Outside agencies – those wide varieties of people to whom we refer children. All of them experts in their own field, all of them able to tell us what we should be doing. Some are excellent, a few specific, actions that we can fit into our already busy days with limited numbers of support staff. Some who give 15 pages of recommendations that with the best will in the world in our school with our budget are not all going to happen.
So we need to take things further, we need to consider an EHCP. We need to have shown that we have employed quality first teaching(tick), we have tried a graduated response within school (tick), we have called in external agencies (tick), we have paperwork to show that we spend at least £6000 p.a. on extra support for the child (tick), that we have followed all of the recommendations that they made, noted the effects, reviewed them and adapted (tick, well…um.. sort of, a few…). For some of the children for whom I need to need to apply for an EHCP I will have had to call in Behaviour Support Service, Learning Support Service, obviously the Educational Psychologists (as they seem to play the role of God on our SEN panels), Speech and Language Therapist, CAMHS as well as the community paediatrician and maybe a specialist health worker or two. Obviously not all of these agencies are necessarily involved all of the time or all at the same time but there are often several in a cumulative type of way.
I appreciate that we need the child to be seen by these people, I appreciate that they are all experts. I appreciate that I filled in the endless forms and wrote the endless letters to get them involved (often they each recommend each other). I also appreciate that in any classroom there may be several of these children all with their observations, reviews, IEPs and individual programmes and only one teacher who is already differentiating every lesson several ways to enable the children to learn in a way that suits them and at a level appropriate to them. That teacher also only has one teaching assistant and a limited number of hours in the day to fit in all of these recommendations.
Our teachers are amazing. They teach generally using ASD and dyslexia friendly teaching techniques (on the theory that it ticks a few specific recommendations and is probably good for the rest anyway), they try and fit in pre-teaching, speech therapy programmes, individual readers, fine motor skills … the list goes on.
I don’t have an answer as to how we can follow all of the recommendations from all of these outside agencies for all of the children; I don’t have a magic wand to get more staff or more money for more resources. It would be nice to follow all of the recommendations but perhaps more realistically they could offer fewer recommendations or offer them as a graduated list to try.
Perhaps it is just me. Perhaps other schools manage to follow all the advice from all the professionals for all of the children all of the time. If any one has any suggestions as to how I do it I am willing to learn.