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Understanding educational support

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Introduction

Understanding Educational Support Warnock Report Two reports written in the late 70's challenged the concept of remedial education and with it the 'Child-Deficit Model'. The first of these was the report of the Warnock Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People in May 1978 (DES, 1978). It is considered by many as a seminal report in the area of special needs education replacing the former statutory categories of handicap with the concept of special educational needs. The other report heralding a shift in thinking about special educational needs was the HMI Report on Pupils with Learning Difficulties (HMSO, 1978). Special educational needs as defined in the Warnock Report encompassed a wider concept than previously which only included handicapped children to also include children with emotional and behavioural disorders. The underlying thinking of this new term was that children may suffer from multiple disabilities, however, it is not the disability itself but rather the educational need that determines the educational provision required. The report further acknowledges the negative effect labels can have and also recommended the end to distinction between handicapped and non-handicapped. Although recommending an end to labelling children as handicapped, the authors of the report unfortunately continue to refer to these children as handicapped. Nevertheless, the report recommended that the nature of assessment should concentrate on the support children need rather than categorising children into different disability levels. The report recommended five stages of assessment with increasing involvement of professional specialist expertise. If an educational need had been assessed, the educational help should be provided to children below the age of two. It was additionally recommended that nursery provision should be increased in generally with the immediate effect that more children with special educational needs could be integrated; hence the importance of early intervention was stressed. Provision for recorded children should also be extended beyond the age of 16. ...read more.

Middle

Chapter four focuses exclusively on the co-ordinated support plan and chapter five explicitly on transition stages. The remaining chapters focus on working with children and families, resolving disagreements and general provisions. Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 The new Additional Support for Learning sets out a new, single system for supporting pupil's learning which makes it a legal duty and not just good practice. It focuses on learning outcomes rather than difficulties, therefore presenting a significant shift in thinking about additional support needs. The concept of additional support needs casts a far wider net. It gives parents and young people new rights and education authorities new duties with mediation services for all. It replaces the Records of needs with a co-ordinated support plan or additional support plan as applied in some local authorities. A multi-agency approach is advocated with one person responsible for coordination of the various agencies involved. Pupils with additional support requirements will be given a personal pathway through the curriculum with IEPs (Individualised Educational Programmes). An IEP focuses on communication and language, numeracy and personal and social development with short and long-term targets; these are, however, not legally required. Providing an appropriate curriculum and effective teaching and learning I will be concentrating on providing an appropriate curriculum as being a common source of barriers of learning. This was highlighted in several of the documents, starting with PWLD report which was the first to recognise the possibility of the barriers to learning not originating from pupils but from the curriculum on offer. In most of the documents it is highlighted that children should receive an appropriate curriculum - a rather vague description of a very complex area. It was also highlighted in the "Count Us In" report how pivotal the curriculum is in achieving inclusive schooling. I will also be discussing the approaches to learning and teaching as it is through our approach to learning and teaching we convey our fundamental beliefs about learning and teaching. ...read more.

Conclusion

During my time in class with pupil A, he actually never finished a task as a result of not regularly attending and the short time I have been working with him. He also missed a summative assessment. This was marked on scores only without any additional written feedback on how each individual pupil is progressing. Very little verbal feedback is given to individual pupils during a lesson but pupils know, in general, how they are performing. Critique of the practice The practice of this teacher, although very skilled in classroom management and explaining the task, does not provide effective learning and teaching for all pupils in the class as outlined in the EPSEN report. The tasks given to pupils could possibly be made more relevant by allowing pupils to choose the designs instead of having to copy standard set tasks, for example the MOT logo. Having ownership of your own work is known to increase motivation and has been highlighted as good practice in learning and teaching in the "Count us in" report. However, the work given to the pupils is not solely decided by the teacher but will be a departmental decision. The teacher's attitude that some pupils are just not good at technical drawing identifies the child as the source of learning difficulty rather than the task given. Furthermore, it is difficult to see the teacher as being inclusive, as the teacher's attitude does not establish a climate in which each individual is appreciated and can prosper as outlined in the features in the "Count us in" report. It also runs counter to transformability, a teaching approach, which is inclusive and challenges the notion of ability labels and results in pupils making very good progress (Hart, 2003). Conclusion I would to stress here that due to my only short employment in school X, I have only worked with a very limited number of teachers therefore it is very difficult to make an objective assessment of the provision of additional support needs within an inclusive ethos. ...read more.

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