Literacy and literature

Ways into Literature: Stories, Plays and Poems for pupils with SEN Nicola Grove, price £20 ISBN 1-84312-205-7 David Fulton Publishers.

This is a new edition of an award winning book (NASEN/TES 1999) that attracted much acclaim. The book gives practical guidance on how to use age-appropriate literature with pupils in the early stages of developing literacy skills. It presents a structured framework for selecting and adapting quality texts and engaging children in tried and tested activities.

ICT (14-19 education)
ICT for Learners with Special Needs: A Handbook for Tutors Nicole Taylor and John Chacksfield, price £25 (book and CD) ISBN 1-84312-325-8 David Fulton Publishers.

Learning about ICT and how to use it effectively can be empowering for young people with SEN. Teachers in KS4 and tutors in FE, however, often find it difficult to explain complicated processes to learners with special needs; this manual includes planned, ready-to-deliver teaching sessions and a wealth of time-saving photocopiable and down-loadable resources.

Managing special educational needs
Managing Special Educational Needs: A Practical Guide for Primary and Secondary Schools Suanne Gibson and Sonia Blandford, price £18.99 ISBN 1-4129-0303-3.

This is a very clearly presented overview of how to manage SEN provision in mainstream primary and secondary schools. It covers a lot of the ‘how to do it ground’ that is such a necessary part of the SENCO’s role, and provides useful insights into changing conceptualisations of special and inclusive education. A particular strength of the book is the way in which individual chapters provided ‘self-contained’ material which lends itself for use in school-based staff development activities. For example, the chapter on leadership and management might be used to inform discussion about enhancing the role of the SENCO in ways that enable her/him to develop more effective school wide inclusive support for pupils experiencing difficulties in learning. A weaker aspect of the book is its failure to address the ongoing dilemmas about the status of SEN provision within many schools, and the problems that many SENCOs face in establishing an identity. Instead, it projects a rather simplistic account of ‘the well managed’ school, where power relations are relatively insignificant and the project of inclusion is straightforward.

Despite these criticisms, the book includes a lot of information that SENCOs, inclusion managers and members of school leadership teams should find useful. It also highlights the importance of connecting educational perspectives from managerial and special educational needs traditions that are too often regarded as separate endeavours.

Role of the SENCO
Supporting Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) in Early Years Settings: Findings from Research Rachel Reynolds, and Nicola Young (2004)

A report prepared for the DfES by the Pre-school Learning Alliance: The report can be accessed online at:

Recently published articles

  • Cole, BA (2005) ‘Mission impossible? Special educational needs, inclusion and the reconceptualisation of the role of the SENCO in England and Wales’, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 20 (3), 287-307.
  • Cowne, E (2005) ‘What do special educational needs coordinators think they do?’, Support for Learning, 20 (2),
  • Ellis, S and Tod, J (2005) ‘Including SENCOs in behaviour improvement: an exploration of the Behaviour and Attendance strands of the National Strategies’, Support for Learning, 20 (2), 77-82.
  • Frankl, C (2005) ‘Managing Individual Education Plans: reducing the load of the special educational needs coordinator’, Support for Learning, 20 (2), 77-82.
  • Gerschel, L (2005) ‘The special educational needs coordinator’s role in managing teaching assistants: the Greenwich perspective’, Support for Learning, 20 (2), 69-76.
  • Layton, L (2005) ‘Special educational needs coordinators and leadership: a role too far?’, Support for Learning, 20 (2), 53-60.
  • Robertson, C (2005) ‘Time for the tinkering to stop’, Special Children, September/October, 168, 31-37.

Dyslexia and dyspraxia That’s the Way I Think: Dyslexia and Dyspraxia Explained David Grant, price £10 ISBN 1-84312-375-4 David Fulton Publishers.

There are hundreds of book about dyslexia and dyspraxia, but many of them focus on the effects on literacy and study in general. In many ways, this misses the point – that these ‘conditions’ affect your whole life and personality. David Grant writes about how young people with dyslexia and dyspraxia really feel, how they develop coping strategies and how teachers, tutors, family and friends can help.