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What works best for children with SEND works best for all children

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What works best for children with SEND works best for all children

What works best for children with SEND? That, of course, depends upon the precise nature of children’s particular needs. That said, we can draw some generalisable conclusions by thinking about some of the more common areas of special educational need.

For instance, a child with a working memory deficit is likely to benefit from having information carefully sequenced and instruction broken into manageable chunks. But all children have limited working memory capacity.

Dyslexic children have the best possible chance of learning to read fluently if they are given carefully sequenced systematic synthetic phonics instruction. This is equally true of children who are not dyslexic

Students with an attachment disorder are likely to benefit from a structured environment, consistent rules, professional distance and focusing feedback on behaviour not the child. A child with an autistic spectrum disorder is likely to benefit from orderly routines and a calm environment. And a child who has ADHD is likely to benefit from clear boundaries and consistent, proportional consequences, but so is every other child

While there will always be exceptions, by and large, the types of pastoral support and instructional practice that work best with children with SEND* will almost certainly be most likely to get the best results with all children. If you want to know what good practice looks like then a good first step is to speak the the SEND Co-ordinator at your school; very likely they will have some wise and useful insights that will help teachers teaching any students.

While not all children are equally able, all children are more likely to achieve well if their teachers have high expectation to what they are capable of. Those with educational disadvantages need explicit instruction, clear modelling, well-designed scaffolding which is taken as rapidly as is possible and lots of guided practice. But this is what is likely to most beneficial for all children.

The children who are most disadvantaged, most at risk of failing, will be those that most need their teachers to be aware of effective practice. Advantaged children are more likely to thrive regardless of what their teachers do but they too will still benefit from the kinds of practice children with SEND need.

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