Today was a day to get work done, other staff were going to pick up any behaviour issues. I could shut my door and catch up on my list of jobs. It started well, by 9:00 my filing was done, my desk beautifully tidy. I checked my emails, answered a few, wrote a few more, made a cup of tea and then a TA arrived for her annual appraisal. That was alright, I knew this was happening, I even had the paperwork ready.
By 10:30 I was on the case, paperwork to attach to the latest EP referral completed and ready to send off. Interviews tomorrow so I got things sorted, task typed up, children to be worked with organised. At 11:30 a parent remembered the meeting that I had arranged with her, the meeting was successful and still only 12:00.
The door opened please could I go to a TAC meeting? I wasn’t expecting to go but I could get the information needed and going was appropriate – no problem. The meeting finished, my desk was still reasonably tidy, knock a couple of jobs off the list before another TAC meeting that I was expecting.
It’s Wednesday, SLT meeting; the plan was to look at where we were with some of children who need extra support. Having gone down the list there are a lot who we need to consider getting EHCPs for – either now or in the future. To even consider getting an EHCP we know that we need to be getting external advice from at least the EP, try what they suggest and review it. We know that as a school we need to be putting in at least £6000 of support. This year I have applied for, and been given several EHCPs, all of them at nearly full-time equivalent funding. That’s a bit extra towards our poor school budget as we were already putting in full-time support – believe me, they need it.
I can spend my time filling in the EHCP application paperwork, I can justify why their needs meet the criteria – these children have problems that are long term, severe and complex. We do not want to ship them all out to other provisions. We want to offer these children the support that they need and this will also benefit the other children in their class but I don’t have the £6000 per child that needs it available to me. I have overspent on my money allocation for the EP but the EP service has agreed that every referral that we have made has been appropriate.
I know that every school has similar money juggling problems, maybe not every school has the same needs that we have, but I hear of similar types of stories from other schools. I guess I need to be more creative (and not creative accounting for EHCP forms) in what I do. In fact I know I need to be more creative as if I had the money to get all of the children the support that they needed I would have too many adults in some classroom…
Perhaps these are perennial problems and being new to this SENCO game and I just need to learn both the rules and some strategies to give me a chance of winning. Maybe it is one of those games that it is not actually possible to win. Who knows? Giving up is certainly not an option!