Using Provision Map to enhance EHCP and Top-up bids

November 18, 2016 | Duncan Wilson

Many local authorities, when making their judgement about payments for higher need students, never actually meet the student, parents or the teachers that deal with them on a day to day basis. They rely on detailed and accurate paperwork that paints a picture over time of the difficulties presented.
Whilst the contributions of medical professionals, support agencies and parents are no doubt significant factors in the final decision, perhaps the single most influential factor in deciding whether or not to award money (or hours, or a plan) comes from the information provided by schools.
With this great responsibility, as SENCOs we need to make sure we are doing the best thing for the young person.prov_screenshot
Bids for EHCP and Top-up are not usually something that we decide on overnight. There is an overwhelming body of evidence that the young person is struggling in school and that without the additional support of an EHC or finances from Top-up they will continue to struggle to access education or falling further behind their peers.

A historical collection of Individual Learning Plans is often requested for both bids. It is not uncommon to be asked for 3 or even 4 reviewed plans demonstrating the small step targets students have been set and whether they have achieved them. This is where most schools worry – if we say they have not achieved them, does it mean we are doing a bad job? If we say they have achieved them, then why are we making a bid? Firstly, achieving a target may have been an ‘expensive’ project; look at how many hours of support had to go into getting there, whether 1;1, small group, special resources etc. Not achieving a target can paint just as detailed picture; was there a significant amount of support and they still didn’t retain the information? Provision Map allows you to create detailed plans for students and review these frequently. Rather than having to recreate everything, there is a bank of over 1000 targets which can be adapted as required.
Many of the young people we refer to here, will also have a significant amount of paperwork which has appeared from a variety of external agencies. And typically, we are required to provide copies of their ‘SEN file’ for EHCP requests. Provision Map allows you to scan in and attach files to the student.

This means no more copying a report 6 times and worrying about it being left out on a desk or missing out someone who may need the information contained. It also means hard copies can go straight into their file and are not likely to get lost in the large amount of mail SENCOs receive!
More recently schools are being asked for annotated provision maps (either as an alternative or in additional to learning plans). Generally speaking, this is easier to produce in a primary school, however they can be successfully created in secondary environments too. A provision map allows us to see the provisions which a student has had access to in order to try and achieve the small step targets on their plan. With sufficient detail they can indicate the aims, outcomes, ratio of staff:students and costs. Provision Map can help here too. With a few clicks you are able to assign students to a variety of provisions which can be reviewed regularly.

Of course, when we come to write the bids, we need input from a variety of people involved in the care of the young person. Again, primary schools with one class teacher perhaps find this easier than a secondary school where the young person meets over 15 staff in a week. School Robins (an optional add-on to Provision Map) can be useful for this task. Collating the information required in one report (without cluttering up in-boxes, or requiring a cut and paste activity!) which is automatically appended to a student. Typically, students for whom we wish to obtain funding will have had several to and fro conversations about them over time and these can provide a useful evidence bank.
Finally, schools are required to put in the first £6000 of funding for all pupils to meet their needs (academies may find their figure is much higher, since the LA SEN pot has already been devolved to their school – often in the region of £9000). Any efforts to secure funding above this need to evidence that they have already ‘spent’ that funding. Every local authority is different and they usually offer training or updates in the Autumn term to define the number of hours which they consider to be this value. E.g in my local authority I would have to prove the equivalent of 12 hours 1:1 support before I could put in a bid at the lowest level. This doesn’t mean the student had to have 1:1 support…it could be 24 hours of 1:2 support, or perhaps 8 hours of 1:1 support and 4 hours of preparation for a VI pupil. Using Provision Map and running selected reports we can evidence the hours a student receives, the cost for those and the effectiveness.
Having sat on Top-up panels at my local authority, the quality of the bid submitted was often the only way we could make decisions, especially when knowing how little money was left in the proverbial pot to make payments.

It is worth bearing in mind that Top-up bids are not continuous pots of money and a future bid will be required to ensure continued funding, so using Provision Map to evidence how the money has been spent is important. Also, EHC Plans have annual reviews in which the targets from the final ‘statement’ need to be translated into small steps and the progress evidenced.
For more information about Provision Map please do book a demo with us.

Supporting Students with ADHD

July 25, 2016 | Abigail Hawkins

ADHD = Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

One research paper tells us we have 10% of students with ADHD, another says 33% and a third says over 50%…whatever the percentage, it’s greater than 1% and that means we need to be prepared to modify our methods to teach these students.

ADHD is complex.  Like we consider Autism and Asperger’s to be on the ASD spectrum we should perhaps consider ADHD in a similar manner.  And just like ASD many students diagnosed with ADHD have other disabilities too (co-morbid).

In the main form of ADHD symptoms include inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, disorganization, and impulsivity.  But not all students have the hyperactivity element and this can sometimes be called Inattentive Attention Deficit Disorder (I-ADD).  Symptoms are short attention span, distractibility, disorganization, and procrastination.  Many more girls are diagnosed with this form for ADHD.  More recently it has been suggested there are other forms of ADHD involving different areas of the brain.

Whichever form of ADHD our students have it can be seen that we need to deal with the different elements.

