Testing is a key to success ( Hamilton House Newsletter)


Testing that leads to action that meets the needs of the individual is vital for mapping out a planned intervention programme. To establish to baseline to work from and map out a learning journey for the individual pupil. The newsletter shares  news on how funding is in direction proportion to levels of SEN pupils identified and raises how schools can afford to test given they have reduced funds to have the expertise at hand. AAS is on hand to give reasonably costed assessment and map a route for intervention. Service to our client is paramount to ongoing progress. Quick fixes and one off assessments aren’t nearly as effective as ongoing assessment and provision approaches in my opinion. Anway, this is what Hamilton House are saying.

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When funding is cut, the number of children with SEN falls. And when additional funding is available, the number of children with SEN rises.

The problem is somewhat obvious, but what is the solution?

I received a press release just the other day reporting on some interesting (though not surprising) research carried out by Bath Spa University.

The research cites a sharp drop in the number of children in schools with special educational needs which, yet again, appears to be a response to government policy changes and increasing pressures on school budgets.

Quite understandably, without funding schools cannot offer testing for children with SEN, whether this be for autism, ADHD or specific learning differences, to name just a few. Which also means that the additional support and resources for these pupils is limited too.

But clearly schools do have funding, just not a lot of it, so using the likes of an educational psychologist to get pupils tested or screened for SEN can be far too costly and hence we see the above trend.

And it seems that the waiting list for an appointment with an educational psychologist may indeed be getting longer, particularly when we consider the results of a survey which has revealed that 85% of AEP members reported “substantial” increases in workloads.

You can read more about this athttp://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1153720/educational-psychologists-warn-services-face-being-overwhelmed#sthash.PLjZFl8e.dpuf

So what is the solution? Many will argue that in identifying the condition or difficulty it is possible to provide the right support in the classroom – which makes the identification somewhat important. Yet it is the support in the classroom that will raise pupils’ attainment and not the statement of SEN itself.

It is for this reason that many schools are now, more than ever, using the testing services (and indeed, supporting resources) that private organisations offer (I’ll put some links at the bottom). Such testing services are typically much more affordable and will help achieve the end goal: raising the attainment levels of pupils’ with SEN.

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, explains the need to focus on support rather than numbers:

“The SEN reforms are about supporting young people with autism and other SEN being able to thrive and achieve at school – not about an arbitrary change in the way that we classify SEN. If pressure on budgets is driving schools to reduce the number of children they identify as having SEN that is deeply worrying.

“Identification of SEN should be based on an assessment of a child’s needs and nothing else. We mustn’t let the debate about numbers distract us from delivering the best possible additional educational support to the children that need it.”

Website links to organisations that offer testing:

The Dyscalculia Centre – Testing for dyscalculia

Dysgraphia Help – Testing for dysgraphia

Website links to organisations that offer SEN resources:

First and Best in Education

Multi-Sensory Learning

Dysgraphia Help

Behaviour Matters

Loggerhead Publishing

R time

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