Calling all SENCOs, how do you think the action short of strike could affect provision for children with SEN?(105 Posts)
Just this really. Following on from another thread that mentioned the action I am concerned about the knock on effects for children with SEN. Only being 'allowed' to report annually does not work for this group of children. Progress needs to be closely monitored and shared with parents along with other bodies. Annual reviews, along with end of year reports, along with meetings with SALT for example. All this requires teacher input. All in accordance with SEN CoP.
The only reporting annually is one of the items that concerns me re SENs.
Well, I'm not in NAS/UWT personally, but I would interpret that as being an instruction for class teachers (and secondary subject teachers) to only write a 'school report' once a year for each pupil. I would never count an IEP review meeting or an Annual Review Meeting in the same category. I would also assume that, as SENCO, the role is different from a class teacher role, and part of the job - even if working to rule - is conducting Ann Revs and IEP revs. A SENCo's job description is always going to be different from a class teacher's job description.
Regardless of action the progress of SEN children will be monitored closely (as will all pupils) and shared with parents (but perhaps not always written down?).
Just for the record I'm a SENCO and a full time class teacher as is the case in many primary schools
No teacher worth their salt would allow children to not make progress, or be left to fend for themselves, simply to make a political point.
That isn't the intention of the action. The action (which nasuwt has been part of since dec 1st 2011!) is designed to get rid of unnecessary paperwork- for example, management introducing new policies without consideration of the workload impact.
Hmm I'm pleased that is the way you all interpret this.
It is something I have wondered about for a while. The SN boards are full of provision being somewhat lacking, even when diagnosis and Statements are in place. I have wondered whether the action contributes to a general mindset that the work involved was over and above what could be expected.
Annual parent consultations would also fit into this category and the fact that a lot of designated TAs end up doing the photocopying suggests they might be taking up the slack, so to speak.
Our statement reviews are held during the school day, with the teacher released from the classroom to attend. So that fits in with the "action short of ...". We don't have IEPs, we have provision maps, but these do need discussing out of school time, but a 15 minute meeting after school still fits within the teacher's directed hours. I think if a parent wanted these meetings at 6pm (as some of the teachers at our school have reported) then that would not.
MaybeBently I think it is understandable that parents might ask to have meetings at 6pm.
Annual Parent consultations are often held at this sort of time and the parents won't necessarily know all the political ins and outs of action short of strike etc.
Having a child with SEN takes a lot of organisation for working parents, there can be many appointments they have to attend (which are not that flexible) and their employers may not always be that flexible either, which can be an added stress.
So it is understandable that they might ask the school for a meeting time that fits in with everything. It is also understandable that teachers may say no....but I would hope this was not a source of conflict.
They won't get review meetings at 6pm because it would be impossible to get all the professionals involved to attend at that time ...
and that has nothing to do with the union action just simple logistics
'Regardless of action the progress of SEN children will be monitored closely (as will all pupils) and shared with parents (but perhaps not always written down?).'
In YOUR school mrz and in my ds' current school. Not in the 4 that my ds attended before that though.
I understand that, but not all IEP reviews are multi-agency so the request maybe understandable.
Can't reviews be done virtually anyway?
I've never understood why not, though apparently not.
Starlight Now that would be interesting... My husband has done phone meetings and face time at work. Could be the future, especially getting professionals to 'attend'.
It's the blimmin NOW, not the future. I always wondered how an education system that was supposed to be preparing our children for their future can be so backwards.
I could have a mini rant about stage not age, unauthorised absences, exclusion policies, evidence-based practice etc etc.
Backwards we are........
i can never get hold of one professional on the phone at a time I'm free never mind synchronise half a dozen! Sometimes it seems I spend half my time leaving messages for people who are not around/in meetings/not working today/on stop the clock or phoning people who are trying to catch me when I'm not teaching.
As a governor I don't think we can expect teachers to run IEP meetings for non-statemented children at 6pm as it is not within their directed time, but if they offer, then that is a different matter. I think unions would have something to say if heads and governors insisted regardless of the work to rule.
If they can get to a room on the other side of town for a specific time, then I'm quite sure they can pick up a phone where they are.