When writing your learning plan for students, try to include targets that they can achieve.  The bank of Learning Plan targets in Learning Plans and Provision Maps includes over 1000 targets with more than 150 suitable for ADHD plans.


What do student’s say about ADHD?

My ADHD affects my concentration, impulse control and time awareness.  I can be impulsive, forgetful, easily distracted; and I tend to interrupt frequently, and do not always pay attention.  Sometimes I am Hyperactive.  I need a consistent approach, frequent and immediate feedback, to be told the consequences of my actions, and to be rewarded for good behaviour.  Please be patient.

Getting Ready for September

June 27, 2016 | Abigail Hawkins

Pupils and Learning Plans

I know, we haven’t quite hit July yet but already we are looking to September!

Whilst the rest of the school is winding down with Sports Days, losing older year groups and all those ‘fun activities’ that come at the end of term…SENCOs are drastically trying to clone themselves in order to deal with all the students already on the SEN radar, all the ones flagged by end of years tests, and any new ones starting the school in September.

So, have you started yet?  Or are you still staring at the task wondering where to start?

For new students starting your school, what have you managed to find out about them?  If you have the opportunity to meet with their previous teacher/SENCO then it’s a great idea to create their first Learning Plan together, setting targets for September.  This is not only well received by pupils and parents, but also by any new teachers who can plan for the first few weeks knowing what to expect.

For those students who have just appeared on your radar it is worth investigating why.  Many teachers will flag a student as not having made adequate progress in an academic year because they ‘failed’ their end of year assessment…but have a look at the other factors surrounding this.  Did they have a prolonged absence or a holiday when the rest of the class revised?  Is this a one-off (or is there a history of starting to fall behind) and has the teacher had to do anything different to ensure in-class progress throughout the year?  When it comes to writing their first plan it is best done with the teacher/s who flagged up the difficulties and setting targets that can be started before they break for the Summer.  With new students being added to the ‘register’ there is a degree of apprehension for the parents and pupils, alike.  Doing it now will ensure a smoother start in September.

So, to reviewing all those students who have been on your register this year.  Well, hopefully you have staggered the reviews and they are not all due at once!  If not, make sure this is something you aim for next year, you would be amazed at how much more achievable everything seems.  Where possible it is best to involve as many people as possible in undertaking the reviews.  As a SENCO we often forget that we are in fact the “Co-ordinator” not the person who has to do it all.

Using Learning Plans and Provision Maps makes life much easier for SENCOs, why not request a free trial or demonstration today?

Cash Shortage for SEND

June 2, 2016 | Abigail Hawkins

A study by The Key has confirmed what those of us in schools already know…there is a shortage of funding for special educational needs.

A report by the BBC today (“Cash shortage for SEN support”) highlights the difficulties faced:

  • 82% of mainstream schools in England do not have sufficient funding to adequately provide for pupils with SEND
  • 89% of school leaders believe cuts to local authority services have had a detrimental impact on the support their school receives for pupils with SEND
  • 3/4 of schools have pupils who have been waiting longer than expected for an assessment of SEN or an EHC Plan.  In fact, the transition to EHCP from SEND statements has been incredibly complex and many local authorities are struggling to reach the conversion deadline of 31st March 2018.
  • 88% of school leaders think initial teacher training does not adequately prepare teachers to support pupils with SEND

The DfE says it has increased the funding for children and young people with high level needs by over £90m this year…With the funding devolved to us in schools it is increasingly important that we account for each penny we spend.

(The systems in Wales and Northern Ireland are broadly similar to England, although they both have their own codes of practice.  In Scotland the concept of special educational needs is broader and includes; young carers, bullying and bereavement.  So, it is perhaps fair to say that, the majority of schools are struggling.)

How do you track your funding for SEND and make sure you are getting value for money?  Have you tried Learning Plans and Provision Maps ( ?


Learning Difficulties – vision

January 1, 2016 | Abigail Hawkins

Did you know that Braille is used in over 120 Countries by millions of visually impaired individuals?

In mainstream schools, without special provisions, we rarely come across students who need to use a completely different code to the one we usually teach with.  Braille is not a language but a code used to help visually impaired individuals ‘see’ words using the sense of ‘touch’.

The website above offers an insight into visual difficulties along with some free training.

How can we support visually impaired students in our classrooms?

The type of assistance required varies according to the degree and nature of the impairment.  Students are best approached directly to discover what they need (and are willing to use.)  New students may have difficulty finding their way around and need a buddy or adult support for a few weeks.  The premises team might need to reconsider that bulk purchase of Birmingham Blue paint.  And the sensory impairment advisory service may have suggested particular pieces of equipment so that the student can be as independent as possible in the classroom.  More recently, these items need to be purchased from within the school nominated budgets and the access to higher level funding has been reduced.  Have you considered the staff training that is required?  Even with an additional adult in the classroom specifically for the student, the member of teaching staff may still need to modify their approach to pedagogy.  Have a look at our tips for SENCOs when preparing a plan for a student with a visual impairment.

Click here and get some  great Tips for VI!! has additional strategies and ideas on how to help visually impaired students access lessons within school and also allows you to track interventions put in place against targets.

