The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

SEND

Gareth D Morewood

Even for governors, the law still trumps all!

I recently explained to a group of governors how they can actively support a school's provision for SEND. It starts with knowing the law and listening to key stakeholders! This week I was fortunate enough to address the University of Manchester’s School Governors Initiative annual conference. As...
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Gareth D Morewood

Transition for pupils with autism: what does research tell us?

We know how difficult the leap from primary to secondary school can be. Planning and coordinating transition in the best interests of the child will be time well spent. It is quite amazing how quickly time flies in the education world, let alone that of the SENCO. We are now preparing for Year 6...
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Gareth D Morewood

Col-lab-orating to connect neuroscience with education

The role of neuroscience in educational practice - particularly for children and young people with SEND - has been controversial, but one laboratory's research shows great promise. There have been many unsubstantiated claims at events regarding ‘breakthroughs’ in neuroscience, including one example...
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Gareth D Morewood

Visual ethnography: bringing a child-centred approach into focus

If we are to help pupils with SEND meet their outcomes, how can we determine what's 'important' for them? Research into the use of photographs as data could have the answer. Last summer I was fortunate enough to lead a workshop on outcomes and EHCPs at the SENCO Update conference . A short paper...
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Lisa Gill

SEND assessment: your top questions answered

Keynote speakers Lesley Cox HMI and Richard Aird OBE return to answer some of the most popular questions from our recent conference on 'measuring what matters' with SEND. Richard Aird When P levels are removed, how will we be able to assess where pupils who, despite being in Year 1, are working...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND at half term: 'and breathe...'

As colleagues reach the end (or beginning) of their half term break, it's a good time to reflect on the issues we've covered so far. This is the 100th post in my 'SENcology' series! For further insights into the world of SEND provision, browse the full list of posts so far. As some colleagues reach...
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Gareth D Morewood

Help, I'm a new SENCO and I don't know where to start!

If you're new to the profession, the role of the SENCO might initially seem complex and unsupported. It's important to know that you're never alone! Over a typical week, I will receive about twenty e-mails and tweets from fellow SENCOs across the country and about ten or so from parents and carers...
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Gareth D Morewood

Autism and mental health support, without the cost!

Priestnall School's recent event on autism and mental health was a busy hive of discussions, and proof of the fact that long-lasting support need not come at a great cost. I have written previously about mental health , a situation compounded for so many parents, carers and young people with SEND...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND provision: a three-stage plan for school improvement

The 'assess, plan, do, review' model is worth keeping at the centre of any efforts to improve a school's SEND provision. Here's an example of how it can be put into practice. Occasionally I’m asked to visit schools and support them with SEND provision as part of a whole-school review. I don’t do...
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Richard Aird

Insight into the Rochford Review: implementation in schools

In the final part of his blog series, review group member Richard Aird outlines the steps schools should take to implement the headline recommendations and help pupils achieve better outcomes. This is the first post in a three-part series on what the Rochford Review recommendations mean for schools...
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