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Special Educational Needs & Disability Issue 13 Jan 2017 / sendmagazine.co.uk

Send Magazine @sendmagazine www.sendmagazine.co.uk

Essential interactive magazine for teaching professionals & parents


Welcome

to SEND Magazine

Happy New Year to all our readers and hope you have all come back into school following a lovely festive break, refreshed and raring to go!

Publisher/Editor Nick Clarke 07984 306 664 nick@sendmagazine.co.uk

Our January edition is, once again, full of invaluable information and articles for your teaching toolkit, I would particularly like to draw your attention to page 5 which includes information about our new SEND Conference Midlands, to be held at the Sketchley Grange Hotel on May 5th. Leading the day will be top SEND Consultant and former NASEN CEO Lorraine Peterson OBE who will be presenting a SEND Update and talking about assessment with life after levels. We also have experts in the field of SEND filling the day, giving you a fantastic CPD day not to be missed. Lorraine Peterson also talks about assessment within KS1 & KS2 within this issue, which can be found on page 12/13. We also look at Dyslexia and screening with an excellent article based on the NESSY Learning screener on page 14. Recently a high-level roundtable was held in the House of Lords to raise the profile and understanding among political stakeholders of the issues of the under-diagnosis and support of girls with autism. The event was convened by the Girls with Autism Forum, under its Chairman, Professor Barry Carpenter, CBE, and hosted by Baroness Sheila Hollins. Full article can be read on pages 16/17. At SEND Magazine, we like to run case studies from providers of excellent resources to our readers and, this month, we have a case study from Casterton College and their use of Spellzone. Turn to pages 20/21 for the full study. Regular SEND writer and MD of the Local Offer, Heather Stack, writes an article on learning from local SEND inspections on pages 26-28. With the festive period over, we often miss what this season is all about, the birth of Jesus Christ. Leading RE advisor Stephen Pett writes about Religious Education within the special school setting on pages 30/31. With our regular bookshop resources and more articles inside, I hope you enjoy this issue and find it as useful as always. Once again Happy New Year and hope to see many of you at our conference in May.

Nick Clarke

Publishing Director

SEND Consultant Simon Carnell Office Enquiries 01455 642 234 Accounts accounts@sendmagazine.co.uk Subscriptions subscriptions@sendmagazine.co.uk Design/Layout Ashley Simister ashleys@sendmagazine.co.uk Contributors Professor Barry Carpenter OBE, Stephen Pett, Arran Smith, Heather Stack ŠSEND Magazine is published by SEND (UK) Ltd Nick Clarke - Managing Director The views and opinions expressed in SEND Magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held responsible or liable for any incorrect information, opinions of any third parties or omissions. Postal Address 42 Cumberland Way, Barwell, Leicestershire. LE9 8HX 01455 642 234 www.sendmagazine.co.uk enquiries@sendmagazine.co.uk @sendmagazine Send Magazine Registered Address C/O David House, Mill Road, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool. NP4 6NG

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Contents P8 News Gloucestershire College support SEND transition to college with short films which are the brainchild of the College’s SEND Transition and Review Lead, Joe Hibbert. P10 News Children with autism find going to school so stressful that they experience anxiety and of those, 58% of children find this anxiety so debilitating that they miss days at school, according to a new survey carried out by the charity Ambitious about Autism.

P20 SEND & Spelling Casterton College Case study from Spellzone. P22 Dyslexia A continued look at the use of technology in Dyslexia.

P12 Life after Levels Lorraine Peterson OBE looks at assessment within SEND after levels. P14 Screening for Dyslexia Nessy Learning provide new tool for screening. P16 The Great Debate Update from the recent House of Commons debate on SEND.

P18 Music & Movement The Ronnie Gardiner method.

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P26 The Local Offer Heather Stack looks at learning from Local Area SEND Inspections. P30 Religious Education within Special Educational Needs Leading RE Advisor Stephen Pett looks at RE with special school pupils.

P32 Bookshop Latest titles to add to your teaching toolkit.

www.sendmagazine.co.uk


January News

Gloucestershire College supporting the transition to college through film

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LOUCESTERSHIRE College is aiming to help young people who have SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) transition from school to college, with a series of accessible videos showcasing the support available to them, their families and carers. Four videos have been created outlining the Gloucestershire College local offer, using sign language, subtitles, voice over and animation. The short films are the brainchild of the College’s SEND Transition and Review Lead, Joe Hibbert, and were created in collaboration with the Gloucestershire Deaf Association. Joe said: “The transition from school to post-16 education can be a huge step for young people with SEND, as well as their parents. Our local offer is an important tool in empowering them to make the right choice regarding where to study and informing them of the support available to them. “The GC local offer outlines the ways in which the College supports students with special educational needs and disabilities to become more independent, develop skills and live fulfilled lives. “However the 12-page document is not accessible for some students and parents, which inspired me to create four video versions breaking down our support offer into manageable sections, which are accessible to all.” The videos are centred around the four themes of college life, planning for your needs, supporting you and keeping in touch with parents and carers. They can be viewed by visiting the Local Offer (SEND) section of the GC website: www. gloscol.ac.uk/localoffer Joe, who is a member of the College’s dedicated SEND Transitions Team, goes into schools to liaise with SEND students from age 14 upwards, with the aim of becoming a familiar face and helping to prepare them for their next steps from school. He said: “I developed the videos with the help of GC staff, in the hope that 8

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they will open up a dialogue between parents and students, who can watch them when considering continuing their education at Gloucestershire College and ahead of visiting us. “We are the only training provider in the country to convert our SEND local offer into film and we are constantly looking for ways to make the move to college easier for young people with additional learning needs, using technology. “Earlier this year we launched a virtual tours function on our website, which allows prospective students to explore our facilities with a 360o tour of our campuses in Cheltenham and Gloucester. Hopefully projects like these will attract more SEND students, especially from

the hearing impaired community, to our unrivalled SEND support and facilities.” Prospective students and their families can take a virtual tour of Gloucestershire College by visiting this page of the website: www.gloscol.ac.uk/ virtualtour The Gloucestershire College Local Offer can also be found in the local directory of SEND services on the GlosFamilies Local Offer Website.

“The transition from school to Post-16 education can be a huge step for young people with SEND, as well as their parents” www.sendmagazine.co.uk


Difficulties attending school 8 out of 10 children with autism experience anxiety about attending school according to leading charity.

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HILDREN with autism find going to school so stressful that they experience anxiety and of those, 58% of children find this anxiety so debilitating that they miss days at school, according to a new survey carried out by the charity, Ambitious about Autism. The report, titled ‘When Will We Learn?’, looks at the impact of the school system when it fails children and young people with autism and their families. Many families are struggling to get the right support for their children and young people, who, as a result, are not receiving the education they are entitled to. The survey also revealed: • Children with autism are four times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than any other child; • 45% of the families surveyed said that their child had been illegally sent home from school, put on a reduced timetable, sent home early or asked not to come in to school when tests or school trips were happening, denying them a full education; • 71% of parents of children with autism say that getting them the right support in school was so stressful it caused them to lose sleep. Parents reported that getting their child’s needs assessed, and accessing the right support at the right time is never easy. 69% of parents said their child had waited more than a year for support and 16% had waited more than three years. Louisa Emerson, mother of Fred who features in the report, says: “Fred had an Education, Health and Care Plan but the people who should have been supporting him at school had no training or understanding of autism and therefore, did not put his plan into place. There was also a reluctance to fund the support. I was forever being told they didn't have the resources. “Despite his diagnosis, we were

