Cambridgeshire Strategic SEND Support

Strategic SEND Support Team overview

The Strategic SEND Support service in an integral part of the SEND Services (0-25 years) provision within Cambridgeshire. The team comprises a dedicated group of specialist teachers who offer focused support with strategic issues relating to SEND provision, provide additional time-limited SEND leadership capacity, facilitate strategic audits of SEND provision and work on projects which have a strategic value to the development of SEND Support within your school or setting.

The Strategic SEND Support service also lead on the delivery of quality assured accredited training and are a recognised centre for Gateway Qualifications, as well as having partnerships with Eastern Partnership (SEND) UK and University of Hertfordshire. We lead on the delivery of the National Award for SEND Co-ordination in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and a number of other accredited courses. Please see our separate training pages for more information.

This Strategic SEND Support Service is discrete from your SEND district team time allocation and therefore engagement with us does not impact on the hours of teacher or educational psychology support you have been assigned. It is important to note that although we are all part of SEND Services, engagement with the Strategic SEND Support service will not duplicate the work of the district teams with children and young people, and you should continue to negotiate with your link teacher/EP or the SEND district team managers for this.

Most services provided by the Strategic SEND Support service are delivered at no additional cost to Cambridgeshire primary schools. The exception to this would be the delivery of accredited training and some SEND leadership capacity additional provision, such as providing an experienced SENCO on a short term basis to fill a staffing gap whilst recruitment takes place, or to cover for long term absence.

We can provide support in settings other than primary schools, but this will normally be a charged for service.

For more information or to discuss a particular strategic need in your school, please contact Rebecca Doyle, County Strategic SEND Support Team Manager in the first instance at Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk

To access the Strategic SEND Support services, or to enquire about any of our accredited training courses, please contact the County Strategic SEND Support Team Manager at: Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk in the first instance.

A member of the Strategic SEND Support Service will then contact you to discuss your requirements in more detail.

Referrals for support with strategic SEND work always require the agreement of the school’s head teacher.

All work is time limited and will include us working with you collaboratively to set clear objectives prior to commencement of any involvement.

For those schools or settings who are, for whatever reason, either temporarily or longer term without a SENCO in post, the Strategic SEND Support service can negotiate input to maintain this vital SENCO leadership role.

This usually involves a member of the team working regularly within your school for a time-limited period to enable you to recruit to the role either internally or externally. This also applies where they may be an issue of long-term absence of the current post holder, leaving the school in need of some additional support.

There is a charge for this service, currently £150 per day of SENCO support.

Following your successful recruitment to the role, or the return of the postholder, there will be a planned hand-over period to ensure smooth transition to your own SENCO, which is not charged for.

This SENCO leadership role will be carried out by an experienced SEND Specialist Teacher, all of whom are tutors, supervisors and assessors on the National Award for SEN Co-ordination and experienced in working in schools in this role.

Although generally this is a day per week, we are flexible in our approach and other support patterns can be arranged by negotiation with individual schools to suit your needs.

To check availability of a member of the team to undertake this role, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk in the first instance. A member of the team will then contact you to discuss your needs in more detail and agree a plan with you.

The Strategic SEND Support Service are facilitators for the AptGO Ofsted linked SEND audit and planning tool, working with leadership teams to identify strategic actions for SEND school improvements within your school or setting.

The AptGO provides a framework for auditing, planning, and further developing strategic SEND policy and practice to help schools achieve Good and Outstanding judgements when they are inspected. There are a series of incremental statements designed to generate discussion across 36 areas under the four Ofsted headings of leadership and management, quality of education, behaviour and attitudes and personal development.

The AptGO strategic audit involves a one day facilitated discussion, supported using the purpose designed self-evaluation tool. Facilitated whole day AptGO audit sessions usually involve the Headteacher, SENCO and may include the SEND governor, Chair of Governors, or other leadership members depending on the preference of the individual school. Some schools decide to include wider members of their SEND teams to bring different perspectives to the discussion as well. The appropriateness of this can be discussed with your facilitator as all schools and SEND departments are different and we aim to respond to what works best for you.

You will receive a pack of materials including the self-evaluation tool in advance of the agreed meeting, but the actual completion of this takes place during the facilitated day. This is very much a constructive discussion between our team member and you in schools and is purposely designed to be challenging but supportive. There is no need to pre-prepare unless you would like to familiarise yourself with the self-evaluation tool in advance when your pack is delivered.

