How do you plan your workload for the year ahead?
Abigail Hawkins has worked as a SENCo for over 20 years and believes that taking some time in July to put some plans into place for September is key to peace of mind over the summer and successful workload management once September comes. Here are her tips for successful planning!
I have always enjoyed this time of year; closing off and concluding the successes of the year, monitoring and replacing the things that didn’t work so well and planning for a new academic term. I always start in the same place, with my new diary and calendar. There’s something really satisfying about seeing the days slowly filled in, knowing what’s to come.
1. What should you put in your calendar?
So, what does a SENCO need in their calendar? Everything ‘everyone else’ has is the answer!
It is vital to raid the school calendar, talk to heads of department and check with senior leaders first, plus most of the suggestions below, which are not exhaustive and will depend on each individual school and devolved responsibilities. Learning Plans and Provision Maps from Edukey was also key invaluable when it came to populating my calendar.
- Annual review dates
- Funding bid dates
- Deadlines for examination concession/modified paper applications + exam dates
- Network/moderation meetings
- Governor, SEN Professional meetings (and report dates)
- School Support Review dates
- Intervention reviews
- Staff training/CPD dates
- Personal CPD dates
- Transition dates
- Census deadlines
- Policy reviews
- Observation & Monitoring dates
It makes life easier to try and block these into your calendar as soon as possible, as throughout the SENCO’s year, there will be new applications for Educational Heal Care Plans (EHCP), additional funding bids, assessment of new names to the register, extra meetings and reviews …
2. What’s the best way to plan ahead?
Everyone will have their own way to do this.
- Some SENCOs will be happy with a checklist of everything to achieve that term/half term.
- Others may wish to break this down into weekly checklists.
- My personal preference is to work on the premise there are 5 weeks in each half term, and cycle my work across those 5 weeks.
This allows each half term to start fresh and ensure that one doesn’t fall behind. Like many SENCOs, I had responsibility for other areas (Pupil Premium, Looked After Children, English as an Additional Language) and a teaching load too, so it was important to put these deadlines in as well.
3. Use Provision Maps
I used Learning Plans and Provision Maps from Edukey to help me produce my plans, passports, provision maps, reviews and reports with just a few clicks. By staying on top of entries throughout the year, I was able to generate information for heads of year/department, governors, SLT, external agencies and other stakeholders in advance.
However, I could also provide what was needed at short notice. I have no doubt, that without my diary and the support of my Edukey program, I would have found this significantly more difficult.
Here are some of the ways Provision Maps helped me organise and collate information for some of the key dates in my calendar:
- Learning Plans and Provision Maps provided me with plenty of information to complete annual reviews
- Costed Provision Maps helped me complete funding bids
- Provision Map Outcome reports are really good for governor or SEN professional meetings
- I could create a new set of targets on learning plans after intervention reviews
When September comes, you can start the year knowing what to expect each week… well, at least until that new EHCP request comes in!
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