The Whole School SEND Consortium has officially launched. Funded in part by the Department for Education as the Schools Workforce Contract for 2016/2017, Whole School SEND is a consortium to drive and support school-led, user-informed school improvement – making the best use of resources from schools, the third sector and the education system. It exists to help schools identify special educational needs and promptly access the right support.
The Whole School SEND Consortium is hosted by London Leadership Strategy (LLS). It is made up of Teaching Schools, Academy Chains and school-led networks such as Whole Education, as well as educational organisations such as the National Educational Trust, the Teacher Development Trust, Future Leaders, Teaching Leaders and the Institute of Education. The Consortium is also made up of individual National, Local and Specialist Leaders of Education. Recognising the strength of combining this school-led approach with third party SEND expertise, the Consortium also draws on nasen’s leadership in SEND and their national networks of SENCOs, and expertise in Transition to Adulthood from the Council for Disabled Children. The Consortium also draws on impairment specific expertise across dyslexia, communication, SpLD and PMLD and from outstanding special schools.
The Whole School SEND Consortium fundamentally believes that the most effective change in practice comes when schools work together, using best practice in coaching, challenge and continuing professional development, to learn what works in supporting children and young people with SEND; and then to work with their school teams and their peers to reflect on how to put this into practice.
A core aim of the Whole School SEND Consortium is to embed the SEND Review Guide principles into a wider school improvement agenda. The SEND Review Guide was created in partnership with over forty outstanding special and mainstream schools, as well as organisations such as Contact a Family, Ofsted, the Council for Disabled Children, the Institute of Education and the Teaching Schools Council. The SEND Review Guide is based on the Pupil Premium Review and can be used by all schools to audit their own SEND provision. It is available to download at www.thesendreview.com.
The Consortium will also specifically look at three areas raised by schools as key issues during the last few years of SEND work:
1. Developing a SEND Teachers Programme aimed at classroom teachers and working to the principle that all teachers need to be able to effectively include and support progress for children with SEND.
2. Support on how to make effective use of Teaching Assistants.
3. Helping pupils with SEND prepare for adulthood.
The goal for the Consortium is to ensure better outcomes for children with SEND across the system, so that SEND practice is owned and implemented by a wider community. Evidence suggests that outcomes improve when SEND is embedded into wider school improvement and school strategy, owned by school leaders, and when classroom teachers are equipped and able to support learners with SEND. Whilst much progress has been made, we are still some way from achieving this in all schools and classrooms and we hope that the Whole School SEND Consortium will drive this forward.
More information about the Consortium and its aims is available at www.wholeschoolsend.com and you can follow us on Twitter at @WholeSchoolSEND.