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Should SEN children be in mainstream if they are unable to access year appropriate curriculum?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by MonstieBags, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. MonstieBags

    MonstieBags Occasional commenter

    Do yo thin it wouldl make more sense for primary schools to have a "learning otherwise" department in which children with learning disabilities could access ability appropriate material?

    I totally agree that physical disabilities need to be included in the mainstream - but is it feasible for learning impaired children to be included in inclusivity - will they live in mainstream as adults for example?
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    You are talking about segregating children who don't reach an arbitrary level of what is "Age Related Expectations" this doesn't mean they won't be perfectly capable of "living in mainstream" as adults. We have parents who are illiterate but still manage to hold down jobs.
    What there needs to be is more support in mainstream schools for those who can and do benefit from mainstream education and easier access to specialist schools for those that can't.
    Wotton likes this.
  3. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    Often, I think it would make sense to have a "learning otherwise" department for children with moderate or severe learning disabilities. Their needs could be so much better met; I think many would be happier, enjoy school more and be more likely to reach their full potential. But, with budgets and the economic climate the way it is, I can't see this happening in the foreseeable future.
    MonstieBags likes this.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    No, not for the children you mention anyway. I have children not at age related expectations, who manage perfectly well in the class and will be able to contribute positively to mainstream society as adults.

    I think for those who have lives which have messed them up completely and so cannot behave well enough to access whole class work, could be better catered for in small nurture classes.
  5. jomaimai

    jomaimai Established commenter

    I think they should. The challenge is if SEN children have appropriate support. Meaningful resources and staff with enough time and knowledge to scaffold their learning and also their peers'. For all of us that have worked in schools for many years, it does not happen. Actually we have less funding, no serious training...
    lardylegs and MonstieBags like this.
  6. Flanks

    Flanks Established commenter

    If you think the main purpose of a school is purely the acquisition of knowledge then you are probably right.

    If you think it is more than that, which I would suggest it obviously is, then such segregation is quite harmful to life chances.
    minnie me likes this.
  7. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I ‘d be interested to know how you define ‘ learning disabilities ‘? Our intake @ year on year ( Secondary mainstream ) was largely children with significantly below average CAT scores and very often other complex needs. We saw it as our rôle to address their needs through prioritising a modified curriculum model, front loading literacy across the curriculum, promoting subject specific targets , delivering bespoke intervention programmes, paying due regard to the emotional side of learning ( EQ v IQ), enlisting the expertise of paraprofessionals, training staff and additional adults in inclusive T and L strategies , modelling social / listening skills and acknowledging / celebrating a ‘ can do ‘ culture ‘ ....... establishing a ‘learning otherwise ‘ ( what / where / how why ) department was not ever should be an option
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    but why? I'm secondary, and this is a real bug bear of mine. Why have children totally unable to access the curriculum in a mainstream classroom. It doubles the teachers workload, as they are planning both a mainstream lesson ( with differentiation) and a special needs lesson, and the cost of a full time 1:1 support staff is insane. Not only that but the child learns little or nothing in these circumstances. And inhibits the rest of the class. How am I supposed to teach metals reaction with hydrochloric acid with the equivalent of a 14 year old pre-verbal toddler running around in the class? There is not way on Earth I would be allowed to get acid out with an actual toddler running around the room, so why am I expected to do it with a child at the same stage of development, but in bigger body?

    I have worked in special schools where children like this can have their needs met far more effectively, and with far fewer staff- no 1:1s there! in fact, the biggest issue we had in accepting students from mainstream into special education is breaking their dependency and expectation of permanent 1:1 support.
  9. MonstieBags

    MonstieBags Occasional commenter

    For instance, in year 5, children working at year 1 level - reading and maths but also displaying year one level of social interaction so not really accessing inclusivity.
    I know that all children deserve to have an education but I find it very difficult to provide work for children who are not able to access the KS2 curriculum.
    lardylegs likes this.
  10. clawthorpegirl

    clawthorpegirl New commenter

    I agree if the gap between actual age and developmental age is more than 3 or 4 years wide it becomes more and more difficult to meet their needs effectively, as dunnocks says the teacher is then planning two entirely different lessons which for a primary schoool teacher may well be every lesson they teach.

    Interestingly I’ve just had a request for statutory assessment declined for a year 5 pupil who is still securing ELG for maths and, while able to decide text has reading comprehension skills at year 2 standard. Apparently the pupils needs are not ‘severe’ enough!
  11. clawthorpegirl

    clawthorpegirl New commenter

    decode text - not decide
  12. william_j_lambert43

    william_j_lambert43 New commenter

    I have worked at a SEN school for 8 years and have a profound hearing loss myself. My school journey was difficult to say the least.

    Segregation is definitely not ideal as it feels more like alienation. The children in this class will be ‘labelled’ by their peers and will be further excluded as a result.

    I believe the best solution is to get to know the individual in your class. I had a great teacher in secondary school. He truly knew what I needed with respect to ‘additional support’. During his lessons I felt included and my confidence in his subject area was high. I went on to achieve my highest grade at GCSE and A level in this subject. This progresses to a degree and a PGCE.

    Amazing teachers who care make all the difference. Get to know the children with SEN. How can you include them in your lessons. Maybe spend some time with them after lessons privately. DO NOT make them feel like they are different!

    I hope this helps.
  13. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Occasional commenter

    I don't think it's as simple as saying a child who is x number of years behind should not be in mainstream. I've never had a problem catering for children in say Year 5 who are working at a Year 2/Year 1 level. Behaviour and social concerns are more difficult and are becoming more prevalent in my opinion. From speaking to colleagues this is where a lot of schools are starting to struggle. This is amplified by the lack of support schools receive.

    Interestingly when I consider my own teaching experience the most challenging child I ever had to plan for was a girl who was working 4-5 years above the rest of my class. She needed an individualised curriculum and I had to develop my subject knowledge to stretch and challenge her. I am sure no one would even consider that she should have been removed from mainstream because it was challenging to teach her.
    william_j_lambert43 likes this.
  14. william_j_lambert43

    william_j_lambert43 New commenter

    My current mixed ability SEN class has a range of abilities between p level 8 and National Curriculum Entry Level 3. I just admit the level of differentiation was very difficult to grasp at first and the extra time required to plan the sessions a challenge to say the least.

    At times, it does make sense to have 1:1 sessions in English and Maths to cater for the different levels of ability. In my experiences this is best achieved through clever timetabling of workstations. The only down side to this is the availability of LSA’s and TA’s. I am lucky enough to have access to several LSA’s due to working in a SEN school.

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