Daftdame have you been affected by this in any way? Not getting written reports would not have a knock on the progress of the children, as the Action isn't saying to avoid meetings with parents (but 6 p.m. would be unreasonable). Reports to outside agencies etc aren't being ruled out, my understanding is that it's just written reports to parents...?
The NASUWT recommends that teachers should only attend one parental consultation per year
for each year group. These meetings should be counted as directed time and identified in the calendar of meetings.
In a week where there is a parental consultation meeting scheduled, no other meeting outside school sessions should be calendared to take place.
There is no requirement for teachers to attend open evenings. However
, where they agree to attend, these should count against directed time and against the weekly total of meetings.
Reports to parents, including comments from teachers, should be made once per year.
Where they have not done so, schools should consider introducing an electronic system for
generating reports, which includes a database of standard phrases that can be tailored to suit
most circumstances. There is little point in seeking to be original in every report or going beyond a crisp and concise format. Interim reports requiring written comments from teachers should not be undertaken. If the school determines an interim report is required, then it should be capable of being electronically generated from information/data the teacher has recorded once in the agreed assessment system" (NASUWT)
This is some of what concerns me. I don't really know whether it has affected me or not. Communication has not always been straight forward, or easy to arrange, I don't really know the reason why in each case. I was wondering whether Union actions could be a partial reason.
I've never managed to get them all in a room at a specific time StarlightMcKenzie ... paediatrician don't work on the same days as speech therapists who don't work on the same days as occupational therapists who don't work on the same days as physios who don't work on the days that the Ed Psych can get there ...
Parents are entitled to receive copies of all the reports written about their children.
My dd's nursery teacher works until 7:30pm every night. I know because she walks past my house
or I suppose she could be on her way home from a nearby pub.
Blimey Mrz, though those people aren't that usual for a typical AR!?
No-one outside the school comes to ds' except a SEN admin person every now and then.
They are for our pupils Starlight ... all professional involved with a child are invited to provide input.
Well I hope they all have key
admin workers then.
just demonstrates the difference from LEA to LEA
Yes. In the two areas I have lived, the professionals all discharge you asap and never come to any meetings ever.
Key workers make it clear that your child is the last person on earth they want to be a key worker for (though to be fair I did create a lot of work, only asking questions and challenging unlawful practice but I don't particularly blame the keyworkers for passing us on regularly until I told them I'd do the job).
Can their parents do it?
I also don't think 'standard phrase' from a 'comments bank' will necessarily have the range needed to adequately describe progress for a child with SEN.
How can it? By the very definition of SEN, the progression is not as expected in terms the norm but somehow different, hence the Special when referring to needs.
And what is the 'agreed assessment system'? Might not suit the particular child with SEN...
We just don't have such a thing as key workers Starlight ... children have highly qualified SEN support assistants
It all differs from LEA to LEA, school to school, head to head, SENCO to SENCO, across the board. Personally, even as a parent of an SN DS, I would support any strike action if it was solely about reducing the huge amount of unnecessary target-led paperwork that schools, and mostly teachers, have to waste their time completing. Most of it not only does nothing except create a paint-by-numbers picture with little relevance to reality but wastes important teacher energy and teaching time. I'm sure there's a better way to achieve what needs to be achieved than the current approach. I have had some excellent support from CAMHS in one place and less but not bad in another. I've come across some amazing SENCOs but they have been overruled by some
right dickhead HTs. Sorry mrsz but I've come across some appalling SENCOs too. daftdame not wanting to worry you but be prepared in the future for employment disruption as there might be quite a few meetings to go to. An SN child's education can take over every aspect of a parent's life if it doesn't go well. Some teachers on MN are no longer teaching because they had to give up work for their own SN child's education.
I understand that only too well float that is why I think some understanding should be given to parents who make a request regarding a meeting time. It does not stem from expecting everyone to 'sing to their tune'.
I do think though 'working to rule' is not a good mindset, especially regarding SEN. Nothing works according to the rules regarding SEN, that is the point. I suspect, as usual, this kind of practise results in the most vulnerable suffering.
Equally an overly prescriptive curriculum and the resulting paperwork, is not any good either. However the action, which is been take to remedy this, could cause just as much harm, if followed through to the letter.
