As anyone that works in the SEND world knows, there are always new things to learn and numerous perspectives from which to gain insight into this complex, yet rewarding, area. We recruit our EHC plan writers on the basis of their writing skills and, whilst a number of our writers also have a range of experience in the SEND sector, we like to ensure all of our EHC plan writers continually develop their skills and knowledge, both in terms of how they actually write the plans and their understanding of the wider context. Our writers receive a bi-monthly newsletter with SEND news and updates, such as relevant case law updates or published SEND statistics, and we hold monthly training sessions for the whole team, where our writers can socialise, share ideas and take part in a variety of ongoing training and professional development activities, such as Code of Practice exercises and workshops examining a particular aspect of plan writing.
We have also welcomed guest speakers at our monthly sessions: we have had an independent occupational therapist take us through the assessment process, the kinds of treatment and support provided by occupational therapy and how this all connects with a child’s educational needs, and were fortunate last year to be joined by a Local Authority SEND Manager, who talked about person-centred planning and ensuring EHC plans are aspirational and forward-looking.
This summer, we welcomed one of our part-time writers as a guest speaker – who also happens to be training to become a doctor! The session focused on common medical conditions and the medical terminology that often crops up in health advice. We discovered more about some of the genetic and neurological conditions that we often see as plan writers, obtained clarification regarding some common eye and ear problems, and gained insight into the workings of different types of breathing and feeding tubes. It was a hugely informative session and extremely valuable for our writers, significantly enhancing the understanding they bring to their draft plans.