3. Linking to the school’s inclusivity journey
The handbook could have a powerful effect if linked to the school’s inclusive journey – whichever stage they are currently at. Senior leaders will need to consider which aspects of the handbook might be the most appropriate starting point for their own setting. Sections of the handbook can then complement professional development and learning that is already underway in schools, enriching what is already in place.
Teaching and learning leads, pastoral leads and SENCo could then work together to create one, clear and consistent message that’s communicated about the handbook.
4. Professional learning & practice
It would be helpful to chunk some of the content with clear plans to show how topics will be introduced and when they will be re-visited for professional learning and practice to be consolidated and built upon. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) have produced a useful guidance report for delivering Effective Professional Development.
5. Distributing leadership
In terms of distributing leadership there is the potential for teams of staff to take responsibility for specific sections in order to reflect on current practices and seek out further developments and improvements.
• Pastoral teams could look at intersectionality and focus in on particular learners in order to create a holistic overview of vulnerabilities. This work can then be shared and discussed with subject teams to explore how vulnerabilities may impact on the learner within the classroom setting. Additional strategies and reasonable adjustments can then be explored and put in place to address and remove barriers.
• Subject teams could review the suggested strategies in the handbook and trial them in lessons. The impact can be discussed in team meetings with staff sharing their experiences and suggesting how approaches could be refined. Over time the list of strategies can be added to so that further developments in high quality inclusive teaching can be made. These strategies could also link in with those outlined in Surrey’s Ordinarily Available Provision.
• Teaching assistants could share strategies that they use to support learners to engage within lessons. Their insight can contribute to additional strategies being adopted by teachers and other colleagues so that good practice is shared across the school. Teaching assistants can also discuss strategies that have helped learners to become more independent and include them in updated one-page profiles to highlight what the learner can do to support themself.
6. Reading and writing at secondary level
There is a focus on phonics, reading and writing at primary level, but these are not covered at secondary level. A study by GL Assessment in 2019 Read all about it: Why reading is the key to GCSE success revealed national statistics that illustrate the need for consideration at secondary level too.
• 25% of 15-year-olds had a reading age of 12 or below
• 20% had a reading age of 11 and below
• 10% had a reading age of 9 and below
It’s clear that secondary teachers also need guidance on how they can support reading within their classrooms. Reviewing the primary guidance on reading and writing will be a useful starting point, and then refined to suit secondary aged learners. How staff introduce and reinforce vocabulary in lessons can also be added to these strategies as learners face more complex and increasingly demanding subject specific terminology.