School holiday jobs with Axcis

Are you looking for work during the school holidays? As the leaders in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) recruitment, if the answer is yes, then Axcis can help!

What jobs can Axcis offer during the holidays?

Find school holiday jobs with Axcis

Find school holiday jobs with Axcis

At Axcis, we work with lots of different SEND establishments, from day and residential schools to alternative provisions such as pupil referral units, hospital and young offenders institutions. Many of the special schools we work with run holiday clubs and many of the residential schools we provide staff for are open during the school holidays. So, if you are looking for some short or long-term work during the school holidays (or in term time), then Axcis can help!

What skills and experience do we look for?

As we have a lot of residential work available during the school breaks, training such as MAPA or NAPPI is useful. If you have experience working in the care sector, this is also an advantage. However, we also supply staff for summer schools and other daytime play schemes, so if you are interested in doing some SEND work during your school break, the best thing you can do is register online or contact your local Axcis office to discuss what you’re looking for. We don’t always require specific training and experience for the roles we have available, but we do look for a positive attitude and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get involved. If this sounds like you, why not give us a call and find out how we can help you!

What locations do Axcis have school holiday jobs in?

Each of our offices cover a different geographical area – to find out more, click on the office closest to you below and you’ll be taken to a page outlining which specific areas we have vacancies in:

 

 

Why should I choose Axcis for school holiday jobs?

Axcis are the leaders in SEND recruitment in England and Wales. We have over a decade of experience recruiting staff for special needs schools and alternative provisions. As a result, we have excellent relationships with a broad range of SEND organisations. Our consultants are specialists in the sector, so are perfectly placed to guide you through the process and ensure that your skills and experience are used to maximum effect with one of our loyal clients. We also offer competitive rates of pay and CPD training opportunities which are second-to-none. But don’t take our word for it, see what our staff have to say about working for us here. Then decide if you want to register with Axcis or apply for one of our current vacancies today!

 

Not looking for holiday work yourself but know someone else who might be interested in working for Axcis? Refer them to us today and earn up to £250 in shopping vouchers as a thank you for your referral.

Posted in Candidates, News

Introducing….Nicola (Axcis Liverpool)

Axcis is continuing to grow as more and more schools hear about us and start using our services. As a result, Axcis Liverpool has a new consultant, so if you’re seeking work (or staff) in the Wirral or Chester areas, why not get in touch with Nicola? Find out a bit more about her here.

About Nicola:

Nicola Jones, Axcis Liverpool. Get in touch if you need help finding work (or staff) in Wirral or Chester with Axcis.

Nicola Jones, Axcis Liverpool. Get in touch if you need help finding work (or staff) in Wirral or Chester with Axcis.

Prior to joining Axcis, I worked in the field of health and social care. This has included working with residential settings, schools, prisons, hospitals and secure centres. During this time, I have managed a team of 5 people and have earned qualifications in leadership and management.

 

I feel that this experience puts me in an excellent position to understand the specialised needs of the schools and alternative provisions I work with, which in turn helps me to find suitable staff for these settings. I understand how vastly one school can vary from another and I realise the value of spending time understanding the environment for which I am recruiting staff. I always try to “get it right first time” in order to minimise disruption both to the school as well as the children.

 

In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, camping, reading and DIY, and I am always on the lookout for the next beauty spot to visit, or the next project I can undertake at home!

Would you like to work with Nicola?

Nicola covers the following areas for Axcis: Wirral and Chester. If you are seeking work (or staff) in these areas, then get in touch with Nicola today to see how she can help. Or if you’re seeking work in any other area, register online and we will put you in touch with your personal consultant for your local area.

Posted in Individuals, Meet The Axcis Team, News

How can we improve outcomes in a broken system? Blog by Gareth Morewood

The initial promise of the SEND reforms has been replaced with confusion, frustration and delays. The system works well for no one, least of all our children and young people.

