Drive for Literacy is an approach to teaching learners with literacy difficulties that encompasses the whole school.
We recognise that the responsibility for all learners, including those with SEND is shared. Drive for Literacy is led by the senior management team with a high level of integration and collaboration between school staff, learners and parents. Through a focus on both systems and teacher knowledge, it presents opportunities for improvement beyond that of a SENCO or a single teacher or teaching assistant.
Our focus is firmly upon literacy as we know that it is through the interdependent skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening that learners can access the wider curriculum, and engage in an education that will allow them to participate in the wider world. In the same way that every teacher is a teacher of special educational needs, every teacher of every subject and every age group needs to pay attention to literacy.
Our consultants work closely with school leaders, specialists, class teachers and parents to ensure that learners with literacy difficulties are supported through Quality First Teaching and the Graduated Approach to SEND.
We strive for universal provision as the best way to ensure inclusion of SEND learners. This is good practice and satisfies the duties specified in the Children and Families Act (2014) and the revised SEND Code of Practice.
It is vital to recognise the importance of teaching assistants (TAs) within schools as adult professionals who, when deployed and managed in an effective manner, contribute to building positive connections between teachers, parents and learners.
Re-evaluating the deployment of TAs in schools ensures that all learners, especially those with SEND, are offered the best of quality first teaching practices, by their class and subject teachers, supported by teaching assistants.
The Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants provide guidance for head teachers and teachers, distinguishing the role that TAs play in schools to support learners with their education and how best to maximise their use within the school setting.
“The teaching assistant standards are non-mandatory and non-statutory; they sit alongside the statutory standards for teachers and head teachers and help to define the role and purpose of teaching assistants to ensure that schools can maximise the educational value and contribution of employees working directly with learners,” Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants, 2016.
The TA Standards are supported by recommendations made in the EEF Making Best Use of Teaching Assistance Guidance, and provide a valuable tool for the whole school team.
DYT recommends senior leadership teams use the TA Standards and EEF guidance to:
Learners with SEND or those with lower prior attainment are a focus group for inspectors. They are interested in observing the provision that is put in place, and the progress these learners are making within the school setting. The common inspection framework (CIF) sets out how Ofsted inspects education service providers within the UK.
“Inspection tests the school’s or provider’s response to individual needs by observing how well it helps all children and learners to make progress and fulfil their potential.”
Ofsted will select particular groups of learners for whom they will make an evidence trail. Inspectors will use all the available evidence to evaluate what it is like to be a learner or user within an educational setting.
It is essential that all teachers and other adults in any educational setting or phase are familiar with the CIF and ensure that the essential statutory guidance that is provided in the SEND Code of Practice (Jan 2015) is followed up.
The SEND Review Guide, part-funded by the Department for Education and produced by teachers and school leaders, is now available to download for free from www.thesendreview.com. The SEND Review Guide was created in partnership with over forty outstanding special and mainstream schools and parents/carers of children with SEND as well as organisations such as Contact a Family, Ofsted, the Council for Disabled Children, the Institute of Education and the Teaching Schools Council. It is powered by one of DYT’s closest partners, the London Leadership Strategy (LLS), a not for profit organisation created by school leaders for school leaders to transform schools and improve outcomes for children.
The Review Guide is based on the Pupil Premium Review and can be used by all schools to audit their own SEND provision. It is, however, most powerful when used as part of a programme of school-to-school support. A direct response to the increasing gap in outcomes between students with SEND and their peers, the Review Guide was created with the purpose of empowering schools to improve their SEND provision. It is made up of a paper-based audit, examples of good practice, guidance on how to carry out a review of SEND provision and self-evaluation templates. The Review Guide is free for schools to use and schools are able to partner with other schools to use the Review Guide with minimal costs.
The aim of the Guide is to ensure that children and young people with SEND are:
Based on a school-to-school support model and with a focus on improving outcomes for all pupils, the Review Guide will continue to embed a culture of inclusion, collaboration and support within education.
David Bartram, LLS’s Director of SEND and co-author of the Review Guide, said:
“There has always been a wealth of expertise in our schools and this Guide draws on some of the best practice in SEND that already exists within the system. Our aim has been to produce a practical framework for schools to self-evaluate their provision and promote purposeful, focused collaboration between schools in the area of SEND.”
Maria Constantinou, Deputy Headteacher at St. Mary’s Primary School in London and SEND Leader, said:
“Supporting another school has had an immense impact on me as a practitioner. The coaching dialogue with colleagues has always aimed to be pragmatic, positive and empowering, resulting not only in reflection about other schools’ practice, but also on the nature of SEND practice in my own setting.”