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threatened with exclusions on several occasions and this made Fred incredibly anxious. My son wasn’t getting the support he needed and this had consequences for him. There was an incident with another child and as a result, he was illegally excluded for 20 days. He was taught in a small back room away from the others. Fred no longer felt safe at school. As parents you feel like you have to send your child to school, but we felt like we were sending him to be abused every day. “This exclusion had a devastating effect on us all but particularly on Fred – he refused to eat or leave the house. There was no-one to help us. “In the end, we decided to change schools but I had to leave my job; he has to be the priority. The experience has scarred me and I don’t trust schools anymore, which is awful.” Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said: “Our survey shows that the education system is still not working for many children and young people with autism. It is unacceptable that 8 out of 10 children with autism are experiencing anxiety about going to school everyday. “Every child has a fundamental right to an education. Yet 45% of parents of children with autism say their children have, at some point, been illegally denied that right. Education is the key

to transforming the lives of children and people with autism and early intervention, education and support are critical if children and young people with autism are to lead fulfilling lives and make a positive contribution to society. “Children with autism must access an assessment faster and their needs should be met in an environment that is welcoming to and accepting of them, so they can succeed in education and enjoy their childhoods.” Ambitious about Autism’s When Will We Learn? campaign aims to ensure: • Children with autism get the right start by making sure their educational needs are assessed promptly after diagnosis; • The needs of children with autism are met by having the right mix of services and support; • Schools are supported to do a great job by making sure everyone working in schools receives training to support children with autism; • The rights of children with autism are respected by preventing illegal exclusions and supporting school governors to fulfil their legal responsibility to children with autism. www.sendmagazine.co.uk


Assessment - What do we know? SEND Consultant Lorraine Peterson OBE looks at assessment at the end of KS1 and KS2

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N 19th October 2016 Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, made a statement about primary education. She acknowledged that the new assessments at the end of KS 2 taken this summer raised the bar on what pupils should have been taught by the age of 11. She also acknowledged that the pace and scale of change has been stretching and that no more than 6% of primary schools will be below the floor standard in 2016. The Secretary of State now wants there to be a clear pathway to a settled system to ensure we can achieve strong educational outcomes for all children. With this in mind she announced that: • There would be no changes to assessment until at least 2018-19. • There would be a full consultation on primary assessment and accountability in the new year.

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• There will be improved guidance on moderation of teacher assessment which will be accompanied by mandatory training for local authority mentors. • The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile will remain in place for the 2017 to 2018 academic year. • The key stage 1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test will remain non-statutory for schools this year but tests will be available for teachers to use if they choose. • There will be no statutory mathematics and reading resits on children’s arrival in year 7. Schools will need to focus on the steps needed to ensure a child catches up lost ground. High-quality resit papers will be made available for teachers to use if they wish, as part of their ongoing assessments. • There will be a targeted package of

support to make sure that struggling pupils are supported by teachers to catch up in year 7. • The Rochford Review Final Report, also published on 19th October, will form part of the primary assessment consultation in early spring. The Rochford Review - Final Report After waiting for over six months the final report from the Rochford Review was published on 19th October, just as many schools were preparing for their halfterm break. The Rochford Review was established in July 2015 to review statutory assessment arrangements for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests. The interim report, published in December 2015 provided an interim solution for reporting outcomes in 2016. It published the interim pre-key stage standards for those pupils working www.sendmagazine.co.uk


The Standards and Testing Agency have produced the following documents for this academic year: Early years foundation stage profile: 2017 handbook www.gov.uk/government/ publications/early-years-foundationstage-profile-handbook 2017 early years foundation stage: assessment and reporting arrangements www.gov.uk/government/ publications/2017-early-yearsfoundation-stage-assessment-andreporting-arrangements-ara 2017 key stage 1: assessment and reporting arrangements www.gov.uk/government/ publications/2017-key-stage1-assessment-and-reportingarrangements-ara 2017 key stage 2: assessment and reporting arrangements www.gov.uk/government/ publications/2017-key-stage2-assessment-and-reportingarrangements-ara

below the expected standard at the end of key stage 1 and key stage 2. The review team then continued discussions, looking at a longer term solution especially about the future of P Scales. The final report published in October outlines 10 recommendations for those pupils who cannot access statutory assessments as they have not completed the relevant programmes of study when they reach the appropriate chronological age. These recommendations will be part of a wider consultation on Primary Assessment that the government have said will take place in Spring 2017. The 10 recommendations are: 1. The removal of the statutory requirement to assess pupils using P Scales. 2. The interim pre-key stage standards for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests are made permanent and extended to include all pupils engaged in subject-specific learning. 3. Schools assess pupils’ development in all 4 areas of need outlined in the SEND Code of Practice, but statutory assessment for pupils who are not engaged in subject-specific learning should be limited to the area of cognition and learning. 4. A statutory duty to assess pupils www.sendmagazine.co.uk

2017 interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 www.gov.uk/government/ publications/2017-interim-frameworksfor-teacher-assessment-at-the-end-ofkey-stage-1 2017 pre-key stage 1: pupils working below the test standard www.gov.uk/government/ publications/2017-pre-key-stage1-pupils-working-below-the-teststandard 2017 interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 2 www.gov.uk/government/ publications/2017-interim-frameworksfor-teacher-assessment-at-the-end-ofkey-stage-2 2017 pre-key stage 2: pupils working below the test standard www.gov.uk/government/ publications/2017-pre-key-stage2-pupils-working-below-the-teststandard

not engaged in subject-specific learning against the following 7 aspects of cognition and learning and report this to parents and carers: responsiveness, curiosity, discovery, anticipation, persistence, initiation and investigation. 5. Following recommendation 4, schools should decide their own approach to making these assessments according to the curriculum they use and the needs of their pupils. 6. Initial teacher training (ITT) and Continuing professional development (CPD) for staff in educational settings should reflect the need for teachers to have a greater understanding of assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, including those pupils with SEND who are not engaged in subject-specific learning. 7. Where there is demonstrable good practice in schools, those schools should actively share their expertise and practice with others. Schools in need of support should actively seek out and create links with those that can help to support them. 8. Schools should work collaboratively to develop an understanding of good practice in assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, particularly across different educational settings.

Schools should support this by actively engaging in quality assurance, such as through school governance and peer review. 9. There should be no requirement to submit assessment data on the 7 areas of cognition and learning to the DfE, but schools must be able to provide evidence to support a dialogue with parents and carers, inspectors, regional schools commissioners, local authorities, school governors and those engaged in peer review to ensure robust and effective accountability. 10. Further work should be done to consider the best way to support schools with assessing pupils with EAL. Schools should continue to use the interim pre-key stage standards alongside the interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 and 2 in 2017. The final outcomes of the consultation on primary assessment including the recommendations above will not come into force until 2018 at the earliest. For more information see www. gov.uk/government/publications/rochfordreview-final-report At the end of October the Department for Education published guidance on teacher assessment moderation: requirements for key stage 1 and key stage 2. Schools and local authorities (LAs) have a statutory duty to ensure that teacher assessment (TA) is accurate and in line with the national standards in the interim TA frameworks. This guidance is for all those responsible for key stage 1 and key stage 2 teacher assessment and moderation. Key stage 1 - http://tinyurl.com/zruf454 Key stage 2 - https://www.gov.uk/ government/publications/teacherassessment-moderation-requirements-forkey-stage-2 Finally at the end of November the Department of Education (DfE) published their guidance providing information about how to prepare for the key stages 1 and 2 mathematics tests from 2017. It includes equipment lists and advice on answering particular types of question. http://tinyurl.com/juka39c HAVE YOUR SAY! Don’t forget to respond to the government’s consultation on Primary Assessment which will be out in Spring 2017.

