November Issue

November 2019


A very warm welcome to the Second edition of Bitesize. A school’s SENCo has two very important jobs:

Job one: To fulfil the role of the SENCO.

Job two: To do everything else.

 With the education committee’s report on the state of provision for pupils with special educational needs, the end of the honeymoon period of the new school year, a mountain of paperwork and several new initiatives, a general election which could herald change and all of the other things and stuff it is easy to feel like we are sinking in the eye of a turbulent storm. With that in mind I have decided that SEND is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance the rain.

Each time something new, potentially scary or difficult comes our way it is important to take a deep breath and remember why we do this. It’s all about the human beings that we are helping to have the best and brightest tomorrow.

I think that the new style OFSTED reports pose an interesting question: ‘What is it like to attend this school?’ It is heart-warming to hear that many of you are asking a similar question: ‘What is it like to be a pupil who experiences SEND in our school?’ This question makes us bring back all that we do to our children and young people and to push forwards on their behalf.

I hope that you will enjoy our second edition of Bitesize – if there is anything that you’d like to see in future editions please get in touch.

It’ll soon be Christmas….

Beccie Hawes.

The Education Committee SEND Report

A cross-party committee of MPs has published what could be argued is a landmark report on the state of provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

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September Issue :  September 2019From September 2019 the new OFSTED Framework will ask parents to...

Mentally Healthy Schools – The All About Me Toolkit

This toolkit is aimed at primary school children. The activities, lesson plans and assembly plans in this toolkit – which meet the learning objectives for the PSHE curriculum – will help children to think about who they are as a person, recognise what they are good at, identify positives things about themselves, learn from their experiences and set goals. There are also activities included to support staff wellbeing too. Lesson plans are split into six themes:

  1. Wonderful Me – Understanding my Feelings.
  2. People Around Me – Special People.
  3. Resilience – People to Turn to.
  4. Meaning and Purpose – What am I Like?

5.Healthy Body, Healthy Brain – Ready for Bed.

  1. Relaxation – Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

Each lesson includes a plan, resources and a teacher video covering years 1 – 6.

This Toolkit can be found at:

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is said to be umbrella term – a spectrum that represents a range of effects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. This can occur when alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to her baby via the placenta. As a result of the baby’s inability to process alcohol as well as the mother damage can occur to the cells in their brain, spinal cord and other parts of the body which can disrupt their development in the womb. This can result in a number of challenges and difficulties such as:

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Talking About Mental Wellbeing – Children’s Books That Can Kickstart a Conversation.

It could be argued that the earlier we start discussing mental wellbeing, emotions and their complexity the better equipped our children will be to self-monitor, self-regulate and seek crucial support if needed. The following books can offer a helpful discussion starting point.

‘The Magical Wood’ by Mark Lemon

Loss, hope and friendship are the key themes of this text. The author’s father was murdered when Mark Lemon was just twelve years old. He draws upon this trauma to write this book which was published on the twenty-sixth anniversary of his father’s death. The story focuses upon the strongest tree in the wood which is blown down by a gale-force-wind and dies. It goes on to explore how the family tree survives. This book has been praised by many families who are coping with grief of their own.

‘The Truth Pixie’ by Matt Haig

‘The Truth Pixie’ is a short rhyming story that encourages children to accept themselves and understand that if bad things happen they don’t define your forever. Haig is perhaps best known for his honest account of living with depression, anxiety and his experiences of suicidal thoughts.

‘The Mystery of the Colour Thief’ by Ewa Jozefkowicz

Aimed at teenagers this text is about a girl called Izzy who experiences nightmares following a car accident which resulted in her mum being in a coma. A shadowy thief steals all of the colours from Izzy’s world which leaves her with feelings of hopelessness. A new neighbour brings light to her times of darkness. This is a story about families, friendships, school, nature, hope and self-confidence.

‘The Unworry Book’ by Alice James

This is a book to interact with full of activities to help calm the mind. Activities include making a mood grid, colouring, doodling and mazes all aimed at supporting mindfulness. Written with the help of a psychologist there are links to websites for further advice, tips and support.

‘Scrambled Heads’ by Emily Palmer

Using eggs this text explains mental health in a simple way. The author decided to write the book after overhearing her dad describe her as appearing tough, but being a softy – just like an egg.

‘How Are You Feeling Today?’ by Molly Potter

A colourful book that can be used to explore and start conversations about feelings. The text contains fun, imaginative ways to help children understand and cope with a variety of emotions. It also provides parents and carers with the tools that they need to support their child with dealing with those feelings.

