Teachers and schools have specific responsibilities to identify and and support children who may have SEND and, as a Parent, it is helpful to understand them.
They arise from the Teachers’ Standards, the Equality Act 2010, the Children and Families Act (2014) and the new Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice (2014).
In 2016 the Government revised the ITT framework to explicitly set out the responsibilities and professional expectations of Teachers. For SEND Learners in particular it is important that Teachers are capable of delivering Standard 5:
QFT refers to excellent practice within the classroom. It is the highest quality teaching and learning in the classroom and is fundamental to supporting the access, progress and attainment of all Learners, including those with literacy difficulties such as dyslexia. It is a universal entitlement.
Teachers are responsible for every child in the class. They have to adapt their teaching, through Quality First Teaching, to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils. Not the TA. Not the SENCo.
For many Learners who have literacy difficulties, the right support will mean that they learn strategies to overcome their problems. However, for a small group who are severely affected, their ‘impairment’ has the effect of meaning they are not able to carry out the normal day to day activity of reading and writing, and they are therefore ‘disabled’ and reasonable adjustments are a legal obligation upon schools.
With the new SEND Code of Practice (2014) (s6.79) schools must report on the school website how Learners facing difficulties are identified and supported in the school setting. It is worth reading this for further information.
The idea of a Local Offer was introduced in the SEND Code of Practice. It is supposed to set out the support the Local Authority expect to be available for local children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities and you should be able to find it on your Local Authority website.
The Local Offer should not simply be a directory of existing services. Its success depends as much upon full engagement with children, young people and their parents as on the information it contains. The process of developing the Local Offer will help local authorities and their health partners to improve provision.
It is debatable how useful or successful the Local Offer is proving to be. DYT lobbied on it when the legislation was being introduced as, with no mandatory minimum requirements of delivery, it risked being merely a directory. However, it is there for Parents to use to ask questions of their Local Authority and we would welcome any feedback Parents have in this regard.
The Graduated Approach details how a school assesses a Learner’s progress in line with their peers and determines when support may be recommended and what it may entail. It is now a requirement, not a recommended approach. It is a cycle of Assess, Plan, Do and Review, and Teachers deliver it for all Learners. It is especially relevant when a Learner is finding something difficult, for example reading and writing.
The Graduated Approach maps progress from universal to specialist, as outlined in the last Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Lots of schools refer to it as a wave model. It is worth noting that it is the intervention that has the label, not the Learner.