SEN Statements are a vital tool for teachers and schools, helping improve both the academic and mental health of students.
However, one thing that I have not seen talked about, is the downside.
The downside which I encountered while working as a supply teacher, is that some students use it as a reason why they can’t do a task.
An example is a year 5 girl which I taught during a maths lesson.
Having found maths a challenge while at primary school myself, I am always looking out for students that need extra help.
I could sense that the girl needed extra help, and did not understand how to start the maths problem.
The rest of the year 5 class seemed to be getting on with the tasks without further help, so I went over to the girl in question.
My first question was, do you understand the task, and how to do it?
Her reply was yes, though that’s exactly what I would have said at her age, so as not to appear less able than others in the class.
Further gentle questioning revealed what I had suspected, namely that she didn’t yet understand the task.
What I usually do when I want to check that students actually understand, is to ask them to explain back to me.
This needs to be done in a way as not to embarrass the student, or distract the attention of the other students, who are working on the task.
In response to my questions, the girl’s response as to why she couldn’t attempt the task was to say ‘there’s no point trying because I have a dyslexia statement’.
It appeared that the girl’s SEN Statement was having an adverse effect on her confidence to attempt a new task.
* The introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014, resulted in SEN Statements gradually being phased out and replaced with EHC Plans.
EHC stands for Educational, Health and Care Plans.
SEND Code of Practice (SENDCOP)
SEND is short for Special Educational Needs & Disability.
The SEND code of practice dates from 2015.
It provides statutory guidance on the SEND system.
The code of practice applies to students aged between 0 and 25 years old.
It is a statutory requirement that all schools use it.
The statutory requirement is within the ‘Children’s and Families Act 2014’.