15 Pages

Targets, strategies and adjustments

This is a double-edged dilemma for teachers and SENCOs. On the one hand, it is important to devise sensible and relevant short-and medium-term targets that will promote visible progress. On the other, it is vital not to ‘lose the plot’ by ensuring these shorter-term targets are given meaning because they lie within a framework that has longer-term goals. The ‘plot’ often contains broad and grand aims such as enabling pupils to ‘achieve their full potential’, ‘be independent as lifelong learners’ and so on. These are laudable but not wellfocused long-term objectives. The DfEE SENCO guide (1997) acknowledges the relevance of non-subject-based targets and describes them as ‘learning targets’ but it is difficult to find much educational literature that explores the notion and importance of these process skills in achieving the type of ‘outcomes’ that have become so central. A great deal of emphasis is now on literacy, numeracy and so-called ‘behaviour’ targets. This emphasis continues to penalise and exclude pupils with SEN and particularly those with physical disabilities or whose medical conditions make it difficult for them to conform to the ‘literacy’ demands (writing, recording or producing paper-based output) of current school-based assessment. Harris (1998), a practising SENCO, proposes the central importance of cross-curricular skills to meet the development and, by implication, individual needs of pupils while fulfilling the requirements for breadth and balance through the National Curriculum. Cross­ curricular skills emphasise ‘the journey’, or the process by which pupils can achieve the end products of subject-based or academic targets. These include such goals as study skills and problem solving. For pupils with physical disabilities and medical conditions there are a whole range of processes, skills and adjustments that need to be made in order to make progress towards the derived outcomes.