pdnet - What is pdnet up to in 2020?
What is pdnet up to in 2020?
One of the most frequent questions pdnet is asked is ‘how do we make our school a school for learners with a physical disability?”. What are the priorities and how do we do it?
With a broad mission to improve knowledge, skills and capacity across all phases of education so that schools are better able to include over 35,000 children and young people whose primary need is physical disability there is no shortage of need out there, so deciding pdnet priorities for 2020 in theory could be challenging. In practice it isn’t, particularly as pdnet is a flexible organisation that can respond as opportunities come our way or as concerns emerge during the year.
So what will pdnet be focussing on in 2020?
First, it is difficult to ignore feedback from across the physical disability(PD) sector that there is an increasing population of learners with PD with more complex needs who are not easily able to access a school placement or actively take part in an inclusive school curriculum. So, we will be liaising with Whole School SEND (WSS) to increase awareness and usage of free pdnet resources, training and materials to help to address these issues. If you haven’t used them yet schools, including mainstream, special, primary and secondary, have fed back positively on the effectiveness of pdnet materials in helping them to meet the unique indivual requirements of learners with PD. These include resources to develop whole staff awareness and pdnet standards to support school self-evaluation with built in online action plan to record the next steps. Check out www.pdnet.org.uk.
Second, strengthen our training offer so teachers are better able to understand the needs of learners with a physical disability and how to successfully support them in school. With support from WSS new pdnet training for SENCOs and teachers has been developed to support understanding of physical disability and how learning can be different for these pupils and delivered to over 75 SENCO and teachers since December 19. We want to grow this training so that teachers from every school in England with a pupil with PD on roll can access this opportunity, as well as deliver a new pdnet Level 3 face to face course for teachers on how to successfully include, assess and teach learners with PD across the curriculum and support their personal development.
Third, in response to sector feedback we will be launching an interactive online modular training course for support staff who assist learners with PD in school. As 68% of learners with PD have an EHCP plan and are more likely to require adult support to access the school day and manage their physical needs we estimate at least 70,000 teaching assistants could benefit from accessing this training. As well as raising awareness and understanding of PD the course materials explore how the support role can be developed to facilitate a learner with a physical disability to achieve positive outcomes as independently as possible.
Fourth, in response to the evolving needs of schools with learners with PD we are broadening the scope and range of pdnet resources within the SEND arena. With WSS support we’ll be developing new materials to tackle challenges facing schools such as how to write access plans so that learners with PD can be included more successfully. We will be working with the SEND sector, pdnet regional groups and pdnet champions to bring people together for new learning conversations to address key issues such as how best to support learners with PD who are supported in school as their needs do not require an EHCP plan, and to explore what effective practice looks like. Alongside this work we will be undertaking in-house analysis and, considering how best pdnet can develop as a sustainable organisation and be best prepared for the future
This new strategy for 2020 builds on the track record pdnet has already established and will further contribute to the formulation and development of policy and knowledge in the physical disability sector.
In reality there are “No Limits” to what can be done to support the educational journey of a child or young person with PD. For the first time children and young people with PD in schools have greater choices than ever before. A wide range of equipment, technology and alternative means of communication has transformed their ability to access education and take part in new opportunities. However, this means that school staff have to plan and support students with a greater diversity of need, some of which are not immediately apparent, and develop solutions to new challenges. If you're inspired and as passionate as us to support this journey join pdnet, or save the date (Friday 26 June 2020) for the pdnet national conference “No Limits”.
Di Caesar, pdnet