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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) newsletter – autumn 2009

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Message from the National Director

Welcome to the autumn 2009 newsletter for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The SEND programme aims to:

  • Support you to accelerate progress, improve outcomes, including wider outcomes, and narrow gaps between pupils identified with special educational needs and those that are not.
  • Improve the confidence of parents in the education of children and young people identified with SEND.

This newsletter looks at the implementation of the Achievement for All project which is being piloted in ten local authorities (LAs) and 460 schools. The project builds on the learning from the Making Good Progress pilot which focuses on modelling effective practice in improving progress and outcomes. There is clear evidence that parental engagement with learning is critical to positive outcomes in education. Achievement for All seeks to improve this through the development of 'structured conversations' between teachers and parents.

There are also details of a new resource, Guidance on the Attendance of Pupils with Special Educational Needs for schools and LAs to help improve the attendance of children and young people with SEND. We are all too aware that such pupils are disproportionately represented in the attendance statistics. This needs our attention as children cannot make the progress we all hope for if they are not in school or only attend sporadically. This new guidance aims to address this successfully.

Phase 2 of the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) that focuses on the autism spectrum is now available on the National Strategies web area for all phases and there is increasing evidence that Phase 1 materials on dyslexia and speech, language and communication needs are helping to improve the skills and confidence of schools' workforces. We are currently developing Phase 3 of the IDP programme on behavioural, emotional and social difficulty (BESD), due for publication in spring 2010.

There is also new guidance this term for School Improvement Partners (SIPs), SIP managers and those concerned with the leadership of Pupil Referral Units or short stay schools. Guidance to School Improvement Partners Deployed to Pupil Referral Units (DCSF ref: 00825-2009BKT-EN) will be available on the National Strategies web area later this term.

New Progression Guidance for 2009–10 has been published with an accompanying e-learning resource also available. For the first time we have assembled data on the progress of children and young people with SEND from Pre-National Curriculum Level 1 (P1) to GCSE level. The guidance will help to support the target setting process and, more critically, reflect on progress and outcomes in core subjects.

Also included in this newsletter is this term is an update on the progress of the Lamb Inquiry into the confidence of parents in the special educational needs (SEN) framework as well as an article focusing on the very significant Transition Support Programme.

Finally, I would like to highlight the forthcoming publication, Disability Equality Scheme in Schools. It is a straightforward self-evaluation resource for schools to help ensure that they are fully meeting the requirements for Disability Equality Schemes.

We would be very grateful if all readers could complete the brief survey, which can be found as a related link in each section. This feedback will be valuable in shaping and developing future newsletters.

Chris Beek, National Director, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities 

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