Beccie Hawes, BA (hons) QTS, PG Cert (SpLD), MEd, AMBDA


Beccie has worked in all aspects of Special Educational Needs including mainstream, additionally resourced provision and specialist settings. She has extensive experience as a SENCo, Inclusion Manager and Lead Local Authority Advisory Teacher. Beccie is currently the Head of Service with the North Star Inclusion Advisory Team in Walsall – a service that supports schools and settings with all aspects of inclusion. Beccie remains very ‘hands on’ in the classroom and is passionate about being at the chalk face to support teachers and children in order to practice what she preaches.

The Autism Education Trust: Autism Progression Framework 2.0 Updated Oct 2019

This is a highly comprehensive interactive assessment tool for children and young people on the autism spectrum in mainstream and specialist early years, school and post 16 settings. It is specifically designed to support staff in identifying learning priorities and measuring progress in areas that fall outside the national curriculum.


Available from:

Supporting Pupils with Activities of Daily Living (ADL)

 Activities of daily living include the basic actions that involve caring for one’s self and body, including personal care, mobility, and eating. Difficulties such as developing the appropriate motor skills for tool control (writing, cutting and eating for example), dressing and undressing for PE, executing the skills to play ball games on the playground and planning and executing a task can all pose significant barriers to learning and accessing wider school life.

The KIDS section of the Glasgow and Clyde NHS website provides free, evidence based advice on developing a number of these skills. The advice is often supported with effective visuals and breaks skills down into small steps allowing you to effectively assess small step progress towards a bigger goal. Much of this information would be useful to signpost for parents and carers. It can be accessed via:

ERIC – The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity.

ERIC exists to give every child and teenager with a bowel or bladder condition the support they deserve to enjoy a life free from shame, isolation and fear. A range of child and teenager friendly resources are available that explore many of the issues, stigmas and worries related to continence. There are also helpful resources for schools which include managing continence issues in nurseries, schools and colleges and guidance on the rules and regulations surrounding toilets. The website also contains a helpful Children’s Continence Pathway and downloadable resources, leaflets and factsheets. This is all available from:

Deaf Pupils in England

The National Deaf Children’s Society has analysed government data and identified the following headlines:

  • 44% of deaf pupils achieve two A levels or equivalent, compared with 63% of hearing pupils;
  • 73% gain five GCSEs or equivalent compared with 88% of hearing pupils;
  • At Key Stage Two fewer than half of deaf pupils (43%) reach the expected standard for reading, writing and maths compared with 74% of other pupils.
  • At Key Stage One 53% of deaf pupils reach the expected standard compared to 84% of hearing pupils.

As part of a quality first teaching approach the following strategies are supportive for pupils with hearing impairments:

  • Ensure that you have the pupil’s attention before speaking; make sure you are facing them.
  • Speak clearly; but avoid speaking artificially slowly, exaggerating your lips, or shouting as this affects the natural rhythm of speech.
  • Make use of natural gesture and facial expression as a clue to meaning.
  • Make sure that there is adequate light on your face. Do not stand with your back to windows.
  • Position the student so that he/she can lip-read you easily and see the board and supporting visuals and as much of the class/their group or partner as possible if there is to be a group discussion.
  • Repeat questions asked from the rest of the group.
  • Make use of visual material, i.e. handouts, key vocabulary, diagrams, written instructions, virtual learning environments and the interactive board to support context and meaning.
  • Indicate when you are changing the subject.
  • Check comprehension; encourage and direct questions.
  • Agree a discrete help signal so that the pupil can indicate when you need to repeat something or they have not understood.
  • Keep background noise to a minimum.
  • Offer pre-teaching for new or subject specific vocabulary.
  • Support the pupil for note taking activities; remember that he/she cannot lip-read and write simultaneously.

The National Deaf Children’s Society website contains many useful documents, support, advice and guidance that is useful to schools:


Metacognition can be defined as an individual’s ability to identify their current thought process and select helpful and appropriate strategies to tackle challenges more effectively. It covers:

  • the pupil’s ability to plan, monitor, redirect and evaluate how they think and learn;
  • thinking about thinking;
  • awareness of the process of learning;
  • knowing what we know and what we don’t know;
  • having the knowledge and control of both one’s thinking and of one’

Metacognition skills cover cognitive knowledge and cognitive regulation:

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Talk About Talk

Developed by the charity ICAN Talk about Talk Secondary is an evidenced targeted intervention aimed at supporting pupils aged 14 to 18 with poor communication skills to be ready for the work place. The programme consists of a series of 13 fully planned one-hour lessons delivered by trained teaching or support staff.

