Whole School SEND in the West Midlands
As we talk to an increasing amount of school leaders and practising SENCOs and teachers – our message of supporting a whole school approach is welcomed. There are successful networks of schools already well established across the area – our aim is to work with these networks – sharing good practice, identifying gaps in training and responding to local needs to achieve the best outcomes for our children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
We have been busy making connections across the diverse area of the West Midlands including work with - Chris Rossiter from the Driver Youth Trust with Governors in Telford and Wrekin, Wolverhampton and Shropshire on the SEND Governance Guide. There is planned work for Governors based in Stratford-upon-Avon for surrounding areas. Presenting for eCaph - Primary Head Teachers in East Cheshire is leading to them looking at a strategic approach to Whole School SEND and we are looking forward to meeting more colleagues at their conference in June. Working with SENCos across Warwickshire to extend the WSS Community of Practice has led to more schools joining WSS. A WSS strategic approach from Telford and Wrekin LA with Severn Teaching School Alliance has led to all schools planning to work on the SEND Review. WSS also led a workshop with the Birmingham Education Partnership at SENDfest – a Conference for Handsworth Association of Schools led by Alison Taylor and further work is planned across the Birmingham area.
We have also presented to all regions in the West Midlands at the Teaching School Council meeting for Mike Donoghue, our West Midlands TSC lead, and at sub-regional groups in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire and in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. We are looking forward to meeting colleagues at the Black Country TSA sub-regional group in May and groups in Herefordshire. We are building on our links with West Cheshire through the Hinderton Teaching School Alliance and Ignite TSA and Stoke-on-Trent with Blackfriars Teaching School and the Potteries Teaching School – many thanks to all in our teaching schools for their positive responses to building links with WSS!
Whole School SEND has been our focus when leading leadership and management sessions at the University of Worcestershire for SENCos. Links have been established with our Parent/Carer Forum West Midlands regional steering group member – Zara Bowden, local parent/carer groups such as PODS (Parent Opening Doors) and the charity Contact which supports families and children with SEND. These links will ensure we hear about good practice in schools from parent/carers’ viewpoints.
In March we shared models of good practice from Severn Teaching School in Telford and Wrekin on working with SLEs and progress in the area for WSS at Gill Robinson’s Midlands Meeting for SEND SLEs. We look forward to further work with this group of professionals.
An agreement has been made with Local Authorities SEND Leads in the West Midlands for Whole School SEND to be the focus for SEN Support in schools within their Strategic Area Plan. So a network group will be established in the Summer Term including some key strategic and school based representatives. This will include all regions so that Whole School SEND can work at local levels within every area to create a sustainable model of support.
It is great to meet all the hard working colleagues from across the region who are ensuring that positive outcomes for children and young people with SEND are a priority in their schools.
Please contact us if you have any good practice to share, want to contribute to Whole School SEND or to plan for us to come and meet your networks and discuss ways to work together.
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