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Screening for Dyslexia Screening for dyslexia can be the ideal stepping stone between initial concerns and a formal diagnosis. In this article, Arran Smith will be discussing the benefits of screening for dyslexia and why every child should be tested. Why screen for dyslexia? Early identification is essential because dealing with dyslexia in the first years of school is the most effective way to help. 1 in 10 children in the UK have

dyslexia and whilst no screener can give a definitive diagnosis, it is an effective way to screen multiple children relatively quickly to identify those who should then be referred on to see an Educational

Psychologist or Specialist Teacher. The earlier children are identified the earlier interventions can be put in place to ensure they are given the help they need to reach their full potential.


Dyslexia Quest - Nessy’s Dyslexia Screening Tool In July 2016, Nessy launched Dyslexia Quest, an online screening tool which assesses children that may be struggling in the classroom. Dyslexia Quest was created with the help of specialist teachers and educational psychologists at the Bristol Dyslexia Centre and as such gives a clear indication of whether the child is displaying key indicators of dyslexia. Benefits of Dyslexia Quest The screening tool gives a clear indication of their strengths and weaknesses, helping you to focus on problem areas. Online screeners often have a benefit over paper-based tools as they require

less teacher intervention, are less open to misinterpretation and in the case of Dyslexia Quest, does not require specialist knowledge to understand the child’s results. One of the biggest benefits of Dyslexia Quest is the format of the screening itself. The child is given a series of games to play and doesn’t realise they are being tested, taking the stress out of screening and enabling you to obtain an accurate result. Children take computer games seriously. How it Works Dyslexia Quest assesses 6 areas including working and learning memory, phonological awareness, auditory and visual processing speeds. It takes

approximately 20 minutes to complete the six games, receiving a percentage score for how well they did on each level. When the test has been completed the teacher or parent can log into the admin & reports section to view a detailed breakdown of how well the child did in each area and how many indicators of dyslexia they have displayed. The report also gives a breakdown of their scores, their meaning and further information on what to do if the child has a low or very low score. To recap, early identification is essential because dealing with dyslexia in the first years of school is the most effective way to help. Screening from age 5-16 at a cost of £10 facilitates awareness and early intervention.

For more information go to www.nessy.com


Understanding the impact of gaps in identification and support for girls on the autism spectrum At the end of 2016, a high level roundtable was held in the House of Lords to raise the profile and understanding among political stakeholders of the issues of the under-diagnosis and support of girls with autism. The event was convened by the Girls with Autism Forum, under its Chairman, Professor Barry Carpenter OBE, and hosted by Baroness Sheila Hollins.

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HE ASC and Girls Forum brings together many noted experts in the field of autism, including academics, policy experts, and parent champions. While there is growing understanding that there are far more autistic girls than previously recognised, the ASC and Girls Forum believe that there are still big gaps in understanding among educational and health professionals about how to diagnose and support girls living on the autism spectrum. Members of the forum have coauthored a nasen mini-guide, ‘Flying Under The Radar’, a practical guide

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for practitioners and educationalists who want to better understand latest research and tools for supporting girls on the autism spectrum. The Forum is also holding a major conference with the National Association of Head Teachers in January called Girls on the Autism Spectrum: The Big Shout, which will look at these issues in greater detail.   The parliamentary roundtable in the House of Lords was conceived as a further critical opportunity to bring together parliamentarians, policy makers and those in the autism community to discuss the specific challenges faced by girls with autism. While the number

of parliamentarians with an interest in autism more generally has increased considerably in recent years, few MPs, peers or civil servants are aware that commonly-held views on gender and autism may not be correct. The meeting heard from a number of speakers who sought to inform and educate those present about what is now known about girls and autism and how the lack of focus on this group is, in many cases, causing considerable harm, frustration and distress. Professor Francesca Happé, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London www.sendmagazine.co.uk


shared her insights into what research looking at girls and autism has shown to date. She highlighted that although previous research estimated that approximately 4:1 males to females are affected with autism (10:1 at the high functioning end of the spectrum), more recent research has re-evaluated this assumption to the degree that the ratio is thought to be perhaps only 2:1. She highlighted that girls are diagnosed later than boys - if at all - and the diagnostic bar is far higher for a diagnosis to be made in females. Overall, she stated that there are big gaps in knowledge about girls and autism, not least because the majority of research into autism is biased towards males, with girls even specifically excluded from some studies. Furthermore, diagnostic overshadowing, in which other behaviours or health conditions are identified but autism is not considered, is a prominent issue, which hinders the diagnosis of autism being made in females.

“There are big gaps in knowledge about girls and autism because the majority of research is biased towards males.” www.sendmagazine.co.uk

To demonstrate the real-life impact, the meeting heard first from Carrie Grant, broadcaster and parent of three girls on the autism spectrum, who talked about the challenges and pressures faced by families with autistic girls. She outlined the battles with schools and teachers, the risk of exclusion and suspension, and noted that even with a diagnosis, half of autistic girls do not have access to the right health services to support them. She also stressed the significant toll that autism can have on a girl’s mental health, and raised concern that access to mental health services can be extremely difficult – often until the girl threatens suicide. Carrie emphasised the talents, skills and contribution that her children can offer when given the right support. She concluded by stressing the urgent need for schools and health partners to understand far more about girls with autism, as well as for the government to take a more active role in filling the policy gaps.    Lucy Barker and Beth Carboys, ex-students from Limpsfield Grange School, a special state school for girls with communication and interaction difficulties including autism, then shared their personal experiences of autism. Both stressed how valuable it has been

for them to be schooled in a supportive and understanding environment. They explained the importance of early diagnosis and outlined how a lack of an early diagnosis can have huge impact in relation to the variation in quality of life experienced. It was agreed that although finding employment can be difficult for girls with autism, supportive employers who understand the adjustments that need to be made can help girls with autism to excel in the work place.   MPs, peers, councillors and other stakeholders then discussed the current situation and what could be done to improve it for the future. A number of points were raised, showing both the scale of the challenge and the opportunities for action. It was agreed that overall, efforts have been made to improve the lives of autistic people, and that these are welcome. However, it was pointed out that there now needs to be a reappraisal of thinking using a ‘gendered lens’ - meaning that mainstream thinking about autism should be reconsidered to recognise that it may be missing or excluding the needs of girls. It was argued that without a dedicated focus on girls, the existing bias towards viewing autism as a male condition will be sustained. January 2017 SEND MAGAZINE

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The different presentations of girls with autism was also raised. While many girls with autism have different behaviours to the stereotype of autistic male behaviour (e.g. masking or camouflaging their traits or focusing on being socially ‘accepted’), not all girls act in this way. It was highlighted that it is therefore important not to slip into the formation and continued use of female stereotypes for girls with autism.   Both an MP and a councillor shared their experiences of autism support groups in their areas and stated that families with autistic girls were not participating. This, they suggested, demonstrated that there is a hidden community of families who are not accessing mainstream support. The important role of schools and teachers was discussed. Cheryl Gillan MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA), reminded the group that the Government has committed to introducing teacher training on autism in the teacher-training

“Although a difficult ask, it's agreed that more money is needed to focus on girls with autism, for research, training and data collection” 18

