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Leading the buy-in of a collaborative SEND Strategy

During my time over the last decade immersed in the world of Post 16 SEND education I’ve met a fair amount of resilience towards change, in this blog I’m going to give examples when it involves a position of working for an educational outcome with more complex learners whom have significant interventions across a broad range of therapy.


I’ve been exceptionally lucky to have led some most outstanding practitioners (to be fair they’ve lead me) in a number of settings and I’ve put together three barrier questions to change given by both parents and carers along with therapists and clinical leads, particularly with the introduction of the Educational Health Care Plans two years since...


Question one ....“How does an individual with clear health needs, fit within an education model (which appears to measures success in terms of improvement) if the therapy indicated is needed to maintain health or try to reduce inevitable degeneration“...?


An example response to incorporate the buy-in could be;

By achieving maintenance or addressing degeneration (for example in DMD) you are of course addressing their health needs. You are also helping to give that student the best possible learning environment. When pain and discomfort is reduced we know this can improve concentration, mood and participation.

Secondly there is always opportunity to embed learning targets into maintenance therapy programmes. I would always encourage collaboration between programme leaders and therapists in order to determine which learning goals should be embedded and how to achieve this.


The second question...., more often reluctance that I’ve faced;....Is there potential for duplication of information when recording sessions and targets for health and education?


As those of you leading will you know data governance doesn't look kindly upon unnecessary duplication and your therapists are likely to not appreciate this extra admin task. This is one of answers I give;


From visiting providers and being on the steering groups for implementation of many systems, I’ve found DataBridge software more aligned to the scenario I’m discussing today. I’ve witnessed streamlined therapy services, so there are no cases of duplication. SOAP notes (national health standard) are written in the evaluation sections of sessions. Targets around therapy are imputed in exactly the same way as the education team and are available to them at selection. This leads to what I’ve seen great information sharing and data protection.


The final question that become somewhat challenging during change is that around “schemes of learning”. Firstly “THERAPY CAN FIT IN THE SCHEME OF LEARNING FORMAT” and I would encourage teams to try to see “schemes of learning” only as a different format.

In outstanding establishments therapy schemes of learning look exactly as education colleagues planning. However obviously in a lot of cases, Therapy SOL are unable to give a week by week detailed account of what a session will exactly look like. Part of the charm and challenge of therapy, is that practitioners have to make continual assessments and adapt the activity to meet their immediate need. This ability to assess treat re-evaluate and treat again is at the heart of good therapy. Allow your therapist to continue to work like this will ensure that the students’ needs both long term and immediate are met.


Practitioners can and should always set SMART targets. Just like in education SMART targets give direction, purpose and measurement to our intervention and is much more informative than a prediction of the exercises we will perform with some student weeks ahead of time.



I hope these examples of resistance to change answers allows you to forge ahead with your transformational mindset. All you need are a couple of therapists on your team who “get it”, and they will do the converting.


Bob Rose.


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