Pilot SEND Programme
Using SEND information about Z that was supplied by the SENCO and Year 10 Head, we decided to administer a dyscalculia screening test based on our suspicions of the nature of her SEND (see Education Plan). The test results although not definitive came back indicating “a risk of dyscalculia” (also known as a Specific Learning Disability, SPLD). This meant that for us, even though we were given a scheme of work that included Maths’ Summer Term Higher 1 scheme (areas, perimeters, averages and range) and Chemistry (reactions) due to Z’s SEND profile, our priority centred on using these pilot sessions to explore, discover and build a method of working with Z that would maximise her learning with us. So her marks in this report (see scheme of work) at this point, are merely incidental but will prove useful for comparison for future work undertaken with her.
Maths and Chemistry
Period: 20.7.20 – 21.8.20
Duration: 3 hours (2:1 – Maths: Chemistry, resp)
Scheme of work we planned for Z, here.
Working with Dyscalculia
We had an initial “meet and greet” with Z and her carer (Jane) before we started our sessions. This meeting acted as an important orientation session for all involved where we were able to quickly establish agreed expectations for the sessions. It was also important for us to develop direct contact with Jane so that we could begin to build a partnership and rapport with her concerning Z’s progress.
Our pedagogical approach consisted of the following processes:
Talking or Writing Out a Problem
Maths (session 4)
I found that when working with Z if numbers are involved, she may miss a few even after looking at the numbers twice. What worked well with Z was me reading the numbers out loud. Once I did this Z was able to work out the equation the first-time round. I found that seeing numbers confuses Z.
Chemistry (session 4)
Z really enjoyed this lesson and was able to explain what Metal oxidation is. She explained what happens when an electron is lost and gained. Z was also able to give me examples of what and where you might see this taking place.
Draw the Problem
Perimeter and Area (session 1)
I used Google slides to encourage Z to draw around the shapes that I presented. We imagined that we walked around the perimeter of the shapes in order for Z to understand what a perimeter was and how she could calculate it.
Break Tasks down into Subsets
Maths (session 1)
Maths Assessment displayed Z’s lack of understanding of even basic concepts of area and perimeter. This was expected as she has mentioned that she has not covered it this academic year in school.
Perimeter & Area (session 4)
Z was able to remember what formula she needed to use to work out the area and perimeter. Z found the workshop easy and made great progress in this subject.
Range & Averages (session 4)
Z found this worksheet easy to go through. She had a good idea of what the different averages meant but looked back at her notes to refresh her memory.
Use Real life Cues and Physical Objects (session 3)
I had planned to use meaningful household objects and song lyrics to pin formulae onto. But when I spoke to Z about memory-aids she said that she was very comfortable with taking notes and would refer back to them to refresh her memory.
Maths (session 3)
Z mentioned that she has covered this subject and this showed during the lesson, as she was able to remember how to work out the area and perimeter of an object. Z made notes and attempted to answer all questions. Z did have difficulties (reminders and recaps were continuously made) with some of the equations but she was able to walk me through her answers and asked questions.
Chemistry (session 1)
Z’s understanding of metal oxides was evident. The first few questions, Z answered correctly. The later questions, she struggled with. This was to be expected as she has only covered the first half of the topic in school.
Chemistry (session 3)
Z retained previous knowledge of oxidation and metal oxides and was able to give examples of what she had learnt.
We found that given time and support, with the methods used above, Z has a lot of potential. We found that her capacity for understanding the concepts involved was good but she did indeed have challenges in remembering processes for calculations.
- We would suggest that Z undergoes an EHCP to ascertain the exact nature of her SEND
- Working on the assumption of dyscalculia, we would recommend that Z’s repertoire of memory management be expanded beyond her note taking (although using that as an important starting point)
- We would suggest that Z continues further study of Maths and Chemistry, as she began to make good progress in our sessions
- We would also suggest that Z works on her creative writing and reading skills, as we noticed her reading age of 10 yrs in the tracking data supplied. We suspect that any challenges around comprehension and retention would be enhanced by creative activities that stimulated and nurtured her critical thinking skills. We believe that it is important that our learners become aware of their learning processes, take ownership of them and develop them. Creative writing and reading (creative thinking) sessions might be of particular use to Z.
What we can offer
- KS3/4 Maths and Chemistry tuition according the scheme of work already received
- Creative writing and reading sessions
- KS3/4 English language tuition (if required)
We are pleased to report that as a result of the structured work we did with Z, her school has used this as a basis for providing additional support for her.