The South West (SW) SEN Regional Partnership has worked with a range of partners in recent years to develop guidance on the provision of effective special school outreach. As well as reflecting development work in the SW region the guidance takes account of recommendations in Removing Barriers to Achievement (DfES 2004) and Ofsted’s (2005) report Inclusion: the impact of LEA support and outreach services.

The guidance provides a brief consideration of key concepts in effective outreach and the role of special schools operating within frameworks of strategic support. It then outlines clear practical advice on:

  • Strategic approaches within special schools and LEAs
  • Funding outreach services
  • Staffing models
  • Different types of outreach practice
  • Identifying and supporting outreach staff
  • Evaluating practice and provision.

Effective Outreach for Special Schools: A practical handbook can be ordered from the SW SEN website at (click on links to outreach).

Autistic Spectrum Disorder The West Midlands (WM) Regional Partnership has recently published a Framework for Key Features for Success of Early Interventions for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their Families. This booklet categorises successful interventions under the following headings:

  • Core principles – for local authority (LA) and health authority (HA) provision
  • Process – the way the intervention works to establish principles in practice
  • Specific provision – provision put in place to ensure that an intervention meets the needs of children and families
  • Strategic management – management of provision at local authority and HA level
  • Operational management – management of provision on a day-to-day basis.

This tool is likely to be of particularly interest to strategic managers and leaders of services including SENCOs and other learning support coordinators in both mainstream and special provision. For further information telephone 02476 833594 or look at the following website:

Every Child Matters: A New Role for SENCOs A Practical Guide Rita Cheminais, Price £18.00 ISBN 1843124068

This is an indispensable guide for SENCOs who are beginning to see their role change in the light of the Every Child Matters policy agenda. The book is full of up-to-date information about changes in legislation and offers sound advice about how to navigate these and to provide effective support for children and young people experiencing difficulties in school and in wider contexts.

Central to the argument presented about the evolving role of the SENCO is the idea that she/he should be a manager and strategic leader of developments in SEN and inclusion. This approach will, of necessity, involve the SENCO in delegating many day-to-day aspects of the job, and spending more time enabling other colleagues to work effectively. It will also involve working with, and perhaps managing, multidisciplinary teams.

Whether all SENCOs are, or will, in the foreseeable future, be in a position to work in the way that Rita Cheminais advocates remains to be seen. She has certainly thrown down the gauntlet to policymakers, some of whom seem to be committed to downgrading the role of the SENCO, and her argument in favour of an enhanced role for the SENCO as lead professional and change champion working to Standards with a clear leadership focus is a powerful one.

The book should be essential reading for SENCOs, and much of its content should be shared with headteachers, governing bodies and local authority advisers who provide support for SENCOs (eg through networks). It should also be read by policymakers within the DfES and staff at the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) who are responsible for revising the Standards Framework for teachers.

Handbook for literacy and social inclusion

The Literacy and Social Inclusion Project has published a handbook for people involved in planning and developing local services, including education.

Literacy and Social Inclusion: The Handbook is for anyone involved in planning and developing local services, and shows how different organisations, including local authorities, can work together to develop community literacy strategies to support schools and contribute to shared priorities for literacy. The handbook demonstrates the relevance of community literacy strategies to early years provision, primary and secondary schools, the post-16 sector, the cultural sector and sport, the Every Child Matters agenda and the criminal justice system. It describes a collaborative literacy process that involves partners and service users, and provides a checklist for identifying shared goals and agreeing a delivery plan. The Handbook, price £5.00, is available from The Basic Skills Agency (Tel: 0870 600 2400).

New Guide on helping children with complex health needs

A new guide, ‘Including Me: managing complex health needs in schools and early years settings’ has been published.

The guide gives practical advice and solutions to help children who have complex health needs get the support they need to attend schools and early years settings regularly and take part in all activities. It was launched by the Health Needs in Education consortium including Mencap, the Council for Disabled Children and the Royal College of Nursing, together with the DfES. The guide, price £12.50, available from Council for Disabled Children tel. 020 7843 1900.


Stop Bullying Pocketbook Michelle Elliott, price £6.99 ISBN 1-903776-70-8 Published by Teachers’ Pocketbooks

The Stop Bullying Pocketbook by Michelle Elliott is teeming with good ideas for teachers and teaching assistants to use, and lends itself to use with parent groups too. It is clearly based on the author’s extensive experience in this area and presents a humane perspective that schools should find rewarding to engage with. The book also lends itself to use by older pupils, particularly if they are involved in developing an anti-bullying policy.