SEND: Inclusive Approaches in Early Years Education

4th September 2020

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8 steps to improve best practices in education

The combination of effective inclusive approaches and the implementation of best practices in early years provisions can change the narrative and break cycles for many SEND children.

Dilma de Araujo – Lecturer & Researcher

The inclusive practice in the SEND (Special, Education Needs and Disabilities) classroom setting should provide an extensive opportunity to explore the interpretation and manipulation of a dynamic curriculum, the transformational aspects of global reality and abstract scenarios. Hence, best practice concerning teaching and learning patterns can be described as existing practices that have passed for a process of re-assessing, re-evaluation and re-designing. Thus, during this process validation of the existing practices, teachers are often standing on the shoulders of giants by embracing a myriad of methods and strategies until these attain a significant level of effectiveness propelling in a constructive manner students’ academic, mental and social life.

Nevertheless, the application of effective best practice approaches will empower the special education needs students’ voice and choices, promoting their mental and emotional wellbeing. As a result, it will have a substantial influence on their short and long term decisions. Considering that SEND students are children or young people that have a learning difficulty significantly greater than the majority of others of the same age, calling for the special educational provision to be made available in order to cater their particular needs and requirements  (DfE, 2015).

The eight steps to support children and young people with special education needs and disabilities are divided into two section – the individuals’ perspective and the organisation’s perspective. These perspective dynamics involve mainly three pivotal components such as school (headteacher and teachers), families (parents and carers) and students (individuals’ opinions and ideas).

Individuals’ perspective

  1. Identifying and meeting needs and requirements

Undertaking regular reviews in students’ academic, mental and medical conditions. E.g., communicating effectively with all support staff and updating pupils’ personal information or passport regularly. Thus, all school staff can share and commit to clear vision and understanding of universal objectives and aspirations based on the essential principles, where pupils can learn and enhance their academic outcomes.

  1. Enabling students to influence positively the society

Implementing termly discussions with students’ concerning their present and future ideas, opinions and desires. E.g., addressing issues related to support or funding and the contributions that pupils can give to their community endeavours. Implementing structured programs that will impact the social settings within classrooms and beyond school gates. The projects and initiatives will attract the entire community’s supplies to promote pupils’ outcomes.

  1. Involving students, parents and communities

Consulting pupils, family and stakeholders actively in different social and academic activities. Thus, parents and students should be involved in review meetings and transition planning in order to make decisions and set goals effectively. The link between schools and communities approach works effectively to actively solve issues and generate ‘win-win’ decisions and resolutions. Coaching and outreaching projects make available to the two-way learning process involving pupils, parents, community and business partners.

  1. Implementing structured routines and activities

Generating a strong structured daily combination of tasks that will help pupils to identify and understand their learning, physical and emotional difficulties in order to increase the self-awareness, self-regulation, self-monitoring and self-esteem influencing their motivation and interaction levels.

Organisation’s perspective

  1. Curriculum planning and delivering

The curriculum has its roots on the Latin word ‘currere’, that means ‘to run or race’, it allows the process of teaching and learning to be established in the different education environments. Consequently, many education practitioners and leaders are part of the curriculum development team, carrying out the duty of planning, designing, monitoring, assessing, and delivering. These curriculum construction phases could be determined by the leaders’ perceptions and the socio-cultural backgrounds in which it will be delivered.  An educational philosophy or ideology may well support the implementation of a curriculum effectively.

According to Wiles (2008), the most efficient “curriculum leaders” have adopted unique directions, connecting resources and people. Also, encouraging the participants and assisting the processes of improvement related to schools. In this scenario, powerful leadership at the level of management of curriculum is very comprehensive adopting the tasks which are implemented altogether with the individuals at distinctive levels involved in the system and over distinctive perspectives regarding the institution values, beliefs and culture (Ferris, 2018).

  1. Re-assessing, re-evaluating and re-designing

Promoting professional and management accountability empowering others to pursue leadership positions. E.g., offering mentoring or coaching; empowering leaders to be part of a team involved in all stages of the academic and curriculum development such as planning, implementing, delivering, assessing and monitoring phases. Implementation strong internal and external policies for instances behaviour, anti-bullying and discrimination. In addition to that, all organisational mechanisms should be aligned by research-based teaching and learning practices and strategies. E.g., pupils tend to be actively engaged in their learning through exploring, intensity learning, and performance assessments.

  1. Setting higher targets, standards and expectations

The leadership in school exercises a great form of impact in pupils by building a direct relationship with students, influencing students achievement. Indirectly leaders affect through setting high school goals, staff and students’ expectations, organising classroom capacity, allocation of resources, encouraging orderly learning and teaching environment. Building a network in which the clarity of information circulate regularly and effectively to school staff, parents and community members. Investing in personal development and training for teachers, often undertaking classroom visits and appraisals (Griffith, 1999). According to National Curriculum guidelines and frameworks. Hence, school leaders should implement a collaborative high expectations approach involving staff, parents and community in order to elevate students’ learning experiences, standards and expectations.

  1. Challenging the effectiveness of the Personal Development Training

The continuous personal development in educational provisions should clearly be articulated and developed based on a supportive, individual and relevant learning centred approach. Hence, not only the needs of the students should be met but also take into consideration teachers’ mental and emotional wellbeing. Developing strategies to empower training, recruitment and retention of teachers; implementation wellbeing and health and emotional approaches leading to advancing the distribution of leadership increasing the levels of self-esteem, self- confidence and accomplishment. E.g. creating incentives and professional promotions.

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