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Are all teachers expected to be Sendcos?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    ‘…All too often, sadly, teachers see withdrawing a challenging pupil from their classroom as the answer. But often this approach doesn't work. The child is withdrawn and offered additional support, and then an attempt is made to reintegrate them back into the classroom. But, because of many factors, this attempt at reintegration is often unsuccessful. And so the cycle of failure begins again…

    Schools need to support all children's needs, and these needs are becoming more complex. All teachers are now Sendcos in their own right, coordinated by the one who has the title. It has to be a whole-school approach…
    Colin Harris led a school in a deprived area of Portsmouth for more than two decades. His last two Ofsted reports were 'outstanding' across all categories.


    Do you agree with Colin Harris? Has the day of one person dealing with special needs in the school gone? Is a whole-school approach the right way to support all children’s needs?
  2. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    Well Colin you come and teach my mixed abilty year 7 class of 31 pupils. One has a severe hearing loss.Two have autism,one of these can not read or write, one has a reading age of six. I have 2 other students with EHCP . There are 2 more who are on the SENDCO's radar as they are having massive problems accessing the curriculum. I have a TA in 4 of my six lessons with this class.With the best will in the world I can not support for all these pupils properly
  3. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    Sometimes I wonder if do-gooders such as Colin are on something.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Star commenter

    Haven't teachers always supported children in their classes with additional needs? Certainly I did when I was teaching in early years. The clue is in the title surely. SEND CO. They coordinate, it doesn't mean they do all the support. I was a maths coordinator once, I didn't teach all the maths.

    There are times when it's appropriate to withdraw a group of children for specific small group support, and times when the support comes into the class. But the biggest problem surely is funding, followed closely by class size (links back to funding) Not enough support for greater and greater range of needs in any given class.
  5. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    It is time to stop scapegoating teachers.Challenging pupils are 'challenging'. Teachers are not psychologists or behaviour experts. Many have classes of 30 already that they are expected to actually teach and keep safe. And sometimes withdrawal from a lesson with a big group to a smaller group is safer and better all round.
  6. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    Are you me? I teach several classes very similar to this. Keeping all of these children in the classroom with no TA support (music in secondary school) is often not possible. If I do, then the brightest children are held back while I deal with all the various issues which present during the lessons.

    There has to be more funding available for all these students with an SEN diagnosis so that we can properly support them in class with TAs etc. Otherwise we need to set up more alternative provision.
    01ade, agathamorse and phlogiston like this.
  7. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Our SENDCO stands up in staff meetings and tells us exactly what we should be doing for individual teachers. Sadly he doesn't tell us how to achieve the production of the extra hours in the day which would be needed to accomplish this.

    i did once count I had 31 different specific medical or psychological diagnoses on one timetable.

    And no I can't carry around in my head the advice on how to do things differently in 31 different ways, and as i could hardly walk around with manual in my hand looking it up constantly I basically just carried on my own way.
    alex_teccy, Morgelyn, blazer and 4 others like this.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    The SENDCO has access to all the data and CO-ORDINATES the schools response.
    I agree with Mr Harris that individual class teachers are responsible for delivering the education to the children having difficulties.
    HOWEVER - a class teacher has to deliver education to lots of children, all at once. Sometimes extra support is needed - the SENDCO is the only person who can deliver that. Sometimes the whole school approach has to say "the needs of this child mean that we need a completely different approach..."
    Integrating goes way beyond sticking a kid in a classroom and hoping the teacher can cope.
  9. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    A whole nation approach could improve things for kids with autism.

    I am currently spending a couple of days at a London primary school giving workshops for the nursery and reception children.

    Most of the autistic kids engage so well it is a positive learning experience for them. The school, at my request, schedules extra classes for groups of these special needs children at lunch and after school.

    What the school doesn't do is carry on this style of working with autistic kids when I am not there.

    It is the headteacher, the SENDCO and the PE staff I shall again be inviting to come in and observe today.

    I have been doing this school quite a number of years now.

  10. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Thank you Kevin for these frequent reminders that the solution is for everybody to teach unicycling.

    How would I apply this thinking to a mixed ability class of 32 which I am trying to teach trigonometry to?

