Partnership Working to Support Special Educational Needs and Disabilities


Rona Tutt

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    This book is dedicated to those who strive to find innovative approaches to enhance the educational opportunities for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

    About the Author

    Dr Rona Tutt OBE has taught children with SEN and disabilities in state and independent, residential and day, mainstream and special schools. Trained originally as a teacher of deaf children, she became the head teacher of Woolgrove School in Hertfordshire, a school for pupils who have moderate learning difficulties (MLD). She established the local authority's first provision for pupils on the autism spectrum within the school. In 2003, Rona was the winner of the Leadership in Teaching Award. In 2004, she received an OBE for her services to special needs education. From 2004 to 2005, she was President of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). She continues to work for them as a SEN consultant.

    Rona writes on a number of educational issues and is much in demand as a speaker. In 2007, her first book, Every Child Included, was published. The book looked beyond the inclusion debate to illustrate, by means of case studies of schools and other settings, the range of provision that is developing. At the same time, she considered how schools are addressing the Every Child Matters agenda alongside their provision for SEN.

    In 2008, she co-authored a second book with the cognitive neuropsychologist, Winand H. Dittrich, Educating Children with Complex Conditions – Understanding Overlapping and Co-existing Disorders. This book brings together some of the latest research on how the brain works with what is known about a group of neurodevelopmental disorders: ADHD, autism, specific language impairment and the specific learning difficulties of dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and dysgraphia. It provides practical guidance for school leaders and practitioners on how to use this knowledge to provide for children and young people who have complex conditions.

    Rona has an MA in Linguistics and a PhD in the education of pupils with autism. She is Chair of Governors at Heathlands School in St Albans, which caters for severely and profoundly deaf children, and Vice Chair of Governors at The Valley School in Stevenage, which is for secondary pupils with MLD, autism and other complex needs.


    I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the leaders of the schools, services and settings who allowed me to highlight their work in the case studies and who generously gave me their time when I visited. These include:

    • Barrs Court School
    • Corbets Tey School
    • Dacorum Education Support Centre
    • Darlington Education Village
    • Disability Inclusion Service, Warwickshire
    • Furze Down School
    • Goddard Park Primary School
    • Grangewood School
    • Greys Education Centre
    • Hounslow Town Primary School
    • Le Murier School
    • Le Rondin School and Centre
    • Nottingham Regional Society for Adults and Children with Autism (NORSACA)
    • St Piers School
    • St Sampson's High School
    • St Vincent's School
    • Shaftesbury High School
    • Shiremoor Primary School
    • South Dartmoor Community College
    • The Hereford Academy
    • The St Christopher School
    • The St Marylebone School
    • Woodlands High School

    I am indebted to:

    • Members of NAHT's Special Educational Needs and Disability Committee, for their encouragement and support;
    • Wendy Skyte and her colleagues at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) for giving me an introduction to schools;
    • Tricia Murphy, former President of Nasen, and many colleagues who allowed me to use them as a sounding board, while putting up with my neglect of them;
    • My husband David for his practical assistance in overcoming any technical problems and keeping the household under control, while I was otherwise engaged,
    • And, finally, to Jude Bowen, Senior Commissioning Editor and Amy Jarrold, Assistant Editor at Sage, for their patience when publication was delayed by recurring and substantial snowfalls.

    How to Use This Book

    This book explains ways in which schools are finding new ways of providing more effectively for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Each of the main chapters illustrates different ways in which partnership working is leading to a richer experience for pupils who, for a variety of very different reasons, find it hard to learn.

    Although readers may prefer to dip into the book as they choose, it may be helpful to bear in mind how the chapters are arranged:

    • The introductory chapter sets the scene by considering both the changing structures of schools and how children's needs are changing.
    • Chapter 1 looks at the key relationship between learners and those who guide their learning, and at the importance of involving young people and their families in the education process.
    • Chapter 2 focuses on how individual schools are forming partnerships with other schools through outreach work and through becoming specialist schools with a SEN specialism.
    • Chapter 3 moves on from the work that individual schools initiate, to consider how groups of schools are collaborating through being co-located, federated or working in partnership in other ways, including developing relationships with short stay schools (formerly known as pupil referral units).
    • Chapter 4 examines how schools are looking outwards and developing wider partnerships through becoming academies, trust schools, or setting up other business links.
    • Chapter 5 concentrates on interagency working, from the perspective of children's centres, extended schools and services for children and young people with SEND.
    • Chapter 6 is in a different style and is designed as a resource. It has photocopiable materials that readers can use to stimulate discussion or as a starting point for developing their own strategies.
    • The concluding chapter brings together the themes that have been running through the book and draws some conclusions about the value of partnership working and how collaboration is likely to become even more crucial in supporting children and young people with increasingly complex needs.

