Reflections on overcoming challenges in SEND provision
Reflections from a secondary school teacher working with pupils with SEND, on overcoming the challenges presented by the pandemic.
“Working in a SEND provision during the pandemic that caters for children and young adults with mild to moderate learning difficulties was certainly a challenge. Most of our young people are visual, spatial or kinaesthetic learners, so they require a great deal of sensory input to enable them to learn. Meaningful sensory input is hard to provide through internet learning and as much as we tried, we saw may pupils disengage as a result.
“Re-engaging pupils back into the classroom when restrictions lifted and focusing on the retention of prior learning was so difficult for all learners. Our learners on the autistic spectrum found the school’s Covid adaptations hard to get used to, and social distancing from peers and staff even more challenging. Change is particularly difficult for those on the spectrum, and all our learners have been incredible at navigating the adaptations in their school life. The learners were also used to working with the local nursery children for work experience numerous times throughout the academic year, or attending a placement twice a week in a local nursery – both of which had to stop due to Covid. This was hard for those learners who thrived during these sessions, but many of them were accepting of this and rose to the challenge of completing assessments and tasks using different practical experiences within restrictions.
“I think overall, Covid has provided several life lessons for the learners – to value their time in the classroom, to accept that sometimes change is necessary, and that they are able to achieve even when there is a global pandemic. They should be extremely proud of themselves.”