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Advice for a new SENCo

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by gemxgcw, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. gemxgcw

    gemxgcw New commenter

    Hi everyone,
    As of September I will be taking over as SENCo at our primary school.
    We are a 2 form entry, with a nursery on site.
    I will be heading into my 7th year of teaching.
    I just wondered if anyone had any pearls of wisdom for me!
    We've got 53 children on the register and about 8 on the watching brief, there are 450 children on roll in our school. We complete provsion maps for all the children and IEP's for our statemented and SA+ children.
  2. Get on top of the statutory stuff first. I'd start by checking the annual review dates for all your statemented children and booking review dates into the school diary. Send out invites nice and early so people have time to write and circulate reports. Professionals like EPs can have very busy diaries so you will take priority if you are organised. A lot of parents like to know well in advance too.
  3. Fuzzybrainjo

    Fuzzybrainjo New commenter

    Make sure you minute any meetings you have, outside agencies, parents etc as these can be used if you need to provide evidence for a statutory assessment request. They will show chronological evidence of what you have done.
    I did some basic templates and kept a load photocopied in a folder so I wrote straight onto them when I had the meeting. They also have an action section with bullet points on the back so I know what I am doing next.
    If your LA have it, keep a copy of the criteria for applying for a statutory assessment as I couldn't believe how many parents thought their child needed a statement this year. Have only been doing the role since sept last year.
    You may also need to do the accreditation level 1 course for senco's.
    Good luck, I have found it to be a very steep learning curve!!

  4. You beat me to it. I'm starting it too in September and just beginning to wonder if it was a good move?
  5. memorise the sen cop so that you can recite it verbatim come September, that way you will always an answer for any rattled parents who aren't happy with the provision made or not made for their child.
  6. gemxgcw

    gemxgcw New commenter

    Thank you!

    Fuzzy, is there any chance you could e-mail me your basic templates for meeting minutes? I know it's cheeky!
    Have you done the level 1? If so, how did you find it?

    Also, I'd really like to know:
    1. What the roles and responsibilities of the Educational Psychologist are and what I can expect of their service/involvement in SEN at our school?
    2. What are the thresholds/requirements for admitting children to the various stages of the register - SA, SA+ and statement?
    3. Do you need to have a watching brief or can children go straight on the register from Nursery to Year 6?
    4. What format do your provision maps take? At the moment ours are 3 columns of the various waves of support that teachers then highlight for individual children, depending on the level of provision they get.
    5. What sort of paperwork filing system do you have?

    I think that's it for now, but I'm sure there'll be more as time goes on!
  7. Fuzzybrainjo

    Fuzzybrainjo New commenter

    I will try and get those emailed to you in the next week, just a warning July is a very busy month of the year as a senco
    I am doing the National Accreditation for SENCO stage 1 which is an additional headache along with learning on the job. Was hoping the new gov will scrap that requirement but no luck!
    1. Ed Psych's may work differently in different areas but ours attend the Network Planning meeting (a meeting of different professionals/agencies to access support) these happen 3 times a year. From that we discuss children that need additional interventions above what we can provide in school. Sometime the EP will give advice and sometimes he will come and carry out assessments. This can be of an individual or a small group of children. He will then write a report and discuss finding and strategies. He is also very good and on the end of an email for any advice I may need through the year.

    2. Our LEA (kent trust web) under AEN resources, have a website which lists the criteria for SA and SA+. but if you look in the code of practice it will give a definition of the two.

    3. Your SEN register should be moveable, the idea being with intervention at SA some children may only be on the register a short amount of time and can be removed. You should review your register periodically. You will have children who are on the register through the school due to the nature of their need. Some may move up to SA+ when you have outside agencies involved, but once they are no longer needed it may be in the next academic year you can move them down to SA. Some children will be SA+ the whole time due to their needs. It is worth it if they are in reception looking at the code of practice and considering the advice before adding them to the register.
    4. I will email some examples of provision maps that I have been shown but as a school we haven't moved towards them yet and still use IEP's. We are only using them with children who are on the register and have interventions above the usual differentiation and support they receive in the classroom.
    5. A good starter book that I found which was cheap and gave me a starting base for what I should have was 'How to survive and succeed as a senco" it's only about £8 on amazon. It will give you an idea of what to have in your senco file. I keep the children's records in a filing cabinet with drop down files as it is easier to get to.

