Information for Early Years Leaders
As an early years leader or manager, you may want to use these resources to support the Continuing Professional Development of your staff, so we have some suggestions to help you:
Focus On SEND Training (Early Years) is a good starting point; this will give you a baseline and enable you to view the accounts of your staff, so you can see how they are getting on and where they might benefit from your input. This could include being able to see what further training might be useful for them. Focus On SEND Training will give your staff a sound foundation in understanding good practice for SEND for them to build upon.
The webcasts are short presentations offering information and points for reflection. We recommend that they are viewed in the order presented as there is a logical progression but your staff are free to select any they want to access at any point. Equally, you might wish to support individual staff by directing them to specific webcasts. These could form an alternative starting point to Focus On SEND training, or you might like to suggest that your staff watch them after completing Focus On SEND training, to add depth to their knowledge.
Each webcast comes with a supporting document, containing the content of the webcast and some short reflection activities, and many have references to other useful sources. It will really help your staff’s professional development to complete these activities, either individually or as part of a group.
The webcasts include ‘reflection points’ where viewers are asked to stop and think; these will be most effective if the webcast video is paused at this point to allow staff time to do this reflection; you may wish to ask for feedback and discussion at these points.
You may wish to use the webcasts either individually or as a set, to enhance a staff meeting or CPD session. For example, if you are doing some development work on the role of the key person, then you could view the webcast about the role of the key person in relation to children with SEND as part of that session.
It is generally more effective when CPD takes place as part of a group, and occurs over time i.e. short fortnightly sessions tend to be more effective than a day once a term. Working together as a group also allows for discussion, deepens the learning, and will make it easier for staff to try things out in the setting so that they can then come back together to reflect further.
The face-to-face training resources are provided so that you can lead and deliver these sessions in your own setting, even if you are not confident with SEND, as the resources provide everything you need to be able to do this effectively. Face-to-face training, especially when delivered over several sessions with time for action and reflection in between each session, is a very effective way of developing your staff's skills and confidence.
You can decide whether you want to run the sessions as a whole day, two half days, or a series of one-hour sessions. It is generally most effective to space out learning, giving staff time to reflect, try things out and then return to discuss what they have tried, so we would suggest that you plan 5 one-hour sessions over the course of several weeks if possible.
The face-to-face sessions are a chance for you as the leader to really understand your staff’s attitudes, beliefs and levels of confidence, and to try to address any misconceptions that they may have. They also provide essential opportunities for you and your staff to discuss practice, perhaps in relation to individual children, and to consider your setting’s approach to meeting the needs of children with SEND.
You could use face-to-face training to introduce staff development for SEND, and then supplement it with other resources, but it may be better for staff to interact with some of the other resources first, so that there is a shared level of basic understanding which can then be dissected and discussed face-to-face.
The miniguides are designed to be read and referred to over a period of time. This will probably work best if staff have already had some input from one or more of the other resources available on the nasen website. You could suggest that staff read them online, or perhaps that one or two copies are printed out to have available for staff to quickly and easily refer to in the setting.
You may also decide that it would be helpful to have some copies available for parents, carers and visitors to your setting. This would support the message that you are an inclusive setting, as well as providing parents and carers with a valuable source of information. The miniguides could also be used to refer to in meetings with parents or carers, about their child with SEND.