Saturday, 30 July 2011

Making a difference: A guide for SEN governors

As a special educational needs (SEN) governor, you can make an important contribution to the school and the support it provides for pupils with SEN. The booklet linked below can help you to understand what SEN governors do and gives some useful information.The governing body, of which you are a member, has statutory responsibilities for pupils with SEN. Put simply, the governing body must do its best to ensure that the school makes the necessary provision for every pupil with SEN. Your role is to make sure that the governing body, and the school staff, keep in mind the needs of these pupils. 

Whether you are considering the budget, personnel, policies or curriculum, make sure SEN issues are on the agenda.Further on in this booklet, you will find a checklist of actions an SEN governor could take and suggestions of ways you can help your school.It’s important to be aware that every school is different – the needs of pupils vary from school to school, as does the range of SEN, the relationships you build and the amount of involvement you have at governing body meetings. The amount of time you can devote to the role will also vary. Don’t expect to make a big difference straight away. Gathering knowledge and building relationships are the first priorities, and both take time.ring knowledge and building relationships are the first priorities, and both take time.

Suggested reading

the school’s SEN policy
the school’s development plan
the SEN Code of Practice
the Guide for Parents and Carers
a magazine called Special Children – ask your SENCO if the school has back copies
Articles in the education press about SEN, e.g. in the Times Educational Supplement

Keeping in touch with the school

Arrange with the head teacher/SENCO to spend time in school – a day or half a day – observing class/group

Work, to understand how the school organises and delivers SEN provision.

 Set up a regular meeting with the SENCO to discuss current issues.

Have informal chats with the head teacher, teaching staff and learning support staff whenever the opportunity arises.

Be accessible – go to social evenings to meet parents, pupils and staff.

Useful questions
You should know:

How many pupils in your school have SEN
How many pupils are at School Action, School Action Plus
or have statements of special educational needs

How many staff have a particular role in relation to SEN
How much money the school gets for pupils with SEN and how it is spent.

You could ask:

What is the range of SEN in your school?

Who in the school does the LEA inform when a pupil has SEN and who, in turn, informs the staff? (see 1:19 in the SEN Code)

Who is responsible for telling parents that a pupil has SEN and about the provision made for them?

What special facilities does the school have for particular needs?

What does the Authority provide at School Action Plus?

The full booklet can be downloaded from the link below

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