    I will try and email stuff to you soon - I have added this thread to the hotlist so I don't lose it

  8. Fuzzybrainjo

    Fuzzybrainjo New commenter

    a positive about the senco accreditation course it does have lots of good ideas and it will give you a network of other senco's to help bounce ideas and problems off of. Also try and find out if there is a regular meeting of senco's in your area these are very useful.
  9. Phoenixchild

    Phoenixchild Occasional commenter

    I have also been approached with regard to becoming SENCo from September, I would also have to do the accreditation course and am a bit daunted by the whole thing, if anyone could pass on anything they have to me too I would be very grateful.
    PS. Am a class teacher in a one form entry primary school.
    If anyone can help, thank you.xx
  10. gemxgcw

    gemxgcw New commenter

    Thank you!
    I've had some SEN time today and all I've done is deal with the statement referral which has been declined! That's one child and has taken me all day! I then went to speak to staff about annotating IEPs and found that quite difficult as they were busy or didn't have the paperwork. It's also quite difficult because I can see things that I'd like to change but I don't want the current SENCo to think she wasn't doing a good job, she's fantastic and will be missed.
    With regards to IEPs, is it only SA+ and statemented children who should have one or could SA children have them?
    Provision maps are the first thing I want to change, I'd like them to be useful working documents not just a piece of paper to file.
  11. Fuzzybrainjo

    Fuzzybrainjo New commenter

    I communicate through email and chase the staff that way most of the time then I have a paper trail of when I have asked them to do it.
    I have done 1 year using the systems set up by the previous senco, the way I looked at it was they were running ok and will still be fine until I have a better idea of what could replace it. It is only now that I can put together an action plan for the next academic year thinking about what I would change. Also if you are in the middle of changing something and you then get a really busy term it's really tricky. Or if you really want to change things start small or one thing a term or you may swamp yourself.
    Provision maps could be used for the SA instead of asking staff to produce an IEP, but you can do IEP's if you want them to. You need to think will they serve a purpose? I am looking at moving away from them for SA children and only have them for SA+ and statemented children. Our IEP's aren't effective and are a paper exercise, but until I have a whole system to replace which I can prove will work my head won't move away from IEP's.

    In respone to the post about the accreditation, it is a useful course but as a mum of two working as a senco 3 days trying to fit in the assignments and work involved along with attending college has been hard work. Along with attending loads of other courses for things like asd, adhd, etc. It has been one very very steep learning curve!
  12. I've had some SEN time today and all I've done is deal with the statement referral which has been declined! That's one child and has taken me all day! I then went to speak to staff about annotating IEPs and found that quite difficult as they were busy or didn't have the paperwork.
    You will probably find this a lot. In some cases it probably hasn't been done. Ask your head to support you in asking all staff to bring in SEN files for the year. Audit them yourself over the summer, highlighting general issues. Ask the head to timetable a staff meeting in September for a discussion/ training. Then set people clear deadlines to give copies of stuff to you. Sounds harsh but once the paperwork slips, it only goes downhill! At the same time, make sure paperwork is useful, meaningful and relevant to the children's needs. Use best practice in other schools and staff opinions to guide changes.
  13. I am taking on the SENco role in Sept too and any help in the form of ideas and templates etc would be gratefully received....
    Thanks in anticipation! foresta@hotmail.co.uk
  14. Fuzzybrainjo

    Fuzzybrainjo New commenter

    to all of the requests for templates and provision maps I will email but it may be next week. Work has been mad, I even went in on my day off to sort some stuff out!! must be mad myself!
  15. Could I please add my name to the list for templates and provision maps.
    Many thanks
  16. gemxgcw

    gemxgcw New commenter

    Thanks joolzpop, that sounds like a very good idea and will help me get my head around deadlines!
    I can't wait to get in over the summer to sort out all of the SEN stuff so that I can be mega organised come September, especially important as we think we may have OfSTED looming!
  17. Fuzzybrainjo

    Fuzzybrainjo New commenter

    I have sent the templates to those who have requested them, I will send the provision maps when I find them

  18. Phoenixchild

    Phoenixchild Occasional commenter

    Thank you Fuzzy, that was very kind of you, I appreciate it.xx
  19. I'm doing the NASC because I have to and am finding it a real burden - it's stopping me from doing what I want to do and need to do in school - loads of reading/tasks and have been out of school a lot - however once done I can get on! I find all my work as SENCO really slow, every document etc takes so much time - I don't think my colleagues really understand how much I have to do , other annoying things about role include ...people who don't return phone calls, parents who keep missing appointments, teachers who aren't really into kids with SEN! Saying all that I do enjoy my job immensely!
  20. L10

    L10 New commenter

    Hi, I am also cureently on the SENCo award, driving me nuts - the institution running it isn't the best.
    If possible could I please have a copy of the templates / provision map when you get a second please? Still very very new to me so as much help would be fantastic.

    Thanks in advance,


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