    Chapters 15 have a similar format:

    • The main points of the chapter are outlined at the start.
    • ‘Key points’ are highlighted throughout the chapter and, for ease of reference, also appear in the glossary at the back of the book.
    • ‘Questions for reflection’ are raised at relevant points in each chapter, to encourage the reader to interact with the text and to provide a basis for wider debate and discussion.
    • ‘Case studies’ of schools and services are used to demonstrate ways in which the changing structures of schools and services benefit children and young people with SEND.
    • The chapters end with a summary of what has been covered, followed by suggestions for further reading.

    I hope the book will convey something of the dynamism and innovation I found when visiting the schools in the case studies. In today's pressured climate, it is all too easy to be overwhelmed by the rapidity and extent of change, but sometimes it is possible to seize the opportunities that these developments bring and to use them to enrich the educational experiences of those for whom learning presents a challenge. This is what the schools and settings in the case studies, and many like them, have set out to do.

    Abbreviations and Acronyms

    ADDAttention deficit disorder
    ADHDAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder
    AENAdditional educational needs
    ALNAdditional learning needs
    ASDANAward Scheme Development and Accreditation Network
    ASTAdvanced skills teacher
    BESDBehaviour, emotional and social difficulties
    BSFBuilding Schools for the Future
    CABCitizens Advice Bureau
    CAMHSChild and Adolescent Mental Health Services
    CATSConsortium of all-through schooling
    CCEACouncil for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (N. Ireland)
    CCTACity College of Technology and the Arts
    CDCChild Development Centre
    CEOChief Education Officer
    CLDDComplex learning difficulties and disabilities
    CoPECertificate of Personal Effectiveness
    CPDContinuing Professional Development
    CSPCommissioning Support Programme
    CTCCity Technology College
    DCELLSDepartment for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (Wales)
    DCSFDepartment for Children, Schools and Families
    DESCDacorum Education Support Centre
    DfEDepartment for Education
    DfESDepartment for Education and Skills
    EALEnglish as an additional language
    ECMEvery Child Matters
    EDIEducation and Development International
    EECEarly Excellence Centre
    EPEducational Psychologist
    EPSEducational Psychology Service
    ESRAExtended schools remodelling adviser
    ETExcellent teacher
    EWOEducation Welfare Officer
    FASDFoetal alcohol syndrome disorder
    FEFurther education
    GCSEGeneral Certificate of Secondary Education
    GMGrant maintained
    GTPGraduate teacher programme
    HEHigher education
    HLTAHigher level teaching assistant
    HPSSHigh performing specialist school
    LALocal authority
    LEALocal education authority
    LLDDLearners with learning difficulties and disabilities
    LSCLearning and Skills Council
    LSWLearning support workers
    MLDModerate learning difficulties
    MSAsMidday supervisory assistants
    MSIMultisensory impairment
    NasenNational Association of Special Education Needs
    NCEENational Council for Educational Excellence
    NCYPENational Centre for Young People with Epilepsy
    NEETNot in education, employment or training
    NORSACANottingham Regional Society for Adults and Children with Autism
    NPQICLNational Professional Qualification in Integrated Centre Leadership
    OfqualOffice of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation
    OSHLOut of school hours learning
    PCPPrimary Capital Programme
    PCTPrimary Care Trust
    PFAParents and Friends Association
    PFIPrivate Finance Initiative
    PLTSPersonal, learning and thinking skills
    PMLDProfound and multiple learning difficulties
    PPPPublic-private partnerships
    PPSParent Partnership Services
    PRUPupil referral unit
    PSAParent support adviser
    PTAParent Teacher Association
    QTSQualified teacher status
    RNIBRoyal National Institute for the Blind
    RRSARights Respecting School Award
    SaLTSpeech and language therapist
    SCQFScottish Credit and Qualifications Framework
    SENSpecial educational needs
    SENDSpecial educational needs and disabilities
    SFASkills funding agency
    SLCNSpeech, language and communication needs
    SLDSevere learning difficulties
    SLISpecific language impairment
    SSATSpecialist Schools and Academies Trust
    SSTSpecialist Schools Trust
    TATeaching assistant
    TDATraining and development agency (for schools)
    TVEITechnical and Vocational Education Initiative
    UNUnited Nations
    UNCRCUN Convention on the Rights of the Child
    VAVoluntary aided (schools)
    VCVoluntary controlled (schools)
    VLEVirtual learning environment
    YPLAYoung People's Learning Agency
  • Conclusion

    This book has looked at the changing nature of schools and services and the effect this has had on children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). These changes have led to educational settings forming or strengthening a number of different kinds of partnerships. Reference has also been made to the fact that schools of all types are experiencing a more complex population of pupils, which makes it even more necessary for experience and expertise to be shared. In drawing the threads of this book together, the following questions will be addressed:

    • What contributes to the success of partnership working?
    • How did schools and other settings use a change in their structure or status to support children and young people with SEND?
    • Was it as a result of changes in the way they were working that enabled them to improve opportunities for these pupils?
    • How might future developments assist in the education of children and young people with SEND?
    The Ingredients for Successful Partnerships

    The elements that make for successful partnership working in the context of schools and services can be summarised in terms of: the attitudes and attributes of school leaders; the outlook and flexibility of the staff team; and how any changes from one situation to another are managed.

