Q As Senco in a comprehensive school, I feel confident of my ability to advise on learning difficulties. However, I'm not so happy about behaviour, even though this features a lot on my students' individual education plans (IEPs). Where do my responsibilities lie?
A Our special education bureaucracy tends to point us towards the child as the focus of intervention. Thus IEPs will usually list the child's difficulties and set targets for him or her. The problem with school-based behaviour difficulties, however, is that it may be more productive to help one or more teachers to become more skilled in their classroom management.
Thus, focusing principally upon the child's behaviour may not be the most effective means to resolve a problem.
The problem is that some teachers will construe this as shifting the "blame" from the child to them and understandably react negatively. It is a culture of blame that impedes openness and creativity in seeking solutions.
Behaviour management is a sensitive issue that operates at the core of the teacher's sense of professional self. For this reason, many Sencos are understandably wary of advocating anything other than child-focused solutions.
Discuss your role with senior management and clarify with them the extent to which you are expected to have a role in behaviour-related staff development and training.
* Please email questions to SNExtra@tes.co.uk or write to TES Extra for Special Needs, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London ElW lBX.
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