Collaboration within a team supporting a pupil with special educational needs (SEN)
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Collaboration is essential to improve the outcomes for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) between schools, agencies (health, social services, and education), and parents. (Gray, 2006). Components of successful teamwork are described as the establishment of a trusting relationship, ability to develop mutually satisfying goals, and effective communication. (Williams & Wilkins, 1994). While these factors have been widely examined in previous literature, there has been a dearth of research regarding daily collaborative practices between school staff and parents supporting a pupil with SEN. The study aims to examine the participants. perspective of daily collaboration within a mainstream school setting, exploring the possible levels of breakdown and the positive strategies employed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), Teacher, Learning Support Assistant (LSA) and the pupil.s parent. Results indicate that successful collaboration included regular opportunities to share information and knowledge, honesty, trust, an awareness and respect of each member.s role, personality and consistent communication. Barriers to collaboration included time constraints, withholding information, differences in personality and position within the team. Findings highlighted the need for a consistent and honest flow of information between the participants in order to keep the links between each member of the team active. A need to establish effective communicative strategies between parents and staff were also identified, along with a continued need to address time constrains, which prevented the organisation of structured meetings in order to build positive relationships. Several areas were identified which would benefit from further investigation.
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