Frequently Asked Questions
The core content contained in Focus On SEND is just that, core. This means that the activities are also core to the process of improving practice. One of the aims of the course is to develop reflective practitioners. This is where the activities come in. After looking at content online you will go and carry out an activity designed to give you an opportunity to explore your learning within the content of your class/setting. This experiential element has been shown by research to be a feature of effective CPD. Therefore, in order for the course to be effective, you should complete an activity from each of the first 5 modules and then complete the research activity in the 6th.
Research has shown that collaboration is one of the features of effective CPD. Collaboration can simply mean having professional conversations with your colleagues. For example, you and a colleague may read something in one of the modules and then wish to talk about it together as part of the reflection process. This can help you both to develop your ideas. It could also be useful following one of the activities, in order to get a different viewpoint on how it went. The discussion forum feature of the course is a place where you can also share ideas and learning or seek other professional views on a topic.
Although the modules can stand alone and therefore, potentially, be completed in any order, this is not advised. The reason for this is that the order has been designed so that learning from earlier modules is built upon as the course progresses. For example, the first module gives an overview of high quality practice before the subsequent modules begin to break this down into more detail. Also, there are references back to previous content.
The 6th module is different in structure as it is designed to offer ‘research in practice’. The focus of this research will be selected by reflecting upon the learning and experiences from the first 5 modules. This will help you to identify areas for your own professional development
This course is not designed to make you an expert in SEN. As such, the content it contains is considered ‘core’ to enable you to reflect on your practice and to begin to develop it. However, we recognise that for some of the content you may wish to do some additional reading in order to find out more. As such, we have provided links to some further information. You can also use the nasen website and SEND Gateway: www.nasen.org.uk ; http://www.sendgateway.org.uk/
One of the key elements of Focus On SEND is the intention for there to be a collaborative aspect. Research has shown that this is a really important feature of effective CPD. Therefore, if there isn’t a SENCo or SEN/Inclusion Manager in your setting you might find it useful to ask your line manager if they would be willing to act as your mentor or coach (they can use the coaching prompts found in the SENCo section of the homepage).
If the above isn’t possible, then it might be that there is a colleague who is looking to undertake some CPD in the area of SEND. If so you could get together and share your experiences. You could even consider linking up with someone from another setting.
On the rare occasions you encounter a technical problem when using the Focus On SEND course, if this is not something you can or the school technician can fix please contact nasen at firstname.lastname@example.org including as much detail as possible about the problem, and where possible attaching a screen shot and the name of the web browser you are using.
The course has been set up to encourage SENCos and others leading SEND in their settings, to support and work with those who sign up to the course. Therefore, if your setting has such an SEN leader, you should ask them to register you on the course.
Although Focus On SEND is designed for you to be able to work through at your own pace, there should be an element of collaboration involved. While this might be with colleagues, we encourage the involvement of the SENCo/Learning Support Manager. This is because they are most likely to have the strategic overview of CPD for SEND in your setting. This means that they are well placed to be able to offer you coaching or guidance as you work through the course. Hopefully, they will be aware of the needs of the setting and will be able to use their knowledge and expertise in SEND to offer appropriate support and direction.
If you encounter any technical problem when either accessing or using the course please refer initially to the FAQ ‘What should I do if there is a technical problem?’ If your questions isn’t covered please email nasen.
The Learning Log is important. Research has shown that effective CPD should include an element of reflection. Active completion of the log will facilitate this. Also, once the course is complete, you will have a permanent record of your learning, thoughts and reflections. There is the facility to download the Log as a PDF, so you are able to print it out if you wish, enabling you to use it within professional discussions including for your own performance management.
The SEND Code of Practice 2015 and the professional standards for Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Post 16 practitioners all make it clear that not only is high quality practice central to SEND provision but also that practitioners are responsible for the progress of all the learners with whom they work and should be sufficiently skilled to be able to ensure good progress. As professionals, we want to ensure that we continue to learn and develop our skills so that we can do our very best for the sake of our learners.
Therefore, it is essential that we undertake appropriate CPD Focus On SEND training has been designed to not only improve your practice around meeting the needs of learners with SEND but to also encourage you to become increasingly reflective practitioners who are collaborative in their learning. These two elements will help to ensure that the benefits of this course are ongoing and have potential to impact on your wider practice.