 

Gareth talking at the NAHT SEND Conference 2017

Gareth talking at the NAHT SEND Conference 2017

Back in September 2014, there was a lot of hope that the introduction of the SEND reforms would bring better outcomes for young people and their families. Indeed, it was an exciting time to be a SENCO: the legal definition of SEND remained the same (if not slightly broader) under the Children and Families Act (2014), and we could aspire to better collaborative working with families and health/social care services.

 

But the reality has turned out to be quite different.

 

Now we fast forward to the post-election uncertainty of the last week. In an excellent post on the Special Needs Jungle blog, Barney Angliss (@AspieDeLaZouch) offers whoever will be the next minister for SEND a list of issues that need addressing urgently.

 

His points amount to a gloomy indictment of the SEND reforms: after all the initial promises, we are now looking for the new government to ‘fix the broken system’ – to prevent young people and their families from being any worse off because of inadequate funding or improper provision. Simply put, some argue that we are in a far worse position than before the reforms, which simply shouldn’t be the case.

The law trumps all

I have written many times about the need to ensure that everyone, especially parents and carers, has a good knowledge of the law. However, our knowledge of the law is only useful if we can apply it when navigating the system. Far too many SEND hearings are being postponed, meaning that even though a process is in place, there’s a considerable delay before anyone sees a real change to provision.

 

I can only speculate on the root causes of this impediment, but I do fear that the loss of expertise and capacity in local authorities (who are responsible for co-ordinating EHCPs and provision) and the fragmentation of educational services have only complicated matters further.

The long and winding road

The road to justice is long. Last year saw a 43% rise in appeals from 2015/16 (4277 in 2016/7; 3236 in 2015/16). A protracted process simply isn’t what the reforms promised, and isn’t what our young people deserve. Indeed, if a system is working surely there would be fewer appeals, as more needs would be met prior to starting a process of redress?

A protracted process simply isn’t what the reforms promised, and isn’t what our young people deserve

As an individual (SENCO, parent or carer, for example), it’s difficult to make changes in a system so needlessly complex. But our priority has to be aiming for better outcomes sooner. We should be finding solutions and agreeing on provision before we even reach the tribunal stage.

 

Of course, this is easier said than done: waiting times for mediation (prior to tribunal) are shockingly long too, as Barney identified in the aforementioned post.

 

Even if the new minister is conscious of the issues that urgently need addressing, we can expect to see little immediate change in the current system. But the danger is that expecting schools to make short-term improvements to outcomes pushes on an already overburdened sector – and in the long term, to what avail?

 

All Statements of SEN are due to become EHCPs by 31 March 2018, which in effect leaves just over two terms for any remaining transitions to take place. For some schools and local authorities, this adds even greater pressure.

 

Quite what the implications will be if this deadline is missed I’m unsure: will Statements become valueless (illegal) from 1 April 2018? If so, this will no doubt add to the anxiety and strain with which some families are already suffering. We need clarity on this ‘deadline’ as soon as possible.

 

If your local authority hasn’t already started the EHCP transition, it must do so in the coming autumn term at the very latest. This is so the twenty-week process can be completed in time You can read about our EHCP experiences from a parental perspective in an earlier post.

What can we do?

We need to review things as they stand currently. Not a day goes by without a parent or carer contacting me with a story of missed deadlines, battles and frankly illegal provision.

Not a day goes by without a parent or carer contacting me with a story of missed deadlines, battles and frankly illegal provision

But as ever, a solution-focussed approach to all things SEND requires us to think about what we can actually do today.

 

Similar to Barney’s ministerial ‘to-do list’, here is a list of way that those of us on the frontline can make a positive difference. We can:

 

  • facilitate parents’ and carers’ access to legal training
  • ensure that legal knowledge is the backbone of all NASENCo courses  – from the outset, SENCOs need to know the privileges and parameters of SEND law
  • give headteachers access to SEND information and make it a part of professional development in school – I have previously delivered some courses on SEND law and effective so-production for headteachers
  • develop what effective co-production really is. We work tirelessly with families to find joint solutions and better outcomes in a difficult system, it can be done!

