What We Do
The main purpose of the SEN Advisory Service (SENAS) is to advise and support settings and schools in meeting the needs of children with Special Educational Needs and who are Disabled (SEND) and provide advice to the Local Authority and to parents.
SENAS are involved in a wide range of activities within the Children, Families and Wellbeing Directorate, including contributing to strategic decision-making/commissioning regarding SEN provision, funding and monitoring of this provision. We contribute to working parties in planning assessment and early intervention pathways for children with complex needs such as Autism and physical/medical needs. We contribute to Panels making decisions about EHC Needs Assessment and EHC Plans and Annual Reviews.
Who We Are
Our staff are from an Education background and hold a wide variety of specialist SEN & Disability-related qualifications, alongside their in-depth knowledge and expertise.
Our aim is to help build capacity through inclusive teaching and reasonable adjustments to the environment, the curriculum and to assessment.
Our SEN consultants offer advice to school staff in their specialist areas, Social communication/ Autism, Specific Learning Difficulties/dyslexia, Physical/ Medical, Down’s Syndrome and complex needs in the early years and associated behavioural needs related to any of these. The service has designed awards in Dyslexia and Autism which schools can work towards. To date -- Trafford schools have the Dyslexia Aware Quality Mark. The Autism Friendly Award was launched in July 2014.
Early Years/Portage Service
Our Specialist Teaching Assistants (TA) support the informal assessment of children with SEN, mostly in the Early Years, in conjunction with a SENAS consultant and other relevant services. SENAS work closely with parents/carers offering advice and support in relation to their child’s assessment, provision, intervention, inclusion and transition. SENAS is a Portage Registered Service and all our staff are Portage trained; we work closely with the TEDs [Trafford Early Development] Portage Service who cater for younger children.
SENAS staff are highly trained in Early Support as well as specific areas of need. We offer key working support to parents for children in the Early Years whilst helping to coordinate information-gathering to enable the Local Authority to decide whether the needs are sufficiently complex and long-term that a Education Health and Care Needs Assessment is necessary. The Early Years Development Journal is promoted as a key tool within the assessment of Early Years children. The team work closely with the Complex and Additional Needs Service (CANS). SENAS continue to work in close partnership with Trafford Speech and Language Therapy Service and provide Outreach Support in schools and early years settings to support speech language and communication.
School Aged Children
For School Aged children with SEN, our consultants work with schools to assess pupils’ special educational needs, looking at the school/setting’s graduated approach to SEND and contributing to the cycle of assessment, planning, implementation and reviewing to help school plan approaches to teaching. Depending on the child’s needs and age, assessment can take the form of individual standardised assessments, observations, information-gathering and discussion with families and other professionals, such as Health and Social Care. Advice and support is provided to schools regarding examination access arrangements
Physical and Medical Needs
A SENAS Specialist TA will also work with the SEN Consultant for Physical Medical Needs to support children across the age ranges in emergency situations such as to support re-integration to school following a road traffic accident or post-operative/rehabilitation. They would support the school by building capacity; at times this means being involved in providing specific medical or intimate care procedures until someone within the setting is trained. SENAS work with the school, parents and involved practitioners to develop healthcare plans to ensure that the needs of children with medical needs are met within the school.
The SEN Consultant for Physical Medical Needs advises schools and links with staff from the CANS and School Services/Development staff to influence plans to improve physical access to schools, contribute to access reports for specific children and advise schools on implementation.
Under the Equality Act reasonable adjustments duty to provide auxiliary aids and equipment, specific specialised & dedicated pieces of equipment may be purchased to aid seating/mobility/intimate care through the SEN budget. There is a store of equipment that is recycled to ensure excellent value for money where possible. In many cases short term loans are more effective to enable the school and LA to decide what is reasonable for school to provide under their duties.
Special Needs Information & Communication Technology Assessments (SNICTA)
SENAS provides advice and support to schools and settings to introduce assistive technology to support access to the curriculum. The provision of ICT assessment and equipment falls under the Reasonable Adjustments Duty and schools use the graduated approach to determine the timely introduction of resources. SNICTA will offer advice, training and short term loans to support assessment through an assess, plan do review cycle. More specialised & dedicated equipment may be purchased through the local authority SEN budget.
We organise and facilitate a number of Forum meetings e.g. SENCO Forum, Dyslexia Aware Quality Mark, Parents of children with Down’s Syndrome and Staff who work with children with Downs Syndrome. We contribute to Annual Conferences such as the Parent ICT Conference and young people participation events. We also organise and deliver a range of SEN training for school staff. Accredited training has been provided in partnership with MMU for TAs in Dyslexia, Autism until July 2016 and for SENCOs the National Award in SEN Coordination. We now deliver ELKAN accredited training for TAs in Speech, Language & Communication Needs and Signalong. Training is also available for SEN assessment, ICT & SEN such as Clicker 7 and around the use of sensory equipment in order to build capacity in schools and reduce the need for detailed individual assessments. Training can be tailored to the needs of an individual school.