The day usually runs from 9.30am until 3.30pm, but there is flexibility to work with you around timings to suit. Our skilled facilitators will take you through the four key strands of the AptGO tool, using questions to engage, clarify thinking and prompt you to make links between different sections. We are there to support your thinking and self-evaluation judgements and although it is a challenging day, you should find it useful and with the outcome of a greater strategic understanding of your SEND provision and approaches in school, as well as identifying some actions to develop over the coming year.

The AptGO package of support from the Strategic SEND Support Team includes a minimum of two review sessions where we look again at your actions from the original audit and your progress towards developing these as part of our ongoing support. These visits are usually termly, but we can be flexible in our approach depending on the individual needs of the school. These review sessions can be with the SENCO alone, although wider strategic leaders and others are very welcome to also attend those sessions.

There is currently no charge for the AptGO facilitated discussion day and review sessions for Cambridgeshire maintained primary schools and academies. This can be delivered in secondary settings as a charged for service; please contact us for more detail.

The AptGO is regularly updated to correspond with current Ofsted school inspection frameworks.

To arrange an AptGO facilitated day or to discuss in more detail, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk in the first instance.

New or new to Cambridgeshire SENCO support

The Strategic SEND Support service offers a tailored programme of support for new or new to Cambridgeshire SENCOs by negotiation, depending on individual needs.

For new to post SENCOs, we will support you to develop practice as a SENCO through solution focused approaches which may involve coaching, mentoring or tutoring, dependent on your individual needs.

A member of the Strategic SEND Support team will arrange an introductory virtual conference discussion with you to outline what we can provide and answer any questions or signpost you to other SEND services if relevant. If you want to engage in coaching or mentoring support, this will be discussed with you and a plan for support put in place that we will regularly review. There is no set approach we take as every SENCO has different requirements.

We will also be able to discuss the mandatory National Award for SEN Co-ordinators course with you.

For experienced SENCOs who are new to Cambridgeshire, we will offer an introductory virtual conference to see if you feel there is a role for us in supporting you to become established within your role. We will also discuss the SENCO Refresher course we run annually with you.

It is important to note that any support we provide is not in place of link teacher and EP support from the district teams, and will focus on your professional development, not on provision for pupils or wider school issues.

If you would like to discuss support options further, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk in the first instance.

As part of ongoing engagement with Cambridgeshire SENCOs and other SEND leaders in schools and settings, the Strategic SEND Support Team can offer positive solution-focused coaching and mentoring. This can be in combination with other SENCO support or as standalone professional and personal development.

Coaching will be undertaken after discussion to clarify the process and completion of a coaching agreement. Both you and your assigned coach from the team will need to complete and adhere to this coaching agreement which aims to set boundaries and clarify the roles of each party.

The focus for coaching is empowerment of the individual SENCO and a non-hierarchical approach is taken. The aim is to enable you to identify solutions to any points raised which is done through skilful questioning and reflective approaches. There is an expectation that between coaching sessions, you will carry out any mutually agreed actions.

Coaching session discussions are confidential, except under specific circumstances which will be outlined as part of the informed consent and coaching agreement discussion.

All coaching and mentoring will have a supportive professional development focus.

Mentoring uses a different approach to coaching and focuses on supporting you to undertake SENCO and SEND professional tasks through strategies such as co-working, questioning, joint practice, shadowing, instruction, and reflective discussion approaches. A mentor will be appointed from the Strategic SEND Support team to work alongside you to enable you to develop your practice and to be a helpful contact to listen to you and offer support while you establish your own working practices.

It is often the case that mentoring support will lead on to coaching as your skills develop and this will be discussed between you. Should this be the case, a coaching agreement would be required, as detailed above.

The focus for both coaching and mentoring is flexible and will be determined after discussion.

To arrange coaching, mentoring or for more information, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk in the first instance.

The Strategic SEND Support service engage in time-limited project work with clear objectives set with you at the start of the engagement, with regular reviews of progress.

These involve us working alongside staff in schools to develop and enhance an identified area of SEND support practice.

These are individualised to your needs in the school but all have the shared aim of supporting the sustainable SEND school improvement on completion.

These can be stand-alone projects but can also arise as following an AptGO SEND audit as part of the action plan. They are bespoke for each setting and the ethos will be very much one of a partnership between the Strategic SEND Support specialist teacher and the school.

All projects are flexible in time and approach, but the core aim is in improving and sustaining SEND Support.

For an initial discussion or for more information, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk in the first instance and a member of the Strategic SEND Support team will undertake a more detailed conversation with you to see how we can work with you on your proposed project.

The Strategic SEND Support service lead the delivery of quality assured accredited training, as a recognised qualification centre with Gateway Qualifications.

We also lead on the delivery of the National Award for SEND Co-ordination in Cambridgeshire as part of our well-established partnership with the Eastern Partnership SEND (UK) and the University of Hertfordshire.

