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Good SEN Department ideas needed!

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by Hoxton, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. Good afternoon all,

    I am stepping into a department in September as their Senco which is VERY exciting. However the department is tired and there is a lack of support/nurture outside of the classroom. Desperate to change this around for the staff and kids (without the full on bulldozer effect) I would like your help in compiling a "dream" plan for the next year.
    I have been in and out of many schools and seen some amazing SEN Depts.

    Some of which have provided the following ideas:

    - Free breakfast clubs for the most needy
    - School uniforms washed and ironed for students with severe neglect/CP issues
    - Film clubs at lunchtime
    - Inclusion awards and award evenings
    - SEN reward trips for effort
    - Friendship teams
    - Gardening groups
    - Young enterprise/making and selling groups
    - Staff photos displayed in a decorative way on entering the department

    Anyone got anything in their department/school which is having a positive impact on self esteem/learning which I could put to good use?

    Thank you!!!!!

  2. Hello,
    I work for Mencap delivering a programme called Inspire Me which is working with young people aged 14-25 with a learning disability. We can award grants to groups of young people to do a 'community impact project.' These have no set formula or restricitions to these, they just have to have at least 6 young people coming together and working on something with a positive outcome. The projects are youth led and can be on a very small or much larger scale. Previous projects have involved students making things to sell at a local garden centre, bake sales, inviting other schools to a football tournament, creating a sensory garden, creating a DVD about their challenges and hopes for the future, the list is pretty varied! We can grant £300 for each project and Mencap's involvement is completely free. The aim is to give ownership of the project to the young people and in doing so raise their confidence and self esteem; increase the young people's perception of what constitutes a community and to raise the profile of young people with a learning disability in their communities. The students involvement in the project can be documented for evidence towards ASDAN qualifications
    This project is operating all over the UK, I am based in the South West covering Gloucestershire through to Cornwall. If you have any questions then please call or e-mail, if you are not in the South West I can give you the contact details for the youth co-ordinator in your area.
    Kind Regards
  3. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Not sure what you mean by SEN Department. Are you secondary and leading a team of TAs and speaking staff in supporting the curriculum ?
  4. jlishman2158

    jlishman2158 New commenter

    Just a few ideas that you could use or adapt for a particular child
    Meet and greet - a TA meets the child in the morning to explain their timetable for the morning and any changes, then again at lunchtime to explain the afternoon timetable and any changes. The idea is to move towards the child knowing their timetable.
    My week - it is a chance for the child to discuss what has happened, both in and out of school, over the week with ideas how to handle difficult situations or just 'off-load'
    The 'child-friendly' IEP is reduced to A5 and glued to a page in the homework diary so it can be discussed by TAs, form teacher, parent, etc.
    In my school the English and Maths departments provide details of current levels and expected levels - we add these to the homework diaries. TAs can then refer to the level to praise the child for achieving it or even moving to a higher level - it is not used if the child is being reprimanded
    Target card - many of the children (not just SEN) carry a card setting out one target they would like to achieve eg answering at least one question in a lesson. If they know they have achieved it then they ask for the card to be signed and they gain a reward eg extra housepoints
    We have a visual display of counters which are gained for good behaviour in a year group. If any incidents of poor behaviour are reported then the counters are removed. If the year group achieve their termly target then they gain a reward eg film afternoon, Easter egg making and competition, etc It needs to be something cheap they can all enjoy.
  5. Kirsten thank you very much for this information - it is certainly something to think about!
    I have heard of Inspire Me before however that was all I had heard - the name.
    I am going to have a look at the website and may very well contact you further regarding more information!

    Thank you x
  6. Evening,

    Thank you for the meet and greet idea. This is a very useful idea. I have two ST children - one of which has ASD and another with medical needs. This could be a vital and brilliant way of getting them to adjust to the KS2/3 set up - thank you.

    My week - leaving their week behind, putting it to bed and off loading it. Excellent. So they come back to school on a Monday a fresh - thank you. I have been doing something similar with a large plastic microphone in a circle time activity - but doing at the end of the day on a Friday is an excellent idea.

    Ahhh....child friendly IEP. What a brilliant idea. So many times I see IEP's an none pays any attention to them - great idea.
    Going to float that with the HLTA's next week!

    The other suggestions are also excellent.

    Thank you very much for these. I have counter boards in my current school and children fill things such as sweet jars with stick on sweets in return for rewards. Any more suggestions - keep them coming!!!!!

  7. You're welcome :) Hope to hear from you soon
  8. I can send you some picture posters for learning to spell tricky words.
  9. Ideas re SEN dept: reading these ..like meeting and greeting and 'explaining' timetable....NO MENTION of mode here? ASD kids and SLI kids and visual kids, or those with difficulty keeping up with your 'explaining' may need visual formats...as adults especially in education, we seem to talk a lot so just worth remembering that for many students..their auditory memory doesnt keep up/they cant visualise - especially comples sentences/cant remember etc...for some a visual record...and to carry away, is key.
    TEACH the kids to ask for clarification!!!...this is a really good independence skill to concentrate on during withdrawal work..and then in class. Remind teachers to have children 'show' them they undersand..as students will inevitably nod etc...then realise they've forgotten the next step (teachers to write steps/flow charts on board, or for the student on paper)..or students will nod yes...out of feeling too embarrassed to say NO they still dont know what to do. Teachers and students need to know its OK to ADMIT they dont understant..even after a few attempts by teacher or support worker. Part of school culture...not frequently addressed.
    IEPs in homework books are good as long as everyone knows what the strategies are to achieve them...LISTS of strategies used to be given to teachers (eg by us in central teams, or from SEN dept), so that students with varying needs (varying strategies to go with), can ACCESS lessons...and achieve the targets..MAYBE IEPS INCLUDE THE STRATEGIES TO BE USED TO HELP ACCESS?.
    ON TARGETS, Even if SMART targets are used, they shouldn't be so SIMPLE that the student can't achieve their SUBJECT potential, whilst being simple enough to use the students maybe limited tools (literacy, recording).....dont forget for some they have the right to achieve the targets in the curriculum as everyone else - to their potential for the SUBJECT, but need help to ACCESS them..via SUPPORT eg reading for them, or recording. I've seen so many kids get SO dispirited with school, and so frustrated and self esteem shattered, and interest wiped...over literacy difficulties getting in the way of the SUBJECT matter.
    enough for now ..that last bit just a *** on something we all know about...but helping teachers iwth strategies for the students is KEY is think?
    Student mentors is another good idea...if older children who have struggled with an issue eg literacy, earlier in the school, can buddy up with/mentor the young students to give encouragement , it can be really motivating for them.

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