A personalised approach to SEN learning
A tailored approach to learning has never been more important than it is right now for students with special educational needs. The recent disruption schools have faced and the shielding needs of those with health-related conditions, will undoubtedly have caused many SEN pupils’ routines to be disrupted. To help mitigate the impact, many teachers have turned to technology to help deliver learning support, however do these tools go far enough to give each individual learner the opportunity to flourish?
Under normal circumstances, children and young adults relying on the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) are given a personalised plan to secure the best outcomes for learning and development. In a school setting, teachers will be continuously assessing the support the child is receiving and reviewing progression. Yet, with lockdown restrictions implemented at a rapid rate, this left SEN teachers with little time to prepare for changes to school life. This is revealed in a recent study which claims, eight out of ten special educational needs coordinators have struggled to provide differentiated support to students.
Meeting the needs of SEN students
While adopting education technology has been a lifeline for many teachers to provide a continuity to learning, it hasn’t come without its challenges, especially in situations where digital apps were previously not used effectively. Disconnected platforms such as Google Classroom have helped teachers deliver lessons and assess work, but these tools are limited and do not meet the specialist needs required by SEN students.
Aside from the varying levels of support a child may need to access technology in the first place, many platforms don’t offer a way to monitor and track individual student performance, which is needed to design a personalised curriculum for each pupil and make observations and assessments about their development. According to the Department for Education (DfE), ‘Teaching and learning in a specialist setting should never have a one size fits all approach and this is also the case for SEN pupils accessing an online learning platform’.
The need for an all in one solution
Instead, schools with specialist provisions need to adopt an all-in-one solution that works seamlessly in their environment, adapt to each students individual needs, support EHCP plans and reduce teacher workload. Imagine the benefit of using one platform to deliver lessons, monitor student progressions and which also encourages two-way communication between parents and teachers.
SENCO’s would be able to track both core and non-core achievements; and be able to easily upload multiple pictures, videos and voice notes to provide parents and carers with real-time updates of their child’s day. In remote learning situations, this can be done by the students themselves or by a guardian to allow teachers to assess progress. To ensure no child is at a disadvantage in their learning journey, the solution should also provide recommendations suited to the next phase of development.
Now and in the future, adopting the right digital tools can help foster an inclusive educational experience, giving teachers the time and ability to deliver differentiated support for students with specialist needs. By doing this, it will also create opportunities for every child to access learning, build on their skills and achieve their aspirations.