By Michael Surr, Education Development Officer, nasen
The SEND Code of Practice (2015) says that schools, “should know precisely where children and young people with SEN are in their learning and development” and that they should, “ensure that the approaches used are based on the best possible evidence and are having the required impact on progress”. Although most children will have their needs met at SEN Support, for some children and young people, it will become apparent that they have a greater level of need and so consideration will be given to applying for an assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).
As well as providing useful information at SEN Support, to meet the requirements of the SEND Code of Practice, the GL Assessment ‘SEN Assessment Toolkit’, is invaluable when pulling together the information needed for requesting a statutory assessment of needs.
- Use the assessments in the Toolkit, combined with ongoing formative assessment, to give as detailed information as possible on the needs of the individual child or young person; the Toolkit contains assessments that focus on a range of areas and needs. These include reading comprehension, receptive vocabulary, resilience, numeracy and many others. As well as providing useful information for the school, the assessment results will also help the Local Authority in their duty to “consider information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s SEN” (section 9.14).
- Analyse information gathered from assessments to inform decisions about whether or not there might be other needs which should be explored, for example, a low reading comprehension score could mean that the individual needs support to develop their vocabulary. This would then lead to further investigation using the other assessments in the toolkit. As the assessments can be delivered in house, this will save you both time and money.
- As well as Section B of the EHC plan, which should detail all of the special educational needs of the individual, Section F outlines the provision that should be made to meet those needs. Utilising the diagnostic elements of the assessments can inform this. One way to do this is by looking at responses to text items and unpicking the sorts of errors made. Some of the tests also come with suggestions for strategies and activities which can be used to address the needs that have been identified as areas for development e.g. WellComm.
- As the tests are administered in a one to one context, this provides a very useful opportunity to collect information about how the individual prefers to work and what motivates them. Keep a notebook handy in order to write down anything you notice about how the individual approaches tasks, any comments they might make and so on. This information can help to give you an insight into the sort of support that might work best for them and, when used in this way, is another form of pupil voice.
- The assessments provide entry and exit data at the beginning and end of a period of intervention, meaning that impact, progress and attainment can be identified.The above then leads into the evaluation of interventions to ensure that they are effective generally and also specifically for the individual child. This links closely to the graduated approach. By developing an efficient system of recording, the information can be used to directly inform the relevant sections of the EHC Plan.
Learn more about the SEN Assessment Toolkit