All schools in England now have access to free special needs training from SEN organisation nasen, funded by the Department for Education (DfE).
"A Whole School Approach to improving Access, Participation and Achievement", in its first version for secondary schools, is free to all school Sencos (special needs co-ordinators), and has been designed to help them provide flexible whole-school professional development to support teachers "in meeting the needs of all learners in addition to meeting the increased remit of their role following the launch of the new Ofsted framework".
The organisation hopes to reach 75 per cent of secondary schools in England in its first year and 25 per cent of primaries in the second year (2012-2013).
“The key to a school’s success is that they can evidence high-quality educational provision which is offered every day to every pupil," says nasen boss Lorraine Petersen.
'Ensuring all staff possess the skills, knowledge and understanding they need '
"The Senco has always played a very important part within a school inspection. However, the new schedule will demand much more from this already extensive role and therefore it is crucial that the foundations are laid to enable the Sencos to carry out the strategic role effectively in their schools. This means ensuring that all staff possess the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to provide high-quality teaching and learning opportunities for all pupils.”
Funding for the project has come from the DfE, part of the £6.5 million worth of Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) grants issued to 18 organisations in February for special education needs and disability (SEND) services in 2011 and 2012. The Schools Network (formerly the SSAT) and nasen are the first two outfits to roll out their programmes.
Sencos in England can sign up for nasen training days across the country. They are supported by a free training resource pack with ideas, tools and resources to help share best practice for working with and supporting pupils with SEND. The support website also has free interactive, downloadable resource packs for specific needs like autism. In the first year the aim of the training is to reach at least 75 per cent of all secondary schools and in the second year (2012 – 2013), a similar process will be undertaken to reach 25 per cent of primary schools.
Schools Network "New aspiring Senco" training, starts December 9, 2011, £425