Selected students participating in the intervention will learn and rehearse the communication skills that support other ‘soft’ employability skills such as team working, time management and problem-solving. Students work towards co-delivering workshops about communication skills to an audience in their school and then to local businesses. Workshops help students apply these skills and a range of tools help them reflect on their progress throughout the lessons.

Trained members of staff from your school deliver the intervention. The training is suitable for Teachers, Teaching Assistants and Special Educational Needs Coordinators. The one-day practitioner training course provides background on speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) as well as providing full details and materials to deliver the lessons and workshops. The training is delivered on-site in your school. Schools who only train small numbers of staff may wish to consider joining with other schools locally to share the cost.

Once training is booked, you receive the following materials:

  • An intervention manual containing detailed lesson plans and resources
  • Printed student workbooks to help students reflect on and apply the skills they are learning
  • Access to the online Talk for Work Profile and Tracker, where you can monitor student progress and print reports
  • Online presentations and specifically designed films to support all lessons
  • Additional online materials to organise and run the communication workshops for audience

The Talk about Talk Secondary Intervention Pack including all of the above costs £250.00.

Further information is available from: or 0207 843 2515

The Extended Plan for Pupil Premium Strategy - What Might be Included

From September 2019 the Department for Education have announced that schools may consider having a three-year medium-term Pupil Premium strategy which can be updated annually. This is an option, not a requirement but it is hoped that it will increase the incentives for long term thinking and “align their plan with the wider school improvement strategy”.

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CPD and Events: What’s On?

Fundamentals of Dyslexia Support – eLearning module:

By the end of the module participants will:

  • Have explored the role and responsibilities of the support provider.
  • Have considered different learning styles and how these shape the support provided.
  • Have an understanding of what a multisensory approach is and why it is important.
  • Have identified a range of practical strategies for supporting individuals to manage their dyslexia.

Cost: £120

The Dyslexia Show – Birmingham National Exhibition Centre

20th and 21st March 2020

This is the UK’s first free to attend national exhibition dedicated entirely to dyslexia. The Dyslexia Show is open to all and focuses on awareness and the understanding of dyslexia in education, parenting and the workplace. At the show you’ll be able to attend seminars, workshops, build your CPD portfolio, learn about various types of support and discover the latest developments in the field of dyslexia.

Behaviour Management – IBIS, ILEC Conference Centre, London

26th February 2020

You can expect in-depth keynotes with leading experts and a choice of workshops including:

  • the importance of positive teacher and support-staff behaviours and the impact they have on the behaviour of children
  • parental engagement and support
  • a look at the benefits of employing an inclusive behaviour management strategy to support all children
  • clarifying the recommendations of the EEF report ‘Improving Behaviour in Schools’
  • the impact of having a clear and consistent behavioural policy
  • age specific workshops and strategies to help manage low-level disruption and reinforce positive behaviours
  • looking at the use of social emotional learning.

Colour Blind Awareness

The Colour Blind Awareness organisation was established to raise awareness of colour blindness (colour vision deficiency) and aims to be the first point of reference in the UK for people seeking information on colour blindness. The organisation provides support for colour blind people, especially colour blind children and their families and teachers.

Statistically, there could be at least one colour blind pupil in every one of our classrooms. Colour is used extensively in our schools and settings to provide contrast, create interest, for colour coding marking/feedback to pupils, as a means of classification, to highlight teaching points and to provide a stimulating environment. For the approximately 450,000 colour blind children in UK schools today this creates many problems and can hinder learning, solely because they aren’t able to distinguish accurately between many colours.

This website provides a specific section for teachers focusing upon support, useful videos and resources that could be worth sharing with your colleagues. You can find this at:

Signed Stories

The Signed Stories website offers free animated children’s stories performed in sign language. American and British sign language options are available to watch. Stories include classic fairy tales, folktales, modern picture books, songs and nursery rhymes. You can find all of this at:

SEND Division and Behaviour, Attendance, Exclusions and Alternative Provision
DfE SEND Newsletter

The items of importance to schools include:



  • Teaching Online Safety in Schools Guidance Published 26th June – includes signposting to resources to further support schools e.g. resources to help schools consider how best to support their most vulnerable pupils. 


  • Launch of Young Epilepsy Guide. The guide provides information on supporting young people with epilepsy to ensure they are safe and included at school. This includes seizure first aid and suggested support strategies in learning and behaviour.

The Extended Plan for Pupil Premium Strategy - What Might be Included?

From September 2019 the Department for Education have announced that schools may consider having a three-year medium-term Pupil Premium strategy which can be updated annually. This is an option, not a requirement but it is hoped that it will increase the incentives for long term thinking and “align their plan with the wider school improvement strategy”.

Schools must publish a strategy statement if they receive pupil premium. To create a strategy statement, schools can: