These case studies have been put together to give you a flavour of the kind of support we can offer children with SEND needs. They are examples based on real students, but all names have been changed.
Supporting a learner with concentration difficulties
David came to our attention when his school requested a teaching assistant to support him with his lack of attention in class. The class teacher was finding his constant fiddling and talking distracting for the rest of the class, and the underlying noise preventing her from teaching effectively. David had been achieving his potential, but there had recently been a noticeable drop in the standard of his classwork and homework.
Initially our outreach manager went in to observe David and look at the issues within the classroom. During five minute observations, where his specific behaviours were logged, it became apparent that he was constantly finding reasons to leave his seat, talk to his peers and demand the attention of the class teacher. This was having an impact on teaching time, as the teacher was taking time to re-focus David and keep him on task, and also on the learning of his peers.
Following a meeting with the class teacher, SENCo and our outreach manager, it was felt that the best way forward would be for us to provide a teaching assistant to work 1:1 with David. Their remit was to use strategies to positively reinforce behaviour and ensure that the consequences for behaviour were followed through. This would enable the class teacher to focus on the class and alleviate the underlying disruption to her lessons. In addition, it was felt that short activities in class, with playground breaks, would encourage David to focus in class and would act as a positive consequence to staying on task and following instructions.
David took some time to form a relationship with his teaching assistant, but through a consistent, fair approach to his behaviour and short activities which kept him focused, David’s behaviour improved. He formed a positive relationship with his class teacher, who worked in collaboration with the teaching assistant, ensuring that activities and class work were based on expected learning outcomes.
David’s progress was reviewed on a termly basis, with our outreach manager, who worked with our teaching assistant to suggest positive ways of supporting David in class, addressing his behaviour, along with his emotional needs. The key to staff working together is communication and ensuring that whatever the difficulties are, the main goal of meeting a child’s needs is at the forefront.
Supporting a learner with a global developmental delay
Peter, a nine year old boy from Slovakia, was attending a mainstream primary school. His school had concerns regarding his development shortly after his arrival. Following a consultation between the school SENCo and our outreach manager, we arranged for an educational psychologist to carry out an assessment and consult on the findings. The final report concluded that he exhibited significant difficulties with his cognitive development. As a result, it was agreed that the school should discuss with his parents the possibility of initiating a Statutory Assessment. In addition we provided the school with recommendations to support Peter in school. Further assessments ascertained that Peter had Global Developmental Delay. The report from our educational psychologist highlighted that he had significant difficulties understanding English language and his attention, listening and social skills appeared to be delayed. There were indications that Peter would need adult assistance to carry out a number of tasks within an educational setting and at home.
Our outreach manager, in consultation with the SENCo, suggested a 1:1 teaching assistant to work with Peter in the classroom. This would support him with his personal care needs and would provide the class teacher with an additional adult to support the intervention programmes. Peter was given a nurturing environment using social stories and speech and language programmes to support him in reaching his expected learning outcomes.
Peter was seen on a regular basis by a speech and language therapist and set programmes of work. Our teaching assistant sat in on the speech and language sessions, and having acquired the necessary knowledge and skills, she then delivered the programme supported by our outreach manager.
The speech and language therapist, educational psychologist and the school SENCo met with our outreach manager to review Peter’s needs and additional targets were set. One outcome was the need for Peter to have additional support with his speech and language. To address this, our Outreach Manager arranged for an English teacher, experienced with speech and language, to work with Peter once a week. Her objective was to deliver a scheme of work in collaboration with the teaching assistant that could be embedded throughout the week. With the additional support, Peter made excellent progress – the involvement of our staff ensured a number of different approaches were able to be used to address his specific needs.
Supporting a learner with Autistic Spectrum Condition
Julia, with a diagnosis of Autism, had been a school refuser intermittently for two years and interventions to engage her in the mainstream had been unsuccessful. We were approached by her Headteacher to see if we could offer respite care, as the Local Authority had advised that Julia’s education in mainstream school was a requirement and the school must meet her needs.
A consultation between our Outreach Manager and the school’s Headteacher and SENCo outlined the difficulties that Julia was having with transition and interaction with her peers, and the impact this was having on her learning, social and emotional needs. It was decided that initially Julia should be educated at home. This would allow her to build attachment with our educators and we could start to address her learning and social needs in a setting she found safe. Before we started, our Outreach Manager met Julia and her parents at home to discuss the best way forward.
