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Subject Leadership and Support for Pupils With SEND

Updated: May 23

Subject Leadership and Support for Pupils With SEND - Aidan Severs Consulting Ltd

Subject leadership can be a minefield at the best of times, and for many teachers and leaders looking at it through the SEND lens is potentially even more difficult. This blog post contains a number of starting points for subject leaders who want to improve teaching and learning opportunities in their subject for pupils with SEND. Each of these should be engaged with critically, with leaders thinking not of children with specific conditions or diagnoses, but thinking of those children and what their actual needs are. Once identified, subject leaders, and the teams of teachers they lead, can begin to search for clues as to how best meet those needs, in sources such as we have below. Although

Special Education NEeds in Main

The EEF have put together a guidance report called Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools which is a great starting point for subject leaders and teachers beginning to think about how they support pupils with SEND:

Available at the above link are other linked documents that can be useful for training staff, including posters which can be a handy reminder to have up somewhere in your school.

In a similar vein, from the Education and Training Foundation, there is the precisely-titled 'Effective SEN support: research evidence on effective approaches and examples of current practice in good and outstanding schools and colleges':

Team ADL have a great booklet entitled 'Whole setting approach to leading adaptive teaching' which can be downloaded for free at their website.

It contains, amongst other material a list of 18 ways to differntiate in the classroom and 9 ways to personalise learning. Although aimed at SENCOs it users the term leader more often, making it perfect for subject leader when you consider the idea that everyone has a responsibility for teaching every pupil.

I've put together some questions for subject leaders to ask about SEN, and they're free to download here (despite what the 'Buy now' button says!):

This blog post by Cassie Young also provides an excellent set of questions for leaders to ask themselves about their area of responsibility. It is written for Trust leaders and senior leaders, but many of the questions are great prompts for subject leaders too, particularly those in the curriculum and assessment sections:

There are two podcasts which I've found particularly useful when wanting to get a handle on specific issues, conditions and approaches:

nasen assistive technology guide cover

Differentiation is a misunderstood piece of terminology, but this short document 'Differentiation – why and how?' from nasen straightens things out a little: Or, if you have a little more time on your hands and want to dig a little deeper, this is an interesting read:

nasen/Whole School SEND have some free (if you register for a free account) online SEND CPD Units which provide some next steps into understanding how your school can better provide for pupils with SEND:

They also have a range of free miniguides which may be useful:

And, most recently, they have published an updated version of their Teacher Handbook which is focused on Embedding Inclusive Practice which, crucially for subject leaders, contains subject-specific guidance which in some cases is split into separate guidance for primary and secondary.

There are plenty more online resources which are freely available, particularly from various charitable organisations who specialise in individual conditions and diagnoses, but the above should provide you with a good starting point!

If you would like Aidan to work with your school or organisation, you can get in touch here, or by using the links below:

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