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Leadership webinar: SEND issues and school leadership (video and webchat)

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by AndrewFIS, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How effective are mainstream schools in incorporating SEND issues in leadership thinking?

    As part of the TES Leadership webinar series, I’ll be putting your questions to Nick Rees, a special needs consultant.

    We will examine how effective UK education is in supporting children with a range of special educational needs and disabilities.

    Post your questions below now - and, if you can, join in our live webchat on May 19 at 4.30pm.

    Before that, you can watch a video we’ve made in which Nick and I discuss the issues, with key advice for school leaders.

    1920x1080-leadership-video-still-v2.jpg


    To access all the videos in the TES Leadership series, plus an exclusive database of grants available to schools, become a TES Leadership subscriber.
     
  2. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hi,

    Unfortunately, Thursday's webchat has been postponed. We hope to announce the new date soon, but in the meantime please feel free to submit any questions on this topic below.

    Sorry for any inconvenience that this has caused.

    Thank you.
     
  3. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hi,

    This webchat will now take place on Thursday 30th June.

    Don't forget to submit your questions below.

    Thank you.
     
  4. tlas

    tlas New commenter

    I am currently working as a TA in a secondary school. Unfortunately my SENCO is extremely unsupportive, unapproachable, does not give their TA's much information on the children they support, offers us no advice, if we make suggestions that could help the children we support it is dismissed and we often work more hours than paid, and don't receive much thanks. This situation is very draining and makes me not want to work there. I am in some of my SENCO's lessons and they do not differentiate, they use very old resources, if any, and does not talk to some of the children in a supportive and encouraging way.
    My question is what support can SLT typically give to TA's in this position? As I have concerns over the lack of progress of SEN children in these lessons, but don't know who to talk to? Also, what is in place to ensure SLT monitor the SENCO/TA relationship to ensure the TA's are getting enough of the right support? From my experience, nothing is in place and SLT take the word of the SENCO and TA's are left feeling unnoticed.
    Thanks.
     
  5. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Good afternoon and welcome to the seventeenth webchat in our series of discussions aimed at school leaders.

    In a few moments I will hand you over to Andrew, who is editor of FIS, who will be hosting this week's hour-long webchat.

    Andrew and this week's guest, leadership expert panel member Nick Rees, a special needs consultant, who will be available for the next hour to answer your questions on how effective schools are at incorporating SEND issues in leadership thinking.


    If you have any questions please submit them below. Don't worry if we run out of time, any unanswered questions will be responded to and posted on this thread later this week.

    I'll now hand you over to Andrew.



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    Please click here for full Terms and Conditions which apply to all TES Global’s websites.
     
  6. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Hello and welcome to this webchat on SEND issues and school leadership. Joining me is Nick Rees, a special needs consultant. For those of you following this thread, please feel free to post your query. Remember to refresh your page to see the updates as they appear.

    Thanks for joining us, Nick.
     
  7. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What are the main SEND issues that school senior heads should know about?
     
  8. Nick_Rees

    Nick_Rees New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Delighted to be here!
     
  9. Nick_Rees

    Nick_Rees New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    The most important change that has taken place is the change in the statementing process to educational health care plans, EHCP. A greater understanding of mental health issues is also vital. For me the most important issue is ensuring that integration of support into the classroom is well organised and linked to making the most effective use of teaching assistants and technology.
     
  10. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Do you think senior leaders have the requisite level of expertise in SEND issues?
     
  11. Nick_Rees

    Nick_Rees New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Some will and many wont! There will also be a huge range in the abilities and needs of the pupils within different schools eg state and independent. The important issue for me would be leaders ensuring that they have access to a strong team at the school with a voice and responsibility as well as external consultants as appropriate.
     
  12. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Should parents be more involved in the decision-making process for/assessment of their children, or are they likely to be too emotionally involved to make objective assessments?
     
  13. Nick_Rees

    Nick_Rees New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    They should be involved as much as possible in the decision-making process. It is up to the Head and staff to manage expectations and to keep the process as clear and as easy as possible. It can be more challenging to remove parents from assessments but I think it is advisable in most cases. It is going to be very emotional! I was usually impressed by the approach that parents had to the needs of their children.
     
  14. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    We have a question from the forum from @tlas:

    I am currently working as a TA in a secondary school. Unfortunately my SENCO is extremely unsupportive, unapproachable, does not give their TA's much information on the children they support, offers us no advice, if we make suggestions that could help the children we support it is dismissed and we often work more hours than paid, and don't receive much thanks. This situation is very draining and makes me not want to work there. I am in some of my SENCO's lessons and they do not differentiate, they use very old resources, if any, and does not talk to some of the children in a supportive and encouraging way.

    My question is what support can SLT typically give to TA's in this position? As I have concerns over the lack of progress of SEN children in these lessons, but don't know who to talk to? Also, what is in place to ensure SLT monitor the SENCO/TA relationship to ensure the TA's are getting enough of the right support? From my experience, nothing is in place and SLT take the word of the SENCO and TA's are left feeling unnoticed.
     
  15. Nick_Rees

    Nick_Rees New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Thank you @tlas for your question.
    SLT should support all members of staff regardless of their position at the school. However, this does not appear to be the case in your situation.
    I believe that you have a number of options and to escalate the issue if necessary.
    1. Ask one other TA who feels the same way to accompany you and hold a meeting with the SENDCo and discuss your concerns. I would have the concerns written down for clarity. I would record the answers. If change is agreed I would ask for a follow up meeting during the next half term. If however, no resolution or the SENDCo refuses to meet.
    2. Request a meeting with with the deputy head or equivalent and discuss the concerns. Follow the same advice as above. If no resolution.
    3. Request a meeting with the Head and follow same advice. If no satisfaction.
    4. Resign as you will be better off in a school that appreciates the work you do.

    Situations like this are normally resolved amicably and is due to lack of understanding or communication.

    There is also the possibility that your and the schools expectations of each other are a mismatch with both parties agreeing to disagree. In this case leaving is probably your only and the best option.
     
  16. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What is your view on the use of drugs for conditions such as ADHD? Are they prescribed too liberally or an overdue recognition of a complex need? Can it sometimes be a cover-up of inadequate parenting?
     
  17. Nick_Rees

    Nick_Rees New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    My general view is that drugs of this nature are not liberally prescribed in the UK. If you have had a pupil with ADHD in your class and they are prescribed drugs and the effect is dramatic you will welcome the change as you can teach and the pupil, as well as the rest of the class, can learn! I don't believe that it is a cover up for poor parenting but I do believe that some parents have too much control over the dosage. If there is no change in the pupils behaviour then the diagnosis may be incorrect and I would ask for further investigations.
     
  18. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How do the state and independent schools compare in their provision for SEND pupils?
     
  19. Nick_Rees

    Nick_Rees New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    My experience has been largely in the independent sector. I do believe that independent schools, as mainly selective, can choose the types of learning difficulties they are prepared to accept. As far as I know state schools do not have that option. I understand that one focus in independent schools has been mental health which is a worrying trend but very real.
     
  20. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What’s your view on the SENDCO role? Decision-maker, supporter, troubleshooter or mediator?
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016

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