The aim of this paper is to create a report for a follow-on research and critical review of the government implementation of the Code of Practice (2001) and its impact on identification and assessment of special educational needs in the early years setting (a nursery). For this purpose, information was gathered through observations and discussions with the school staff, as well as through the study and analysis of materials presented in books, research journals and professional publications, so as to determine how this particular piece of legislation was put into practice in the setting observed. The setting is located in the primary school in a suburban village about 6 miles from the center of Birkenhead. The school is large in comparison with primary schools nationally; it shares a site with the junior school to which most pupils transfer.
[...] The level of contact the nursery teachers had with their SENCO ranged from a high-level ongoing collaboration (providing information on the Code procedures, helping with possible difficulties and misinterpretations) - to minimal interaction (discussing specific child's problems, suggesting particular IEP actions). The research suggests that initially putting the principles of the Code into practice proved quite complicated, mainly because the social attitude to the problem changed radically over the last several years: interest in educational equality became compliant to beliefs about the value of educational competition and individualism.”(Ainscow, 2000: 78). [...]
[...] It also increased the demand for training programmes for teachers in relation to identification and assessment procedures, preparation of education plans and adoption of appropriate teaching strategies. In addition, the placement of pupils in a mainstream educational provision generated strong and at times extreme views, which created additional problems in the process of implementing the Code. Initial reactions of the nursery teachers to the implementation of the Code were mixed. Some teachers felt that additional workloads brought about by the implementation of the Code had resulted in increased stress and a general decline in willingness to work proactively with SEN pupils. [...]
[...] CONCLUSION Overall, the research suggests that the implementation of the Code of Practice had a positive impact on the setting, as it helped to move from segregated care through to inclusion towards greater responsibilities on early years practitioners to identify and meet SEN of children in the setting. The implementation of the Code helped the nursery teachers to develop their capacity to deal with pupil diversity, which could be successful only contexts where a respect for individuality and a culture of collaboration exist” (Skirtic, 2004), the latter enabling teachers not only avoid a sense of ‘professional isolation', but also to enhance their practice.” (Hopkins, West and Ainscow, 1996: 45). [...]
[...] As a result, the implementation of strategies to enhance pupils' self-management in the assessment and learning process has begun to have a higher profile in the school as well as in the setting observed. The staff of the setting believes the way forward has to be in equipping class teachers with the skills to undertake a lead role in developing inclusive practice, with external support and specialist advice only being used in a more limited number of circumstances. BIBLIOGRAPHY Ainscow, M. [...]
[...] (1999) Policy Issues Raised by rethinking Support in Brown, T. (2000) Rethinking Support for More Inclusive Schooling. Tamworth: NASEN Griffith, J., Provision for Children described as Having Special Educational Needs in a County Primary School. Online. Available from www.inclusion-boltondata.org.uk (Accessed 26.10 .03) Hopkins, D., West, M. and Ainscow, M. (1996). Improving the Quality of Education for All: Progress and Challenge. London: David Fulton. Littleboy, L., Reed, M., Smith, G. and Thompson, J. (2002) Special Educational Needs in Early Years. Care and Education. [...]
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