A Reflection on a Collaborative Approach to Supporting SEND Pupils Through Online Remote Learning
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by Billesley Research School
As I reflect on the provision for SEND children during the Covid-19 January lockdown, I truly believe that we provided a robust and inclusive experience for all children. In my previous blog, I reviewed our provision of google classroom and ‘meet teach’ for our SEND students. Whilst 71% of SEND pupils engaged (during week 1) using these approaches, we knew that we had to implement more bespoke packages for our children to improve engagement. In this blog, I will be reflecting on the additional, bespoke provision we provided during this time and how it aided parental engagement and still continues to do so.
During the March 2020 school closure, we launched our SEND provision website. The website was divided into the four broad areas of need and furthermore, had a parental section, which was used to equip parents with a better understanding on how to support their children during this time and to understand diagnosis’. Throughout the school closure periods, we built up an array of resources that parents could use to support their children using a curriculum that was better suited to their needs, focussing on a practical approach. Parents were encouraged to complete activities with their child and then send their learning via a photo to the inclusion team. Curran (2021) expressed the ‘need to strike a balance between online learning and learning through other means for SEND pupils in particular’ which correlates with the statement from Ofsted (2021) that states ‘remote learning is any learning that happens outside of the classroom.’ I believe that the launch of the SEND website enabled SEND pupils to access alternative remote learning and created a perfect equilibrium between online and practical learning.
Building upon the successful engagement of our SEND website during the first school closure, we proceeded to add more content to the website. Speech, language and communication needs at Billesley Primary School are significantly higher than that of national average; nationally, 24% of SEND students have a primary area of need of speech and language needs (GOV.UK, 2020) compared to 48% at Billesley Primary School. The pressing need to continue to address speech and language needs was significant with research showing that ‘as many as 60% of young offenders and 88% of long-term unemployed young men have been found to have SLCN’ (Bryan et al, 2007; Elliot, 2009). This led to our decision to add a specific speech and language learning platform to our website. Primarily aimed at Key Stage 1 and EYFS students, parents were provided with a sequence of weekly lessons for children to access at home and were able to print or collect resources from the school office. Examples of children’s learning were encouraged to be shared through our EYFS learning journal platform or through the school SENCo email. Below is one of the responses we received from a parent with a pupil who has an EHCP. At school she presents as a non-verbal student:
‘I am happy to confirm we are able to access the online Speech and Language site. Thank you for sorting it out for us. At the start of today’s activities X drew a “Happy Face” as she was feeling happy today. I have attached a photo of the drawing along with the video where X is expressing herself being HAPPY. We then moved onto the next activity where we listened to the “FIVE CURRANT BUNS IN A BAKER’S SHOP” song. During this activity X moved the buns in line with the song (please find the attached photos). We then lined up the number card in order from 1 – 5 and began to count the cards. ( I have attached a video to this email).
Following this X chose card number 4 and put 4 buns on the table to match the number. Our next activity was cutting sheets of paper. X keeps practising this activity on a daily basis.
Our final activity was where we read the story together.
X engaged well and was able to repeat a few single words from the book for example:
BABY, MUM, DAD, CHAIR, BED, HOUSE, BEAR, GIRL.
Week number 3 coming soon…’
Our final part of our alternative, remote learning programme was aimed at our most hard to reach learners. We structured the provision to enable pupils to be successful, for it to be manageable for parents and for it to be accessible on all devices. Parents were provided with a visual timetable, with visual expectations and an element of choice to help the child to structure their day. This supported parents and pupils to establish learning routines at home as advocated by Packer (2021). Reading, writing and maths activities were set through our online platforms (such as spelling shed, TT rockstars and Nessy) and the children received a balanced and broad curriculum through a choice to access our ‘fun site’, where they could complete activities such as creating their own bird feeder. Teachers were able to track progress through the online platforms and parents enjoyed sharing their ‘fun site’ experiences through emails and messaging on the google classroom website. The resources for this provision are shown below:
Through the wide range of provisions provided by us, our remote learning SEND engagement rose to 85% by the end of the January lockdown (up by 15% at the start of the period). Whilst the past year has been a turbulent year for all involved, it has led us as a school to reflect upon our practice to support SEND students and parents at home. We are now building upon the provision that we provided during this time by implementing parental programmes through ‘meet teach’ to target pupils with SLCN and offering reading catch up interventions through the same medium for disadvantaged children. As a school, inclusion and best practice for all pupils to enable them to achieve their full potential is an integral part of our philosophy and I believe this new way of providing education will greatly enhance our provision.
Bryan K, Freer J, Furlong C. (2007) Language and communication difficulties in juvenile offenders. International Journal of Language and Communication Difficulties, 42, 505 – 520.
Curran, H. (2021) ‘Remote education: Supporting learners with SEND (and their families)’ Sed Ed: The voice for secondary education 09 February Available at: https://www.sec-ed.co.uk/best-practice/remote-education-supporting-learners-with-send-and-their-families-coronavirus-teaching-schools-lockdown‑1/ (Accessed: 27 May 2021)
Elliott, N. (2009). An Investigation into the Communication Skills of LongTerm Unemployed Young Men. University of Glamorgan. Available at: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetai… (Accessed 27 May 2021)
Department of Education, (2020) Special Education Needs in England Available at: https://explore-education-stat… (Accessed 27 May 2021)
Ofsted, (2021) Remote Education Research Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/… ( Accessed 27 May 2021).
Packer, N. (2021) Remote learning for pupils with SEND: five tips Available at: https://my.optimus-education.c… (Accessed 27 May 2021)
- collaboration is the key to implementing high quality remote education.