What is a SEND review?
Any school is able to commission a SEND review in order to evaluate the effectiveness of its provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. A SEND review should help to ensure that all children, in all educational settings, achieve their very best, including the skills and qualifications that they need for successful transition, further education and employment. The review process normally takes 2-3 days. This includes the preparatory work before going into the school, the time needed to collect evidence during the school visit, and the report writing and feedback that takes place after the review. Many schools will establish an ongoing relationship with their reviewer who can provide follow-up support and advice. The timescale for a review would normally be 2-3 weeks from preparation to reporting. Our SEND reviews are led by an experienced, independent system leader who have a track record of improving outcomes for pupils with SEND.
What are the benefits of commissioning a SEND review from a system leader?
Commissioning a SEND review from a system leader means that both the ‘supporting’ and ‘supported’ school benefit from working together. The school receiving the review benefits from an experienced practitioner with knowledge and expertise in SEND. It is a rewarding and enriching experience that supports professional development, develops knowledge and inspires new ideas and ways of working. As a result, the opportunity to engage in such work can also offer a powerful retention strategy for schools involved.
When should schools commission a review?
Reviews can be commissioned for a variety of reasons including:
• Raising attainment and improving progress
• Improving the quality of provision for pupils with SEND
• To support effective implementation of the SEND reforms
• Reviewing the quality of inclusive practice at a school
• Increasing attendance and reducing exclusions for pupils with SEND
• Gaining a better understanding of the well-being of pupils with additional needs
• Identifying SEND as an area for development through self-evaluation
• Wanting a fresh perspective on provision from an experienced system leader
• Significant change in the demographic of the SEND population in the school
• A change in leadership and management at the school
• External validation of a school’s evaluation of its SEND provision
Taking an evidence-informed approach
Excellent teaching for pupils with SEND is excellent teaching for all. The Code of Practice (1) emphasises that high quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEND. Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching. High quality provision to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND includes the use of evidence -based interventions and approaches. Educational settings, joint commissioning arrangements and local authorities are therefore responsible for accessing the best evidence available on interventions and approaches to support children and young people. An uncompromising focus on improvement and recognising what works and what doesn’t for those identified with SEND will raise attainment and make a difference to all children. There is a growing and valuable evidence base which helps teachers and leaders make evidence - informed decisions about which interventions can maximise impact and provide good value for money, for example the EEF Toolkit (2) , The Communication Trust (3) and NICE (4) Research from randomised control trials (RCTs) should be used to build the professional judgement and the discretion of teachers, as the most powerful knowledge about what works is informed by each context and the expertise of practitioners, particularly for the SEND sector. Localised and applied research is likely to be most useful for informing strategy and teaching practice. Growing the research literacy of teachers in schools and building localised research of what works will strengthen professional judgement and intelligent, informed decision making to deliver continuous progress for all pupils with SEND.