The core aim of the Whole School SEND Consortium is to build the SEND Review Key Areas into a wider school-led school improvement agenda. Alongside work with Regional School Commissioners and the Teaching School Council the Consortium will be testing how schools, both directly or through Multi-Academy Trusts and school networks, can use the Review to improve their provision for children and young people with SEND.

In addition the Consortium are responding to feedback from the hundreds of schools that have already used the SEND Review.

The Consortium has prioritised three areas of additional development activity:

  • Creating and testing a SEND Teachers programme aimed at classroom teachers and working to the principle that all teachers need to be able to effectively include and support progress for children with SEND
  • Approaches for schools on how to make effective use of Teaching Assistants to support children with SEND
  • Helping pupils with SEND through effective planning into adulthood.

The Whole School SEND Consortium objectives for 2016/17 are to:

Use the SEND Review – including within it an audit framework that builds on best practice in school improvement – as a frame that can:

  • Help schools and clusters of schools identify areas for development in support for children with SEND at a strategic level (at school and cluster level)
  • Raise the profile of SEND as a school improvement priority area 
  • Organise existing resources (which have been a considerable investment in the system) in a way that helps schools access them
  • Provide the basis of school-to-school support and challenge – identifying and profiling schools that have excellent practice in supporting learners with SEND and building the capacity of these schools to support their peers.

Develop, test and take to scale approaches that:

  1. Motivate schools to use the SEND Review (and through this increase the status of support for learners with SEND both within schools and within the wider sector)
  2. Support school leaders to use the audit in an effective and efficient manner that includes challenge and support from peers
  3. Provide support and guidance that helps school leaders prioritise activities and implement recommendations guiding them to existing resources in the system for support
  4. Develop resources to meet already identified gaps in support; around supporting classroom teachers (SEND Teacher), deploying teaching assistants and planning into adulthood
  5. Identify other potential areas where resources may need to be developed e.g. helping schools analyse data​.
  6. Refine and develop current SEND resources to help leaders and teachers develop a whole school SEND approach
  7. Build models of school-to-school support and a school led system around SEND enabling the movement of SEND to the mainstream agenda.

Evidence suggests that outcomes improve when SEND practice is embedded into a wider school improvement and school strategy, owned by school leaders, and when classroom teachers are equipped and able to support learners with SEND. The Whole School SEND Consortium's aim is that SEND practice is owned and implemented by the wider community to ensure better outcomes for children and young people with SEND across the system. Whilst much progress has been made, we are still some way from achieving this in all schools and we hope that the Whole School SEND Consortium will drive this forward.