 

I will be working tirelessly to make these principles a reality over the forthcoming year. Look out for future posts where I share what works well and what doesn’t.

 

Remember, together we are stronger. We can make a significant difference to the lives of the young people and families with whom we work.

Further reading

Gareth Morewood

Gareth is Director of Curriculum Support (SENCo) & Specialist Leader of Education at Priestnall School, Stockport and Honorary Research Fellow in Education at the University of Manchester. He has authored a number of articles, books, academic papers and publications which can be found on his website www.gdmorewood.com. This article was originally published on his blog and has been reproduced with his kind permission.

Posted in SEND Resources

SEND news roundup from our partners

At Axcis, we are thrilled to be associated with organisations like the National Autistic Society, nasen and NASS. Each month, we bring you the latest news highlights from our partners, so if you’d like to know what’s been happening with these great organisations and in the world of SEND, read on.

NAS News

Mark Lever, NAS CEO (right) with Catherine Friel, Senior Director of Axcis at a recent NAS Conference.

Mark Lever, NAS CEO (right) with Catherine Friel, Senior Director of Axcis at a recent NAS Conference.

Below you’ll find a list of some of the latest autism news, compiled by our friends at Network Autism. Each title is clickable and the link will take you to their website where you can find the full story.

 

  1. Autistic children let down by health service, nurses warn
  2. Autism charities warn of cuts in care packages
  3. Autism alone does not increase risk of violent offending, study finds
  4. Supporting inclusion of autistic children with good classroom design
  5. Review of SEND reforms in England
  6. Welsh Assembly votes to support Autism Bill
  7. Storify of Autism and Technology Conference
  8. Understanding autism in your school
  9. Autism prevalence in school-aged children in Northern Ireland

Nasen News

Axcis are thrilled to support nasen - now in it's 25th year.

Axcis are thrilled to support nasen – now in it’s 25th year.

Below you’ll find a list of the latest SEND news from our friends at nasen. Each title is clickable and the link will take you to their website where you can find the full story.

 

  1. New statistics on the number of EHC plans released by DfE
  2. EHC plans – nasen want to hear from you
  3. Be quick – nominate for a nasen Award 2017 before 30th June
  4. New webcast out now
  5. Would you like a FREE Early Years SEND book AND a month’s membership of Childcare.co.uk?
  6. P Scales published, but no changes

Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.

Posted in NAS and Network Autism, NASEN, News

Charity fundraisers, recruiters, teachers and sales people – why work for Axcis?

At Axcis, we are always seeking new consultants for our growing business. Over the last few years, we have opened new offices across the country and we continue to expand so we are always on the lookout for new talent. As well as experienced recruiters, we look for people with knowledge of the education sector (hello teachers looking to leave the profession) or people from sales-related roles such as charity fundraisers, telephone or field sales backgrounds. Find out more here about what we look for in our staff as well as how to apply for your new role at Axcis!

What’s it like to be a recruitment consultant?

If you're confident on the phone and a great team player then Axcis could be a great place for you to work!

If you’re confident on the phone and a great team player then Axcis could be a great place for you to work!

If you are considering a move from another profession, you may wander what the day to day life of a recruiter is like, and what it takes to be successful in this profession. If that’s the case, you may find this blog useful. However, if you’ve already done your research and know that recruitment is a good option for you, read on to find out more about what we look for at Axcis and why this could be a great career move for you.

What do we look for in our staff here at Axcis?

There are many attributes we look out for. The main ones are:

 

  • A friendly, outgoing personality – we make no bones about it, recruitment involves being a sales person so you need to be confident talking to people both on the phone and in person and you need to be friendly and supportive at all times.
  • Some knowledge or understanding of SEND – although Axcis provides excellent training and support, you’ll need to have some idea about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to work for us. This could come from personal experience with friends or family members or paid or charitable work experience, or of course from college or university education.
  • Resilience and tenacity – recruiters face a lot of knock-backs and we need to stay positive and support one another in the face of this, so negative Nellies need not apply! 