    School Leaders and Distributed Leadership

    Although the case studies were chosen to illustrate a wide range of schools and services, it was interesting to note that those who were leading them had much in common. Firstly, they had a very clear idea of how they wanted their organisations to develop. Secondly, they interpreted new challenges as opportunities that could help them to realise their vision. Thirdly, they were not afraid to take risks and to try something different, whether it was creating new partnerships, harnessing new technology, or creating new leadership and management structures.

    As the pressures on schools to raise standards and to take on new responsibilities have increased, the idea of a having a single person at the helm to mastermind everything, has given way to the idea of distributed leadership, where roles and responsibilities are divided between staff in positions of seniority. An example of this was given in the previous chapter (Figure 6.6), which showed how The St Marylebone School's specialism in communication and interaction has been absorbed by integrating the responsibilities into the work of the school management structure. At Darlington Education Village (see Chapter 3), after trying separate leadership teams for each school under one executive head teacher, there is now a single leadership team taking responsibility for different areas of teaching and learning across the three schools. Distributed leadership works well when the key players are prepared to be flexible in order to meet changing circumstances, rather than being territorial about their roles. Along with being a leader who is prepared to share responsibilities and to seize opportunities, he or she needs to create an atmosphere where the whole staff team is prepared to work together, even when this means embracing change.

    The Leadership of Change

    Much has been written by other authors about the need to manage change, which can often be an uncomfortable process, even when the outcome is generally agreed to be desirable. Not everyone finds it easy to take on board new ideas and new ways of working. At the present time, there has been such a surfeit of change that there can be an understandable resistance to trying out fresh ideas. There have been several references in the book to the need not to rush change, but to allow time for each stage to become embedded before taking the next step. The leaders of the Integrated Disability Service (as mentioned in Chapter 5) showed the steps that had been taken in order to make a radical change acceptable to the staff working in previously separate services. This was achieved by:

    • Deciding on a new structure
    • Putting a shadow leadership team in place
    • Co-locating teams from across education, social care and health, but retaining separate administrative teams
    • Amalgamating the administrative support.

    The leadership of change involves leaders knowing where they are taking their organisation and being able to convey that vision to others. It means seeking to make sure that all those concerned feel involved in the process and that there is clarity about how roles and responsibilities may need to be adjusted.

    Staff Teams

    As more is expected of schools and as they work alongside other services, sponsors, partners and organisations, those already in post are taking on new responsibilities and additional posts are also being created. Barrs Court, whose case study appeared in Chapter 2, has established a major role for teaching assistants who have become Instructors in Disability, to ensure that all staff are aware, and keep in mind, the communication, physical and sensory needs of the pupils. The list of some of the staff who make up the team at Goddard Park (an integrated extended primary school and children's centre described in Chapter 5) includes family support workers, childcare development workers, a community learning mentor and playleaders. Not only are teaching staff and support staff developing new roles, but they are learning to work alongside colleagues from other backgrounds. The key to the success of these extended teams of staff working in schools and services is their ability to be flexible in terms of adjusting their own roles and in welcoming a wider range of expertise.

    Types of Partnerships and Pupils with SEND

    Chapter 1 began by looking at how partnerships with pupils and parents have changed significantly over the years and at how these partnerships continue to evolve. Not only must the staff work as a team in the development of a school or service, but pupils and their families need to be involved in the process of school improvement, too.

    Partnerships with Pupils

    Undoubtedly, schools have come a long way in finding ways of engaging pupils. The ‘chalk and talk’ days of the past, where teachers did most of the talking and pupils were seen as being there to absorb information, have long passed. Chapter 1 gave examples of how children are being consulted and involved, including those like the children at Grangewood School who have limited cognitive ability, or those at St Vincent's school who are blind or visually impaired. The pupils at Shiremoor Primary School learn how to run committees by having a school council called the Stay Safe and Happy Management Committee, while those at Hounslow Town Primary School, where the UNICEF Children's Rights and Responsibilities (2007) booklet is displayed in every classroom, are familiar with using this approach to create their own charters (see Figure 6.1 in Chapter 6). Whatever the age of the child or the nature of any learning difficulties, involving them in their learning and inviting their ideas on how to improve the school as a whole, helps them to feel engaged and even excited by the process of education.