    I do not doubt that students have a positive learning experience when learning unicycling. I am all agog waiting for your suggestions on how we hapless teachers apply the same approach to teaching well any academic subject really.
    anenome2, Dodros, agathamorse and 4 others like this.
  11. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    The key seems to be centred around the idea that 30 children need one teacher to support their learning. But in doing so it assumes the needs of all children are pretty much the same. It fails to take into account the huge variability in their needs. Some children will need extra support, so throwing them all in the same class and expecting the one teacher to deal with may show equality but it is not equitable,
    alex_teccy, blazer and agathamorse like this.
  12. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I am not sure what you mean by your style of learning? Do those 'special needs' kids learn more than those not in that group because of the extra lessons or do they need the extra lessons so everyone reaches the same level?
  13. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Hi folks,

    What I do will not directly be of benefit to the many secondary based subject teachers on this forum.

    I must improve my communication skills so I do not upset anyone with what I say.

  14. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Kevin, do you assume that primary based subject teachers would benefit from what you do?
    Do you have a book entitled,"How to teach primary maths: the Unicycling Way", for example?
  15. crocked

    crocked New commenter

    To be honest, I'm fairly frustrated by many of your posts. You constantly talk about how easily primary teachers could engage the children in physical tasks and disparage those that you see during circus workshops as failing to do so but regularly display a startlingly low understanding of the subject that you are discussing. Hey witless teachers! some children are more engaged in fun physical activity! Also bears do stuff in the woods!

    Yes. We know this. This is all you seem to have on the subject. Point taken.
    SomethingWicked likes this.
  16. A_Million_Posts

    A_Million_Posts Star commenter

    "Kids with autism" aren't one big group who all have the same needs and all respond in the same way. They are individuals and some of them will be just as horrified at your approach as you seem to be about the school's normal routine!
    agathamorse and SomethingWicked like this.
  17. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    I've just read the article. I've never heard of "twilighting" but that form of withdrawal does seem to me like stealth exclusion. All teachers are teachers of SEND, which is theoretically fine but we do need to be appropriately supported by a strong SENDCo who understands the limitations we have and doesn't ask the impossible.

    The problem with trying to support all children with SEND in a class is that it's simply impossible with such reduced TA numbers. A third of my class have diagnosed SEN. There's a few more who we have serious concerns about but whose parents will not allow us to monitor them or have them assessed.

    Obviously, there is a huge range of needs. To make life even easier, some of my children with SEND have needs which conflict with each other. It's an impossible situation and it's impossible to cater to every child because of the levels and types of needs. It's noble to want to integrate children with SEND into the classroom and I completely agree with it, but we have got to be realistic about what one teacher can actually provide in the way of support - for both the child's sake and the teacher's.
  18. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    So true.

    For my sins I was once upon a time a SENCO - true, it was a selective school and so there was only a relatively narrow range of special needs to consider, but it was only one of many responsibilities I had, so had to take its place amongst the others...

    Anyway one day (I have mentioned this before, but it is relevant here) I received two letters from national charities - one demanded that all classrooms have their carpets removed (due to dust affecting children with asthma), the other demanded that all classrooms be carpeted (because children with hearing loss etc fond rooms with hard floors too echoey...). I took the question to the HT: 'how many classrooms have carpets at present'?, he asked...I'd checked so I replied 'about half'. 'Fine', he said, 'fair for both, we'll leave it at that....':)
    phlogiston likes this.
  19. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    It is very hard. I think it's also hard when some external agencies come in because they make recommendations which are completely impractical, forgetting that you also have to cater for 29 other children. They also have no oversight of the rest of the children. I often find that I simply cannot follow all the different recommendations I am given and it does make me feel like I've failed the children at times. Realistic recommendations would lead to children being much better supported because then they might actually be carried out.
  20. Crommo89

    Crommo89 New commenter

    Unfortunately, this is another one of those good ideas that hasn't been thought through. In isolation, all teachers being Sendcos makes sense, but when you stack it up with all the other things that teachers are encouraged/required to do it becomes an issue because of time and knowledge (which isn't helped by the frequent changes of name for many of the conditions eg, it used to be sence but now its sendco).
    Also, spare a thought for all the teachers who, themselves, suffer from these conditions - we are people too you know.
    lovelibrary likes this.

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