The Special Needs Register
Article published 9th June 2008
Often, the first a parent hears of his or her child not coping as well as expected is when the teacher suggests placing the child on the special needs register. This can cause great alarm and upset, but it shouldn’t.
Placing a child on the register doesn’t mean the school thinks your child is stupid or naughty; indeed sometimes children on the special needs register are also on the register of gifted and talented children.
The aim of the special needs register is to highlight those children who need extra help or additional support and ensure their progress is carefully monitored.
A school's obligations
The Disability Discrimination Act states that schools and colleges must provide appropriate help so that children with special needs are on a ‘level playing field’ with their peers.
How a school can help
They may adapt the curriculum. The national curriculum, provides guidance in developing a more inclusive curriculum. This is based on the principles of setting suitable learning challenges for all pupils, responding to their diverse learning needs and helping to overcome barriers to learning.
Someone with dyspraxia who writes very slowly may need extra help and support to enable them to access learning.
Bring in extra help. A child may benefit from the skills and expertise of an occupational therapist; qualify for extra time in exams; get help with typing tuition and be permitted to use a laptop in class.
Adapt the learning environment. The learning environment and styles of teaching can make a real difference. key to any intervention should be that they help create a ‘level playing field’.
Place a child on the special needs register when they are not making the progress expected, despite the apparent best efforts of the school.
Why place a child on the SEN register?
Placing a child on the register takes place after strategies such as varying teaching styles, differentiating work, or adapting the learning environment have not had a noticeable impact.
Placing a child on the register allows appropriate help or interventions to be sought.
In many cases an individual education plan (IEP) will be drawn up to assist in the monitoring, recording and reporting of targets and progress. This should inform the child, the teachers and those who support the child and parents of specific and measurable targets of success criteria - it may also reference teaching strategies and pupil strengths.
The headmaster/mistress runs the school but boarding houses are usually the domain of either houseparents or, in smaller schools, the head of boarding. Whilst the housemaster/mistress oversee the house, the day-to-day running is usually under the supervision of a matron. (Article published 5th May 2008)
Each school as unique as your child? Give a great deal of thought to what sort of character you want your child to turn out to be. Do not be taken in by charming heads or their marketing genies entertaining you with Power-Point presentations and handing out videos (always taken on sunny days and always displaying the best of everything). (Article published 14th May 2008)
It's not just the financial outlay... Most people are aware that, for the vast majority of boarding schools hefty fees and extras are a given, but what about the hidden costs? The social, the emotional? (Article published 14th May 2008)
Admission to state boarding schools is open to British citizens, EU passport holders and anyone with right of residence in The UK. State boarding schools do not have the same freedom that independent schools enjoy. They must adhere to codes of practice such as those laid down for Special Educational Needs (SEN) and for admissions.
Identifying and locating grammar schools. Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston, with only a few grammar schools.
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