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SEND and Ofsted Research Reviews: Insights for Leaders, SENDCos and Teachers

Ofsted have released research reviews into the curriculum for most, but not all, of the subjects from the National Curriculum. My summaries of each of these reports can be found by clicking here.



This summary is based on all of my notes which relate to SEND provision in different subjects of the curriculum. This has not been released as a separate document by Ofsted and is purely based on my own notes from each of the reports. This summary might be useful for curriculum leaders and SENDCos, staff supporting learners across the curriculum, as well as primary teachers and others who teach more than one subject.


(There was very little mention in the Computing review so this subject does not feature in this post)


Below you will find the general points for SEND provision as well as notes for each individual subject.


If you would like to support the work I do at the same time as downloading a high-quality PDF version of the visual summary, please visit my Gumroad page by clicking here. (I’ve included an additional PDF of the written notes and editable Microsoft Word version as a thank you for your support 🙏).

 

🌟 Common Findings from Across The Research Reviews


· All research reviews assert the point that every curriculum should be ambitious for all pupils. Teachers should have high expectations that SEND pupils can achieve in each curriculum area.

· There is a general theme that the content of the curriculum should in no way be unnecessarily diluted or held back from SEND learners.

· Instead, the subject curricula should organise knowledge in a sequential way which increases all pupils’ ability to make sense and learn the content. This knowledge should be delivered in suitable size ‘chunks’ (components) which do not overload working memory.

· In addition, the pedagogy of the subject makes a difference. Teachers should choose methods of instructions which ensure pupils can pay attention to the curriculum object and not be held back by unnecessarily-elaborate task design.

· Fundamentally, individual knowledge of SEND learners plays a huge role in how the curriculum can be adapted so that they are not disadvantaged.

· The reviews suggest that differentiation of curriculum outcomes would only be appropriate for children with more complex needs.


🎨 Art

· It is not appropriate to adopt a single approach to SEND in the art classroom.

· It is important that the curriculum be ambitious for all pupils.

· The specified end points of the national curriculum apply to all children; pupils with the most complex needs might require that the curricular goals be adapted for them.

· Pupils with SEND generally do not benefit from differentiated teaching, activities, or resources to achieve a curriculum goal.

· Targeted teaching is different to differentiation: it can enable teachers to break down or reinforce aspects of the curriculum. This might mean that some pupils practise different components of the curriculum when studying the same content areas.

· Theories of cognitive load are important for teachers to consider when working with pupils with SEND. Cognitive overload inhibits pupils’ ability to retain knowledge and develop schemas. Isolating the important aspects of a piece of work is a useful way for teachers to structure learning.

· Expectations for pupils with SEND should not be unnecessarily lowered. When introducing pupils to the work of artists, it can be useful to start with identifiable subject matter so that pupils have more chance of making sense of the artwork. This means that SEND pupils are being enabled to study the same artists as their peers.

· Teachers should think carefully about which teaching approaches and activities are both subject-specific and will enable all pupils - including pupils with SEND - to learn and to remember what they have been taught in the long term.

· Leaders might consider including the study of artists who might be considered ‘disabled’ so that pupils have a range of positive role models.


📚 English

· The general principles for effective teaching are just as relevant for pupils with SEND.

· Pupils with SEND generally do not benefit from differentiated teaching, activities or resources to achieve a curriculum goal.

· Differentiation is not the same as targeted teaching, such as repetition of phonic knowledge.

· Teachers should use a phonics approach to address gaps in phonic knowledge. It is not necessarily helpful to attribute gaps to dyslexia. Pupils with SEND are very likely to need much more frequent repetition as they learn GPCs.


🗺 Geography

· It is rarely necessary to make changes to the curriculum for pupils with SEND; it is sometimes necessary to modify approaches.

· There is a need for all pupils to share the same curriculum, and same level of ambition and expectation for geographical knowledge. (Except for the most complex learning needs)

· Pupils' specific needs dictate the modifications required e.g. well-spaced print benefits dyslexic pupils.

· Designing lessons which 'chunks' components of knowledge into small steps supports those pupils who find learning more difficult.

· It is important to brief TAs about the content they may be supporting pupils with.


⏳ History

  • Research on pupils with SEND and history education is lacking.

  • Knowledge of individual needs should determine how the curriculum is adapted (if at all) and how pupils are supported to achieve.

  • All pupils are entitled to a broad history curriculum.

  • Adaptations for pupils with complex learning needs may be appropriate in some cases. However, the adaptations should be in how the subject is taught rather than the content the children are expected to learn. This is because background (hinterland) and contextual knowledge is so important when learning history. To not be taught content can limit children’s access to the curriculum.

