As part of your provision mapping activity this term, you’ll be reviewing the resources for small group and individual intervention programmes, class-based learning support and various types of ‘catch-up’ work. This week we provide some prompts to guide your thinking.Support for SENCOs Auditing resources


Remember your human resources as well as the material ones: they are after all, the most important. If you’re still advertising for and appointing TAs/learning support teachers, be careful to do this in the context of the staff you already have. Are there specific specialism’s and areas of experience missing from your team? Take some time to conduct professional development interviews with existing staff too − find out about any new skills they have developed during the year, and what they would like to learn about, or consolidate during the next school year. This will help you to plan CPD for the team.

2. Clear out old and unused books and materials to free up storage space. Use the same system as for your wardrobe − if it hasn’t been used (worn) in the last 12-24 months, it probably won’t be used in the next 12 months − get rid of it! If you can’t bear to throw it away, offer it to another school or setting or ask pupils if they would like to choose a book to take home.

3. Designate time in a team meeting to find out from support staff what they think is needed − use catalogues to research what is available, but the recommendation of colleagues (in other schools or special schools) is often a good way to make sensible investments. (Remember that seeing and handling books and trying out software can help to avoid making expensive mistakes: invite publishers or booksellers into school for the beginning of term and plan your visit to the SEN London show − 17-18 October − to see a wide range of resources and get expert advice.) Prioritise and work out costings: consider whether resources can be borrowed or shared.

4. In secondary schools, talk to each subject leader about how they are spending their personalisation budgets and catering for students with SEN. There should be appropriate text books or reference books in the library (matched to students’ reading abilities); a range of dictionaries and thesauruses; key word lists; and large format labels in all areas (possibly adapted equipment in science, D&T, and PE and sport).

5. Don’t forget professional resources − books for the staffroom/LS Base and subscriptions to SENCO Update and Special Children to make sure that you keep up to date and look after your own CPD. If you’re not a member of the National Association for Special Educational Needs, you should be! (

6. The National Strategies produce a range of primary, secondary and cross-phase materials and resources to support all schools in raising the attainment and achievement of pupils with special educational needs and learning difficulties and disabilities (SEN/LDD). These are often very useful but seem to be seldom used in schools. It’s worth taking a look at their website:

Resources for supporting pupils − a starter checklist
Plastic, wooden or magnetic letters (lowercase and uppercase) with good differentiation between the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’
Concrete apparatus for number work (for secondary lower sets as well as primary): counters, cuisenaire rods, solid shapes, fraction strips, coins and geared clocks
Assorted pens, pencils (including triangular) and grips; assorted rulers
Key vocabulary lists for displaying in classrooms
Visual timetables
Prompt cards for alphabet/days of the week/months of the year/times tables etc
Number lines
Different types of lined paper
Phoneme-grapheme charts, eg Thrass and RML
Coloured overlays (for those who suffer from eye strain when black print is on white background)
Letter tracking devices, reading rulers
Memory Bricks − for developing memory strategies (CALSC,
Easy-to-use dictionaries
Magnifying devices
Assessment tools
British Vocabulary Scales
Key word lists
Phonological awareness
Letter recognition
Standardised tests, eg Neale analysis (individual,diagnostic) and Suffolk reading test (group)
Computer-based resources
Large format/lower case keyboards
Touch screens
My World
Take a look at a wide range of software at
A good variety of new, attractive and age-appropriate books for children to practise their reading on a regular basis, consolidate skills and gain confidence. There is a plentiful supply of major scheme and non-scheme books to add breadth to the reading experience of primary age children, and for older pupils, the choice is getting better and better: take a look at the Download series from Rising Stars − for older boys with a low reading ability. The books use extreme sports, fast cars and popular culture as motivational themes, and have good accompanying support materials.

SEN News

This year, Child Safety Week runs from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 June, with the theme: ‘Make a change. Make a difference’. Accidents are one of the biggest childhood killers in the UK, with six children and young people dying every week. Children from less well-off families are particularly vulnerable − they are far more likely to be killed or admitted to hospital with serious injuries than their better-off counterparts. Safety is an important area to address with all children, but especillay those with SEN:

Child Safety Week can provide a starting point for raising awareness of accident prevention and there are resources for teachers available at:

This e-bulletin issue was first published in June 2008

About the author: Linda Evans is the author of SENCO Week. She was a teacher/SENCO/adviser/inspector, before joining the publishing world. She now works as a freelance writer, editor and part-time college tutor.