    Personalising Learning

    The drive to personalise learning, which has been a feature of the way schools include pupils in their learning for many years, is part of the move to make students feel that staff are working in partnership with them. In Leadbetter's (2008) book, What's Next? 21 Ideas for 21st Century Learning, he talks of learning being most effective when it is personalised. He points out that in order to do this, people need to feel involved in their learning, and that, in turn, means sustained and consistent relationships:

    It was mentioned earlier that there was some natural resistance to this approach when it was first introduced, because it was feared that it would be impracticable. However, Leadbetter suggests it can be achieved by being more flexible about when and where learning takes place, varying the pace at which students are expected to learn, allowing them to learn in different ways, and teaching them the skills that will help them become better learners.

    This last point is reminiscent of The Hereford Academy's approach of teaching students (and staff) to develop the skills of Resourcefulness, Resilience, Readiness, Reflectiveness and Relationships. (Examples of this approach were given in Chapter 6Figures 6.2a and 6.2b).

    Partnerships with Families

    This is an era when people expect to have a greater degree of choice in all aspects of their lives and to be consulted about what happens to them. In the context of school, this means recognising the importance, not just of pupil voice, but the involvement of parents and carers as well. In any case, as has been mentioned previously, it is somewhat arbitrary to talk about children separately from their families. Parents are seen, quite rightly, as their children's first educators and, once a child is in school, it makes no sense for their families to feel detached from the learning process. Dealing with students who have failed previously to respond to a more traditional learning environment, Dacorum Education Support Centre (as described in Chapter 3) has a carefully staged approach to involving students and families from the start. (This appeared in Chapter 6, Figure 6.3.) The imaginative use of new technologies is making it easier for staff, pupils and families to share information and to gain a greater sense of working together. This was demonstrated by South Dartmoor Community College's use of a learning gateway (see Chapter 6, Figure 6.4) and the e-learning approach of Greys Education Centre (see Chapter 6, Figure 6.5).

    Sometimes, the push to be involved has come from parents rather than from schools, as was seen through the work of NORSACA, where the parents' fight for provision was described in Chapter 5. Making it easier for parents to open their own schools is something that is very much to the fore at the moment.

    Once the relationships within a school are working and between staff, pupils and families, there is the array of partnerships schools are forming with other schools and with the wider community of the world of business, and, crucially for those with SEND, with other services: health and social care. Vulnerable pupils and families are more likely to need the support of health and social care as well as education.

    Partnerships between Schools

    In his final report, Learning Behaviour: Lessons Learned (DCSF, 2009a), Steer mentioned the key characteristics of successful partnerships, in terms of the behaviour and attendance partnerships between schools. This is one of the partnerships for a specific purpose that secondary schools must now have. Although Steer was referring, in particular, to this type of partnership, some of his points have a wider application:

    • the active engagement of all members of the partnership
    • the inclusion of Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and any other major providers of alternative provision
    • the engagement of primary schools and FE colleges
    • the alignment of behaviour and attendance partnership with the local Safer School Partnership
    • the engagement with extended services
    • clear protocols for pupil managed moves and for the placement of ‘hard to place’ pupils
    • a focus on early intervention.

    The first point is key to the success of any type of partnership working and the examples given in this book have been of partnerships that were successful because of the involvement of all concerned. There may have been adjustments to be made along the way, for it is never as easy to change attitudes as it is to change structures, but, ultimately, the changes worked because people collaborated to make them happen. The kinds of developments there are today, such as 14–19 consortia and extended school clusters, mean that collaboration between schools has become a vital part of their role, quite apart from the collaborative working that has developed through schools taking on a new identity.

    Specialist Schools

    The dramatic increase in the number of specialist schools, with a curriculum, a SEN specialism, or both, has been a significant way of spreading expertise between schools. Both Corbets Tey and Shaftesbury High School (as illustrated in their case studies in Chapter 2) have used their specialist status to create centres for training and developing staff, while other examples showed how materials were being developed to support people's understanding of pupils with SEND. The Specialist Schools Programme has also brought in the non-maintained sector, which has expertise in helping pupils with complex needs. There seems little doubt that, in the same way that knowledge of curriculum areas has been strengthened by having specialist schools, the same could be said of the value of having an increasing number of schools with a SEN specialism. This development would be enhanced further by allowing independent special schools to participate in the programme and by encouraging more mainstream schools to become involved. The latter is unlikely to happen while schools are judged largely on the academic achievements of their students.

    Co-Located and Federated Schools

    Chapter 3 looked at co-located and federated schools, which is another way in which expertise, facilities and staffing can more easily be shared across mainstream and special schools and across primary and secondary schools. The examples from Guernsey showed the benefits of co-location, where the secondary special school has been co-located with a mainstream secondary school, while the primary special school has been co-located with other services, making it much easier for parents of pupils with SEND to access the support they need. Such close working also makes it easier for children to transfer between settings, or to have wider opportunities for mixing and learning with a broader peer group. The model of co-location plus federation exemplified by the Darlington Education Village, which operates as three schools under one roof and one leadership team, raises the question of how far the divide between primary and secondary and between special and mainstream schools is likely to persist in the future. Whether or not it does so, it is clear that working more closely together is benefiting all concerned.

    Academies, Trust Schools and other Business Links

    Academies and trust schools draw on a broader range of knowledge and experience through working with sponsors and partners, both from within and beyond educational circles. In Chapter 4, the case studies explored some very different establishments, yet all could show that the involvement of a broader range of organisations is bringing in additional perspectives and wider opportunities. The Hereford Academy's range of sponsors and partners has given students direct links to higher education as well as to the world of work, opening up opportunities for students of all abilities, while the partnerships connected with South Dartmoor Community College's trust status has linked it with a university's educational research department, including researching into improving outcomes for pupils with SEND, as well as an organisation that helps to train parents in the use of technology in the home. The St Christopher School has used its Trust status to enhance people's understanding of children and young people who have autism and ADHD. Although schools in Wales do not have the option of becoming academies or trust schools, many have very strong links with businesses. This was illustrated by Woodlands School, where the network of business links leading to the creation of a new award called Moving On Up, was illustrated in Figure 6.8.

    Extended Schools and Children's Centres

    One of the ways in which the joining up of services is forging ahead is through the extended schools and children's centres' agenda. Schools are becoming extended schools in three senses of the word:

    • extending the hours the school is open
    • extending the range of activities provided, often in collaboration with the private, voluntary and independent sector (PVI)
    • extending the number of services the school hosts, or signposts to where they are available.

    As every school becomes an extended school, and more children's centres are attached to primary, secondary and special schools, it becomes easier to have joined-up working with families as well as the wider community. The example of Goddard Park, which is run as an integrated primary school and children's centre, shows what can be achieved, both in terms of earlier identification of children with SEND and the move to meaningful parental involvement. The school opens its doors to learners of all ages and some parents have taken the opportunity to learn alongside their children and are provided with tutors in order to do so. St Piers School is an example of a non-maintained school linking with a local authority to provide a children's centre and in Chapter 6 (Figure 6.9) there was an illustration of the wealth of links that this new way of working has created. It is the children and young people with SEND and their families who benefit the most from the ready access to services that children's centres and extended schools can provide.

    Although some of these developments could have been achieved without the schools taking on the particular structure or role they acquired, there is no doubt that, in the examples given, the impetus given by a change in status, whether through feeling freer to innovate, having extra resources or developing new partnerships, has had a positive effect on children and young people with SEND, by opening up greater reserves of expertise and a wider range of opportunities. This book was never going to be about comparing one type of provision with another, but rather of drawing out from each how the change in the school's structure or status has led to improvements for its own pupils and those in the schools with which it has formed partnerships. In addition, it has to be remembered that schools are becoming ever more diverse and complex, so that they do not fall into only one category. All schools are expected to be part of the extended schools programme, most secondary schools and a growing number of special schools are specialist schools, but schools may also be co-located, federated or become trust schools, which makes it even less possible to compare one type of school with another. So what does all this tell us about how children with SEND may be supported in the future?

    Future Developments

    At a time when change is accelerating and is unlikely to slow down, when the financial climate is uncertain and the political complexion of the country has altered, it is not easy to say what will happen in educational terms to children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities. However, certain elements seem fairly clear.

    Firstly, schools and services are likely to continue to evolve and diversify. The Academies Act will increase the number of schools that can be given this status (see Chapter 4), as well as enabling parents, teachers and other interested parties to establish ‘Free Schools’ from September 2011. Hopefully, this will mean that schools will continue to seek to find more holistic ways of meeting the needs of those who have learning difficulties or who find learning difficult because other factors get in the way of their ability to learn.

    However, there are concerns that the further fragmentation of LAs could put at risk the provision and support for pupils with SEND. There is a long way to go in joining up the services, but, where it is beginning to work, it is the children and families who need the services the most that gain the most benefit. Children's centres are helping to offer support to the preschool child and to identify any difficulties early on. Extended schools are providing activities and opportunities for learning and for enjoyment beyond the school day, which can mean additional stimulation for those with delayed development.

    Secondly, the burgeoning number of partnerships that have been highlighted in this book, will continue to grow. Now that the world of schooling has been opened up, it will not go back to that secret garden from which it started to escape many decades ago. Pupils and their parents will expect to be recognised as true partners in the process, schools and services will continue to move towards collaborating across previous divides, whether mainstream and special, primary and secondary, independent and state, or across the services that are so essential to pupils' well-being of education, health and social care.

    Thirdly, the personalising of learning is likely to continue, partly because it is becoming easier to deliver it through the flexibility of where and when learning takes place, including 24-hour access to the internet, and partly because older students are becoming used to moving between different schools, college and the workplace. Whether or not this will reach a point when the need to describe some children as having SEND disappears is not clear, but if that happens, it should not mean that a continuum of provision from in-class support at one end to 52-week placements at the other extreme will not be necessary, but simply that every child's individual interests, aptitudes and abilities will be recognised and provided for.

    It was stated near the start of the book that not only have schools become more complex places, but children's needs are becoming more complex as well. To the list of reviews, reports and inquiries that have been mentioned previously, two more should be added. The Salt Review, which was published in March 2010, has made recommendations that will help to create a workforce able to meet the needs of the growing number of children who have profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). From 2009 to 2011, the government is funding a Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (CLDD) Research Project, to look at how best to meet the needs of children and young people who have co-existing conditions, such as autism and ADHD; children with recently discovered syndromes (although each one may be rare in itself, an increasing number are being identified); and those whose difficulties arise from being born at an age when they would not previously have survived and whose brain development may be incomplete. It is by working in partnership across schools, across different services and by sharing knowledge derived from different disciplines, that it will be possible to meet the needs of all children and young people. By opening up the full range of opportunities from different providers, whether within or beyond traditional educational circles, and working in partnership with them, previous barriers should continue to be broken down and the lives of all children and young people, including those who have special educational needs and disabilities, should be enriched.


    • Academies state funded independent schools, as they are independent of local authorities (LAs)
    • Alternative provision education outside mainstream or special schools
    • Behaviour and attendance partnerships a requirement in secondary schools, through which they work collaboratively to support pupils whose behaviour or attendance is unsatisfactory
    • Behaviour, emotional and social development/difficulties (BESD) one of the four strands of need set out in the SEN Code of Practice.
    • Building Learning Power an approach developed by Guy Claxton to help children and young people learn how to learn
    • Building Schools for the Future (BSF) a programme started in 2004 with the aim of renewing all 3500 secondary schools in England by 2020
    • Choice advisers a role designed to support parents who need help in finding their way around the education system, particularly in relation to choosing schools
    • Cognition and learning one of the four strands of need set out in the SEN Code of Practice
    • Co-located schools and services schools and services which share a site and may or may not be physically attached
    • Communication and interaction one of the four strands of need set out in the SEN Code of Practice
    • Consortium of all-through schooling (CATS) works with schools and local authorities in developing plans for all-through schooling structures
    • Core Entitlement in the context of pupils in alternative provision, refers to the minimum entitlement that must be provided as part of full-time education
    • Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS) the equivalent in Wales to the DfE
    • Distributed leadership a term used for sharing out roles and responsibilities between a team of senior staff
    • Every Child Matters (ECM) the Green Paper that preceded the Children Act 2004 and contains the five objectives of being healthy, keeping safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being
    • Extended schools came about as a result of the Children Act 2004. By 2010, every school is expected to open for longer, offer a range of activities (in conjunction with other partners and services), including for families and the local community
    • Federated schools may retain their own governing bodies but have joint committees with delegated powers (known as collaborative governance), or may share a governing body
    • Foetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) a condition caused by the mother consuming alcohol, resulting in abnormal brain development before birth
    • Forest schools schools run by leaders who are trained to support children's learning outdoors, where they learn a range of skills through interacting with the natural environment
    • 14–19 consortia consortia set up to assist the roll-out of the diplomas, so that schools can work together on delivering this extensive programme
    • ‘Free schools’ introduced by the Coalition Government to enable parents, teachers, charities and voluntary bodies to establish schools.
    • Grant Maintained Schools these were abolished by the School Standards and Framework Act of 1998
    • High Performing Specialist School (HPSS) a status awarded to specialist schools that have achieved excellent results
    • Information Passports documents which include the personal details, data about previous attainments and other agency involvement, as well as the interests and aspirations for the future of any pupil who is in alternative provision for five or more days
    • Intensive Interaction a method developed in the 1980s as a way of teaching the fundamentals of pre-speech communication to people of all ages who are at a very early stage of developing their skills
    • Lamb Inquiry an inquiry established by the government to look at ways of increasing parental confidence in the SEN system
    • Learning and Skills Council (LSC) a council established in 2001 to plan and fund all post-16 provision except higher education. It was replaced in April 2010 by the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), with some of its duties reverting to LAs
    • Library Boards the term used in Northern Ireland for local education authorities (LEAs)
    • Local Education Authority (LEA) a term still used in Wales, but in England has been largely replaced by Local Authorities (LAs), as part of the move to join up services
    • Managed move the term used when a group of schools agree between them that a pupil would benefit from a fresh start in another school
    • Midday Supervisory Assistants (MSAs) the term which has replaced the old term dinner ladies
    • National Challenge a programme launched in June 2008 with the aim of tackling underachievement in secondary schools and improving results
    • National Council for Educational Excellence (NCEE) a council set up in 2007 to draw together representatives from business, higher and further education, schools and early years settings
    • Non-maintained schools special schools where, although the schools are not part of the state system, the fees are paid by the local authority rather than by parents (as happens in Independent Schools)
    • Parent councils a requirement in Trust Schools, if the majority of governors are appointed and not elected. Other schools can choose whether or not to have a parent council
    • Parent Partnership Services (PPS) a statutory requirement for local authorities to provide support to parents and carers of children with SEND
    • Parent Support Advisers (PSAs) a link between home and school to support families
    • Personal Learning Plans plans for pupils who are in alternative provision for at least ten days. They identify their educational needs, set clear goals and targets and specify their intended destination
    • Personalised Learning and Thinking Skills team working, independent inquiry, self-management, reflective learning, effective participation and creative thinking
    • Primary Capital Programme (PCP) a programme which aims to renew half of all primary schools by 2022/23, including giving them space to offer a wider range of services for children, families and the community
    • Private Finance Initiative a form of public-private partnership (PPP) that increases the involvement of the private sector in the provision of public services' capital assets without owning them
    • Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)see Short stay school
    • Raising the participation age legislation that means that young people must be in education, training or work-based learning. This applies to 17-year-olds by 2013 and to 18-year-olds by 2015
    • Reading Recovery a method originating from New Zealand that gives one-to-one support to young children in establishing literacy skills
    • Reggio Emilia an approach to early years education that places an emphasis on children being able to interact with the natural environment as well as with people
    • Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA) an award started by UNICEF UK in 2004 and now running in more than 1000 primary and secondary schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
    • Sensory and/or physical needs one of the four strands of need set out in the SEN Code of Practice
    • Short stay school under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act of 2009, Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) were renamed short stay schools from September 2010. They are a form of alternative provision for pupils who cannot be in ordinary schools, mainly due to being excluded
    • Skills Funding Agency (SFA) an agency created as part of the replacement for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), to distribute funding for post-19 learners
    • Specialist Schools and Academies Trust previously known as the Specialist Schools Trust, it expanded its title when taking on the academies as well. It is also involved with trust schools
    • Tellus surveys annual surveys in the form of an online questionnaire designed to collect children's views on their lives, their schools and their local area
    • Tourette's syndrome known in full as Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome. It is thought to arise from a neurological impairment of the central nervous system and results in both vocal and motor tics
    • Trust schools foundation schools which are supported by a charitable foundation or ‘trust’
    • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) a United Nations charter, that gives children throughout the world certain rights. It has been signed by most countries and has been in force in England since 1992
    • University Technical Colleges a scheme supported by Lord Baker to offer a more hands-on education to 14–19 year olds. First two due to open September 2010.
    • Virtual learning environments (VLEs) a use of computers to enable the user to have access to remote learning, including a range of learning resources
    • Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) an agency created to take over some of the Learning and Skills Council's duties by supporting LAs in providing for learners aged 16–19, or for those with learning difficulties and disabilities (LLDD), up to the age of 25