  • It is likely that the most effective support will combine supporting pupils to pay extra attention to the core learning, whilst ensuring that pupils learn history through rich contexts and meaningful examples.


🗣 Languages

· Participation in languages education by SEND learners after KS3 is low.

· There can be low expectations of pupils with SEND and their potential to learn languages.


🧮 Mathematics

· Explicit instruction is a highly effective way of teaching disadvantaged children and those with SEND.

· SEND pupils also benefit hugely from systematic rehearsal of declarative (know that…) and procedural knowledge (know how…).

· ASD children can benefit by using any propensity for memorisation to memorise core facts and methods so that they can dedicate more thinking time to learning problem-solving strategies

· Explicit, systematic instruction and rehearsal increase the chances of success for SEND learners.

· Explicit instruction is a highly effective way of teaching disadvantaged children and those with SEND. These children also benefit hugely from systematic rehearsal of declarative and procedural knowledge.

· ASD children can benefit by using any propensity for memorisation to memorise core facts and methods so that they can dedicate more thinking time to learning problem-solving strategies

· Scaffolding is essential but should be carefully considered so that children do not become dependent on them.

· Manipulatives should be used to reveal useful information rather than be used as an external memory device. Using resources is more valuable when relationships are focused upon. Don't forget to plan for how children will stop using manipulatives.

· Manipulatives can also be a distraction and do not always ensure that a pupil will understand the concept they aim to represent.

· The most useful resources for early methods are those associated with efficiency, accuracy and simplicity. There are also some equipment, such as a sorobon, which can inherently support the acquisition of key facts as well as displaying the connections that lead to stronger recall and understanding e.g. bridging through five or ten.



🎶 Music

There are some general principles which are particularly important for SEND learners. Namely, these are:

· cognitive load theory

· explicit teaching of curriculum ‘components’

· clarity of instruction.

· There is no one-size-fits-all approach; however, when barriers are identified and overcome, pupils’ potential can be achieved. High expectations for all pupils are therefore so important.

· Research suggests the following strategies are important to consider for SEND learners:

· breaking down tasks

· reducing the burden on working memory

· using appropriately supportive routines

· using a combination of learning modes which enhance clarity or accessibility

· the adaption of materials to ensure good challenge which is achievable.


🏓 PE


PE Curriculum Design - Considerations for SEND learners

· Schools should understand SEND pupils’ individual needs rather than treating them as a homogenous group. The curriculum should be ambitious for all pupils and should not limit what SEND pupils can achieve.

· Inclusion should always be planned for and aspirations for SEND pupils should always be high: it might be better to make adaptations to the main activity, rather than plan for fully adapted practice.

· SEND learners benefit from plentiful opportunity for practice, especially during their early years. Intervention at this point can reduce barriers in later years.

PE SEND Pedagogy

· The report suggests that there are gaps in teachers’ subject and pedagogical content knowledge for SEND-specific pedagogy.

· Some lessons will require adaptations to be made to ensure that pupils with SEND access the curriculum alongside their peers.

· There are many types of adaptations that could be made, depending on the specific needs of the pupils with SEND. This might be the colour, size or shape of a ball, or allowing additional time to complete a movement or response.

· Discussing adaptions with pupils can help teachers make appropriate adaptations.

· Pre-teaching of instructions and vocabulary might also be effective for some pupils with SEND.

PE SEND Assessment

· Teachers might need to make adaptations to assessment methods to make them appropriate for pupils with SEND - importantly, these methods should not limit what pupils with SEND can achieve.


🙏🏿 RE


· RE curricula should be designed to give all learners - especially the most disadvantaged and those with SEND - the knowledge they need to succeed in life. RE makes a significant contribution to the overall knowledge pupils will need in life.

· It is best to remove unnecessary barriers to learning – such as overly-elaborate task design – so that SEND learners, who may find it hard to focus on the curriculum objects of the lesson, are more likely to succeed.


🧬 Science

· When knowledge is broken down into key components and organised sequentially, this can help all learners to succeed.

· Working memory limitations correlate strongly with pupils’ performance in science.


 



If you would like to support the work I do at the same time as downloading a high-quality PDF version of the visual summary, please visit my Gumroad page by clicking here. (I’ve included an additional PDF of the written notes and editable Microsoft Word version as a thank you for your support 🙏).

If not, click the box below to download a PDF of the visual summary.



Insights into SEND from Ofsted Subject Research Reviews
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