Sunday, May 11, 2014

Being SENco part 4: The local offer

In October 2013 the DFE published the new draft SEN code of practice, which will take effect from September 2014. I have heard that the final code will available 'some time in June...'

Chapter 5 of the draft code is all about the 'Local Offer', and rather than paraphrase, I have lifted the rationale straight from the draft doc:

5.1 The local offer 

Local authorities must publish a local offer, setting out in one place information 
about provision they expect to be available for children and young people in their 
area who have SEN, including those who do not have EHC plans. 

The local offer has two key purposes: 

• To provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the provision available; and 
• To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving children and young people with SEN, parents and carers, and service providers in its development and review. 

It is clear that the local offer should not 'simply be a directory of existing services' and that through the process of developing the local offer all parties will consider how to improve provision.

Further advice is given in the draft document:

The local offer should be: 

Collaborative: local authorities must involve parents, children and young people in developing and reviewing the local offer. They must also cooperate with those providing services. 
Accessible: the published local offer should be easy to understand, factual and jargon-free. It should be structured in a way that relates to young people’s and parents’ needs (for example by broad age group or type of special educational provision). It should be well signposted and publicised. 
Comprehensive: parents and young people should know what support is available across education, health and social care from 0 to 25 and how to access it. The local offer must include eligibility criteria where relevant and make clear where to go for information, advice and support, as well as how to make complaints about provision or appeal against decisions. 
Transparent: the local offer must be clear about how decisions are made and who is accountable and responsible for them. 

The Special Educational Needs (Local Offer) Regulations 2014 sets out a schedule for the publication of local offers although it is less clear how and when schools should do this and what co-operation with local authorities actually means. I await for someone more knowledgeable or more widely read to help me with that!

 In the meantime I have been looking at different primary school websites after googling 'school local offer examples'. I had looked at Marvels Lane Primary School's local offer and a couple of others last half term after a cluster SENco meeting, but I liked the transparency of this one so thought it unnecessary to look any further; their Local Offer felt like a good starting point for me (thank you to the authors!) I am not sure at the moment whether our cluster will have a joint one, which will be tweaked for each school, or whether we will all write our own. It is a supportive, collaborative and co-operative cluster that I belong to, so before I do any more work I will ask the question. Once ours is written, it will of course be shared in the hope that it supports others to write their own.

Other useful links

The Key: Local offer: templates for schools

York School Local Offer template

Understanding good practice in the move over to the new arrangements for SEN - comprehensive information for parents from Swingate Primary School

Additions 19.05.2014

Our cluster SEN chair and I have had some conversations through email this weekend and it is more apparent (to me) now that the LA is responsible for producing the local offer. This doesn't mean that schools can't, and indeed I have used the Swingate Primary school one as a base to create one for our school - it is good practice after all. I acknowledge their support in helping me develop mine! You can read the first draft of the one I am creating here. In the nature of sharing, if you like it please use it, but please acknowledge that it came via Swingate. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Being SENco part 3: the OfSTED file

Today I went to a local special school for the last day of a very fruitful 'new SENco' programme. It has been fruitful partly because of the organisation of it, partly because of the experts leading it and partly because of the networking time available to learn best practice from others. As an OfSTED inspection is imminent at EHPS I have started to put together an information for OfSTED file and I took this along with me. The contents of the file look like this (so far):


1                                           SEN register
1a                                         Graduated Response
2                                           Progress of children with SEN across the school
3                                           SENDco action plan
4                                           Provision map EHPS
5                                           Provision map for cluster
6                                           Case study 1
7                                           Case study 2
8                                           Personal learning profile example
9                                           Pupil intervention tracking example
10                                        IEP example
11                                        GEP example
12                                       TA skills register
13                                       Intervention overview and impact: 1st class@number
14                                       Cluster SEN identification guidelines

15                                      SEN policy 

As always I was happy to share this with others and I hoped that someone would say 'What about adding this or that?' When we had a workshop on action planning I shared mine, which I have talked about here. It felt really good when we had moved to a different workshop and the lead of the action planning one came through and asked if she could have my file to show others. I know it's not perfect, but that told me I am on the right lines.

Another teacher (Kendra I think) shared a document containing questions that an inspector might ask. I had asked this question to an inspector last week and he said that all inspectors were different, but really just to make sure that I know my children and could explain progress. Today I feel confident that I am in control and know what I am doing regarding SEN at EHPS - who knows how long this confidence will stay!

I will upload some of the docs into google docs asap (I need to anonymise them first), but some teachers found the contents page useful so I said I would share it. Any thoughts / ideas appreciated!