Why choose Axcis?

This is a great question. With hundreds of recruitment companies out there to choose from, why would you select Axcis if you want to become a consultant? This blog, about why we are the ethical agency is a good place to start. However, we also offer some fantastic benefits to our staff, such as:

 

  • A supportive and friendly team with a positive attitude. Recruitment can sometimes be a bit of a cut-throat industry. At Axcis, we pride ourselves on moving away from this stereotype and encouraging our staff to support each other fully. We help each other out when someone is off sick and we share candidates in order to ensure that our staff, candidates and clients get the very best experience of working with us. We give each other business development tips and help pick each other up when things go wrong.
  • A great commission structure. We know that many people get into the recruitment industry because they are financially motivated. To this end, we offer a generous commission structure. This is because we want to recruit and retain the best talent we can. Our success in achieving this is clear from the number of long-term staff members we have on our team
  • Our long-term staff retention speaks volumes for what it's like to work for Axcis!

    Our long-term staff retention speaks volumes for what it’s like to work for Axcis!

    A fair work-life balance. Stress, burn-out and excessive hours are often associated with the recruitment profession. We combat this at Axcis by working shift patterns which mean that no member of staff has to burn the candle at both ends (well, not on our behalf anyway!) We also offer a decent annual leave package and encourage our staff to take their lunch breaks. We need our staff in peak condition, so feel this is an important factor in long-term retention.

 

These are just 3 reasons why Axcis is a great company to work for. We are sure you’ll find many more once you start working for us.

Internal Vacancies

If this has piqued your interest in working for Axcis, why not send us your CV today, or take a look at our Internal Vacancies page to see if there is a role you’d like to apply for? Or if you’re not currently looking for a job but know someone else who might be, why not refer them to Axcis  today? You could earn a £1000!

 

 

 

Posted in Job Seeking Resources, News, Recruitment Industry Blogs

Spotlight on FASD – now thought to be as prevalent as autism in our young people

FASD, or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is on the rise in our schools and is now thought to affect as many of our young people as autism does (around 1 in 100 students). Learn more about it here as well as how you can support children in your classroom who have FASD.

What is FASD?

The FASD Trust tells us that:

FASD is a series of preventable birth defects caused entirely by a woman drinking alcohol at any time during her pregnancy, often even before she knows that she is pregnant. Beer, wine, spirits –  it’s all the same to the developing baby.

The term “Spectrum” is used because each individual with FASD may have some or all of a spectrum of mental and physical challenges. In addition each individual with FASD may have these challenges to a degree or “spectrum” from mild to very severe.

Common problems include:

FASD is now thought to be as prevalent as autism in our young people

FASD is now thought to be as prevalent as autism in our young people

  • Vision impairment
  • Sleep problems
  • Heart defects
  • Liver problems
  • Poor immune system
  • Speech & language delays
  • Impulsivity
  • Memory problems
  • Hyperactivity
  • Inappropriate social behaviour

 

These defects of both the brain and the body exist only because of prenatal exposure to alcohol.  Often the condition goes undiagnosed, or is misdiagnosed, for example as Autism or ADHD, and this can lead to secondary disabilities.

Is there a “safe” drinking limit during pregnancy?

The short answer is no. There is no safe limit to the amount of alcohol a woman can drink while pregnant. Some women drink fairy heavily and seem to have an otherwise “normal” baby while other people may deliver a child with FASD complications having only consumed very moderate amounts of alcohol while pregnant. The advice is not to drink at all – it’s simply not worth the risk.

What can teachers do?

Teachers can do two main things; they can educate teenage girls to the risks related to consuming alcohol during pregnancy in a bid to help reduce the prevalence of the condition. Teachers can also offer appropriate support to children in their classroom who do have FASD. Sadly, this is an incurable condition so schools should have a strong emphasis on teaching prevention.

