More contact

1st October 2004 at 01:00
Q As a humble classroom teacher in a primary school, I am really irritated that I never seem to get to speak, other than fleetingly, to professionals from support agencies such as educational psychology and mental health. I have a good Senco who passes information on to me, but it still rankles that I'm bypassed.

A Everyone in schools nowadays seems to be so busy that it is often impossible for face-to-face communication to take place. Even many primary school Sencos lament that, because of other commitments, they don't always have sufficient opportunity to speak to external professionals.

When I was an educational psychologist, I was often frustrated that circumstances did not permit me to speak at length with the key member of staff - the child's teacher - and that it was sometimes necessary to liaise with other colleagues.

It is not altogether clear from your letter whether your concern centres upon the extent to which you feel professionally valued - hence what appears to be your ironic reference to "humble" - or because you feel that there are times when first-hand conversations would enable you to help a student more effectively.

If it is the former, my suggestion is that, unless there is clear evidence to the contrary, you shouldn't see in negative terms your school's means of managing scarce resources as efficiently as possible .

If, on occasions, it is the latter, I would advise you to request a meeting with the professional concerned to discuss how you can best help. Most senior managers will recognise when teachers have a particular concern about a specific child and will do all they can to help their staff at such times.

* Please email questions to or write to TES Extra for Special Needs, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London ElW lBX.

Neither writer can enter into correspondence with readers.

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