Rob Butler was a special school science teacher for twenty years and has worked with mainstream schools as an advanced skills teacher (AST). Here he shares his experience with 20 SEND tips, ideas and approaches for science teachers.

by Rob Butler
5th September 2020

The 2018 DfE census told us that 14.6% of students had diagnosed special needs, representing 1,276,215 students. This number had increased from the previous year and the trend looks likely to continue.

Examination reports with grade breakdowns released by AQA suggest that that a significant number of students fail to hit the Government’s expected grade of 4:4 at GCSE. With around 20% of entries resulting in a grade below a ‘standard pass’, the number of students affected is significant. A large proportion of these will have special needs and learning difficulties, many minor or undiagnosed.

At the same time, we are placing larger demands on our teachers, with new exam specifications, time-consuming marking policies and numerous school initiatives intended to improve a school’s rankings in the performance tables. Time on ITE courses to prepare our next generation to teach students with SEND is limited and school INSET priorities are often decided by MATs and linked to other school priorities.

In writing these 20 tips, I’ve tried to distil twenty years of SEND teaching experience and the best parts of my practice down to two sides of A4. I hope you find them useful.

(This article was first published as a newsletter on 19/02/19.) 

Rob Butler is a CPD and SEN trainer and consultant and writes resources for lower attaining students. He blogs here:

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