Six ways your setting could use the free CPD ‘Focus On SEND’
How the CPD could be useful for staff in your school or setting
With funding from the DfE, nasen has developed an offer of free online CPD for all mainstream settings across England. This offer called ‘Focus on SEND’ is based on sound principles, identified by research, of what constitutes good CPD.
The ideas below may help you when considering how best to use the training for your own staff in your current school or setting.
1. Use to secure a baseline of SEND CPD provided
Focus On SEND training could be used as a baseline for all staff within a school or setting. In this case, the baseline would indicate that all staff have worked through the training, ensuring that they have received a known, starting level of CPD in SEND and so have some proficiency in meeting the needs of learners.
2. For NQTs and new staff
As and when new staff join the school they could be required to complete the training too. The fact that all staff have undergone such training could then be reported on your school SEN Information Report as it will form a core offer of provision for the children in your school, with those receiving further training helping to show the different tiers of expertise available.
3. Target staff who are already interested in training, or have a particular interest in SEND
You could identify SEN champions in phases, year groups, or departments to undertake the course first. The benefit of this approach is that it will enable you to identify any issues around implementation meaning that you can make adaptations before the rest of the staff take part. Another benefit of this approach is that you will have ‘ready-made’ coaches who can then support their colleagues.
4. Targeted school improvement priorities for SEND
Another route for a targeted approach would be to select staff to undertake the training based on your full range of evaluation evidence relating to practice and provision for SEND. This isn’t to say that it would be staff who are ‘poor’ in this area but rather staff who might be experiencing the same issues, such as difficulties in securing good progress with learners on SEN support, or those teaching groups with SEN in a particular subject. It is important that the use of Focus on SEND training is seen as a helpful tool in developing understanding, practice and provision for any staff.
5. To kick off new approaches
Focus on SEND training's Participation and Engagement module is an ideal vehicle for introducing person-centred tools. Once staff have an understanding of these tools and the nature of the approach, this might then enable you to explore other opportunities for the use of person-centred working in your school/setting.
6. To strengthen whole school initiatives
It is likely that you will have your own agenda for developing SEND provision in your school or setting already identified within your action plan. By enrolling staff on the training, you have a clear understanding of what they will have covered, the opportunities they will have had to engage with practice-led enquiry through the course and how you could then support them in next steps beyond this, e.g. exploring further factors affecting learning or focusing on one or two specific factors which the school/setting as a whole could work together to address with some consistency.
See more about these ideas in July’s issue of Special magazine!
Focus on SEND for Early Years, Primary, Secondary and the Post 16 sector is available online today and can be accessed via the Online Learning tab at the top of the page.
Alison joined nasen in November 2014 as their Head of Education and contributes to the strategic direction of the Association; working to make the vision of securing the best possible outcomes for children and young people a reality.