The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Gareth D Morewood

Develop a collaborative approach to SEND: improving pupil outcomes

In a fractured climate, schools have to work in partnerships to achieve the best outcomes. We're bringing together all of the advice you'll need to develop a collaborative approach.

As I get ready to start a new half term, I have had some time to reflect upon what is currently one of the hardest times to work in the SEND system, whether as a parent, a specialist, a headteacher or SENCO.

Pupils are not getting what they deserve from assessment, provision and outcomes. This is quite clear.

Earlier in the year, the DfE announced £80 million to extend opportunities to children with SEND. How has this affected your school? How has it affected your children?

Sadly, the impact of diminishing provision for CAMHS, Social Care and other local-level family support is striking, both at school and at home.

Over a year ago, the BBC reported that the SEND reforms had left a ‘fragmented’ system in their wake. One may argue that a year further on, further fragmentation has increased the pressure on schools and families even further; never in the last twenty years have I found it so challenging as it was over the last half term.

Improving outcomes

There is no doubt that the changes to the system have left a greater variation in the quality and availability of provision, creating specific local challenges in addition to the wider national ones.

The system is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate, meaning that joint working with agencies and professionals, co-production with parents/carers and good strong school-level systems and provision are even more important than ever.

I am pleased to have been asked to speak at the Efficient Partnership Working to Improve SEND Outcomes conference on 24th November. I will focus on two elements of provision that we have developed to improve the outcomes of SEND pupils: 

  • Working and engaging positively with parents and carers.
  • Developing our own SALT/EP/therapy provision as part of our 'core offer'.

You can read a little more about our school-led SALT and EP provision in advance, along with posts about parental confidence and co-production.

The conference aims to address some specific questions in light of this difficult and varied system:

  • Are you confident that you’re working effectively with agencies, families and your students to ensure the best outcomes?
  • Are you managing your budget efficiently, accessing the funding you’re entitled to and making the most out of your funding?
  • Do you know what to do if you’re not getting the support you need from your local area?

As part of the SEND reforms, the DfE introduced the role of Independent Supporters. Who are they, and what do they do?

Freely available for a limited time, read Anita Devi's interview with a frontline practitioner.

What can I expect from the event?

You can certainly expect to:

  • learn how to engage with all agencies, families and your SEND students to ensure the EHCP is child-centric and focused on outcomes
  • gain vital insight into good practice to enable you to overcome your local barriers and challenges
  • understand how to make the most out of your budget and know where and how to source additional streams of revenue.

As ever the bedrock of getting appropriate assessments and support is the law, and Mark Blois from Browne Jacobson will offer a valuable legal perspective.

We have to fight for everything in the modern climate, and working in effective partnership with others will put schools in a powerful position indeed.

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