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Focus on SEND training for educational practitioners working across Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Post 16 is available now. Register for free today.

Welcome to Focus on SEND training.

Focus on SEND training is a free course aiming to help teachers and educational practitioners working across the 0 – 25 years age range to develop high quality practice in order to better meet the needs of their learners with SEND. It is based on the evidence of what constitutes good continuing professional development (CPD) and so takes a practice- led, enquiry-based and collaborative approach.  

The modules explore: high quality practice and what this means for SEND; the participation and engagement both of children or young people and of their parents and families; identifying needs and the role of assessment; the process for arriving at meaningful outcomes; meeting needs and how the cycle of assess, plan, do, review can be used to best effect.  Focus on SEND training offers both online content and opportunities to carry out practical activities in your own setting. 

Although it won’t make you an expert in SEND, it will help you to recognise your own skills and experience and use them to begin to unpick the needs of learners

Structure and Aims of the course:

The general aims of the course are designed to help you develop the skills of reflective practice in order to:

  • Apply a graduated approach to meeting the individual needs of learners
  • Develop inclusive practice
  • Develop meaningful engagement with children/young people and their parents and carers
  • Develop effective use of an outcomes-focused approach
  • Understand possible barriers to learning and develop strategies to help children/young people to overcome them

The first 5 modules contain core content to read, watch or listen to as well as links to further information which you can access if you choose. For each module you choose a short practical activity about which you record your thinking in the form of a brief reflection piece within your personal learning log. 

The 6th module is an example of research in practice. Here you choose a focus from any of the first five modules and use the process of assess, plan, do, review to explore the efficacy of a change in practice.

Ways to use Focus On SEND in your setting
  • To provide a baseline of expertise i.e. all staff undertake the course; this could then be included in the SEN Information Report.
  • Although 9 hours, it can be distributed over the year e.g. week 1- introduce the training, week 2 - work through the knowledge section for Module 1, weeks 3 and 4 - try activities, week 5 – focus on reflection, week 6 - feedback and share learning. Working in this way promotes collaboration.

Use of Focus On SEND training can be tailored to suit the needs of your staff and setting; be creative. To help you plan for effective CPD, nasen have produced a range of resources to support you:

All of the resources above are free to use and, as well as helping you to plan for the use of Focus On Send, they will also help you to think about all of the CPD on offer in your setting. 

What next?

If you are a SENCO, Learning Support Manager, Inclusion Lead or equivalent, register by clicking on the Register button on the right above.  This will enable you to enrol any of your staff onto the course.

If you wish to undertake the course, check first whether you have an administrator from your setting already registered.  If you do, ask them to sign you up.  If not, you can go ahead and register.

Alternatively if you require more information, specific to your needs, then click on one of the tabs above.

 

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This Focus On SEND is licensed under the Open Government Licence 3.0.

 

 

Your time is precious and as such any professional development that you undertake needs to be efficient as well as effective. Nasen’s Focus on SEND training will deliver both of these things.

Being an online course means that you can work through at your own pace.  In addition, Focus on SEND training is designed to allow you to use your current role and situation in your setting to contextualise learning rather than working on something which feels unrelated.

You will experience 6 modules, the first 5 of which will provide no more than 30 minutes each of online content for you to watch, listen to or read.  Then, from the Practice section of each module, you will choose an activity focusing on individual children or young people, a group or class or your setting as a whole.  Finally, you will reflect on your learning by recording your thoughts in an online learning log. 

The 6th module is based on research in practice.  You will choose the focus for this activity from any of the areas you will have already explored through the course, selecting one that interests you most and/or is most relevant to your practice and role right now. You will use the process of assess, plan, do and review to explore the efficacy of a change in practice. As we move ever closer to teaching as a research-based profession, this will help you to engage in active reflection and may offer a starting point from which you would like to develop your skills further.

Throughout the course you will be invited to share your observations, reflection points and learning with colleagues and peers.  You can choose how to do this; face to face, sharing entries within your learning log or using the online forum.  Collaboration is an important feature in learning and we need professional dialogue to stimulate thinking, offer challenge and to help us to critically evaluate practice.

Upon completion of the course your online learning log can be downloaded as a PDF in order to give you a permanent record of your continuing professional development (CPD).  This can be used to inform your professional development meetings and review.  There will also be a printable certificate.

The course is designed for teachers, tutors and practitioners to be supported by their SENCo, Inclusion lead or Learning Support Manager, who will be given guidance on how best to do this.

