Julie, Christopher and Peter very pertinently query the way in which the ‘mainstream offer’ is presented in the White and Green Papers. I wonder whether the ‘confusion’ is actually a manifest indication of the lack of ‘coherence’ in the two Papers’ representation of the decision-making about the interventions mentioned ? Two aspects seem relevant.
~ Although there has been a gradual acknowledgement of the wider goals of the ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum, the knotty challenge of this breadth has not been articulated in ways that accord the goals parity with the National Curriculum targets in regard to accountability. The plea for ‘metrics’ in chapter 5 of the Green Paper raises questions at least about practicality!
~ Similarly there is now an acknowledgement that ‘quality first’ teaching requires a ‘graduated response’ when class teachers are concerned about a child or young person requiring ‘additional or different’ provision – whether through ‘Targeted’ or ‘SEN Support’ intervention. However, there is little understanding of the conceptual challenge facing teachers in tracing the causal cumulative and compensatory interaction of the individual’s strengths and needs and of how teachers should cope with the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ successive cycles to find ‘what works’ – particularly for achieving the above wider developmental goals. The demand for this understanding has become more evident in relation to deprivational factors during the Covid-19 pandemic and now also to the impact of family poverty.
The above conceptual challenges also mean that class teachers, school staff and specialist support services personnel should be allocated proportionate time to think and confer.
Klaus Wedell is an educational psychologist and a founding member of the Forum. He was appointed to the first chair for children and young people with special educational needs at the UCL Institute of Education after the publication of the Warnock Report. On his retirement he co-founded the national SENDCo Forum, and worked for some years as a voluntary TA and SEND governor in the local village school.