We can offer a range of quality assured accredited training with a SEND focus both as mixed-group open access courses or they can be delivered within your geographical area, following discussion, to minimise travel and increase accessibility for schools and settings locally. Most can be delivered on a real-time virtual delivery basis to enable wider access.

All of our training is subject to rigorous assessment, internal and external moderation and complies to accrediting and awarding body quality assurance standards. Our tutors are qualified teachers and hold additional assessor qualifications.

Currently we are offering the following training:

  • National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination (SENCO Award);
  • Level 5 Diploma in teaching learners with dyslexia, specific learning differences and barriers to literacy;
  • Level 7 diploma in dyslexia in assessing and teaching learners with dyslexia, specific learning differences and barriers to literacy;
  • Level 4 Certificate in Supporting the Learning of Learners with SEND;
  • Level 3 Award: Support for Children’s Speech, Language and Communication Needs;
  • Level 4 Award: Supporting Children and Young People with Speech, Language and Communication needs;
  • SENCO Refresher course:

All courses are described in more detail on their individual pages. For more information regarding any of these, or a discussion on their suitability for your current needs, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk in the first instance.

This is the mandatory qualification for all new to role SENCOs. It is often known as the SENCO Award. The course in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is led by the Strategic SEND Support team in partnership with the Eastern Partnership UK (SEND) and the University of Hertfordshire. The course is fully compliant with the DfE Learning Outcomes, the SEND Code of Practice (2015 6.86) and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations (2014). We are part of the National Award for SEN Coordination Provider Partnership.

All new to role SENCOs since 2009 must complete the National Award qualification within three years of coming into post.

The National Award for SEN Co-ordination is a postgraduate (level 7) course carrying 60 credits, taught over one year. You will attend 7 real-time virtual teaching days, carry out practical tasks and a small-scale action research project in your school or setting, which will enable you to complete the required end of module assignments.

The course starts with an online orientation session to enable you to familiarise yourself with expectations of the course, the tutors and the online platform facilities. This is in addition to the seven taught days and is held in September each year.

The Strategic SEND Support team have a strong track record of providing this high-quality course over a number of years and are experienced tutors, assessors and supervisors.

Registering with us to complete your National Award qualification includes not just the real-time face to face virtual classroom teaching sessions from experienced tutors; you will also benefit from access to an online learning platform. This virtual platform includes podcasts, video recordings and themed reading materials to develop your knowledge and understanding. You will be registered with the University of Hertfordshire for the duration of your studies and this gives you access to the full university library online, allowing you to source the latest research papers, academic journals and texts. You will be given an individual tutor from the Strategic SEND Support team who will support you throughout the year with personal tutorials. You will also have a year of access to the SEND Regional Forum.

To register go to: http://easternpartnership.co.uk/training/national-award-for-sen-coordination/

If you want to discuss the requirements of the course before registration or have any further questions, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk

This course runs across the academic year over five days. It is aimed at those SENCOs who may have completed the National Award for SEN Co-ordination some time ago (more than five years ago) or have been in post prior to 2009 when the SENCO regulations came into force and have not therefore completed the National Award.

The course will have a practical and taught element to ensure SENCOs have up to date information based on the research used in the current National Award. This will be delivered in face to face in real time in a virtual teaching environment. Interaction in the form of group tasks, feedback, virtual whiteboard participant discussion will be encouraged to share experiences and encourage peer learning.

Areas covered in recent training have included developing independent learning skills for pupils with SEND, what makes great teaching for pupils with SEND, high quality teaching and reasonable adjustments, developing metacognitive skills, person centred approaches and facilitating person centred reviews. The course is led by experienced tutors from the National Award. There may be some flexibility to add in sessions relevant to the needs of the group on occasions.

Part of the course will include each participant identifying an area of SEND interest to them which is suitable to engage in a small-scale guided action research project to develop SEND practice in their school or setting. This will require the writing of a project report, for which a study guide and support will be given, and undertaking a presentation of your project to your peer group during the day 5 session.

All resources and materials will be provided to enable full engagement with the course.

For more information please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk in the first instance.

This qualification comprises 6 teaching days, one each half term over a year, with practical tasks which are linked to each module undertaken to embed theory into practice. There is also an action research project in an area of SEND based on the interests of the individual participant. The course is accredited through Gateway Qualifications.

The audience is primarily support staff working in schools and settings across the primary and secondary age range. However, it has been successfully delivered to other groups including trainee teachers who want to expand their understanding of how best to support pupils with SEND in the classroom. It can be adapted to additional groups on request.

