Jump to content
About Us



Recommended Posts

Before any school begins the process of intervention programmes for children, they need to make sure they have done all that they can in class to ensure the child has had barriers to learning removed.

I have been in post for one year but I have been a SENCo for over 15 years. In all my 20 years of teaching I feel my experience enables me to look at how special needs has evolved over the past two decades and can advise and help colleagues and parents alike on many aspects of special needs.

For those who do not know, the intervention in special needs comes in 3 waves. Wave one is whole class teaching- removing barriers to learning through differentiation, teaching and learning styles that suit all children in the class and through use of the TA within the class setting. If planning and teaching is effective there is no reason to begin on any wave 2 intervention. For example in foundation stage at our school we are running a ‘jump ahead’ programme with all children every morning for 15 minutes. All children therefore have access to this excellent programme which helps children to improve fine and gross motor skills. The whole class access it and so it is a wave one programme. However, with large classes and few TA hours – wave 2 and 3 do tend to be used more often than is preferred.


Wave 2 intervention comes often in the form of government led initiatives such as ELS, FLS and springboard for maths and it is intended for small groups. These small groups are often run by TA’s who are trained for the delivery of the programme. I wonder how many teachers know what their children are doing when they go out of the class to receive this teaching. These programmes have been effective for some children but we must never lose sight of the individual child, and for some children this means just another opportunity to fail. In our school, before a child is chosen to embark on a programme they are assessed by the SENCo for their suitability for the programme. For example, a kinaesthetic learner would not respond well to the ALS programme, as it is mainly delivered for oral and visual learners. A multi-sensory approach is the best option for all special needs children to ensure a range of learning styles is covered.


If wave one and two has not been successful with a child then wave 3 is brought in. This is an individual programme that is run to meet the needs of a particular child who, up until this point, has failed to make progress. In our school we run wave 3 literacy successfully with several children and a ‘bull’s eye’ programme which is particular to our county which is designed to teach the common reading words to children who have not yet managed to read.

Wave 3 children will be on school action plus on the SEN register and outside agency support is needed to ensure that the barriers to this child making progress is identified and a suitable wave 3 programme is used to help this child make progress.

I find that the most affective wave 3 programmes are the multi-sensory ones. I write some of these learning programmes myself and they involve parents carrying on the support at home. The programmes are always fun and exciting; they are designed so that the child can see themselves making progress. The programmes must be fun and exciting because we learn the most when we are having fun and our memories are stimulated when we are enjoying ourselves. How many boring days in on a rainy day can you remember? I bet your most favourite memory is a special day when you were doing something really exciting.

We have a full and happy school with every child excited at the idea of coming to school. One parent said to me that their child is sad at the weekends because there is no school! This is how it should be, this is what I strive to deliver as a teacher and as a colleague. Children make progress when they feel happy and secure in a stimulating and exciting environment. Please think carefully about the learning programmes that you use in your school. DO they meet the needs of each child? How many programmes have your special needs children been on? Have they worked? Have they been on so many programmes that they have not actually felt they have accessed their own class lessons? Do you know what programmes your SEN children are on and what they entail? If you get nothing else out of reading this piece- please take away the importance of fun and a love for learning that so many SEN children out there lost a long time ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Suzybell and welcome to the forum. I'm sure you'll soon be addicted like the rest of us :o

Thanks for the rundown - was this post linked to another one? I'm sure your expertise in SEN will be called upon by people time and time again in this forum. That's what is so nice about the FSF - lot's of wonderful practitioners all willing to share their knowledge, ideas and opinions!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi suzybell,

Welcome to the forum, from someone who still considers herself a newby. (and trying very hard not to become addicted)

I enjoyed reading your post and it's so lovely that you retain the love of your work as I'm sure that this is actually even more fundamental, when working in this area, than anything else.


From my work with SEN (albeit in the older spectrum) I also feel that things need to be real and purposeful, and not contrived. Many learning opportunities come from the basics of life, cooking is a prime example as we all need to nourish ourselves and at the end we get to internalise our lesson, (making it physical too)...by eating.

Another thing, which you touched on I believe, is memory. Memory is also retained in muscle so anything that needs to be learnt by doing headwork should also be accompanied by something physical, maths done in a P.E lesson is one basic example; throwing and catching etc.


(If anyone is interested in the older age children/young adults needs and education or wants info for parents about help available then here is something that not all LEA's, social services etc. are aware of and may need prompting:)



Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)