It's OK float I've met some atrocious SENCOs and EPs as a parent of a SEN child and as a teacher.
daftdame that segment of the nasuwt document refers to parents' evenings.
Like I said earlier, nasuwt have been supporting this action since 1st dec 2011. If you haven't noticed any difference by now, then I guess you're unlikely to.
Nothing in my school has changed in the slightest.
daft Ok I do see what you're saying about the possible harm but I'm of the mind that I'd like to see some real backbone and standing up for the mind-numbing, crushing and potentially harmful effect of paperwork per se in education (and other trades and professions too) not mixed up with pay and conditions. FGS a teacher probably spends as much time as proving a learning outcome for a 20min segment of teaching (a requirement I believe) as actually teaching the darn thing. And I won't be offended by any testiness on your part because I understand too well how demented we can become for a time when we're dealing with these situations. And I do agree with you that the request to meet after work in the evening should be met with understanding, but I've found in the past that the idea that a parent might have other important responsibilities too has been met with a bit of disdain.
Added to this I think the 'working to rule' could possibly divert attention away from some relatively simple practical solutions which might go some way to alleviating a child's difficulties at school immediately.
Instead the focus moves to on 'I should not have to deal with this' or 'I cannot possibly deal with this', 'This is not part of my job description'. This could be when dealing with a child for example who needs to be reminded at each break to go to the toilet (never mind that accidents are very infrequent if this happens) or who needs to be reminded to put sun cream on, as per previous threads.
Much song and dance is made and parents are left wondering what on earth they can do.
You'll find that most of the working to rule involves not doing pointless admin and paperwork, not about avoiding doing their best for ech child.
juniper There would have to be some really good research that would actually prove a link. However I don't really think the 'working to rule' mindset is good in any profession.
A profession is given its status due to the fact that it can't be done by one particular simple rulebook, consideration and usually consultation has to be employed in each case.
^ Anything that restricts the consideration and consultation is bad.
Working to rule will not effect children ...it will not stop teachers teaching ...it will mean those involved will not photocopy or file or put up displays (but then they aren't supposed to be doing those things in the first place) Lots of schools work that way day in and day out, week in and week out year after year without it having any impact on pupils ...
When refusing to make concessions regarding simple solutions eg when a request is made to remind a child to put on sun cream the cry is that any 'normal' child can do this by this age. If they have no diagnosed SN no one sees why concessions should be made.
Never mind that diagnosis can take some time or that the problem can be alleviated quite simply and practically if concessions were made. Or that once concessions are made a child might actually learn from being reminded or helped and take responsibility for a task themselves.
In this way, I think the 'this is beyond my job description' way of thinking, could actually seek to aggravate and magnify some kinds of difficulty, which may actually be solved before they come to light.
mrz Instead the TAs designated to support SEN children are given the photocopying and displays to put up. They spend their time doing this rather than supporting thus distorting a child's actual SEN, as the support is there on paper.
That has nothing whatsoever to do with working to rule daftdame
mrz It sort of has, indirectly. These non teaching tasks are not shared and someone has to pick up the slack somewhere.
Telling a child to put on sun cream isn't one of the 24 tasks teachers are not required to do therefore would not be part of working to rule.
2.Chasing absences teachers will need to inform the relevant member of staff when students are absent from their class or from school;
5.Producing standard letters teachers may be required to contribute as appropriate in formulating the content of standard letters;
6.Producing class lists teachers may be required to be involved as appropriate in allocating students to a particular class;
7.Record keeping and filing teachers may be required to contribute to the content of records;
8.Classroom display teachers will make professional decisions in determining what material is displayed in and around their classroom;
9.Analysing attendance figures it is for teachers to make use of the outcome of analysis;
10.Processing exam results teachers will need to use the analysis of exam results;
11.Collating pupil reports;
12.Administering work experience teachers may be required to support pupils on work experience (including through advice and visits);
13.Administering examinations teachers have a professional responsibility for identifying appropriate examinations for their pupils;
14.Administering teacher cover;
15.ICT trouble shooting and minor repairs;
16.Commissioning new ICT equipment;
17.Ordering supplies and equipment teachers may be involved in identifying needs;
19.Cataloguing, preparing, issuing and maintaining equipment and materials;
20.Minuting meetings teachers may be required to communicate action points from meetings;
21.Co-ordinating and submitting bids teachers may be required to make a professional input into the content of bids;
22.Seeking and giving personnel advice;
23.Managing pupil data teachers will need to make use of the analysis of pupil data;
24.Inputting pupil data teachers will need to make the initial entry of pupil data into school management systems
nothing at all that impacts on teacher pupil interactions of any kind
mrz I'm pleased that reminding children to out on sun cream would not be against the union action. I used that example after gauging attitudes to the suggestion that teachers do this on mumsnet.