There are seven modules which combine to complete this certificate. Each module contributes to the portfolio of evidence of learning across the year. Once all seven modules are completed, they can be externally assessed for accreditation through Gateway Qualifications.

Areas covered within the modules of study are:

  • Understanding the four broad areas of need,
  • coaching skills,
  • evidence based interventions,
  • person centred approaches,
  • communication skills for professionals,
  • metacognition skills,
  • completion of a guided small-scale action research project in an area of SEND personal interest.

Each module involves a combination of taught content and practical tasks to be undertaken by the participant in their school or setting. Each module has its own study guide to support the completion of the required portfolio of evidence for assessment.

There is no formal exam or essay writing in this course. Assessment is through a portfolio of evidence. This will include short answer questions, case studies, an account of a practical task in school, producing own materials and other approaches. During taught sessions there are a number of activities undertaken in groups which can be photographed and annotated to include as evidence of learning. A range of resources will be investigated, and these could also be annotated to demonstrate new knowledge and learning. This ensures participants have a flexible approach to evidencing how they meet the assessment criteria for each course module. Presentations and witness statements from others in school may also be relevant evidence of learning from practical tasks.

All course participants have access to course tutors outside of the taught sessions to support learning. For all modules submitted for assessment, written feedback is provided.

All participants need to work in either a paid or voluntary capacity within a school or setting and have access to learners with SEND to complete tasks. There is an expectation that any support staff will work in a school or setting under the guidance of a suitably knowledgeable member of staff such as the SENCO for the duration of the course.

For more information or to ask any question on the content or suitability of the course for your needs, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk

The exciting and practical course comprises four mandatory modules:

  • Understanding the context of legislation and guidance in relation to dyslexia, specific learning differences and barriers to literacy,
  • assessing the need of individuals,
  • planning and teaching learning programmes,
  • evaluation of teaching and learning programmes.

Each module involves a combination of taught content and practical tasks to be undertaken by the participant in their school or setting. Each module has its own study guide to support the completion of the required portfolio of evidence for assessment.

The aims of this Level 5 Diploma are to:

  • develop participants’ understanding of dyslexia, specific learning differences and barriers to literacy affecting learning and cognition,
  • develop participants’ understanding of the context of learning and of the national and regional policies which affect SEND policies and provision within their own workplace,
  • develop participants’ ability to identify and assess the needs of learners with dyslexia, specific learning differences and barriers to literacy, using observation and evidence-based assessment,
  • develop participants’ ability to plan, deliver, review and evaluate effective teaching programmes for learners with dyslexia, specific learning differences and barriers to literacy, both in individual and small group settings
  • plan, deliver and evaluate programmes which include both literacy and numeracy, and to understand how difficulties with language and literacy will affect the development of numeracy skills
  • develop participants’ ability to work with others in supporting learners with dyslexia, specific learning differences and barriers to literacy,
  • develop participants’ professional values and commitment to professional standards.

Each module will be taught in real time using a virtual classroom environment, one session per week during term times. The virtual teaching will be participatory and full engagement from all participants will be encouraged and expected. All required essential course materials will be provided at no additional cost.

This qualification has been designed to provide high quality, practical continued professional development for teachers and other professionals working within schools and settings. It is a demanding course to undertake, but you will be supported in your studies by members of the Strategic SEND Support Team and other Specialist Teachers for some assessed modules. It is not a requirement to hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to complete this course, but it is essential that you have experience over a minimum of two years prior to starting the course of working with pupils with literacy needs, be working or volunteering in a school or setting for the duration of the course, and hold an enhanced DBS check.

There is an expectation of 110 guided learning hours and 600 hours of study overall. Guided learning hours include attendance at real time taught sessions, 20 hours of practical pupil teaching including the observed practice, time taken for preparing and evaluating practical teaching tasks and related activities. The 600 overall study hours includes the guided learning hours and is indicative only. Therefore, you may find you need more or less than the suggested time to complete the course.

This course is accredited by Gateway Qualifications and carries 60 credits at level 5.

As part of the qualification, you must attend all taught sessions and undertake practical tasks in you school or setting. These practical tasks include undertaking two blocks of 10 hours of practical support and teaching in your own setting which includes some assessed observation. Following the observation, you will be provided with written feedback to develop practice which you will evidence in your future lesson planning and evaluations. You will need to have access to pupils in more than one key stage to fulfil the requirements of this course. One of these pupils will experience literacy difficulties, the second will experience difficulties in literacy and numeracy. The observation and feedback will be provided by appropriately qualified Specialist Teachers working within SEND Services.