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programme for 2018 and that this could be a significant opportunity for building understanding about autism in girls as well as boys. However, it was noted that, ideally, the training should also be offered to existing teachers retrospectively. The meeting heard from Jane Friswell, who has been trying to get a better understanding of the link between girls on the autism spectrum and school exclusions. She outlined her concerns that there is likely to be a high correlation (although data collection is poor) and that the under-diagnosis and misdiagnosis of autistic girls may well be having a significant and negative impact on their education and future life chances. When turning attention to the opportunities for progress, it was agreed that more money is needed to focus on girls with autism, for research, training and data collection – although attendees recognised that this is a difficult ask at a time of financial pressures across health and education. More immediately, it was recognised that NHS England has prioritised learning disabilities, autism and mental health, and that these should be used as a lever to engage with senior government and NHS stakeholders. The NHS is in the

process of developing a new pathway for lower level access for learning disability and autism services, which could also be an opportunity to further highlight the specific needs of girls on the autism spectrum. It was flagged that local government, while under considerable financial strain, is often interested in improving prevention and early intervention, particularly if it can lead to savings in the longer term. The meeting concluded with Baroness Hollins stressing that there is still much to do to bring this issue into the mainstream. She, alongside members of the ASC and Girls Forum present, encouraged attendees to reflect on what more could and should be done to change perceptions of autism, girls and their families, and how key institutions, workplaces and offices of state can see this issue as the next big barrier to be swept away. For more information about the ASC and Girls Forum please contact Julie Collick at the National Association of Headteachers at julie.collick@naht. org.uk. Girls on the Autism Spectrum: The Big Shout conference is taking place on Friday 27 January in London.

www.sendmagazine.co.uk


CPD and Training Webinars are the way forward for personal Continuing Professional Development (CPD). CPD is very much a part of the education community. Training for teachers, TA’s and practitioners is a way that we can all grow in our knowledge and skills and when we attend training courses we can share ideas that will help with this.

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OWADAYS attending a course is getting more and more difficult as having time out of school to go on training days isn’t easy. Of course, having inset days and bringing in professionals to talk about specific topics is still very popular. What about your personal growth of knowledge through your own Continuing

Professional Development? Have you attended a webinar? The SEND Group appreciates that people don’t always have the time to go on a training course or have the budget to attend so this is why we run webinars. The SEND Group thrives to grow the awareness of all topics related to SEND especially the hidden disabilities such

as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and ADHD. Since April 2016 the SEND Group has been running successful webinar sessions on a range of topics with high profile professionals in their own field. The webinar is an online seminar that is a cost-effective solution to grow your awareness, knowledge and your CPD needs in areas of SEND.

Please see below confirmed webinars for this term 17th January - Beccie Hawes What Works for Pupils with Special Educational Needs? A Strategy Bank of Quality First Teaching Approaches, £12.00 18th January - Arran Smith Touch Type Read and Spell, Free 31st January - Diana Hudson Rewards and challenges of teaching pupils with Autism in mainstream classes, £12.00 7th February - Katrina Cochrane How do we identify dyslexia? £12.00

15th February - Arran Smith Using technology in the classroom, £12.00

14th March - Dr Lindsay Peer Dyslexia, Glue Ear and Auditory Processing, £12.00

22nd February - Arran Smith Training, Assessment & Intervention. The Complete Packages from Nessy, Free

21st March - Peter Jarrett Understanding and teaching of students with Maths Difficulties, £12.00

28th February - Bob Hext Visual Stress, £12.00

4th April - Beccie Hawes Supporting Pupils with Autism Spectrum Conditions in the Mainstream Classroom and to Access Wider School Life, £12.00

7th March - Professor Steve Chinn Maths Anxiety links with Dyscalculia, £12.00

Book a place on our webinars by going to http://sendgroup.eventbrite.co.uk or call 02033 937992. For more information go to www.sendgroup.co.uk

Dr Steve Chinn

Bob Hext

Katrina Cochrane

Arran Smith

Beccie Hawes

Dr Diana Hudson

Dr Lindsay Peer CBE

Pete Jarett

www.sendmagazine.co.uk

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Spellzone spells success for Rutland students Founded almost 80 years ago, Casterton College has a reputation as one of the highest performing independent state schools in Stamford and East Rutland. The school’s motto is ‘Ability is not fixed’, and that is certainly the case when it comes to the extraordinary progress students have made by using Spellzone to support their spelling.

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PELLZONE is a long-established online English spelling resource and is ideal for students aged seven to adult, including EAL, ESL and those with dyslexia. It decodes English spelling and helps students learn through fun and interactive activities in school, at home and on mobile devices. Terrie Penrose-Toms is part of the team at Casterton College that works with students in need of additional spelling support. She often assigns Spellzone as a home-based activity, recommending students spend around 20 minutes per week on the online resource. So far, she has been extremely pleased with the way the programme is helping those using it, and one Year 9 student in particular. She tells us: “One student came to our attention following a low standardised test score. We introduced him to Spellzone in December 2015 and four weeks later he completed the programme’s Spelling Ability Test, scoring 38%. In September this year, after eight months of using Spellzone every week, we tested him again and were thrilled to see that his score had risen from 38% to 97%. It’s a fantastic result that he can be really proud of.”

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“We were thrilled to see that his score had risen from 38% to 97%. It’s a fantastic result that he can be really proud of.” The Spellzone Spelling Ability Test finds specific gaps in a student’s spelling ability and provides a baseline Spellzone Score along with a starting point in the Spellzone spelling courses. Each individual student gets a tailored course (their Course Pathway which may include the Spellzone Starter Course and the Spellzone Main Course). The Starter Course is an entry level resource that teaches basic phonic spelling rules. It is suitable for students aged seven to adult including Primary pupils, older students who are still struggling with basic spelling concepts and people learning English as a second language.

The Spellzone Main Course is a complete teaching course suitable for students aged nine to adult. It includes ‘Rule breakers’, basic concepts (such as vowels, consonants, syllables, prefixes and suffixes), definitions, sentence context and learning tips. As students work through their course pathway they are given feedback about if they need to repeat any units. At key points they are re-tested and the Spellzone Score and pathway updated according to progress they have made. Terrie says that past programmes the college has used to support student spellings have generally been paper-based, with sheets that could be sent home for students to complete. Spellzone is entirely web-based, which she says makes its use, administration, tracking and reporting much easier. What staff at Casterton like most about Spellzone is how easy it makes viewing and evaluating all student activity, engagement levels and results - even giving staff the option to track how many days it’s been since individual students have logged on. Comprehensive reports can be downloaded at any time.

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Staff also like the Spellzone word list feature. There are 1,000s of preloaded word lists including Spellzone course lists, vocabulary lists and curriculum lists including KS3 subject spellings, Y1 - Y6 word lists (statutory and non-statutory), and a complete ‘Letters and Sounds ’ resource. They can also upload their own subject-specific word lists for a project or exam revision for immediate use. All word lists can be used in spelling activities and games, translated into 92 languages (useful for EAL and ESL students), and also downloaded as worksheets for offline use if required, providing added flexibility. But it isn’t just college staff who find

Spellzone easy to use, as Terrie explains: “I think part of the reason students have had such success with Spellzone is because they enjoy using it,”This means they are more likely to continue using the resource even when they’re not being monitored, such as during school holidays. And that’s great, because we’ve seen first-hand that the longer students keep up with the programme, the better their results will be.” Spellzone is fully accessible and adaptable for all abilities with many options for font style, text and background colour, and text size. There is also a text to speech facility for those who find reading difficult. Casterton College is so pleased with the difference Spellzone is making to spelling abilities that the team plans to continue using it to make spelling part of everyday learning for the foreseeable future. Student engagement with the programme is so encouraging that the college is offering

lunchtime sessions for students who want to use it but don’t have access to a computer at home. All Spellzone units and word lists can be set as classroom or homework tasks with minimal time input, so sessions can be planned in advance. Meanwhile, Terrie and the rest of the support team will be tracking the progress of all students using Spellzone, and plan to set Spelling Ability Tests as tasks in December 2016 to monitor the progress of students using the programme. They will also be identifying others who could benefit from using it including sixth form students. Spellzone continues to develop and over 1,266,745 course tests and 2,577,530 spelling activities and games have been completed by students since a major overhaul in 2009. All new features automatically upgrade with no installation required. Spellzone is a subscription based service - it is easy to register, easy to use and costs as little as £150 +VAT for 20 students. Subscriptions include support and free online training. For more information see: Casterton College: www.castertoncollege.com Spellzone: www.spellzone.com

“Over 1.2 million Spellzone course tests and 2.5 million spelling activities and games have been completed by students.” www.sendmagazine.co.uk

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Technology Reading and Spelling When you tell people that you are dyslexic a lot of people say to you, is that when you mix up B’s and D’s? Other people might say “so you can’t read then?” Dyslexia consultant Arran Smith dispels the myth and continues to look at the use of technology for support with reading and spelling.