However the indirect results of the TAs designated to children with SEN doing any of these tasks ( on the list you have given) instead of supporting the children they are designated to support could be just as harmful to those SEN children.
Some TAs are also used for teacher cover...
The TAs designated to SEN children should not be doing these tasks when children are in school ... they may be asked to do them before or after school depending on contracted hours.
Most of the 24 tasks would be undertaken outside teaching hours
Hmm how on earth do you tackle it when they are? They could be in the same classroom as the child who is entitled to their support with another more junior TA or student. Even if the child is copying their need is being distorted as the support is there on paper.
Why on earth would a child be copying? Surely there is no educational value from copying text.
It was a typo I meant copying.
My sentence should have read
Even if the child is coping their need is being distorted as the support is there on paper.
Apologies auto correct is being very annoying.
Our 1-1 TAs don't ever cover teachers we use supply teachers
So it could be a difficult thing for parents to tackle if their child's TA is covering for the class teacher along with a more junior TA. If the child copes with this, their need is still being distorted because the TA is present in the classroom, the provision looks like it has been made on paper. It can be difficult to determine, for the parent, whether the child has received the support the school claims to be providing.
The TA would be covering because no teacher would cover and the SMT will not arrange supply.
If a school uses TAs to cover teachers it has nothing to do with working to rule but everything to do with poor school management
In my mind it all links up...I'm not sure which is cause and which is effect but I can see how working to rule leads management to seek cost cutting measures elsewhere.
And it is legal for TAs to cover teachers.
The union action is an attempt to protect children, including those with SEN, without disrupting the provision too much. You know that Mr Gove wants to get rid of all TA's, right?
It is legal for TAs to cover teachers in emergencies for short periods of time in certain circumstances. This doesn't mean that a child's 1-1 support should be effectively removed for this purpose.
none of the situations you have suggested would be a result of working to rule daftdame.
Choosing to cover the class teacher by using an SEN child's TA is not a decision made my class teachers- it is made by management.
In my school, the TAs who are paid for out of the SEN budget do not do photocopying/ displays within class time. We have other TAs, who are not there for specified children, to do this.
We have been told numerous times to not have TAs photocopying etc during lesson times- it's meant to all happen before and after school.
In my experience, if the action points of an IEP are not being followed, then that's due to the SENCO not directing the TAs properly (usually because they get taken away and used for different tasks).
I think you're misguided on what the action means. I'm not sure if it's because you genuinely don't understand the lingo, or because you're trying to find evidence that it proves the union are neglecting SEN children.
Yes. I can see pros and cons to this to be honest. To often SEN children are left to the TAs and the teachers have little vital interaction with the actual child.
If the child is not receiving support from a designated TA but the support goes elsewhere because the child no longer needs their support then this would come to light.
Other strategies which allow a child to work independently, such as check-lists and programmes which would actually tackle difficulties instead of managing them, may not be explored when a TA is their to 'police' behaviour or physically scribe for a child for example.
The cons are obviously when the child needs the support.
Sorry x post. ^ in reference to removing TAs
If I can misunderstand the lingo I'm sure anyone can...
Also 'working to rule' is designed to be disruptive as there would be no point to the action if it went unnoticed.
It's meant to be disruptive to school management, not to the children.
The people reading the lingo, on the whole, are teachers. And if they don't understand it, then the union school rep should have been to local meetings and should have a pretty good understanding of the union's intention.
The work doesn't actually go anywhere, it still has to be done. There are no more funds, other cost cutting measures are made elsewhere.
The school management team is part of the school. Disrupt them and disrupt the school.
