Teach students with SEND? Make sure you have all the information

The most important thing when teaching students with SEND is to know what their needs are. I was staggered when attending an ASE CPD event at the weekend that the majority of teachers have students in their class with SEND but have received no information about them.

The special educational needs can be divided into four main groups (important to know for teaching and for access arrangements)

  1. Communication and interaction
  2. Cognition and learning
  3. Social, mental and emotional health
  4. Sensory and/or physical

Students don’t all have the same level of need and the less severe will be identified within the school and appropriate support and interventions put into place.   Those with a higher level of need will have an EHCP (these replaced statements of special needs a few years ago).  The EHCP is a very useful document which has background information about the student and specific details about their needs and strategies that should be employed to meet their needs.  EHC plans aim to be “forward-looking” and aim to raise aspirations, and outline the provision required to meet individual needs.

Some schools will summarise the key information into an education plan (an EHCP might have numerous actions, a SENCO might identify the most important to act on first).   If you haven’t got access to an IEP or an EHCP you might want to approach your SENCO for more information as you could be missing a key piece of information that will help you in your teaching.

Schoolsweek reports that students with EHCPs are being pushed out of mainstream schools. A lack of information and understanding of their needs can only make this situation worse.