Andrew Maker, TES Author GoldSEN, feels there is a lack of framework and resources for teaching SEN students and discusses below how he overcomes these challenges
How I got started
Finding suitable assessment tools, lesson plans or schemes of work to teach students with severe learning difficulties (SLD) and profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) can be a minefield. Unfortunately, it's often the case that the resources you're looking for are lacking, which made me realise the importance of thinking creatively when producing teaching materials for SEN students.
With my PE resources, I started by identifying suitable activities that pupils could do. I was keen to introduce activities that would be beneficial for students in the long-term; keeping them physically active while developing their physical and motor skills.
Starting with a blank canvas, I developed what I felt was quite a rounded curriculum. It included trampolining, swimming, boxercise, multi-skills, active team building and a heavily-adapted version of circuit training. The sessions were well received and allowed students to make progression gradually.
Focusing on assessment and success
I found existing assessment criteria lacked the detail needed to effectively describe students' progress, especially as P-levels can be quite formulaic. For example in swimming, the criteria didn’t reflect what a pupil had accomplished, with sometimes only one short statement summarising all of their hard work.
I therefore devised my own assessment scale, in a certificate-style format, which helped to capture the small steps they were achieving. This resource* shaped the lessons I taught, particularly for those students with SLD, who conversely might only make progress through one P-level over the duration of their entire education.
For me, it is essential that teachers have appropriate SEN-focused resources, not just something intended for mainstream education that has a line at the end about adapting for students with different needs. Although there is plenty of good practice already taking place in SEN schools, it would be beneficial to have a clearer framework and guide, even a toolkit, to enhance teaching.
Ideally, SEN teachers need a fresh approach that recognises the slightly unorthodox learning pathway that these students take, but until that time, my best advice is to embrace the creative mindset!