The Support Service for SEN within Derbyshire County Council has achieved Flagship Status.
This review report is part of the documentary evidence submitted to IQM in support of the SSSEN accreditation as an IQM Centre of Excellence. The service has held the CoE status for three years and now wishes to be considered as an IQM Flagship School. An action plan for 2018-19 is attached to this review.
The focus of the review was on the targets as agreed in 2017:-
1. SSSEN will increase and develop earlier access to service provision to meet the needs of children in maintained Nursery and Reception classes, providing early intervention and reducing exclusions through quality inclusion and transition support.
2. SSSEN will maximise outcomes for all children through developing the use of additional assessments as summative and diagnostic tools.
3. SSSEN will develop and share a CPD package to support the effective use of TAs and promote pupil independence.
Early Access to the Service
My visit to the Infant school enabled me to see the early access to the service in action. The SSSEN teacher had established a superb professional relationship with both teaching and support staff, the Headteacher, child and parents. The early intervention of SSSEN had clearly made a huge impact in the school being a source of expertise, advice and direct practical involvement in the classroom.
Building Trusting Relationships
The focus of the SSSEN involvement has been initially in building trusting relationships, convening regular meetings between home and school, practical advice and problem solving. The impact of the support from SSSEN has seen a reduction in anxiety levels of parent and school staff, greater engagement in classroom learning by the young person.
The Headteacher was very happy to share her views on the service with me and was extremely positive about the quality and ease of access. The service has clearly responded to the needs of early intervention in EYFS and is also able to offer a range of support in addition to directly in class. This includes:-
• Signposting to other agencies (Paediatrician advice).
• Direct and phone support.
• Training sessions (Understanding Autism).
• CPD packages: Sensory needs, ASD.
Highly Professional Service
The service is seen as highly professional, proactive and fulfilling the needs of schools and individual children.
The LA Senior Advisor has highlighted the Early Years as a growth area for the service and has responded to schools’ requests for early intervention. This has resulted in a programme of CPD for staff within SSSEN with a particular focus on assessment of the needs of very young children and those who fall below the national curriculum guidelines. The early intervention programme is intended to be a proactive move for the service and thus reduce the numbers of requests for involvement/referrals in years 3, 4 and 5. The criteria for IQM Centre of Excellence dovetails well with the service plan.
Monitoring and Tracking
Careful monitoring and tracking of requests and referrals from schools has highlighted an increase in the number of children identified with social and emotional concerns. In response to this, and to increase the variety of support offered to schools, the service has invested in the Social Skills Intervention System (SSIS).
* “The Social Skills Intervention System addresses the need for an evidence-based, multi-tiered assessment and intervention system to help you help students develop, improve and maintain important social skills. Designed by experienced scientist-practitioners Stephen Elliott, PhD and Frank Gresham, PhD, this family of tools can be used early in the school year to facilitate the universal screening of students at risk for academic or social behavior difficulties, help plan interventions for improving these behaviors, and evaluate progress on targeted skills after intervention. The SSIS™ focuses on key skills that enable the academic success of students 3–19.”
Educational Psychology Service
The service has liaised with, and engaged, the Educational Psychology service to deliver training and run a service day to “pool” resources. This has also been the vehicle to feedback and interpret results.
New Service Included
Key Maths 3 has now been included and introduced across the service. At this stage the service is collecting data on the efficacy of the resource and every member of the service has been tasked with completing an assessment over the year and identifying, through diagnostic assessment, areas for development.
High Levels of Expertise
SSSEN approaches all interventions and use of new resources in a highly professional manner. The high levels of expertise within the teaching team ensures accurate application and objective analysis. The service has excellent internal communication systems and despite the split site nature of the service, there are high levels of consistent practice. This is recognised by schools.
Teaching Assistant Deployment
Target 3 has been addressed by one of the senior teachers taking responsibility for the development of the TA deployment package. Using evidence and research by the DISS report the focus is to encourage more schools to adopt best practice with their support staff:-
1. Move away from direct 1.1 support.
2. Encourage TAs to use open questioning.
3. Effective and motivational feedback to encourage independent learning.
Currently targeting SENDCos and Headteachers, the continued focus will be on a roll out to all schools, introduction of clear TA standards and job descriptions, management styles and an audit to establish starting points across schools.
The service intends to evaluate the impact of this intervention after 12 months.
Impressive Levels of Support
As with my other visits to the service as part of their IQM accreditation, I was very impressed with the levels of support which the service is able to offer schools. There is a clear “menu” of support on offer to schools, but the strength of the service is its ability to adapt and modify based on the individual needs of schools and children. Dedicated and highly skilled practitioners front the service in schools, but the management is visionary and driven. Staff have produced innovative and bespoke resources and provide an outstanding service which is hands-on, practical and empathetic to the requirements of all stakeholders.
A Relentless Drive
As a Centre of Excellence, the service meets all the IQM criteria of sharing and collaborating (the service is an active member of the IQM cluster group programme) with schools and other providers, together with a relentless drive within the service to continually improve, adapt and build succession planning for teachers.
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