enough assurance for the parent of the unstatemented child, the one that has no legal rights if support is offered or not?

We just can’t categorise these children, it’s not one size fits all! Regardless of a child’s disability, special educational needs or even attainment, every child is different! Not every child with autism requires SALT, not every child with dyslexia requires extra TA support. I remember my son always being compared to a fellow child with Aspergers in his “then” mainstream school! My child badly needed extra support with speech and language mainly due to his literal understanding of language, but because the other boy didn’t require such help, I was told little man didn’t either! I fear many will be over looked just as they are today with the scrapping of school action and school action plus. Both needed to be amended, as to allow the parents more confidence in the system, but this… I cannot see the benefits to the parents, just the governments budgets as the numbers of children with statements (soon to be EHCP) falls the piggy bank belonging to the government will fill up nicely!

I remember what it was like fighting for that statement, it was tough, I really don’t see much in the way of making that fight any easier when reading this proposal.

Looking at how the government has so far messed up in nearly every other area, it looks like its gonna be a bumpy ride ahead, so hold on tight parents, you can’t afford to let go.

Stages of SEN, Is my child receiving the right support

23 Oct

STAGES OF SEN

 Is my child receiving the right support?

 The stages of SEN are known as the ‘Graduated response’ that all maintained educational settings must abide.

 Some children will receive a statement even before starting full time education. This would only happen if the child in question had such needs that would undoubtedly require extensive provision to be made when the child was to start at school. Sometimes this maybe due to the child having a severe learning difficulty or disability, one that is discovered in the foundation stages of education, between the ages of 3-5 or even before this.

 However, many children go into full-time education (primary years) having either no medical diagnosis or any obvious learning difficulties (this is especially true for the child who has ADHD or high functioning autism).

 All maintained schools must by law publish a SEN policy that should be made available for all to see. The special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) along with the head-teacher and class teacher are normally a concerned parents first point of call. The SENCO’s key role and responsibility is to ensure that the SEN policy is being applied and its content remains efficient in how it applies to the school and the children in it. (though it is also the duty of the governing body and head teacher to ensure all policies remain up to date) The SENCO will also have the role of  ensuring the provision that is made for each individual child who is placed on the school’s sen register, making sure this is effective and the child is therefore achieving. This is where the Graduated response comes into play!

 Note: Although the SENCO will be expected to provide such duties as those above, it is the school as a whole (head-teachers, class teachers, governing body , etc.) who must together ensure a child is given the appropriate support to ensure that educational progress  is made while social & emotional needs are met. 

 On entry to a maintained Primary School

 Note

On access to primary education all children should be assessed to establish their attainment levels and individual learning style.

 A child who is starting primary school and is noted as having special educational needs, will be assessed using the curricular and baseline assessment process, therefore identifying the level of need the child requires.

 The child should then be placed on the SEN register and staff (teacher, senco etc.), should work with the parents to develop a suitable learning programme.

 Parents should be kept fully informed on their child’s progress and schools have a legal duty to inform parents when their child has been identified as having special educational needs and are placed on the SEN register.

 What is the Graduated response?

 This is basically an array of different strategies that need to be but into place to enable children identified as having SEN a way to progress both academically and emotionally. These strategies are broken up and divided into groups. It is only when all these strategies have been tried yet failed can a school claim to have used all its own resources in trying to meet a child’s individual educational needs. It is at this point that a school will claim that it cannot meet the child’s needs within its own resources. This is the point a statutory assessment and possible statement is needed (however I will touch on this in the next post, ‘Request for a statutory assessment’)

 Note: Remember, there are times when exceptions have to be made meaning a child could go from school action right to the assessment process as the child’s needs have changed so much, even resulting in a managed move to a special school for the period of assessment (I will touch on this more in the next post, as above). 

 The stages of SEN

 Stage 1

 School Action:

  This is the first stage, when a child is identified as a child with Special educational needs (SEN). They are then placed on the SEN register and the parent should at this point be notified. Teacher, teaching assistants and Senior staff and of course the SENCO, must work closely together with the parent putting a number of strategies in place to ensure the child makes good progress. These strategies may not involve anything huge and in many cases work set out for the child is just slightly differentiated from the work of their peers. Many children progress well and eventually are removed from the register needing no further assistance. 

 What, if it’s the other way around and your child doesn’t make progress?

 This is when we move on to the next stage.

 Stage 2 

 School Action +

 When the child in question fails to progress on school action they will move to school action plus. This is often when the child’s needs require a much higher level of support. It is common step for the child who have social, emotional difficulties or those on the autism spectrum. It is also common for a child with such difficulties, to move from school action to action plus pretty quickly (however it’s the step after this that’s one of the biggest and hardest to reach). 

 What happens on school action plus?

 The SENCO will at this point have the use of external services if need. Everything needs to be fully documented, as the school will need to show the LEA that they are not wasting school resources (funding) when other courses of action could be taken. The child’s targets will be recorded on an Individual education plan (IEP) the IEP will state the child’s short term targets and the provision that will be provided as to allow the child to succeeded in meeting the targets described. There will also be space for recording the outcome  (whether the child meet the targets) and the date/term in which the IEP commenced as well as the date it will be reviewed. Parents should also have a hand in the issuing of the IEP giving some parental input. 

 It is at this point the school can apply to the LEA for additional funding for services that operate outside the school. External services could include, visiting services or the provision to appoint support stuff on an individual basis. It has been known for a child at school action plus to receive 1-1 provision throughout the whole of the school day, including break-times! However, it should be noted that the school cannot usually continue with this level of support and should have usually applied for the process of a Statutory assessment from the LEA (which is something a parent can also apply for)

 This is where I finish and will continue this within the next post, ‘Request for a Statutory Assessment’ which will follow soon.

 This post will be available to download from GoogleDocs for your own personal use. 

Please note that you will need to wait for a period of 24 hours before it is available on GoogleDocs 

Claire Louise 

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