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Speech and Language in the Classroom

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Friday, 12 May 2017

Tips for SENCOs - Part 3: Admin

Approximate reading time: Under 2 minutes.

1. Basic requirements – lockable filing cabinet, coloured folders to hold pupils’ records.
2. Get your year mapped out. Plan ahead, e.g. set dates for important meetings such as annual reviews at the beginning of the year. There may be times when you will have to take support away to use elsewhere, e.g. for public exams.
3. Try to find time to support some children in school.
4. Have an open office when the children can come and talk to you whenever they need to.
5. Write a half-termly newsletter for the teachers in the school keeping them up to date with what you are doing.
6. Give each teacher a ring binder to store the information you give them.
7. Send the SEN list to all teachers via e-mail and save it on the school system - no-one has an excuse then for not reading it.
8. Circulate pupil profiles or IEPs (whatever you write) in hard copy - as well as by e-mail.
9. Write regular information sheets for staff on various aspects of SEN.
10. Be meticulous about systems, paperwork and records – it will pay dividends in the long run.
11. Be organised - lists, lists, lists.
12. Remember that a special need arises when there is a mismatch between what the curriculum demands of the child and what the child brings to the curriculum; the first response should be ‘How can we change the curriculum so that it better fits the child and their learning needs?’ rather than the other way round.
13. Don’t conceptualise support only in terms of TA/LSA support: work to create learning opportunities that aim to develop and improve children’s core skills, especially literacy. Individual targets for children with special needs should be individual to them, not curriculum targets.
14. Budget to keep your area open and staffed from 8am until an hour after school has finished by using LSAs. Often problems are sorted there before they are real problems. Include lunchtime as well.
15. Encourage mixed year group working in your area.
16. When parents/carers are going through a rough time, ask 'and how are you?' Kids who need support need parents/carers who can support them. Helping a parent/carer through a difficult time helps the child as well.

Missed Part 1 & 2? Read them here: 

Tips for SENCOs - Part 1: General

Tips for SENCOs - Part 2: Management of TAs

Contributed by Janice Rolnick MA RSAdip

Educational Consultant


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Friday, 5 May 2017

Tips for SENCOs - Part 2: Management of TAs

Approximate reading time: 1 minute, 30 secs.

1. Get your TAs on your side – make them feel they are part of a team. Make managing the TAs a top priority. If they are behind you they will be supporting the pupils effectively and efficiently, if they're not you'll be spending all your time dealing with the fall-out.
2. Fight their corner if necessary.
3. Be clear about your expectations of TA conduct and behaviour/dress code, etc.
4. Listen to your TAs, but let them know you have the ultimate say.
5. Make sure they have a timetable, and that they stick to it.
6. Give them training opportunities, in-house and out when relevant.
7. Treat them fairly, but not all the same!
8. Nip bickering in the bud, don't allow grudges to fester.
9. If you lose some along the way because they can't accept that you are in charge - so be it!
10. Treat them with respect at all times - even when it hurts.
11. Develop your LSAs. Allow them to choose an area to develop – literacy – Aspergers – whatever the need in school and for their own interest. They read the books, go on courses, then share information with others. They become the expert.
12. Send them on courses which allow them to gain qualifications so they have a career ladder and something to aim for.
13. Make sure they have performance management.
14. Produce a TA handbook.

Missed Part 1? Read it here: Tips for SENCOs - Part 1: General

Coming soon: Tips for SENCOs - Part 3: Admin

Contributed by Janice Rolnick MA RSAdip

Educational Consultant

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