One of Julia’s interests was art, so we arranged for an art teacher and a teaching assistant to work with Julia at home, to engage and motivate her. It also enabled Julia to form a bond with an adult who she had something in common with, building a trusting relationship, and giving time to increase Julia’s confidence and self-esteem. Following this we provided a Specialist Autism Teacher to engage Julia in direct work and assess some aspects of processing information, particularly her problem solving skills, emotional literacy and understanding of emotions in others. In order to do this Julia was assessed using a number of systems including Agreement Scales, a baseline assessment of her thinking skills based on developmental stages of cognition/thinking skills, Theory of Mind and Emotional Literacy. The report was very detailed and outlined the aspects of school life that Julia found most challenging; her relationships with her peers. In terms of Theory of Mind, it highlighted the impact this would have on Julia’s relationships with other people and aspects of learning.
Having an insight from an experienced Autism Practitioner enabled Julia’s parents, teachers and support to have a better understanding of how to guide her learning and social and emotional wellbeing. A numbers of areas were identified for ongoing input and support which would all have implications on Julia’s academic progress. Julia’s parents were included in the planning process to ensure there was a consistent approach, both at home and at school, with all adults working towards the same goals.
Julia spent a year being educated at home and then slowly transitioned into mainstream, with a targeted amount of time in school each day until Julia was ready for full-time learning in a mainstream environment.
Supporting a learner with respite care
Anthony joined us at Southover School as a respite student following a referral from a local authority. He was having difficulty in his mainstream setting – his social and emotional needs were having a negative impact on both his behaviour and the teaching and learning of his peers.
Once at Southover School, Anthony was supported full time by two adults. This enabled our teacher to plan a curriculum around his interests, and our teaching assistant to support him in lessons. Anthony took a while to settle in and build a relationship with the staff working with him. Initially there were a number of incidents involving Anthony that needed to be managed carefully. He was prone to outbursts both physically and verbally, but with a consistent, patient approach to his behaviour, using a positive and negative rewards system, he slowly adapted to our school and began to engage with the activities planned for him. Anthony’s love of cooking and art were encouraged, a lot of his lessons built around these, and they were also used as a way to manage his behaviour positively.
During the following weeks, Anthony was slowly integrated into lessons with his peers. Circle Time and themed activities addressed his emotional difficulties, supporting him in building emotional literacy and social skills. Anthony became a valued member of the school, acting as counsel and friend to his peers, which revealed a sensitive and supportive young man.
Anthony spent 24 weeks with us on respite. He successfully went back to mainstream provision, following a period of transition, where the adults working with him prepared and supported him with the move.
Supporting learners and school staff with on-site mentoring
Jasmina was in Year 5 and attending a mainstream Primary School. She had arrived out of normal intake at the beginning of the academic year, with a number of behaviour incidents already on her school record. The school had been advised by her previous provision that there were a host of issues, involving various outside agencies, the content of which were confidential. However, a small number of behavioural issues were communicated to staff and therefore the school put in place a number of strategies to pre-empt possible difficulties. Jasmina’s behaviour proved to be very challenging for the staff working with her, and deteriorated further following several changes in class teachers.
We are asked to provide some consultation to see if we could help. A member of our outreach team observed Jasmina during lessons, and a number of suggestions were made as to how Jasmina’s behaviour could be managed. Observations revealed that she was attention seeking in class, and once returned to class following an exclusion of any kind, the resultant anger initiated a power struggle, as she sought revenge. This also impacted on her peers when she reacted in a physical manner towards them. The class teacher agreed that the constant power-seeking lead to her misbehaving and verbally defying adults, ultimately resulting in her being removed from class again, creating a cycle of downward behaviour.
We suggested that a learning mentor working with Jasmina would be an opportunity to manage her behaviour, and they could also pass on these skills to staff who worked with her on a regular basis. Once agreed, our learning mentor worked with school staff, training and guiding them to motivate Jasmina with appropriate consequences in place for misbehaviour. We also set goals that encouraged her to establish self-discipline, with a focus on her development of logical consequences and personal choices. In addition we focussed on ways to raise her self-esteem and form a positive relationship with her class teacher. The intrinsic links between on-task behaviour, appropriate tasks, rewards and motivation were key elements in developing positive behaviour strategies, which took into account Jasmina’s individual differences of the and supported her development.
Consultancy to help a school revamp its SEND provision
A primary school was looking to revamp its SEND provision following an Ofsted inspection that rated SEND provision as ‘requiring improvement’. The SENCo was new to post and both she and the head were anxious to baseline current provision, identifying the strengths and areas for development. They contacted us to help with this task and draw on the knowledge and experience of our management team.
Together we worked through the SEND audit and were able to prioritise areas for development with action plans. We included a developmental lesson observation to support the planning. By the end of the session, the school were clear about what they had to do and were enthusiastic about the next steps in their development. We also provided the school with the framework for reporting on SEND provision and pupil progress both to governors and Ofsted.