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HEN we think about reading and spelling and teaching children to read and spell we know that mainstream education does not always suit everyone especially in some cases with dyslexic children. Early identification is the key to any dyslexic person’s success and being identified early either through screening or through formalised diagnostic assessment is where we can support these children that are having difficulties accessing learning. Personally, I feel that screening should be high on any SENCO or Head Teacher‘s list of things to think about and I feel the same about formal diagnosis. A lot of people say we shouldn’t label children but I remember when I was labelled as being dyslexic it was a relief. If we take the same concept that when you go 22

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to doctors and you’re told you have a medical problem you can then find a treatment to help you, now of course there is no cure for dyslexia but having a label or a diagnosis means we should be able to support the children and young people to grow and reach their full potential. Intervention for reading and spelling is important and about 20 minutes a day can really improve the child’s outcome; this intervention can either be done by a program which the school has bought and is used by a teaching assistant or it may be run by a specialist teacher or advisory service. Why don’t we do the dyslexic thing and think outside the box by using technology to support with reading and spelling as this can be very beneficial.

I have two concepts when it comes to technology within the education sector one is that it’s a productivity tool and other is that it can be used as a learning tool; I separate software and hardware into areas of productivity and areas of learning to aid education. If we look at reading first and the first difficulty that most dyslexics face is that words are all around us, they’re in the supermarket, during the lessons in a classroom, in a book, they’re on the train and bus, they’re in the car, words everywhere. So, that’s going to be an enormous disadvantage to dyslexic children. Let’s look at software to help to improve their educational ability and therefore improve their reading age. There are many products in the www.sendmagazine.co.uk


marketplace including WordShark, Progress for Quest, Units of Sound, Touch Type Read Spell and Nessy Reading and Spelling. I’m going to concentrate on Nessy Reading and Spelling as I have found this to be a very useful tool in supporting the teaching of young people. Nessy Reading and Spelling is a fun way for children that are learning to read and spell. The computer-based program is a web-based application which is multi-platform, this means that whatever your operating system Nessy will work on a PC, a Mac, an iOS device and an android device, so making it very user-friendly for the school environment. The child’s journey starts off with them creating themselves a monkey. They will then be prompted to set five learning targets both in spelling and in reading, this is called the Nessy challenge. The programme has a multi-sensory approach and takes aspects from specialist dyslexic structured programs. As with most structured interventions over learning is key, Nessy is no exception. Along with this Nessy brings the fun element to teaching children with dyslexia, therefore harnessing their attention to embed the learning of reading and spelling. Once the child has completed their targets they start working themselves through the 10 Nessy islands. They learn from watching strategy and phonic videos to playing

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spelling and reading games. As with working with dyslexic children rewards for good work are very important to grow with self-esteem and confidence. Once the child has completed a activity they will receive a green nugget which they can use in a reward game. Any child (or adult) I have spoken to that has played with Nessy love it, they laugh and they learn. Nessy Reading and Spelling has other benefits along with the computer-based learning it comes with a large selection of worksheets and card games which can be printed off at any time. The program comes with a great admin feature, which shows the progress for all students in their target areas. This is very beneficial for pupil premium as it shows instant results. Nessy Reading and Spelling is an intervention programme and is definitely what I would class as an educational learning-based product. That demonstrates tackling the education element of the child learning to read and supporting their learning ability to help improve their reading and spelling. It takes time for children with dyslexia to learn to read, so how do we take out some of that frustration that the child has when it comes to reading? Let’s look at some productivity software that has been designed to remove the frustration when it comes to reading.

TTS, better known as Text To Speech has been around for many years, it was initially designed for blind and partiallysighted people. TTS is growing within the dyslexia marketplace with products like Read and Write, SprintPlus and Claro Read which have been around for a long time and really are useful to support children and adults with their reading. I will concentrate on Claro Read, it’s a text-to-speech engine which reads out text which is on your computer screen either from a web browser, a word document, PDF or any other text based material which is on your screen through different functionalities. More and more people should think about computer readers versus human readers when it comes to exams and Claro Read is definitely an option to look at, as the product allows the child to highlight text and have it read back to them it also converts a PDF into an accessible format that can be read aloud. When children are typing it can read back the text that they‘re typing to ensure that the spelling is correct, it can also be used to proof read, research and digest content. Claro Read has other functionalities that can be used in Microsoft Word which includes a spoken dictionary and spell check, font and line spacing function, homophones and a prediction function, it’s a great tool that can really support dyslexic people. When we do look at using computer readers for exam concessions not all functionalities can be used; it is always best to check with your exams officer and the JCQ website. I have only highlighted products which I have found to work very well with young people and adults to both support them with learning to read and spell and help to support them with productivity when it comes to reading and spelling. It is very important to understand the difficulties that children and adults face when it comes to dyslexia by understanding the needs along with understanding their environment enables children to grow and achieve. For more information about Nessy Reading and Spelling please go to www.Nessy.com/uk For more information about Claro Read please go to www.Clarosoftware.co.uk

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Advertorial

The Ronnie Gardner method (RGM) is a multisensory stimulation method developed by the American drummer and jazz musician Ronnie Gardner. Caroline Russell explains.

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GM uses a number of specially developed symbol/sound/movement codes which are used to perform exercises to the rhythm of music. RGM works to improve communication between the left and right hemispheres in the brain; the simplicity of the method providing flexibility to work with all ages from about four years old upwards. The method uses vision, audio, kinetic, tactile and speech to stimulate all areas of the brain. However, due to the variety of challenges faced in a class room, levels of the sensory stimulation can be adjusted to suit the needs of the children (eg RGM has been used successfully with hearing

impaired participants). The physical benefits of RGM are huge; core stability, crossing the midline, exercise tolerance, balance, gross and fine motor skills, co-ordination, timing, pacing etc. It builds self-confidence and can help with socialisation skills and improves concentration and memory. Above all, it uses laughter and fun within the classroom, controlling energy yet allowing creativity to flourish. For information on the next Introduction course, please contact info@ronniegardinermethod.org.uk

RGM case study from a RGM practitioner I work with an eight-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome. He loves RGM and since he has a prodigious memory he remembers all the movements and sound codes instantly. We work one-to-one so he can concentrate on the method and is not distracted by others. Our aim on

starting the method was to improve the movements in his legs which were very stiff and to gain flexion at his hips and knees. This has definitely improved. His mother reports that he has improved in coordination, motion and general participation. In his music class at school he is now

able to follow the beat in rhythmic exercises which was always very difficult for him. He is now able to walk and run more fluidly, without the little jumps that he used before. His swimming teacher also reports that his coordination and quality of swimming has improved.

