“The Whole Education SEND project clearly links with other school priorities and is part of what we are already working on. It’s pulling things together for us.”
A peer review project for local authorities, the Whole Education (WE) SEND Network works with local authority leads, school leaders and SENCos to raise the profile and quality of SEND provision across localities through a supportive process of self-evaluation, action planning and peer coaching.
The WE SEND Network builds on our ten years experience supporting schools to identify and share stand out practice and learn together. It has been developed in partnership with SEND expert David Bartram OBE using a tried and tested model for peer review that involves self-evaluation, action planning and peer coaching.
Why the WE SEND network?
Based on a tried and tested model of peer review, the WE SEND Network uses established principles of effective collaboration to guide schools through a focused process of self-evaluation, action planning and peer coaching to create a sustainable community of learning.
SENCos involved in the WE SEND Network have the opportunity to learn from national SEND experts, as well as other SENCos and school leaders in similar contexts. Ongoing support from Whole Education ensures the process runs smoothly, whilst quality assurance is carried out by the project expert to ensure rigour and maximum effectiveness.
Through the project, those involved will:
- Become more confident and accurate in self-evaluating SEND provision
- Build professional relationships with other SENCos and school leaders
- Use an action plan to map out and act on areas for development
For local authority (LA) leaders, the WE SEND network is an opportunity to better understand specific areas of strength and areas for development in SEND provision, both in individual schools and across the locality.
How WE support schools
Peer review and coaching training: Peer review training is delivered by the project expert during the launch day. Training for coaches is delivered in the afternoon of the launch day.
Virtual support from Whole Education: Whole Education offers ongoing support and advice during the project, as well as providing reminders to complete activities such as the online self-evaluation, action plans and confirming triad visits.
Coaching calls for participant SENCos and a webinar for coaches: During half-term 3, a coaching call will help participating SENCos to reflect on progress made so far. Coaches have access to a webinar that offers guidance on the role and additional CPD.
Peer support: The triad is the greatest source of support during the project. Each triad contains three schools, with one of the triad taking on a coaching role. Triads meet throughout the year to review progress and plan next steps.
The project takes place over six half-terms and begins with a launch day for Headteachers and SENCos. Peer review and coaching training are included in the launch.
Following the launch day, all schools complete a short self-evaluation using online platform EvaluateMySchool. This information, along with local knowledge is used to allocate triads of SENCos, with one SENCos taking on the role of coach.
Once triads are allocated, coaches visit their participant SENCos and together they draft an action plan, which is then finalised with the SENCo’s headteacher.
A check-in call between coach and SENCo is conducted before the second and third visits take place, in which the triad comes together to assess progress against the action plans.
Participating SENCos complete another self-evaluation and attend a celebration of learning day to share their successes and next steps.
“We never felt like we were being judged. I think we will continue some really strong links with the school and our coach.”
“The self-evaluation statements have provided a useful basis for building evidence on what that looks like in practice.”
“Our coach has been brilliant and very knowledgeable and has brought a lot to the school already.”
“[During the visit] we discussed targets based on the results of the self-evaluation. It’s helped to structure what I do on a daily basis. Our objectives also tie in with our whole school development plan.”
“My coach came in a couple of weeks [after the visit] with another colleague and provided training for me and the school. We didn’t have ground rules for referrals and needed a pathway for how teachers can raise concerns. We worked on this together and this is now rolling out across the whole school.”
“The leadership team completed the online self-evaluation together – this was a really useful exercise … It enabled us to complete a thorough evaluation as a team and informed the action plan before the coach visited.”
“Doing the self-evaluation has been a really helpful process, because this aligned with our current priorities.”
“The training felt far more collaborative than the other SEND reviewer training we had been on.”