In our last issue we provided some prompts for end-of-term evaluations. As part of this process, you will be considering the resources you have and putting in orders for some new stock. This can be a therapeutic activity for weary SENCOs but if it’s a chore for you, involve other staff to help out

Support for SENCOs
If you managed to get to the excellent ‘nasen live’ exhibition and seminars in May, you will have had a great opportunity to see all that’s new in the world of SEN resources (if you didn’t manage to get there – put it in your diary now for next year, 25-26 May 2011 at the Reebok stadium, Bolton).

Otherwise, you may be relying on catalogues and promotional material for ideas and inspiration. There is an abundance of high quality resources to choose from, but ask around and seek recommendation from colleagues in other schools/LAs before spending big sums of money on single items, book schemes etc. Many publishers/producers will come into school to display and demonstrate their materials, so this may be worth considering too. We’ve outlined below some of the categories of resources to think about, with some contact details.

Remember to audit what is there already (a useful job for a member of support staff maybe?). Many schools have useful equipment lying in cupboards and storerooms and forgotten about – sometimes just needing new batteries; just because something is ‘low-tech’ it doesn’t mean it can’t be useful! Those Language Master Systems work really well in the right hands (www.drakeed.com). There may also be software that has hardly been used because staff either don’t know it’s there, or haven’t been trained how to use it.

Books

  • For staff: you should have a professional reading box or shelf where staff can find information and guidance. The main publishers to look at are Optimus; David Fulton titles at Routledge; Sage; Continuum and of course, nasen, who have a special brochure now of their ‘award winning; books and resources. If you have an event where a bookseller would be valuable, contact SEN marketing.
  • For students: make sure that there are plenty of books offering a breadth of reading for learners – from ‘sideways’ reading within a scheme, eg the ‘branches’ of Oxford Reading tree, to ‘quick reads’ for older, developing readers, eg Rising Stars; Kingscourt; Ransom; Barrington Stoke and Evans Publishing. Remember to have plenty of play-reading material as well for older learners – they love reading these aloud: (eg Take Part plays from www.specialdirect.com)

Games and practical resources
As well as producing specially-tailored games for individual and small-group work, look at the vast array of attractive and motivational games and practical resources to support learning – and encourage class teachers to use these as well: www.incentiveplus.co.uk; www.LDAlearning.com; www.taskmasteronline.co.uk; www.numicon.com

ICT hardware and software
Still an under-used resource in many schools – could 2010 be the school year that you bring staff and pupils up to date with the power of technology to transform learning?

Plenty of ideas, inspiration and support are available from specialist providers such as Inclusive Technology; Crick; Sherston; White Space.

This e-bulletin issue was first published in July 2010

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.