Research School Network: Supporting SEND pupils with home learning routines Reflecting on how we have used the EEF Covid-19 ​‘supporting home learning routines’ resource to refine our practice


Supporting SEND pupils with home learning routines

Reflecting on how we have used the EEF Covid-19 ​‘supporting home learning routines’ resource to refine our practice

by HISP Research School
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Let’s just reflect for a second. Since lockdown began, how have the routines changed in your household? Everyone’s household will be different, but what keeps us organised and motivated in normal times are routines. When our normal routines were removed suddenly in March, we had to quickly readjust. This was hard enough for us as teachers, despite our familiarity with adapting to change and solving new problems on a daily basis when we are in school. Because everyone’s home situation will be different, we will have different approaches and will be coping differently. We will all be having good days, ok days, and bad days as our emotions fluctuate. Some of us will be feeling lonely and isolated, some of us will be seeking for space to breath in a busy household, some of us will be trying to support elderly relatives, some of us will have financial concerns, some of us will be arguing more with our partners, some of us will feel like we are failing as parents after another post pops up on social media showing another family seemingly winning’ at home schooling… some of us will be doing just fine.

This will be being replicated in households across the country, with some of our pupils coping better than others. As we can’t currently be in classrooms with all of our pupils to provide structure and routine, we need to consider the best strategies to implement remotely.

At the start of lockdown, our Pastoral SLT lead and SENCo worked quickly to ensure that we reached out to each pupil with an EHCP, and other vulnerable pupils. Subsequently, these pupils were allocated a link Learning Support Assistant or someone from the Pastoral Support team. The link member of staff contacts their allocated pupil on a weekly basis to check that they are coping, as well as communicating with their parents. Some pupils who are struggling to engage with lessons, get further support, even daily, and small group interventions have been maintained to help with continuity. Each pupil is then discussed during weekly online meetings held by the SEN department to decide if extra interventions are needed. The SENCo meets with key members of the team and the DSL weekly to agree and evaluate actions, so that the principle of plan-do-review can be maintained. The release of the EEF Covid-19 resources in April really made us reflect on the processes that we had in place, and to refine what we were doing. 

Our aim is to maintain current knowledge of pupils. This helps us to plan as pragmatically and as responsively as can.

Lou Peaston, SENCo

Daily communication with staff has helped us to identify problems promptly, to reflect, and to refine our processes and support for individual pupils.

Judith Evans, Assistant Headteacher and DSL

The EEF’s rapid evidence review of remote learning highlights several things for schools to consider when implementing strategies to support pupils’ remote learning, or in supporting parents/​carers to do this. One factor to consider is that
supporting pupils to work independently can improve learning outcomes. However, for pupils to be able to work independently, they need to have these strategies explicitly modelled to them. With pupils working at home, to be able to access the learning effectively, and indeed to support their wellbeing, they need to be able to organise and structure their time. The importance of simple approaches as part of a regular routine is indeed a key recommendation of the EEF’s guidance report Improving behaviour in schools.

The supporting home learning routines resource shown below made the team think about the consistency and quality of their weekly interactions with our vulnerable pupils.

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It helped them to define a core purpose for the weekly phone calls. They decided that using this as a template to structure their conversations with pupils would emphasise the importance of daily routines, as well as providing support to pupils with setting achievable goals. The purpose of this resource was shared with the parents, and now the pupils work with dedicated staff online or by phone to complete the template and reflect on their routines each week.

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