As the SENCO* you will be aware of the continuing professional development (CPD) needs of the teachers** within your setting which is probably why you are here; you want something that will address those needs. 

In order to get the most from Focus on SEND training you will take a strategic approach to CPD in your setting.  This means that you will have identified what needs there are, formulated a plan for addressing them and made sure that this relates to the overall CPD plan for the school. Nasen’s webcast will take you through the strategic process for ensuring effective CPD.

Use of Focus On SEND training can be adapted to suit the needs of your setting.  So you may wish to use it to develop a core level of understanding and skills across your staff from which further development can be built.  You may decide that, although the course is approximately 9 hours, it would be more effective to run the course over a year e.g. work through each section of each module one week at a time.  Some settings will choose to implement Focus On SEND training with just a few key colleagues before using it more widely.  How you go about using it is entirely up to you based on the staff and setting needs and CPD plan you have identified.   

In order to use Focus on SEND training you will first need to register yourself as the Training Administrator at your setting.  There are several reasons for this:

  • It will allow you to sign up those practitioners that you have identified to use the training course
  • You will then have an overview of those signed up and their progress through the course (recording of progress is prompted by the completion of the learning log)
  • You will be able to access the learners’ logs in order to view their reflective entries. This is key to enabling you to intervene with staff in order to move their SEND practice on further

The registration process will also allow you to sign-up as a learner.  This means that you can get familiar with the modules yourself as well as have oversight of other learners.

While practitioners can work their way through the course independently, with the oversight you will have as SENCo, you are in an ideal position to offer support and ensure that maximum benefit is gained from the course.  The support offered is unlikely to involve formal input but could take the form of mentoring and coaching; You could use the following questions as a starting point:

  • What have you tried so far?
  • What do you think went well? Why?
  • What do you think didn’t go so well? Why?
  • What do you need to know to help you do this?
  • What would a successful result look like?
  • What would be the first step? Next step?
  • What sort of support would help you the most at this point?
  • Who might you need to involve?
  • What challenges have you encountered?
  • What do you think will change in your practice?
  • How could you share what you have learnt?

The questions are designed to encourage the learner to problem-solve and develop more reflective practice.

*The term ‘SENCO’ represents all professionals assuming the role of a named person overseeing the SEND provision in the setting.
** The term ‘teachers’ is used to refer to all education professionals; teachers, tutors and practitioners

As a senior leader within your setting you are aware of the need for good quality continuing professional development (CPD) for your practitioners.  You are also aware that time is precious and as such there could be many priority areas all vying for input.

Good teaching for special educational needs and disability is good teaching for all and so the requirements within the SEND Code of Practice upon  teachers* to be able to deliver high quality teaching as a first response to meeting needs is no surprise. To be able to raise the standard of universal classroom provision and make this robust enough to meet the increasingly complex range of individual pupil needs means that staff require access to appropriate CPD.

Nasen’s Focus on SEND CPD is flexible in its approach.  This means that teachers can begin the course at any time during the school year and will be able to work through it at their own pace.  You can tailor its use to suit the needs of your staff and setting. Crucially, this training takes the key principles of the SEND Code of Practice (such as a focus on outcomes, parental and learner engagement and the use of person-centred working) and examines these in relation to the graduated approach cycle of assess, plan, do, review. It helps teachers to identify where good practice already exists in their setting, encourages them to learn from this and to collaborate with their peers towards the creation of a stronger professional learning community.

Another benefit of Focus on SEND training is that it doesn’t require any special arrangements to be made for carrying out the investigative activities.  Learners will choose from a selection to suit their current development needs and interests as well as the present situation within the setting.

Your SENCO will be able to keep an overview of which teachers are using the training, how they are progressing and, most importantly, the nature of their thinking and learning in relation to SEND. Each learner on the course will demonstrate their understanding through the posting of reflective pieces to a learning log, which the SENCO will also be able to access. This offers the SENCO a great opportunity to be able to intervene with staff in order to move on their thinking and practice  even further.

As the quality of teaching for pupils with SEND should be a core part of performance management arrangements, according to the SEND Code of Practice, the responses to the learning within this course could also form a useful basis for professional discussion between senior leaders and their staff. The use of the data from the course can also support SENCOs to work more strategically at a whole setting level in terms of their role in teacher development for SEND.

* The term ‘teachers’ is used to refer to all education professionals; teachers, tutors and practitioners

'How can you equip your teachers, tutors or practitioners to meet the special educational needs of their learners? How can you begin to develop a professional learning community within your own setting? How can you support staff to develop the professional behaviours crucial for the continued growth of reflective practice?'