Management have a habit of deciding on a new policy without considering the workload created. For example, at present we assess writing using 3 different schemes. This is time consuming and pointless.
Each person in management has their own ideas which they push through, not taking into account how many other things the class teachers have been asked to do. Lots of the paper work is unnecessary and makes no difference to teaching or learning.
NASUWT and NUT propose that no new policy is implemented without it first being checked for its impact on time. If it's decided that it is going to improve standards, then fine. The issue comes from having to jump through hoops for numerous different people, when the overall outcome remains the same. The point is that a lot of the work doesn't have to be done. There are no proven benefits, apart from numerous cooks who all think their broth recipe is the best.
The list Mrz showed before has been around for donkey's years- it isn't specific to this action.
Believe me, not putting up yet another display incorporating what guff management have decided we need to do on no evidence that it helps learning, or not filling in yet another form to record assessments and levels that we'd already done the week before in a different format will have no impact on learning.
For example, right now I'm spending my evening writing transition notes for my class.
They're not for the next teacher- they're for management. Why management need to know the specific writing targets for the different groups in my class is beyond me, and it certainly hasn't been explained.
Next week I will meet with my class' new teacher and talk them through the important stuff they need to know. This paperwork I'm completing now is purely being done because I've been told to, not because it will benefit the new teacher.
But surely problems with management decisions would be better dealt with by communicating and engaging with them instead of working to rule.
Yes it would. But engagement works two ways.
Working to rule does not help with engagement though.
Daft it has become evident throughout this thread that you really don't understand the Action Short of Strike. Please don't worry - no children will suffer because of the action. It is not even meant to be disruptive to Management, let alone to the children, it is simply teachers doing what they are supposed to do i.e. focus on teaching and 'engagement', instead of taking time away from this to do admin tasks.
I don't understand what I've not understood.
Your posts suggest that you think that the Action Short of Strike is disruptive and harmful to the children, that's all.
I still think it could be...I always think people should do whatever needs doing that is within their capabilities. Being overly rigid regarding your role puts an extra layer of bureaucracy onto everything. This wastes time and energy and ultimately money. It is not flexible or responsive enough to be realistic. Ultimately it can be entitled and elitist.
Much of the paperwork isn't necessary to the day to day working of the school it is a paper exercise to please external sources ... school goes on as normal with or without it
Action short of a strike simply means do the job you are paid to do.
Interesting point of view...have you ever tried that argument with other professionals? Have you suggested to your plumber, for example, that they should perhaps wallpaper your walls and cook tea, as this is clearly within their capabilities? How dare they be entitled and elitist when they comes to your house to do the plumbing (eg what they get paid for) - they could easily be flexible and responsive and do a bit of ironing...
The reality is that this government have made teaching such an unnattractive profession that there are not enough applicants this year (and that's applicants, not people who are qualified/suitable/who might pass the course). How realistic is it to try and run an education system without enough teachers?
No balia I would be making them tea!
Ah, I get it - you're 'good to the help' so you don't have to worry your head about respecting people's working conditions or their professionalism. They should be grateful for the work and the chance to
be patronised drink tea.
You've a funny old view of me!
Seriously if 'help' was around I would hope they would help in an emergency, even if it was beyond their 'job description'.
If you read what I was saying 'Ultimately..' was meant to convey ..'.if taken to the 'enth degree..' '...needs doing' is open ended as is 'within their capabilities.'
I just hope the Union Action is mindfully undertaken...
The reason teachers are working to rule rather than striking is so that children aren't affected by the action
Look here's some solidarity for you...
Oops, got me there but I like the song..
Seriously in some ways I prefer a strike, equal disruption all round...
This last week, for example I have noted a number of threads, which refer to what I can only describe as 'badly written report's'. Children with SEN who have been told to 'try harder' when the difficulty is due to their SEN (which apparently has not been tackled). 'Generic comment bank' anyone?
I can just see the MN thread about inconsiderate teachers and childcare
Speaking at the mum of a SEN child I would say SEN children have to try harder I'm afraid it's a fact of life
well I'm not striking or working to rule, so our SEN children will be fine
Good. Even if you were I'm sure you'd make it work, somehow .
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