Working Together to Support Students with SEND at Biddenham
Co-Production and Parent Engagement:
We believe that effective communication between school and home is imperative for students with SEND. It allows for smooth transitions every day and benefits overall well-being and progress. We endeavour to work with students and families as closely as we can. This can happen through communication home from link teaching assistants; informal or formal meetings and parents evenings; and parent engagement events which have previously included an end of term SEND celebration event and coffee mornings.
We are a relatively large team in the Learning Hub, with a SENDCo, Deputy SENDCo, two administrators and a number of teaching assistants. Seven of our Teaching Assistants are L3 Lead TAs taking responsibility for either a key stage area or one of the four areas of need (Cognition and Learning; Social, Emotional and Mental Health; Communication and Interaction and Sensory and/or Physical). Their responsibility includes having an overview of students within each area of need, and also the provisions available to support each respective student.
The Learning Hub:
We are based in R block (R9) overlooking the school fields. This is the hub for our staff and students to come together to co-ordinate any required support. During lesson times it can provide an alternative safe space for learning with support from a TA. We provide a social space during break and lunch times where students can come if they choose to, away from the hustle and bustle of the main school areas. Students can eat their lunch with us, and are supported, if needed and wanted, to build their confidence to make social connections.
We run a range of booster sessions covering the development of numeracy, literacy, and social and emotional skills. These include: handwriting; Lego Therapy; Toe by Toe; Social Stories and Zones of Regulation. These are delivered by our teaching assistants in small groups or 1:1. These are for fixed time periods outside of lesson time, and the aim is to enable our students where possible, to holistically access the mainstream curriculum. For those that cannot do so, we can provide more individualised curriculum if required.
Every Monday to Thursday after school we run a homework club staffed by teaching assistants to provide a space where students can complete independent learning.
The Sensory Space:
We were lucky to receive some funding from the Alderman Newton’s Educational Foundation to be able to set up a sensory space within the Learning Hub. This allows students to have a dedicated space to regulate themselves if they need it.
We have a dedicated and hardworking team of teaching assistants who work alongside our students and teachers in the classroom. Teachers are trained to employ adaptive teaching strategies to support and promote progress and independence with learning. Teaching assistants support students with this in mind. At Biddenham, our teaching assistants are timetabled predominantly to support students with Education, Health and Care Plans; we are however, a ‘needs-led’ school and support is offered where it is required. Our teaching assistants may work with small groups or individual students providing various types of personalised assistance. Examples of support may include, checking understanding of instructions, chunking content, scribing, and/or reading, and anything else that supports the student’s confidence in learning. Here at Biddenham a student can be supported by a number of different teaching assistants, although if a student has an EHCP, one specific teaching assistant will be a named ‘Link TA’ and have an overview of their progress and will strive to create a supportive relationship with them and their family.
SEND Events and Training:
As a staff team we regularly try to ensure we are keeping up to date with relevant training opportunities. We also send out regular communication about local events for parents via the school social media channels, so please do look out for those if they are of interest to you. The Bedford Local offer is also available and there is a link on our department’s main page.