FASD resources

On the Axcis SEND Resources section of the blog, you will find some excellent FASD support sheets. These were published by the SSAT in conjunction with highly respected individual in the field, so you can be reassured of the accuracy of the information as well as the suggestions made about how you can support children with FASD in your own classroom.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Are you seeking SEND work?

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.

Posted in News, SEND Resources

Schools-why join nasen? Here’s why it’s £160 a year well spent!

Is your school a nasen member? If the answer is no then take a look to find out what you’re missing out on here.

About the Axcis/nasen partnership

Dr Adam Boddison (right) with Axcis manager Mat

Dr Adam Boddison, nasen Chief Executive (right) with Axcis manager Mat Webber (left)

The National Association of Special Educational Needs (nasen) is the UK’s leading organisation supporting those who work with or care for children and young people with special and additional educational needs and disabilities. Nasen supports all staff including SENCOs, leaders, teachers, governors and teaching assistants in meeting the needs of the pupils in schools and other settings through promoting education, training and development.

 

Axcis has been supporting nasen for a number of years and our relationship has gone from strength to strength. From sponsoring key events and exhibitions to contributing to publications and the SEND Gateway, a valuable online resource for SEND professionals, Axcis is pleased to be affiliated with an organisation doing such great work.

Why join nasen?

Silver membership of nasen is only £160 a year for your school or organisation – that’s less than

Axcis are thrilled to support nasen - now in it's 25th year.

Axcis are thrilled to support nasen – now in it’s 25th year.

many trainers charge for one CPD session! Once a school takes out this annual membership, EVERY member of staff in the school can get unlimited access to CPD training and resources. Compare that to a £99 individual member annual fee and it’s clear to see why that offers fantastic value for money. If that alone isn’t enough to convince you, read on to find out what else you get as part of your membership package.

 

As part of a silver membership, your school or organisation will get:

 

  1. nasen Connect, our new bi-monthly publication, featuring useful articles, expert advice, top tips and the latest product reviews
  2. Journal Access (Digital Only – Online and via the Apple App). Access to 3 professional journals, ‘British Journal of Special Education’, ‘Support for Learning’ and ‘Jorsen (Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs)’
  3. Focus on SEND training* A free online CPD for all education professionals who work with age ranges from early years to post 16
  4. Digital member only  resources
  5. Pre-recorded webcasts from SEND professionals
  6. SEND Gateway* An online portal for resources relevant to SEND professionals, including training and events and teaching resources
  7. Monthly e-newsletters keeping you up to date and informed with the latest nasen news
  8. Discounts from a range of selected partners
  9. Discounted rates for ‘nasen Live’, our yearly, popular SEND Conference

 

Budgets tight? Worried about costs? Did you know that nasen membership can be funded through pupil premium to help with the costs? But how do you join up?

How to join up

Visit the nasen website to find out how to join up today!

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Are you looking for SEND work?

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.

 

Posted in Clients, NASEN

Best Boosts For Education That Work For Everyone (guest post)

Every parent wants to know how they can help their child get the most out of their education. Your role is more than just helping out with homework, though. If you want to find ways that will help you and your child with their learning, then you’re in the right place. Here’s how you can assist in your child’s education.

Read every day

Reading with your child is a great way to aid their development

Reading with your child is a great way to aid their development

Read with your child every day. Set aside the time to really explore a story with them, and give them the chance to ask questions. This helps set them up for regular reading in school, and helps them see it as a pleasurable activity.

Look for learning opportunities every day

Your child’s education doesn’t just happen in the classroom. Look for opportunities to learn and reinforce their skills every day. For example, let them count out the money for a purchase, or read the signs in the supermarket.

Be aware of what’s happening in class

Your child’s teacher will be communicating to parents what they’re doing in the classroom. Pay attention to what’s going on. You can then reinforce the lessons the children are getting at home.

Don’t always look for A grades

We’re taught that an A grade is the best result from learning. However, that’s not the case for every child. Instead of focusing on grades, look for improvement. If they can handle a mathematical concept that they couldn’t last week, then that’s something to be celebrated.

