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Support Services and Mainstream Schools - Essay Example

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Support Services and Mainstream Schools

This isolation needs to be overcome if LEAs are to make progress with their main challenge, which is to raise educational standards. Strategies to aid this improvement include Educational Development Plans, LEA inspections and Best Value (Ainscow et al., 1999).
The guidance in the code states that all children with SEN should be enabled to reach their full potential, to be fully included in their school communities, and be enabled to make a successful transition to adult life. For most, the mainstream school setting is suitable to help them to attain all of these goals, and it is only in severe cases that they would be better helped in a specialist school setting. The code recommends that schools take an approach in which the match the provision of specialist support to the individual child's SEN (DfES, 2001).
Support services must work to the Code of Practice for SEN, but they go about doing this is in different ways, using various methods to achieve the goals laid out in the Code. There is some debate as to how successful these support services are at doing that, and much discussion as to what makes some services more successful than others.
Ainscow et al.
Ainscow et al. (1999) found in their study conducted on various stakeholders, that the availability of support teams was seen as being important to the effective practice of inclusion. However even though some of the LEAs which were surveyed thought that classroom assistants were central to gaining inclusion, others speculated that they in fact caused a new degree of segregation.

An Ofsted report in 2005 found also that support and outreach services were successful in promoting inclusion and improving performance of pupils with special educational needs, and they found that this was because in the most effective support services, all staff were fully committed to inclusion, which came across in their work. The members of the support service which they found most useful were those who brought new knowledge or skills that were not already present in the school. A previous Ofsted report (2004) on a limited number of LEAs across the country found that some of the most useful Support services were those that provided training to raise staff awareness of SENs and to give training on pupils' personal and social development.

Leeds City Council
Leeds City Council is one area in which the mainstream schools successfully utilise support services to ensure that the education provision lives up to the SEN Code of Practice.

The SEN and Inclusion Support Services (SENISS) is part of Education Leeds, who work with Leeds City Council to supply Support services to the schools within the Leeds and surrounding areas. As with all support services, their aims are to remove barriers to learning and inclusion, and promote the achievement of pupils with SEN. They go about doing this by providing support on two levels: on the school-based level, and on the individual level of each pupil. The service also tries to enhance the capacity of the school to become self-managing in terms of SEN, by providing training on legislation and SEN policy and issues. The service also ...Show more

Summary

Legislation and policies that have come into effect in the last few years are leading to closure of many special schools, and integration of children with special educational needs within mainstream schools. While the numbers of children with SEN in most mainstream schools have not yet increased substantially (Ofsted, 2004) , it is an inevitable change, and it is therefore important that all staff are aware of inclusion guidelines, and that schools work towards implementing them…
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