Reply To: New Senco in need of support and advice

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    Hi Mark,
    It is a big task! I have also just become SENCO but as maternity cover for the year.
    My SENCO has given me lots of advice and meeting with me twice a week which is soo helpful.
    I have been asking SENCOS I know for their top three tips. Here are some from 3 wise ones!

    SENCO 1 My local SLE

    My 3 most important things would be

    1. Block out diary into pattern. Months- Six categories- colours. September- Set up. Block diary.
    2. Ensure profile is kept high on the agenda. Teacher’s responsibility is key. Paper evidence key. Funding hard, so got to be on it with evidence. Staff meetings- teachers aware ch on register for which area of need.
    3. Look at which children on register for which area of need.

    1. Have a good read of the SEN code of Practice chapters 1, 5, 6 and 9
    2. Have a play with Provision Map so that you can see which interventions you have been using this year and to see how it is used
    3. Get to know the children who are on the SEN register (you probably already know them but know why they are on the register) and introduce yourself to the parents as the person who will be taking over from Mrs Sturgeon
    Top tips:
    • Always have a drawer with chocolate, paracetamol and tissues (for you, staff and parents!)
    • Have a few fiddle toys and distracting items to calm people!
    I’m at the Infant school. This is from the SENCO at the Juniors
    SENCO 2
    1. Basically you need to know the SEND Code of Practice 2014/15 very well and understand the legal responsibility attached to the role especially in regard to children with Education, Health and Care Plans.
    2. You need to know how to use the assessment tools and Edukey Provision Map.
    3. You need to know when to refer, who to and how. This changes constantly these days!
    4. Keep excellent records.

    To be:
    1. To be able to listen, watch and be creative. The idea is to problem solve within the school setting.
    2. To involve parents. Parents on side are key to any success.
    3. Be as available and therefore as flexible as possible.

    SENCO 3.

    1. Stand as the gatekeeper.
    2. I’m working on CLOSING THE GAP. Data to find gaps. How to plug gaps. Review… What does English look like?
    3. Empower staff. Really good resources to do this.
    4. Quality first teaching- all special needs differentiated work, and supported at the right level. Responsibility is with teachers. I track it and poke!
    5. TAs most important. Meet every week- 15-20 minutes break time. First thing – always tea and choc. Sit down. Share, news, keep eye on… just to let you know… applying for this child, where are your concerns. E.G playtime. Set up lunchtime clubs in small classroom. Run things past them. How are English lessons working in your class? Cascade from staff meeting Information flow. See them and love them.

    All the best with it!
    Heather Torrens (Bournemouth)