RGM case study from an RGM practitioner in the classroom I work at a county special school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties and associated complex needs. For the past 15 years, the school has had provision for pupils with high functioning Autism/ Asperger's Syndrome in addition to their learning difficulties. My class of 11 pupils, ranging from 11-13 years, were introduced to RGM at the start of the Autumn term. They were shown the clapping symbol and I did some work with them on keeping a beat through clapping to songs with different tempi just referring to this

symbol. I am only working with one symbol at the moment to ensure they are confident and able to remember it at speed. First it was necessary to demonstrate how the process works by having another adult model with me to establish what I wanted them to do.  My pupils need much repetition, overlearning and the support of visuals and gesture. By the end of a 1/2 hour session, pupils were clearly more able to follow a simple beat with me using a pointer and applying a relatively steady tempo to popular songs they had chosen

themselves. The visual aspects of RGM are ideal for supporting visual memory difficulties in our children, who have a range of complex needs, and the nature of RGM with its highly multisensory approach is a good means to tap into the various learning styles of our pupils. Having said this, not all individuals will respond positively since not all enjoy music. Some are averse to this and having 'Hyperacusis' can be a distinct disadvantage. Generally, my pupils were very positive and said they enjoyed the sessions very much. 

For more information contact www.ronniegardinermethod.org.uk


RGM Case studies from a Primary School Remedial Therapist ”I work with a young boy with reading issues. He initially resisted participating with the method during the first 2 lessons but I calmly explained what the exercises were all about and what I was hoping to achieve with him. Nowadays he enjoys RGM sessions and does well with the exercises. He reports that he can focus better when reading and has fewer problems with longer

words. There is still work to be done, but there is a distinct improvement.” ”Another boy has difficulty with understanding the content of what he is reading; the reading of the words themselves is not an issue. In addition to the RGM exercises we do together on a weekly basis, he also reads a few pages every morning. Asked at the end of the day what he has read, I get quite a story

nowadays, when previously he could hardly recall the content.” ”A boy in special needs education told me unsolicited: ”after I have done some of the ‘thingy-exercises’, I am much faster at learning!” another reason for me to continue with RGM as part of my approach to reading and learning difficulties.”

to use. She managed to follow the symbols well and worked well with the metronome. The sound codes were great for her as they are so simple. The one she struggled with was ”CLAP”; to start with she was saying ”PLAP” but we soon managed to correct this. Her focus and attention improved in each session and she looked forward to seeing

me each week and learning new choreo scores. Her mother was very pleased with her progress.” Teaching methods are increasingly using sight, speech and music to support learning abilities. RGM is a fun and efficient tool to help children with motor skill difficulties as well as those with reading and/or learning difficulties.

From a Fitness Professional ”I have been using the method on a 6-year-old girl with a growth problem and who has also recently been diagnosed with ADHD and Autism. She has very delayed speech and feeding problems. It was clear from our first session that she was going to enjoy the challenge. I kept it very simple and let her choose what music we were going

For more information contact www.ronniegardinermethod.org.uk


What matters and what counts? Heather Stack looks at learning from Local Area SEND Inspections. What do we want for children and young people with special educational needs? Most parents, carers and professionals want opportunities for all children to: • Achieve success across many contexts • Enjoy school and be happy • Feel valued and respected • Experience a rich and interesting curriculum • Make friends and develop positive relationships • Increase self-confidence and gain independence • Play sports and have a social and leisure life with friends • Have an optimistic outlook and confidence in the next stage of their life 26

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In founding The Local Offer as a social enterprise in 2014, complimenting the work of the SEND reforms, its vision is clear: education is no longer the dominant force in SEND provision. It is about a holistic approach to meeting a child’s needs permeating all areas of life. What happens outside of the education or early years’ system is equally as significant as what happens within. The transition to Education, Health and Care Plans enshrines that vision with the protection of the law. Support should incorporate a focus on physical, emotional and mental health and social care. Education is no longer the sole player in the field, yet currently very few health or social care professionals have any input into EHC plans or provision at SEN Support.

Mindful of all this, I am exploring emerging themes as Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission roll out Local Area SEND Inspections. These themes give an indication of the capacity of local authorities to effectively support children, schools and families. More importantly, they alert us all to what is going well, and where more concerted effort and collaboration is needed. Local Area SEND Inspections are a new phenomenon, a duty imposed on local areas regarding provision of support for CYP with SEND, set out in the Children and Families Act (2014) and its regulations. They are already causing consternation across England’s local authorities. The publication of each Inspection Outcome is hotly debated across multiple platforms. www.sendmagazine.co.uk


Local Authority

Inspection Period

Bexley

3 – 7 October 2016

7 December 2016

Bolton

23 – 27 May 2016

13 July 2016

Brighton and Hove

Local Area SEND inspection outcome letters have been published for the following authorities, as at 13th December 2016. Rochdale and Surrey are deemed to have ‘significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice’ and are required to submit a Written Statement of Action to Ofsted within a 70-day timeframe from the date of publication of the report. This Written Statement of Proposed Action must state – • Who will undertake the proposed action • Give a statement of the timeframe for actions being taken • Publish the written statement on its website How urgently local authorities approach this task is yet to be seen, but there will be many parents of children with SEND eager to see a proactive approach to addressing injustices in the system that directly impact on their own child’s assessment, diagnosis and support. So, here is my summing up of significant and recurring themes across 13 local authorities. These are described www.sendmagazine.co.uk

Outcome letter Date

13 July 2016

Enfield

27 June – 1 July 2016

19 August 2016

Gloucestershire

13 June – 17 June 2016

27 July 2016

Herefordshire

26 – 30 September 2016

18 October 2016

Hertfordshire

4 – 8 July 2016

31 August 2016

North Yorkshire

27 June – 1 July 2016

1 November 2016

Nottinghamshire

20 June – 24 June 2016

3 August 2016

Plymouth

10 – 14 October 2016

1 December 2016

Rochdale

19 – 23 September 2016

3 November 2016 Written Statement of Action required

Stoke

11 – 15 July 2016

8 September 2016

Surrey

17 – 21 October 2016

24 October 2016 Written Statement of Action required

by Ofsted as Areas for Development. Local Area SEND Inspection Outcomes EHC Plans The timescale for converting Statements to EHC plans is poor. EHC plans rarely focus on wider outcomes such as positive social relationships, emotional resilience and stability. EHC plans have a disproportionate emphasis on education. Health and social care contributions are not consistently reflected in many plans. Identification of CYP with SEND The identification of CYP with SEND at SEN Support is inconsistent across schools. The needs of pupils in mainstream schools is not always identified accurately. The efficiency with which children’s SEND is identified in the early years varies considerably. The overwhelming dissatisfaction of parents in the county’s arrangements for assessment leads to high rates of appeal to first tier tribunal.

The Local Offer Very few parents are aware of the local offer or use it to help them. The Local Offer is under-developed, unclear and a source of much frustration amongst parents. The local offer is not easy to navigate and parents are unaware of its purpose. Too few parents and young people know about the local offer. The local offer does not adequately explain to parents about additional and specific services. Transition to adulthood Pathways for 19-25 year olds are not yet in place. Young people are often not able to take specialist equipment with them in the transition to adult services. Preparing young people for adulthood is not given sufficient priority. Behaviour, attendance and exclusions CYP with SEND are more likely to have poor attendance and more likely to be permanently excluded than all other children. There is insufficient high quality support January 2017 SEND MAGAZINE

