Supporting a Primary Inclusion Hub in gaining maximum benefit from edtech for SEND learners and those struggling to access mainstream provision
Lancashire Primary Inclusion Hub supported by The Consortium of Hambleton Primary Academy with Ribblesdale and Highfurlong School
Throughout Lancashire, each district has its own Primary Inclusion Hub, which provides support to primary schools within the district. This is an existing structure, with representation from local Primary Headteachers and the Lancashire Schools Improvement team. The main priorities of the Inclusion Hubs are to provide support to learners with complex behaviour and/or SEND and pupils who are at risk of exclusion.
Due to some of the challenges associated with reaching and supporting these pupils, the Preston District Primary Inclusion hub, sought to investigate how they could leverage edtech to support these young people. Some members of the Inclusion Hub had experience in using edtech within their own school but wanted specific guidance in getting the maximum benefit for SEND learners and those struggling to access mainstream provision.
The Preston District Primary Inclusion Hub are using the EdTech Demonstrator Programme in two main ways. The first is to offer CPD training to equip staff within primaries with the skills needed to make the curriculum inclusive for all, supporting with a range of EdTech strategies. The programme will cover the use of edtech to improve accessibility, support the delivery of phonics to pupils and how existing technology can be used to support pupils to access the curriculum. The second will offer targeted support to small groups of pupils within each school, with specific needs linked to SEND and inclusion.
Throughout the pilot both aspects have drawn on a wide range of different tools to support pupils, many of whom have specific additional learning needs. For example, staff and pupils have been trained in the use of apps, such as Learning Tools, that enable them to more readily access the curriculum and adapt resources to meet their specific needs. They have also been introduced to other accessibility features within their existing school platforms, such as read aloud and dictate, to further support the learning of their pupils. Additionally, edtech now supports the delivery of phonics, ensuring that accurate assessments of progress are made.
The benefit of using the Hambleton, Ribblesdale and Highfurlong consortium within the EdTech Demonstrator programme, is that it gives direct access to teachers and senior leaders who have successfully implemented technology across their own organisations. The support is cross-phase, and with Highfurlong’s Special School input, allows specialist knowledge to be shared with primary colleagues to benefit mainstream learners. This provides pupils with the digital skills needed to support their own learning, allowing them to more effectively access the whole curriculum and provide them with skills for the future.