Why not take a free trial today?

Are YOU ready for the new SEN Code of Practice?

May 2, 2014 | Duncan Wilson

With big changes to SEN policy & practice on the way, September will be a busy and worrying time for most SENCOs.

One of the core recommendations in the new Code of Practice is the documenting of SEN provision and the use of provision mapping:

“The provision made for pupils with SEN should be accurately recorded and kept up to date. Ofsted will expect to see evidence of the support that is in place for pupils and the impact of that support on their progress as part of any school inspection.”

“Schools should ensure that they have accurate information to evidence the SEN support that has been provided over the pupil’s time in the school, as well as its impact.”

“Provision maps are a powerful way of showing all the provision that the school makes which is additional to and different from that which is offered through the school’s differentiated curriculum. The use of provision maps helps SENCOs to maintain an overview of the collective programmes of individual children and young people and provides a basis for monitoring the levels of intervention and assessing their impact on progress.”

DfE, Draft Code of Practice

As a busy SENCO, juggling 101 jobs is a demanding task. But we can help, is new Code of Practice ready and will make sure you have up to date information at your fingertips.

Not only does it quickly create provision maps but there are a whole host of other useful features such as learning plans, meeting logs and Pupil Premium reporting – we are “SIMS” for SENCOs.

Take a free trial at – we can help you make Ofsted happy!

Featured Intervention: Beat Dyscalculia

January 12, 2014 | Duncan Wilson

Beat Dyscalculia has been created by Celia Stone and Myra Nicholson who have 50 years’ of experience in teaching children with special educational needs.  In particular, they are recognised authorities on dyslexia, having previously co-authored a similar programme called Beat Dyslexia which is used in schools nationwide.

Inspired by a young boy who came to one of Celia’s classes with tears in his eyes because he was too scared to admit that he didn’t know what ‘times’ meant, the programme was originally designed to help the 40% of dyslexics whose issues with language and memory can make some areas of maths difficult.

However, Celia and Myra soon realised that other children including those with dyscalculia and autism also struggled with numeracy and mathematical concepts and so Beat Dyscalculia was developed as a highly-structured, multi-sensory numeracy programme in its own right which can help as an intervention programme for anyone struggling with maths.

View Beat Dyscalculia at:



Featured Intervention: Power of 2 Publishing

December 30, 2013 | Duncan Wilson

Where’s the problem?

When a child is struggling to make any progress in maths, quite often the focus will be on the current topic and their lack of understanding. This may be the case but the issue may lie further back in the child’s education.

The child may have hit a stumbling block in maths, but the chances are that it’s not that block which needs attention. For this reason the one-to-one coaching books, by Power of 2 Publishing, take a step by step approach, filling the gaps in a child’s knowledge. During this process they gain confidence and knowledge, allowing them to access the topic that they’d had problems with.

Both ‘Plus 1’ and ‘Power of 2’ work on the principle that, in order to develop, the foundations have to be solid. Often, it’s a case of not knowing which areas are wobbly, so we assume that it’s best to start from the beginning and build up again gradually.

The books are ideal for individual, structured support in schools. The books enable you to set targets, evidence progress, diagnose areas of concern and plan your one-to-one time. All areas of the mentalmaths curriculum are covered. They are ideal to build confidence and attainment.

You can see more details of the books at

Featured Intervention: Secret Agent Society (SAS)

December 9, 2013 | Duncan Wilson

Secret Agent Society (SAS) is a breakthrough social skills program for 8 to 12-year-old children with social and emotional challenges such as High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (HFASD). The evidence-based curriculum captivates children with its espionage-themed games and activities, which include a computer game, Helpful Thought Missile action game and Challenger Board Game. The program consists of 12 or 24 small group lessons for children, plus real-life practice missions and a system to monitor and reward skill development at school and at home. There are also information sessions and resources for parents and school staff.

SAS teaches children how to:

• Recognise emotions in themselves and others
• Express their feelings in appropriate ways
• Cope with feelings of anger and anxiety
• Talk and play with others
• Solve social problems
• Prevent and manage bullying and teasing

SAS currently holds the most clinically significant change published in the world for a social skills program for children with high-functioning autism. Results from a University randomised controlled trial showed that 76 per cent of children who participated in the program improved from having clinically significant delays in social functioning to showing social skills within the range of typically developing kids (Beaumont and Sofronoff, 2008)

The SAS Family Kit (pictured below) also recently won the Learning® Magazine 2014 Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family, which is a US-based award to recognise the best classroom-tested, teacher-recommended products around the world.

View Secret Agent Society at:

SMALLBoard-Game SMALLSAS-Family-Kit

SMALLSession-Resources-Kit SMALLThe-Computer-Game-Pack

Featured Intervention: Jolly Phonics

September 24, 2013 | Duncan Wilson

Founded in 1987, Jolly Phonics uses the synthetic phonics method of teaching the letter sounds. This is done using a fun and multi-sensory approach to enable children to develop into fluent readers.

Jolly Phonics not only publishes materials for teaching literacy but also for teaching music skills.

Over 100 countries around the world use Jolly Phonics, with some adopting the system as government policy.