According to nasen, the National Association for Special Educational Needs, over 1.5 million pupils in England are identified as having SEND – and the overall proportion (currently at 17.3%) continues a trend of increases that have been observed since 2016.
The most recent census in January 2023 revealed that special educational needs are most prevalent in pupils at age 10. This means that SEN is being identified just before pupils begin secondary school – emphasising the importance of providing the right support for these pupils in maths and physics classrooms throughout Key Stages 3 and 4.
Furthermore, 52.7% of pupils with an EHC plan (education, health and care plan) attend mainstream schools rather than special schools. This makes it almost certain that Scholars will be teaching pupils with SEND during their ITT and ECT years.
SEND in the classroom
When planning to teach pupils with SEND, it is always helpful to consider the following:
- Coordinate with your SENCo and other relevant staff to understand the types of special educational needs in your class;
- Plan to utilise any additional resource you will have in the classroom with you, such as teaching support staff;
- Keep in touch with the progress of pupils with SEND in other classes to inform your future planning.
Earlier this year, we asked several Scholars about their experiences preparing lessons for pupils with SEND.
Danny, a Year 6 Scholar, gave some practical advice around collaboration and knowledge sharing. “If the student is in Year 8 or 9, for example, ask the teacher that they had the year before how they helped the student – what they think worked, and what didn’t work. It’s definitely beneficial, anytime you can talk to another member of staff as that will make your life easier going forward.”
Lucy, also a Year 6 Scholar, emphasised that her approach will vary depending on the pupil. “For example, within my Year 8 top set there are a few students on the autistic spectrum, which influences the time I spend with them in the classroom. I’ll repeat instructions on a one-to-one level to ensure that these pupils have understood the task.”
“In contrast, I also teach a Year 8 support group whose needs vary,” Lucy continued. “When I’m planning, I keep things simple and concise. Tasks are quite small so that these pupils can see lots of little achievements during the lesson, as well as success when they move onto extra worksheets.”
EEF recommendations on SEN in mainstream schools – The Education Endowment Foundation published a guidance report offering five evidence-based recommendations to support pupils with SEND, along with a whole host of resources.
nasen Connect magazine – This is a free bimonthly publication from nasen containing informative articles which offer advice, analysis and opinions on the current topics and future trends impacting the sector.
DfE blog: The importance of relationships when providing SEN support – A 2023 blog post written by a KS2 SENCo outlining her advice for providing quality SEN support in school.
Have you come across any resources for pupils with SEND that you found particularly useful? Let us know by emailing email@example.com so that we can share these more widely with our Scholars.