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for those dealing with challenging behaviour in schools. The SEMH needs of children and young people are not being identified quickly enough, leading to some permanent exclusions. Autism identification, assessment and provision Pathways for CYP with autism are fragmented. Inaccurate information is given to families about the need for a medical diagnosis, for e.g. for autism, ADHD, dyslexia, mental health, leading to unnecessary delays in providing support. There are high levels of dissatisfaction around how the needs of CYP with autism are being met. Joint commissioning arrangements for children with autism are poor. The local area is struggling to meet the demand for referrals and diagnosis for ASD. The role of health and social care services Some health services, such as OT and physiotherapy, are not well informed about the SEND reforms. Some health professionals are not well informed about the options for support available to parents. Waiting times for assessment and intervention in speech and language, occupational therapy and physiotherapy are highly variable. Health services are perceived as minor players in EHC plans with education as the main or only player. A vision for The Local Offer The Local Offer has met with criticism from some quarters for driving forward the view that much more can be done by local authorities and schools to engage with private and third sector specialist providers who have capacity to deliver cost-effective, evidence-based support within and beyond the school day. Funding to participate in EquineAssisted therapy, or to join a local Boy Scouts or Girl Guides group may be more effective in raising self-confidence and promoting independence than intensive support in literacy and numeracy. It is about real-life situations offering real-life skills. The flexible use of support staff, or befriender services to support a child’s activities outside of school hours are 28

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all part of this new landscape. Lateral thinking is needed. Thinking that falls outside of the box, that takes account of the holistic needs of the child and considers alternate strategies. More effective collaborations across the sectors must be our way forward, yet there is a reluctance to look ‘beyond the garden gate’. If a service is not provided from within a local authority’s often dwindling services, it is unlikely to be promoted as a solution to a child or family’s challenges. So it is gratifying to note the repeated insistence in Local Area SEND Inspection outcomes to date, that more needs to be done to ‘take account of all aspects of a young person’s life’. Funding contained within EHC plans and interventions at SEN Support should enable a wider focus on ‘positive social relationships, emotional resilience and stability.’ Whilst I hold little optimism that local authorities will embrace an open market approach to sourcing specialist provision, nevertheless, a seed has been sown. It is vital if we are to transform the landscape of SEND provision and truly pay attention

to what matters and what counts in children’s lives. In my experience, we all have a capacity to embrace change more readily when life poses no threats, when systems are secure and working well. But there are times when progress has stalled or situations deteriorate, rapidly, and there is a need to consider afresh – how best do we support this child’s needs? At such times, how will you think outside the box? What more can be done to take account of all aspects of a young person’s life? How can you help foster positive social relationships, emotional resilience and stability? Heather Stack is Founder of The Local Offer, a social enterprise working to transform the landscape of SEND provision. She is available to support the immediate needs of schools and local authorities in addressing outcomes in local area SEND inspections and can be contacted on heather@thelocaloffer. co.uk. The website can be found at www.thelocaloffer.co.uk www.sendmagazine.co.uk


SEND Abbreviations AAC Alternative and Augmentative Communication ACE Advisory Centre for Education ACfE A Curriculum for Excellence ACPC Area Child Protection Committee ACCAC Qualifications Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales ADD Attention Defect Disorder ADDiS Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder AEN Additional Educational Needs AENCo Additional Educational Needs Co-ordinator AET Autism Education Trust AfA Achievement for All AfL Assessment for Learning AGT Able, Gifted and Talented ALD Adults with Learning Difficulties ALS Additional Learning Support AoL Assessment of Learning AQA Assessment and Qualifications Alliance ARB Area/Autistic Resource Base ARM Annual Review Meeting ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder ASDAN Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network ASN Additional Support Need ASL Additional Support for Learning AST Advanced Skills Teacher AUT Autism AWPU Age Weighted Pupil Unit BATOD British Association of Teachers of the Deaf BDA British Dyslexia Association BDD Body Dysmorphic Disorder BECTA British Educational Communications and Technology Agency BESD Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulties BEST Behaviour and Education Support Teams BILD British Institute of Learning Difficulties BIP Behaviour Improvement Programme BME Black and Minority Ethnic BSF Building Schools for the Future BSL British Sign Language BSP Behaviour Support Plan BST Behaviour Support Team BSU Behaviour Support Unit C&FS Child and Family Service CA Classroom Assistant CAF Common Assessment Framework CAFCASS Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service CAMHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service CAT Cognitive Ability Test CBAC Welsh Joint Education Committee CCEA Northern Ireland Council

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for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment CD Conduct Disorders CDC Council for Disabled Children CF Cystic Fibrosis CFS Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CHEN Children with Mental Health and Educational Needs CLD Complex Learning Needs CP Cerebral Palsy CRE Commission for Racial Equality CSCI Commission for Social Care Inspections CSP Coordinated Support Plan CoP Code of Practice CRE Commission for Racial Equality DAMP Deficits in Attention, Motor Control and Perceptual Abilities DCD Development Co-ordination Difficulties (Dyspraxia) DDA Disability Discrimination Act DED Disability Equality Duty DEE Disability Equality in Education DELLS Department for Education, Learning and Lifelong Skills DENI Department of Education for Northern Ireland DfES Department for Education and Skills DLA Disability Living Allowance DRC Disability Rights Commission DS Downs Syndrome DSD Developmental Coordination Disorder DSP Dedicated Specialist Provision DVD Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia DYSC Dyscaculia DYSL Dyslexia DYSP Dyspraxia EAL English as an Additional Language EAT Eating Disorders EBD Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties ECM Every Child Matters ELBs Education and Library Board EOTAS Education Other than at School EP Educational Psychologist EPi Epilepsy ERA Education Reform Act ESA Educational Support Assistant Estyn Office of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector and Training in Wales ESL English as a Second Language EWO Education Welfare Officer EYA Early Years Action EYAP Early Years Action Plus EYDCP Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership FLS Further Literacy Support FLT Foundation Learning Tier FRX Fragile X Syndrome FSP Foundation Stage Profile G & T Gifted and Talented GLD Generic Learning Difficulties GTC General Teaching Council

GTCS General Teaching Council for Scotland HI Hearing Impairment HMCI Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (of schools) HMI Her Majesty’s Inspectorate HMIE Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education in Scotland HLTA Higher Level Teaching Assistant HSA Home School Agreement IBP Individual Behaviour Plan IEP Individual Education Plan ILP Individual Learning Plan INCO Inclusion Co-ordinator IPSEA Independent Panel for Special Education Advice IQM Inclusion Quality Mark ISP Individual Support Plan KS Key stage LA Local Authority LAC Looked After Children LDD Learning Difficulties and Disabilities LM Learning Mentor LSA Learning Support Assistant LSC Learning and Skills Council LSP Learning Support Practitioner LSU Learning Support Unit LTS Learning & Teaching Scotland MDT Multi-Disciplinary Team MLD Moderate Learning Difficulties MD Muscular Dystrophy ME Myalgic Encephalomelitis MND Motor Neurone Disease MSI Multi-Sensory Impairment NAS National Autistic Society NBCS National Blind Children’s Society NDCS National Deaf Children’s Society NEYTCO National Early Years Trainers and Consultants NMSS Non-Maintained Special School NRWS New Relationship with Schools NSF National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services NSSEN Non-Statemented Special Educational Needs NWRSENP North West Regional Special Educational Needs Partnership Ofqual Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator Ofsted Office for Standards in Education PATOSS Professional Association for Teachers Of Students with Specific Learning Disabilities PCTs Primary Care Trusts PD Physical Difficulties/ Disabilities PDD Pervasive Development Disorder PMLD Profound and Multiple Difficulties PSP Personal Support Plan OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ODD Oppositional Defiance Disorder OT Occupational Therapist

PDA Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome PDD Pervasive Development Disorder PECs Picture Exchange Communication System PMD Physical and Medical Difficulties PMLD Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties PNI Physical and neurological impairment PRU Pupil Referral Unit PPS Parent Partnership Service PSI Physical and Sensory Impairment PT Physiotherapist QCA Qualifications and Curriculum Authority RAD Rapid Attachment Disorder RAISE Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through School Self Evaluation RAP Reasonable Adjustment Project RoA Record of Achievement RoN Record of Need RNIB Royal National Institute of Blind People S & L Speech and Language SA School Action SA+ School Action Plus SaLT Speech and Language Therapist SCD Speech and Communication Difficulties SEAL Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning SEBD Social, Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties SEF Self Evaluation Form SENAG Special Educational Needs Advisory Group SENATS SEN Advisory and Teaching Service SENCO Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator SEND Special Educational Needs & Disability SENDA Special Educational Needs and Disability Act SENDIST Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal SENJIT Special Educational Needs Joint Initiative for Training SLCN Speech, language and Communication Needs SLD Severe Learning Difficulties SMA Spinal Muscular Atrophy SIP School Improvement Partner SPD Semantic Pragmatic Disorder SpLCN Specific Language and Communication Difficulties SpLD Specific Learning Difficulties SQA Scottish Qualifications Authority SSEN Statement of Special Educational Needs TA Teaching Assistant TDA Training and Development Agency TLR Teaching and Learning Responsibility TS Tourettes Syndrome VI Visual Impairment WJEC Welsh Joint Education Committee

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The Burning Core Leading RE advisor Stephen Pett gets to the heart of Religious Education with special school pupils.

