Staff training and expertise in Special Educational Needs (SEN)
The school’s Inclusion Manager, incorporating the role of Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), is Ros Wilding who has been a SENCO in Portsmouth since 2008 and a teacher since 1997. Ros is a member of the school’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) who works at St Swithun’s two days a week and is best contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to Ros, we have a highly experienced Higher Level Teaching Assistant for inclusion who has worked in schools in Portsmouth since 2001. Shireen works in school 5 days a week delivering support to individual children as well as supporting teaching staff and teaching assistants working with children individually, in groups and in class. The school’s SEN/Inclusion governor is Maria Thorne who, along with Shireen, can be contacted via the School Office.
All teachers have a general knowledge and understanding of SEN through their initial teacher training, with several undertaking specific undergraduate projects or placements on aspects of SEN, such as autism. Several teachers have previously worked in special educational needs settings. Through their continuing professional development and previous experience, the teaching staff at St Swithun’s has a knowledge and understanding of:
- The relationship between SEN and English as an Additional Language
- Literacy programmes such as Better Reading Partnership
- Intervention strategies such as Precision Teaching
- Speech, language and communication issues
- Behaviour support
- A range of sensory impairments
- Down’s Syndrome
Some of our teaching assistants have been trained in Reading Recovery programmes such as Fisher Family Trust (FFT) and Better Reader Partnership and one of our teachers is a qualified communicator with the deaf. All teaching assistants have experience of supporting children with SEN within the classroom and in small group or individual programmes. They have received training in specific intervention programmes and some have had training in aspects of SEN such as specific learning difficulties in literacy or numeracy. Several have specific graduate or post-graduate qualifications in aspects of SEN.
Measuring the effectiveness of SEN provision
At the start of specific SEN programmes baseline measurements are taken such as reading or spelling scores and they are taken again every half term to ensure that progress is being made. The expectation is that, for the vast majority of children, progress via a specific programme will be double that of their age, so, over a three-month period we would expect at least a six-month increase in scores. Class teachers and support staff discuss with the SENCO on a regular basis the impact of SEN programmes on the child’s performance in class lessons.
Children’s engagement in whole-school activities
All children identified as having special needs participate in all aspects of school life, such as PE, music, assembly and school trips.
Social and emotional development
Children experiencing social and emotional difficulties are supported through the general pastoral strength of the whole school staff, especially that of their class teachers. Specific programmes are available for aspects of social and emotional development under the supervision of the SENCO and, where appropriate, a speech and language therapist. These programmes will either be in small groups or set up for individual children.