There is no formal exam for this course. Assessment is through a portfolio of evidence made up of set assignments and evidence of your teaching practice. Assignments may include short answer questions, essays, design and use of adapted checklists or questionnaires, summary reports, completed pupil assessments, pupil profiles, lesson plans, observation feedback, resource investigation and evaluation, feedback from your learners, evaluation and reflections on practice, a presentation and other materials as relevant to individual circumstances.

You will have access to course tutors outside of the taught sessions to support learning. For all assignments submitted for assessment, written feedback will be provided to support your ongoing professional development.

The course runs for one year. All participants will be expected to submit assignments on dates which will be given to you at least one term in advance, and to submit the completed portfolio of evidence within the 12 month period for moderation and external verification.

Participants who successfully complete the Level 5 Diploma may be able to progress to the Gateway Qualifications Level 7 Diploma in Assessing and Teaching learners with Dyslexia, specific learning differences and barriers to literacy.

If you have any further questions or want more information, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk

This course runs over two days with approximately one month between sessions to enable participants to carry out a practical task to embed theory into practice. This is taught in real time in a virtual teaching environment, making use of an interactive classroom. All participants are expected and encouraged to engage and interact with their peers and tutors during the course to make the most of this professional learning opportunity.

The course requires 30 guided learning hours to complete, made up of the taught sessions and practical tasks and learning outside of the classroom environment.

Assessment is through completion of a portfolio of evidence of learning, accredited through Gateway Qualifications. A study guide will be provided to support all participants to complete the qualification and submit their portfolio. Evidence of learning may take the form of short answer questions, a case study, a practical task carried out in a setting and examination of a number of key documents. During the taught session there are a number of group activities which can be photographed and annotated to include as additional evidence of learning.

There is no expectation of prior knowledge or understanding in this area of SEND, although participants will need to be working or volunteering in schools with pupils with SLCN to enable full participation.

The audience is primarily support staff working in schools and settings across the primary and secondary age range. However, the content is equally relevant to teachers and SENCO’s who would benefit from extending their understanding in this key area of SEND. It can be adapted for delivery to a mixed professional school group on request.

Areas covered include:

  • An overview of Speech, language and communication needs
  • Common speech, language and communication difficulties
  • Typical speech, language and communication development
  • Early interaction
  • Attention and listening
  • Play
  • Receptive language
  • Expressive language
  • Pragmatics
  • Articulation
  • What effective support looks like
  • How environments can be adapted to support development

All course participants have access to course tutors outside of the taught sessions to support learning. Written feedback is provided for all work submitted for assessment.

For more information or to ask any questions on the content or suitability of the course for your needs, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk

This course runs over two days with approximately one month between sessions to enable participants to carry out practical tasks and learning to embed theory into practice. It is taught in a real-time virtual teaching environment making use of an interactive classroom. Participants are encouraged to engage and interact with their peers and tutors during the course to make the most of the professional development opportunity this provides.

This qualification can be undertaken as a stand-alone accredited course for those with experience or prior training in this area, or as a progression route to develop knowledge and understanding for those who have completed the Strategic SEND Support Service Level 3 speech, language and communication needs course, Elklan or similar learning. If you do not have considerable prior experience in supporting speech and language needs in schools, then we would advise you complete the Level 3 course as a more appropriate starting point prior to progressing qualification.

The course requires 25 guided learning hours to complete, made up of a combination of taught sessions, practical tasks and learning outside of the classroom environment.

Assessment is through completion of a portfolio of evidence of learning and accredited through Gateway Qualifications. A study guide will be provided to support all participants to complete a portfolio of learning evidence. Evidence of learning may take the form of short answer questions, an extended practical task carried out in a setting and examination of a number of key documents. Additionally, during the taught sessions there are participatory group activities which can be photographed and annotated to include as additional evidence of learning.

Learners are expected to have direct experience and knowledge of supporting the needs of individuals with speech, language and communication needs. You must be either working or volunteering in schools with pupils experiencing SLCN to enable full participation.

The audience is primarily support staff working in schools and settings across the primary and secondary age range. However, the content is equally relevant to SENCO’s who would like to increase their expertise in this important area of SEND provision.

Areas covered include:

  • Roles and responsibilities around SLCN
  • Relevant legislation in relation to SLCN
  • Identifying and assessing SLCN
  • Using person centred approaches to meet SLCN
  • Adapting resources to support pupils with SLCN

All course participants have access to course tutors outside of the taught sessions to support learning. Written feedback is provided for all work submitted for assessment.

For more information or to ask any questions on the content or suitability of this qualification for your needs, please contact Rebecca.Doyle@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk