The SEN Information Report

Written by: Garry Freeman | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Schools are required to present a wealth of information on their websites and key among this is the SEN Information Report. Inclusion and SEN expert Garry Freeman advises

How do you tell the story of your pupils’ and your school’s successes? Yes, there are celebration events and evenings, letters to parents, assemblies – and each has a role to play; however, your school website is increasingly important in telling your story.

If you recall and apply the key elements of the 2015 SEND Code of Practice, represented in a harmonious website where each part of your evidence complements every other part, then Ofsted may (almost) never need to visit – what’s more your pupils can access everything they should be able to and they and their parents can feel valued and included.

How can we do it?

We should all look at our school website. The value of all staff doing this is that we each have a different career profile and our perspective will be slightly different.

An effective school features a website narrative that has impact, harnesses the views of all pupils, parents and staff, as well as the facts and figures, which all go together to reflect your context and achievements.

The key thing on your website is harmony: that all parts of it are telling the same story, founded on the same evidence-base.

There are a wealth of requirements for schools to publish on their websites, with the latest requirements including:

  • Average progress made by pupils in reading, writing and mathematics.
  • Percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of key stage 2.
  • Average score of pupils in end of key stage 2 assessments.
  • Percentage of pupils who achieve a “high” score in all areas at the end of key stage 2.

So that parents can make comparisons between schools, the Department for Education (DfE) would like to show each school’s position in the country on these measures and present these results in a manner that is easy for all audiences to understand in a clear, fair and statistically robust way.

This is why, from the end of September 2016, the dashboard site is being replaced by the DfE’s School Comparison Tool (see further information).

These new requirements sit alongside the existing things that all schools must display on their site as public documents, including:

  • The complaints procedure.
  • The behaviour policy
  • The Pupil Premium report.
  • Dashboard figures for governors regarding vulnerable children.
  • A statement about values and ethos.

One of the most important requirements, is the requirement to publish online your school’s SEN Information Report and this article will now focus on doing this effectively.

Your SEN Information Report

Your school may wish to have and display its SEN/D policy, but remember that there isn’t a requirement to have a policy. There is however a very clear requirement in the SEND Code of Practice for you to publish an SEN Information Report, updated at least annually.

As such the Information Report is a key element of your harmonious website. The Information Report must include information for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with SEN and for the admission of disabled pupils.

The requirements are set out in legislation (the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 – see further information).

Your SEN Information Report should contain everything Ofsted – and for that matter any agency, parent, student or professional – could want to know in terms of SEN identification, provision and support. It can also act as a guide through SEN provision for all members of staff, whatever their career profile. It must include:

  • Details of and links to your area Local Offer(s). Remember that if you work with more than one local authority, then you need to have links to all of the Local Offers for those authorities.
  • In relation to mainstream schools and maintained nursery schools, the name and contact details of the SENCO. Best practice would be to also include the same details for your headteacher and your SEND governor, as well as how parents can make a complaint or raise a concern.
  • Information about the expertise and training of staff in relation to children and young people with SEN and about how specialist expertise will be secured.
  • How you make provision for pupils with SEN, whether or not they have Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).
  • What interventions you have implemented and their impact.
  • The additional learning opportunities for pupils with SEN.
  • Your procedures, if you are a mainstream school or nursery, for the identification and assessment of pupils with SEN.
  • Your approach to teaching pupils who have SEN.
  • How you adapt the curriculum and the learning environment for those who have SEN.
  • How the school enables pupils with SEN to engage in the activities of the school (including physical activities) together with children who do not have SEN.
  • Details of the support that is available for improving the social, emotional and mental health and development of pupils with SEN.
  • How you involve pupils and their parents in decision-making.
  • How you evaluate the effectiveness of your provision, including securing feedback and the views of pupils and their parents.

Setting out the SEN Information Report

How can you explain the kinds of SEN that are provided for at your school? One simple yet effective way is to point out that your school provides support for pupils across the four areas of need as laid out in the SEND Code of Practice 2014 and then list them.

The next stage would be how you identify and assess those pupils with SEN. Again, the key is to keep it simple and list how you do this, beginning with transition information passed on from nursery/early years/previous schools, moving on to key stage 2 results, CATS and other Baseline testing and progress data.

You would also need to mention feedback and referrals from teaching staff, observations (including learning walks), Pupil Premium interventions, and referrals from parents. Always remember to include self-referrals from pupils.

In terms of your approach to teaching pupils with SEN, a bullet-pointed list of what your provision includes would be excellent practice. Include:

  • Quality-first teaching with appropriate, targeted differentiation in place according to pupil need. If you think it might be necessary, explain what this means in practice.
  • Additional adult support where appropriate to complement the work of the teacher.
  • Reduced class sizes where appropriate and the use of small group work.
  • Personalised provision where appropriate through targeted, time-limited programmes.
  • Personalised provision through adapted resources and interventions.

Other features to think about

Your report must include all of the features mentioned above. However, it also needs to be accessible for parents and pupils and so there are a number of additional features you could use to promote and enable this.

  • Your report must be downloadable by any member of the public (because it is a public document). Using a password so that it can be accessed only by staff and parents is not lawful.
  • Use a contents list so that readers can see at a glance the sections of your report. It is even better and more user-friendly if you can use a hyperlink for each section heading so that the reader doesn’t have to scroll through the document to find the section they are seeking. By doing this, one click on the section heading will take the reader instantly to that section.
  • Font, font size and spacing are crucial factors. Information Reports tend to be quite long from a parent’s perspective – 10 to 15-page documents are standard – and so we need to have white space to make it easier on the eye. Equally, if a parent asks for a hard copy (as they are entitled to do) then you need to remember that using a coloured background may help.
  • As far as possible, it needs to be accessible for your pupils as well as parents and so try to use illustrations appropriate to the age of your pupils.
  • Use colours, drawings, pictures, photographs, graphs and diagrams where appropriate. These draw in the reader and are usually easier for the reader to process than large bodies of written information.
  • Films of aspects of your practice and provision are particularly good. Always remember to make sure that you have written permission from any pupils who feature in them.
  • Feedback from your parents or pupils in the form of diagrams, charts, graphs (remember to keep them simple) are also an excellent way to make your Information Report easier and more interesting to read.

Conclusion

Your SEN Information Report needs to tell the story of your everyday practice and provision and go beyond the legally compliant minimum. It is an opportunity to celebrate with your students, parents, Ofsted and any interested members of the public, the quality of your provision for pupils with SEN and share details of your pupils’ achievements.

  • Garry Freeman is director of inclusion and SENCO at Guiseley School in Leeds.

Further information


This material is protected by MA Education Limited copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments
Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 
About Us

Headteacher Update is the only magazine delivered directly to every primary school headteacher in the UK. It is published six times a year, at the beginning of each term and half-term, to keep headteachers up-to-date with everything going on in primary education.

Learn more about Headteacher update

Newsletter

Register to receive regular updates on primary education news delivered free to your inbox.