Keep in touch with the teacher

Your child’s teacher will want to schedule conferences with you, so take advantage of this. Really pay attention to what they say, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Look for ways you can both help your child in their education.

Allow your child to work it out on their own

It’s tempting to hover over your child, and sweep in and help when it all goes wrong. However, your child won’t benefit from this. Teach them that you’re here to help, but you trust them to have a go at it on their own. They’ll learn to be independent, but also that you’ll be there if you need them.

Practice discipline and respect

Many parents expect discipline to be taught in schools, but in actual fact the message sinks in better when taught in the home. Teach your child to respect their elders when appropriate, and they’ll get much more out of their schooling.

Take care of the basics

Make sure your child is getting enough to eat and sleep. It’s simple, but without the basics they’ll find it harder to learn.

Useful tools

There are plenty of tools online, and you should make full use of them (where appropriate) with your child. Here’s a few you can try:

 

  • Canva: This tool is free to use, and helps your child put together all kinds of visual projects. Try presentations, leaflets, and posters, just to get started.
  • Notability: This note taking app is highly useful when your child wants to take notes on their learning. Using the app means your notes are always in reach.
  • Weebly/Wordpress/Tumblr etc: If your child has an interest in writing, let them express it through a blog which they can take ownership of.

There is plenty you can do to help your child learn. Follow these tips, and you’ll both get the most out of learning. Show your child that learning is fun!

 

Guest post provided with thanks by Jennifer Scott

Posted in News, SEND Resources

Candidate of the Term Summer 2017: Nominations now open

Do you have an Axcis contractor who is doing a great job this term? Do you want to nominate them for an award? Find out what’s on offer and how to nominate them here.

Candidate of the Term - Summer Term 2017At Axcis, we are extremely proud of the fantastic work our SEND teachers and support staff do every day in the classroom. We know that being a supply worker isn’t easy; often you are thrown in the deep end with challenging classes and little time to read up on school policy or procedure and your work could end at any given moment. And yet, we hear so much fantastic feedback about our candidates that we feel it is only right to give a bit of recognition where we can. Read on to find out how to nominate your favourite Axcis contractor for our Summer 2017 award.

What are we looking for?

We want to hear from you if you have an Axcis contractor who you feel has done a fantastic job, or who has gone above and beyond the call of duty. We know that it’s not just classroom practice that makes for a good supply worker – it’s also reliability, punctuality and willingness to step out of their usual role and take on things like school productions, trips and other extra-curricular work. Or perhaps they’ve helped to support other members of the team, made awesome strides forward with the children they work with and helped to affect positive change in the school they’ve been placed in. Whatever your reason, we are open to hearing about it!

How do I nominate?

Axcis Candidate of the term

Carol – Axcis Candidate of the Term Summer 2016 winner

Simply email Emily@axcis.co.uk if you have an Axcis contractor you’d like to nominate for an award, or contact your consultant. There are two awards available for the term – one for London, and one for our Regional offices. The prizes are £75 in shopping vouchers – intended for the winners to treat themselves to something nice! The deadline for entries is Wednesday 12th July, with winners to be announced a few days later. When you contact us, you’ll need to state the name of the contractor, along with the name of the school they are working in. We’d also like a short statement on why they should be considered for the award – it doesn’t need to be an essay – just a sentence or two. All nominees will receive a certificate of appreciation, so even if your Axcis contractor doesn’t win, don’t worry – they’ll still know they are appreciated, and this is what it’s all about, after all!

Don’t delay  – do it today!

So, if you have staff from Axcis and would like them to be recognised for the fantastic work they are doing, don’t put it off – drop us an email now and we will make sure they are in the running to be considered for an award. We know you value their hard work, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to make sure they know too.

And don’t forget, if you need staff or if you are seeking work in SEND, why not register or get in touch with your local office today to see how we can help you.