I

F you were asked to choose an object that holds special memories, or a photo of someone you love, or describe a smell that reminds you of something special, or a piece of nature, or some words that you love, what would you choose? For one group of special school teachers, these include a book of poems, wooden witchetty grubs, a hand-made box, a tube of Cuticare, a giraffe; all of these evoke treasured memories, of family members or past travels; of caring for aged relatives or the deepseated desire to be taller… The objects and their description awaken ideas of growth, love and hope, pain, loss and grief, moments of happiness, anger and reconciliation. They make deep connections with things that really matter. Making connections This was the starting-point of a day of

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training with special school teachers - the first of three days of training between 2012 and 2016. Set up and supported by Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Standing Advisory Councils on RE (SACREs), these day conferences have brought teachers from special schools from Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Bristol. At that first conference, leader Anne Krisman encouraged teachers to see that these kinds of connections are at the heart of our lives. It is therefore vital to recognise the kinds of experiences that are at the heart of the lives of special school pupils too – to understand what matters to them and then fashion our teaching to this, making genuine connections. Given the legal requirement that special school pupils will receive RE “as far as is practicable”, instead of wasting time doing things that the children will never access, we should do

the things that will speak to our pupils. Over the three conferences, over 30 teachers from special schools have gathered to explore spiritual development, RE and British Values, creative classroom ideas and ways of planning excellent teaching and learning, based on the schools’ locally agreed syllabuses for RE. Anne Krisman, teacher at Little Heath School, Redbridge, showed that we should avoid a “deficit model” of planning, where a locally agreed syllabus is watered down, adapting a few units of work, or teaching units for 4-6 year olds to 7-11s or 11-14s. Instead, special school RE should explore authentic and central concepts from religions, on the basis of what will connect with children’s experiences and enable them to respond. Five Keys into RE Anne’s planning structure for special school RE gained a national Foundation

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Award for Innovative RE. Her five keys for planning are: 1. Connection - What links can we make with our pupils’ lives? Creating a bridge between pupils’ experiences and the religious theme. 2. Knowledge - What is the burning core of the faith? Selecting what really matters in a religious theme, cutting out peripheral information. 3. Senses - What sensory elements are in the religion? Looking for a range of authentic sensory experiences that link with the theme. 4. Symbols - What are the symbols that are most accessible? Choosing symbols that will encapsulate the theme. 5. Values - What are the values in the religion that speak to us? Making links between the values of the religious theme and the children’s lives. This simple but profound approach enables teachers to use agreed syllabuses as sources of information for religious themes and concepts, but then to plan RE so that pupils can explore and respond, promoting their personal development by making connections with core religious concepts and their own experiences. Creative responses During the conferences, teachers have explored many active, creative strategies using dance, ritual, art and craft, music, photography, words and video. We have watched clips of Anne’s pupils using www.sendmagazine.co.uk

dance to meditate on how Mary felt during the crucifixion, and to explore the theme of looking for love. Following her pupils’ idea of a healing ceremony after the 2004 tsunami, teachers talked about rituals that might signal welcoming or farewells, remembrance or resurrection with their pupils, relating to events in the wider world and in their own lives. Making a simple model of the Dalai Lama; using silver foil to beautify images of Jesus and Mary, lending them the appearance of an icon; creating paper water-lilies that open in a bowl of water - these are just some of the delights that stimulated the thinking and sharing among the teachers. Meditation A feature of each conference has been the inclusion of practical ideas for using meditation. Led by senior Tibetan Buddhist nun, the Venerable Tsuiltrim Tenzin Choesang, we experienced moments of calm and focus, hearing about ways of helping special school children to practise mindfulness. Tsumala Choesang modelled the best posture for meditation, encouraging us to think about our spine, shoulders and neck, to keep our eyes only half closed to prevent sleepiness, and to touch our tongue on the roof of our mouths, before leading us in a meditation to focus on our breathing. We have tried out some simple mindfulness practices that can be used with pupils. We spent some time considering a raisin - holding it before we put it in our mouths to focus on the sensation, experiencing the raisin mindfully. We had the opportunity to use Buddhist ‘singing bowls’ as a way to practise developing focus and concentration, as well as enjoying the wide variety of tones and colours of the

sound. We talked about the value of meditation for children, with relaxation, calming, controlling anger or irritation, or focusing the mind. Energised It is rare to attend training sessions for RE teachers in special schools, led by experienced practitioners, and all three days have been greatly appreciated by the teachers who attended. They valued Anne’s training approach - calm, warm, professional and rooted in genuine experience. They enjoyed the opportunity to meet with other specialists, sharing ideas and experiences, recognising the huge diversity of needs across the various schools. The variety of practical examples were also valued, stimulating further thinking about how to apply lessons learned to the specific needs of the individual children and young people in their own schools. Teachers have since made good use of the Five Keys planning tool in their RE, to support the learning of their pupils, and made use of meditation and mindfulness practices with pupils. This balance of learning and experience is the heart of RE in special schools. Stephen Pett RE Adviser at RE Today, and adviser to Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire SACREs Anne Krisman’s book, Growing in RE, is available from RE Today. Little Heath School’s RE features in Ofsted’s good practice resources, which give more details of the Five Keys approach, and some examples of pupil responses. http://tinyurl.com/ ao4ey4q

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SEND Bookshop How to be a Superhero called Self-Control by Lauren Brukner Jessica Kingsley Publishers - £12.99

Provides ideas and strategies to help young children regulate their emotions and senses. Focuses on sensory integration and listening skills.

Something Different About Dad: How to live with your amazing Asperger parent by Kirsti Evans and John Swogger Jessica Kingsley Publishers - £12.99

Dad gets upset when we are a minute later for dinner; dislikes noisy family gatherings and spends his time talking about buses. This great book helps children understand how their Dad is different.

The Resilience and Wellbeing Toolbox by Madhavi Nawana Parker Routledge - £27.99

Inspiring book which is a beacon for social emotional change in schools. Sets out a programme to help students develop persistence, problem solving, empathy, and emotional regulation.

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Supporting Children with Behaviour Issues in the Classroom by Sarah Carr, et al. NASEN/Routledge - ÂŁ18.99

Accessible, and easy to use resource for teachers, TAs and SENCos which supports staff in their approach to a range of behavioural issues. Covers creating a learning environment; improving communication skills; whole class approaches to better discipline.

Building Language using Lego Bricks: a practical guide by Dawn Ralph & Jacqui Rochester Jessica Kingsley Publishers - ÂŁ16.99

Insightful guide to helping children with severe speech, language and communication difficulties often related to autism to build their receptive and expressive language, understand challenging concepts, improve attention skills and boost social communication.

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Teacher's Notes

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