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ASE's guide to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

‘It’s hard to come up with specific strategies to use with SEND students, as good teaching is good teaching. You plan what you want students to learn and look for activities and strategies that make that possible.' - Rob Butler, Science Teacher

Information and practical ideas for science teachers

The inclusion of special educational needs and disabled (SEND) students in the classrooms of mainstream schools can be a cause of concern for teachers. With the new changes to schools’ progress measures coming into effect in 2016, showing that all children are making progress can be challenging. Training and guidance can help meet this challenge.

Learning science can be a positive experience for children with special educational needs and disability. The following resources aim to support teachers to provide an active and stimulating learning environment and highlight the wealth of support on offer from other organisations. We have also featured advice, written by teachers in the field, offering valuable strategies to use with SEND students.

Strategies to use with SEND students (in mainstream and special schools)

Strategies to use with SEND students (Part 1)

by Rob Butler

Advice on: Literacy, activities and strategies; Teacher and Teaching Assistant toolkit; Thinking skills

Rob Butler is a science teacher who has been working in schools with students for around 20 years. Rob's website (fiendishlyclever.com) is great repository of knowledge. Join Rob on #ASEchat if you want to know more about SEND or contact him on twitter @cleverfiend and Facebook.

Strategies to use with SEND students (Part 2)

by Marion Frankland

Advice on: Time and accessibility; Modelling, practicals, drama and demonstrations; Vocabulary and resources

Marion Frankland is a science teacher in schools for students with moderate to severe learning disabilities. Marion often blogs resources for lessons and kindly shares them! (speciallyteaching.wordpress.com)

SEND students in mainstream schools (Part 3)

by Corrinne Howell

Advice on: Overcoming barriers; Ideas to support SEND students in a science; Resources and ideas you could use

Corrinne Howell is currently a 1-1 tutor and formerly a science teacher and subject co-ordinator.

Working with SEND Students in Science (Part 4)

by Jo McMullen

Advice on: Lesson objectives; Practical work and Safety; Teaching GCSE science

Jo McMullen is a science teacher at Carwarden House Community School. Her favourite websites include sciencekids.co.uk and bbc.co.uk/education.


Specific SEND Advice

Guide to teaching Students with Autism (pdf)

From the National Autistic Society and Asperger's Syndrome Foundation

Advice on: Understanding autism; Getting to know your student; Your teaching skills; Helpful tips

Supporting the achievement of deaf young people (pdf)

From the National Deaf Children's Society

Advice on: Getting to know your student; Adapting teaching and learning strategies; Good communication

Supporting students with sight loss (pdf)

From the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB)

Advice on: Unified English Braille; Load2learn

Dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia (pdf)

From the British Dyslexia Association and Dyspraxia Foundation

Advice on: Overcoming barriers; Dyspraxia and science; Practical interventions; Typical symptoms

Down’s syndrome (pdf)

From the Down’s Syndrome Association

Advice on: Misconceptions; Good practice; Support information

Case Studies

Supporting inclusion (pdf)

From the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Cockroaches? Snakes? Tiger skulls? How do these things make you feel? A day trip to the zoo can provide an exciting experience for learners of all ages and abilities. ZSL tell us what support is available for teachers and adults accompanying school groups.

Support Available

Nasen is the UK’s leading organisation supporting those who work with or care for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Professional development is at the heart of what Nasen does, offering invaluable support for education professionals at both a strategic level and practically in the classroom, in order to meet the diverse needs of the pupils in schools and settings. Visit www.nasen.org.uk for the latest news, updates, resources and information. Resources include the popular mini-guides, which are designed to provide just enough information to teachers and SENCOs on a range of current SEND topics, as well as the brand new Collaborative Learning for SEN: the Role of the SENCO guidance. 

With thanks to all our contributers

We are grateful to all the specialist SEND professionals and organisations who contributed articles and information about their work to this resource. We recognise that this collection is not exhaustive and invite further submissions. If you would like to write something about your experiences with SEND in the science classroom, please contact Jane Hanrott on janehanrott@ase.org.uk