Posted in Candidate of the Term, News

Manifestos, SEND and Education – an insight from Dr Rona Tutt OBE (guest post) #GE2017

Dr Rona Tutt OBE is a highly respected member of the education community. We are very grateful to her for providing this article for us. In it, she takes a look at the political manifestos and provides an insight in to which party is offering what in terms of SEND and education. If you are a school leader, teacher, member of school support staff, parent (or intend on becoming one), or simply care about the education of our children then read this before you vote! (#GE2017)

 

Dr Rona Tutt (right) with Axcis Associate Director, Catherine Friel.

Dr Rona Tutt (right) with Axcis Senior Director, Catherine Friel.

It was in the same week in May that the three main political parties published their manifestos. First out of the blocks on Tuesday 16th May was Labour’s For The Many – Not The Few. The third chapter is devoted to education. Under the heading, Towards A National Education Service, the party presents a unified vision for learners of all ages, from an overhaul of early years provision through to improving the training and earning potential of the workforce.

 

The final paragraph in the section on schools, says Labour will:

 

deliver a strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) based on inclusivity, and embed SEND more substantially into training for teachers and non-teaching staff, so that staff, children and their parents are properly supported.

 

As well as acknowledging the need for better training, another welcome addition for those of us who are interested in British Sign Language (BSL), is the acknowledgement on page 113 of Labour’s support for BSL. For 70,000 people in the UK, BSL is their first or preferred language. It gained recognition as an official language in 2003, but the fight continues to give it full legal status, so any extra support for the cause is to be welcomed.

 

The day after the appearance of the Labour manifesto came the one by the Liberal Democrats. This has the title, Change Britain’s Future. Again, the third chapter, Put Children First, is the one covering education. At the beginning of the chapter, three priorities are set out:

 

  • Investing nearly £7 billion extra in children’s education, to cover rising costs, a fairer national funding formula and the Pupil Premium (PP)
  • Tripling the Early Years Pupil Premium and investing in high quality Early Years education
  • Giving Local Authorities (LAs) control over admissions and new schools, and opposing any new selective schools.

 

Again, there is a paragraph about SEND:

 

Ensure that identification and support for special educational needs and disabilities takes place as early as possible. All new policies should have an assessment of how they affect pupils who have special educational needs, and ensure they adhere to duties under the Equality Act.

 

The idea that the SEN dimension should be considered in relation to any new policies is to be welcomed, as, despite the SEND Reforms and the Children and Families Act 2014, too often it would appear that the needs of these pupils are an afterthought.

 

To complete the trio of manifestos, the following day was the launch of the Conservative and Unionist party manifesto: FORWARD, TOGETHER – Our Plan for a Stronger Britain and Prosperous Future.  Once more, it is the third chapter that covers education. Entitled, The World’s Greatest Meritocracy,  there are sections on:

 

  • creating more good school places by building at least 100 new free schools a year and lifting the ban on selective schools.
  • strengthening the teaching of literacy and numeracy in the early years
  • expecting every 11 year old to know their times tables by heart and improving accountability at key stage 3
  • achieving growing numbers studying for the Ebacc combination of GCSEs, but also with a greater emphasis on technical and vocational routes.

 

Although there is no direct reference to SEND, of the 131 new free schools approved in April, 22 are special schools. Also in chapter three, under a section on Confronting Burning Injustices, there are paragraphs on ‘The Mental Health Gap’ and the plans for a new Mental Health Bill, as well as on ‘The Disability Gap,’ which is mainly about getting more people into work.

 

This is just a very quick dip into the manifestos of the three main parties. There is just room to mention the Green Party’s manifesto, Green Guarantee For a Confident and Caring Britain, which includes the promise to start formal education at the age of seven. This might reduce the number of young children diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD because we expect too much of them too soon.

 

And finally, although all the parties have various versions of their manifestos, the prize goes to the Green Party for having the most, as it is the only one to make it available in Welsh, Braille, BSL, Easy Read and an Audio version.

 

Dr Rona Tutt OBE

31.05.17

 

Posted in News, SEND Resources