    Useful Addresses

    • Consortium of All-Through Schooling (CATS)
    • The Glebe
    • Ipsley Lane
    • Redditch
    • B98 OAP
    • Tel: 01527 529461
    • Mencap
    • 123 Golden Lane
    • London
    • EC1Y ORT
    • email:
    • Tel: 020 7454 0454
    • National Association of Independent and Non-Maintained Special Schools (NASS)
    • PO Box 705
    • York
    • YO30 6WW
    • Tel/fax: 01904 624446
    • National Association of Special Educational Needs (nasen)
    • nasen House
    • 4/5 Amber Business Village
    • Amber Close
    • Amington
    • Tamworth
    • B77 4RP
    • email:
    • Tel: 01827 311500
    • Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT)
    • 16th Floor
    • Millbank Tower
    • 21–24 Millbank
    • London
    • SW1P 4QP
    • email:
    • Tel: 020 7802 2345

    References and Further Reading

    Anning, A. and Ball, M. (2008) Improving Services for Young Children: From Sure Start to Children's Centre. London: Sage.
    Cameron, C., Moss, P., Owen, C., Petrie, P., Potts, P., Simmon, A. and Wigfall, V. (2009) Working Together in Extended Schools and Children's Centres: A Study of Inter-professional Activity in England and Sweden. Available at
    Cheminais, R. (2007) Extended Schools and Children's Centres: A Practical Guide. Oxford: David Fulton/Routledge.
    Claxton, G. (2002) Building Learning Power: Helping Young People to Become Better Learners. Bristol: TLO.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2007a) The Children's Plan: Building Brighter Futures. Norwich: The Stationery Office.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2007b) Extended Schools: Building on Experience. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008a) Quality Standards for Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Support and Outreach Services. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008b) Personalised Learning – A Practical Guide. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008c) The Children's Plan One Year On: A Progress Report. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008d) Special Educational Needs (SEN) Information Act. Norwich: The Stationery Office.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008e) Better Communication: An Action Plan to Improve Services for Children and Young People with Speech, Language and Communication Needs. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008f) Back on Track – A Strategy for Modernising Alternative Provision for Young People. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008g) Taking Back on Track Forward. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008h) Building Stronger Partnerships. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health (2008a) Children and Young People in Mind: The Final Report of the National CAMHS Review. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health (2008b) The Bercow Report: A Review of Services for Children and Young People (0–19) with Speech, Language and Communication Needs. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health (2010) Keeping Children and Young People in Mind: The Government's Full Response to the Independent Review of CAMHS. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009a) Learning Behaviour: Lessons Learned. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009b) The Children's Plan Two Years On: A Progress Report. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009c) Your Child, Your Schools, Our Future: Building a 21st Century School System. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009d) United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Priorities for Action. Nottingham: DfES Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009e) Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act. The Stationery Office: Norwich.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009f) Co-operative Schools – Making a Difference. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009g) Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009h) The Lamb Inquiry: Special Educational Needs and Parental Confidence. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009i) Review of SEN and Disability Information (April ‘09). Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009j) Inspection, Accountability and School Improvement (August ‘09). Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009k) Quality and Clarity of Statements (August ‘09). Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009l) Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities and Schools on Information Passports, Personal Learning Plans and the Core Entitlement for all Pupils in Pupil Referral Units and other Alternative Provision. Draft for consultation 10.12.09. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2010a) Children, Schools and Families Bill. Available at
    Department for Children, Schools and Families (2010b) Salt Review – Independent Review of Teacher Supply for Pupils with Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (SLD and PMLD). Nottingham: DCSF Publications.
    Department for Education and Employment (1994) Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs. London: HMSO.
    Department for Education and Science (1970) Education (Handicapped) Children Act. London: HMSO.
    Department for Education and Science (1981) Education Act. London: HMSO.
    Department for Education and Skills (1988) Education Reform Act. Nottingham: DfES Publications.
    Department for Education and Skills (2001a) SEN and Disability Act. Nottingham: DfES Publications.
    Department for Education and Skills (2001b) Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Nottingham: DfES Publications. Department for Education and Skills (2003) Every Child Matters. London: The Stationery Office.
    Department for Education and Skills (2004a) The Children Act. Norwich: HMSO.
    Department for Education and Skills (2004b) Removing Barriers to Achievement: The Government's SEN Strategy. Nottingham: DfES Publications.
    Department for Education and Skills (2005a) Higher Standards, Better Schools for All. Nottingham: DfES Publications.
    Department for Education and Skills (2005b) Learning Behaviour: The Report of The Practitioners’ Group on School Behaviour and Discipline. Nottingham: DfES Publications.
    Department for Education and Skills (2005c) Harnessing Technology: Transforming Learning and Children's Services. Nottingham: DfES Publications.
    Department for Education and Skills (2005d) Personalising Learning: Building a New Relationship with Schools. Speech by David Miliband, Minister of State for School Standards, North of England Conference, Belfast 08.01.04. Available at
    Department for Education and Skills (2006a) The Education and Inspections Act. Norwich: HMSO.
    Department for Education and Skills (2006b) 2020 Vision: Report of the Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review Group. Nottingham: DfES Publications.
    Dittrich, W.H. and Tutt, R. (2008) Educating Children with Complex Conditions: Understanding Overlapping and Co-existing Developmental Disorders. London: Sage.
    Gardner, H. (2000) Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century. New York: Basic Books.
    Hill, R. (2006) Leadership that Lasts: Sustainable School Leadership in the 21st Century. Leicester: Association of School and College Leaders.
    Hill, R. (2008) Achieving More Together: Adding Value Through Partnership. Leicester: Association of School and College Leaders.
    House of Commons Education and Skills Committee (2007) Special Educational Needs: Assessment and Funding. Norwich: The Stationery Office.
    Knight, S. (2009) Forest Schools and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years. London: Sage.
    Leadbetter, C. (2008) What's Next? 21 Ideas for 21st Century Learning. London: The Innovation Unit.
    Lindsay, G. and Peacey, N. (2009) Lamb Inquiry: Local Authorities' Learning from the Eight Projects. Available at
    Nind, M. and Hewett, D. (2001) A Practical Guide to Intensive Interaction. Kidderminster: BILD Publications.
    Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (2006) Our Children and Young People – Our Pledge: A Ten Year Strategy for Children and Young People in Northern Ireland. Belfast: Children and Young People's Unit.
    Ofsted (2009) Virtual Learning Environments: An Evaluation of Their Development in a Sample of Educational Settings. Available at
    Scottish Government (2006) Getting it Right for Every Child. Available from
    Skinner, B.F. (1953) Science and Human Behavior. New York: Macmillan.
    Smith, A. (2009) Learning to Learn in Practice: The L2 Approach. Carmarthen: Crown House.
    Todd, L. (2007) Partnerships for Inclusive Education. London: Routledge.
    Tutt, R. (2007) Every Child Included. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    UNICEF (2007) Little Book of Children's Rights and Responsibilities. Available free from the UNICEF helpline at
    Warnock, M. (1978) Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People. London: HMSO.

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