My first six weeks at nasen

  • 24 Oct 2016
  • By Alex Grady
  • 0

My first six weeks here at nasen have flown past! I have been taken on to work as part of the Education Team on a new project, so it’s been straight in at the deep end. It’s very different to being in a school setting (where I worked in my previous role as SEN Outreach leader) but it is exciting.

So what is this new project?

The project is called ‘SEND Review’ and is funded by the DfE. Our remit is to develop a user-friendly on-line space, through the SEND Gateway, for schools to share best practice in SEND, with strategic areas based on the ‘SEND Review’. If you are familiar with the SEND Gateway (and hopefully you are!), you will know that it gives you access to resources, information, news and events on the subject of SEND. With this project, you will still be able to access all of these in the same way as before, but you will also be able to use them more strategically because they will be linked with one or more of the eight areas of the ‘SEND Review’.

What is the SEND Review?

The SEND Review is an action-planning tool developed by London Leadership Strategy (LLS) to enable schools to work together to review their SEND provision in the following eight areas:

  1. Outcomes for pupils with SEND
  2. Leadership of SEND
  3. The quality of teaching and learning for pupils with SEND
  4. Working with pupils and parents/carers of pupils with SEND
  5. Assessment and identification
  6. Monitoring, tracking and evaluation
  7. The efficient use of resources
  8. The quality of SEND provision

Reviewers are currently being trained up around the country to support schools with developing their SEND practice in a collaborative, non-judgemental way.

Take a look at

Who are we working with?

nasen is working collectively on this project alongside a range of partners including LLS. All of these partners make up what’s called the ‘Whole School SEND Consortium’.

The Whole School SEND Consortium is a coalition committed to improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND by better scaling and embedding what we already know works. The Consortium aims to make outcomes for young people with SEND as important to school leadership teams as every other aspect of school improvement and delivery.

The Consortium believes in collaboration, working together to challenge the status quo and advocate for children and young people with SEND to ensure all voices are heard. Find out more on their website:

How will the School-to-School Support element work?

On the SEND Gateway, in the SEND Review tab, you will be able to find the eight areas listed above. Each one will take you to a page from where you will be able to search in three sections (Provision and Providers, Research, School Examples). In the ‘School Examples’ section, there will be a number of examples of best practice in that area for you to look at and consider if you might be able to apply them in your setting.

For example, in ‘Assessment and Identification’, you might find that a school has tried using an assessment tool that you are considering, and you will be able to read about its impact on their pupils with SEND. This would help you to determine whether you should try it out for yourself.

Or, in ‘The Efficient Use of Resources’, there may be an example of a school that has deployed its Teaching Assistants in a radical way, and you will be able to see how this has impacted on their SEND pupils.

As time goes on, hopefully more and more schools will upload their own examples, so that this resource stays up to date and gives a broad range of practice from different phases, sectors and areas of the country.

Can you get involved?

Yes! We will need school-based practitioners to be ready and willing to upload their examples once it goes live (which should be in March 2017). This not only means that you can share your best practice, but that you and your school will be part of a national forum which will be available to schools across the country to look at every day.

If you don’t already, follow nasen and the SEND Gateway on twitter and Facebook to make sure you keep up to date with all the developments.

Alex Grady - Education Development Officer

Alex has worked as a SENCO in a primary school, for the Dyslexia teaching service and in a Language Unit in Manchester, supported Looked After Children in schools, run a Dyslexia Centre for the Learning Support Team in Staffordshire, and been Reading Recovery Teacher Leader for Staffordshire. For the last four years, she has worked for a special school federation, mainly offering outreach support to mainstream schools.

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