Editor’s Opinion

‘Working within the Special Education Needs (SEN) sector there is a need for a creative mind-set. Why? Because resources needed to teach SEN students are insufficient. Teaching students with severe learning difficulties (SLD) and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) can be a minefield when looking for a suitable assessment tool, lesson plan or schemes of work. The need for some commonly accepted tool kit is much needed- especially so as to standardise the teaching of students with SEN.’

Wouldn’t it be useful to have a directory of resources for teaching students with SEN? From my own experiences of SEN schools plenty of good practice is already taking place. However it would be beneficial if the Department for Education or Local Education Authorities could put something together to act as a framework (Curriculum- e.g. Victoria School Curriculum) and guide (Target Setting, Schemes of Work). And this must not merely be a mainstream resource with one or two lines for adapting to those with SEN stuck on at the end, but a fresh approach developed by those who work in the area, recognising the slightly unorthodox learning pathway these students take.

Using Physical Education as my example I started by identifying suitable activities that the students could do. I was keen to introduce activities that sought to achieve the long-term aim of the students- keeping them physically active whilst developing their physical and motor skills. Starting with a blank canvas I eventually developed what I felt was quite a rounded curriculum including Trampolining, Swimming, Boxercise, multi-skills, Active Team Building and Circuit Training (but heavily adapted). The sessions were well received and allowed for the gradual progressions that SEN students would take.

However I found the assessment criteria marking the students lacked the detail to effectively describe their progress. Anyone familiar with P-Levels will be aware that the assessment criterion is quite formulaic. For example in swimming I felt that existing assessment criteria didn’t capture what a student had achieved, with often one short statement surmising all their Swimming. I therefore devised my own assessment scale- in a certificate style format that helped capture the small steps they were achieving. This resource (found in resources on this site), helped shape the lessons I taught with my students, particularly those with SLD whose progress through the P-Levels might only be one P-Level for their entire education lives.

Hence the need for a creative mind-set!

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