Just a few weeks to go now until the end of term and a well earned rest! Hopefully, you will still have enough energy, though, to reflect on the year’s work and plan for the autumn term. In this issue we suggest a way of reviewing the past year’s provision and how effective you have been

Support for SENCOs
There is no shortage of material these days for helping you to self-audit and evaluate your own performance as SENCO and the success of different aspects of your work. If you haven’t settled on a specific format for this important task, you may find the outline below a useful way of approaching it. SEE HELPSHEET 30

Management

  • How well have you influenced school strategy in relation to SEN and inclusion? Have you attended senior management meetings? Discussed systems with the headteacher and governors? Contributed towards the SEF and school development plan?
  •  Have you delivered whole-school CPD on aspects of SEN/inclusion during the year? What about training for trainee teachers and NQTs?
  • Do you have a good understanding of the school budget and how funds allocated for SEN are used? Have you been able to influence spending?
  • Are you involved in interviewing new staff (especially those expected to have an input with SEN pupils) and designating teachers with ‘special responsibility’ for SEN? How well do you manage the recruitment and deployment of TAs/support staff? Have you provided training? How well do you monitor their performance?

Interventions

  • Have you updated your list of interventions (provision map) and evaluated them in time to prioritise for next year? Which have had the best results? Why? What is the evidence?
  • If you have to make budget cuts, what will go and what will stay? Will you have to make out a case for keeping skilled (expensive) teachers rather than a higher number of less-skilled (cheaper) TAs? What will be your argument/evidence?
  • Have you considered children on the SEN register for next year and what they receive in terms of intervention, support, mentoring?

Parents

  • How have you developed good relationships with parents?
  • Is there a good system of home-school agreements?
  • What has been the ‘turn-out’ rate for parent meetings and attendance at reviews?
  • Have you organised any parent workshops?
  • Is there good quality printed information for parents – or does it need revamping?
  • If you have parent helpers, how do you plan to show your appreciation at the end of term?

Outside agencies

  • How successful was your joint working during the year?
  • Do you need to make new contacts? Nurture fragile relationships?
  • Do other schools have access to therapists/specialists that you could share?

Pupil outcomes

  • How well have the pupils with SEN achieved over the year?
  • Have you been able to gather qualitative as well as quantitative evidence of progress and improvement?
  • Remember that data concerning improved attendance, better behaviour/fewer incidents, improved attitude to work can all constitute positive support for various interventions.

Your own CPD

  • Have you attended a conference, seminar, exhibition or LA INSET day? How did you disseminate information to colleagues and senior staff?
  • Have you found out about opportunities for next term/year?
  • Have you managed to do some professional reading? Could you plan to do some catching up over the summer – always somewhat less of a chore with a glass of something in your hand while you sit in the sun!
  • How well have you networked with other SENCOs? Is this something you need to make more time for next term? Sharing information and ideas can actually save you time and energy.

Work-life balance

  • Have you got this about right? If not, what can be done about it? Can you delegate tasks/responsibilities? Think outside the box.
  • If you have serious concerns, discuss these with senior managers before the end of term.

This e-bulletin issue was first published in June 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.

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