I’m starting to look at data (again). My performance management target includes one about the amount of progress the children on my SEN register make during the year. I am the SENCO, it is my responsibility to make sure that these children make progress.
I can certainly make the referrals to the appropriate outside agencies. I am able to fill in the paperwork for EHCP applications to try and get the amount of extra support that they require recognised and maybe even some funding to help pay for that support. I can read the reports from all of the different people and make recommendations as to what will help the child make progress. I can work with the teacher to write an IEP with suitable SMART targets stating how much extra support, how often it is given and even ideas of what can be done but I am not in the classroom teaching all of the children.
I cannot directly influence the teaching, and certainly not the learning, of every child on my SEN register. The new Code of Practice (section 6.36) states
“Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, including where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff.”
This is great and I think that this makes sense but my slight bugbear is that if they don’t do that then despite any help I have offered, people I have had in to advise I don’t meet my targets.
Sometimes it is not just down to the teachers. Some of these children have health needs and have large amounts of absences, they aren’t even in school to receive the teaching. This affects their progress; this impacts upon my performance targets.
There are also the occasions where children are on the SEN register, we have people in, we work hard to help the children, the children respond, they close that gap with their peers. The great day comes…. they are removed from the SEN register. The data is crunched at the end of the year, these children do not appear in the “children with any SEND code” on the online pupil progress tracking programme. Their amazing progress fails to impact on my target. I know that I can go and add them – and I will but on an initial trawl of data they won’t appear.
I appreciate that this is not just my problem and that head teachers will have performance management targets based on progress of the children across the whole school whilst certainly not teaching all of them and that this is part of being a school leader. It does still make me nervous though as I approach the looking at results time and I realise quite how much about this job I still don’t know how to do!