The Teacher's Guide to SEN

By: Natalie Packer


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234 x 156mm
Pages : 192
ISBN : 9781785830259
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2017

In The Teacher’s Guide to SEN Natalie Packer outlines what all teachers need to know about SEN, and provides a range of practical tips and ideas that can be applied in the classroom. One of the key messages of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice, first introduced in 2014, is that every teacher is responsible and accountable for every pupil in their class, including those with SEN. So what does this mean in practice for you as a class or subject teacher? Essentially, it requires you to understand every individual’s needs, have a range of relevant knowledge and skills and have the confidence to try out some new approaches. This book is your essential guide to meeting these requirements.

The Teacher’s Guide to SEN details the areas of need teachers are most likely to encounter, including: speech, language and communication needs (SLCN); autism (or ASD); moderate learning difficulties (MLD); specific learning difficulties (SpLD), including dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia; social, emotional and mental health needs; and physical needs, including visual impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) and physical disability. It also provides a useful overview of the many potentially unfamiliar acronyms used in SEN. Special educational needs and disability (SEND) is an umbrella term which covers a varied array of different needs. They may impact upon learning and cognition, behaviour, social interactions, or an individual’s ability to access the curriculum and certain activities in the same way as their peers. With the appropriate support, these needs need not be a barrier to learning, as this book demonstrates.

The Teacher’s Guide to SEN offers practical hands-on strategies to ensure high-quality teaching for all, together with key facts, real-life case studies and questions for reflection. The comprehensive advice includes: defining special educational needs; understanding your responsibilities; identifying pupils with SEN and putting support in place as part of the graduated approach; contributing to SEN reviews and education, health and care plans (EHC plans); making reasonable adjustments in the classroom; delivering inclusive, high-quality teaching for all; raising expectations; classroom strategies, focused on feedback, planning, questioning, modelling and scaffolding learning; developing relationships with pupils and their families; effective partnership working with teaching assistants, parents and outside agencies; and tracking and reviewing progress and provision.

Relevant to all primary and secondary practitioners, this is an essential point of reference for busy teachers, including trainees, NQTs or indeed any practitioner who would like to refresh their knowledge or gather some new ideas to try in the classroom.

Click here to read the feature of ‘The Teacher’s Guide to SEN’ in Issue 4; August 2017 of Humanising Language Teaching.

The Teacher’s Guide to SEN is a finalist in the 2018 Education Resources Awards in the Educational Book Award category.

Picture for author Natalie Packer

Natalie Packer

Natalie Packer is an education consultant specialising in SEND and school improvement. Having previously worked for the National Strategies SEN team and as a local authority adviser, Natalie has a significant amount of experience within this area of the education sector. She runs a range of professional development courses, carries out SEND reviews and supports a range of multi-academy trusts across the country with their strategic development of SEND provision.


  1. The Teacher’s Guide to SEN is a useful book that gets straight to the point without lots of fancy terminology. It is extremely practical and the case studies are relatable to teachers’ practice.

    I also found the sections titled ‘Try it!’, ‘Did you know?’ and ‘Reflect’ useful and refreshing. The information in these sections is short, concise and easily readable, without overloading the reader. I also like the fact that each headed section is written in small manageable chunks, making the book easy to pick up and read at leisure in the odd free ten minutes.

  2. The Teacher's Guide to SEN  has been a brilliant resource for our school which has had a positive impact on teacher's attitudes towards inclusion, allowing them to take greater ownership of provision within their classrooms. In our school we have many students with communication and interaction difficulties, therefore Natalie Packer's tips and strategies have been very useful when considering tailoring provision to meet the needs of these children. For example, most classes have implemented a workstation, a distraction free learning area to be used as and when needed.

    As our school is large and caters for a wide variety of needs, the book has been a useful, practical tool for all staff to refer to for a deeper insight into specific needs as well as providing effective strategies. Overall, The Teacher's Guide to SEN has been a great investment for the school and has improved teacher's confidence which has inevitably enhanced the quality of teaching for all pupils.
  3. As an inclusion leader, I have used The Teacher's Guide to SEN as the foundation for our school's professional development for teachers and teaching assistants. The opening chapters have helped to crystallise staff understanding about what Special Educational Needs are and how high-quality teaching is the most powerful tool for all learners - this is a key message in the book and comes across clearly and succinctly.

    In our training, we focused specifically on the -˜cognition and learning' section of the book as this is the most represented need across the school. The -˜try it' and -˜classroom strategies' to support needs such as dyslexia have been instantly embedded in practice. For example, one teacher now consistently uses pastel backgrounds and the fonts/text sizes recommended in the book. The book has also been an effective resource for teachers working with types of SEN that they haven't yet experienced, for example, the case study describing strategies in use for a young child with ASD has provided practical guidance that has been tried in our classrooms.

    The beauty of The Teacher's Guide to SEN is that it is designed for teachers, not specialists. The book's accessible style means that our school staff do not require a bank of existing knowledge to understand it, nor do they need a dictionary on hand to define the language. The list of abbreviations, professionals and SEN glossary at the back of the book have helped to demystify SEN, which can all too often be a very -˜jargon heavy' area of education.

    The Teacher's Guide to SEN has empowered classroom practitioners to reflect and make achievable, sustainable and significant changes to practice. These refinements have not come at any financial cost (the book is very well priced and provides excellent value for money) and most importantly have contributed to making all classrooms more inclusive for all learners.
  4. The School of Research Science is a large British curriculum school in Dubai and this year we changed our SEN structure and appointed a number of SEN teachers to work with each year group. I purchased 20 copies of this excellent resource for my SENCOs, SEN teachers and learning mentors.

    The book is well thought out and provides all readers and practitioners with accurate and up-to-date knowledge and understanding of SEN and how to promote a fully inclusive learning environments in our school.

    As the title indicates it is a -˜guide' and is easy for teachers and others to use; part 2 serves as a toolkit allowing teachers to just dip into it for specific help, strategies and guidance thus ensuring high quality teaching and learning for all the students in their care.

    New SEN staff to the school upon receiving this book commented that they felt supported and much more confident to tackle the many issues that can arise as a result of having a wide range of complex special needs students in their year group.

    I would highly recommend this innovative book not only to SENCOs or SEN specialists but to all teachers and other professionals who support children with any type of additional learning needs.
  5. I found the Teacher's Guide to SEN to be a practical guide that provides up to date and relevant information to help develop practice in the classroom. The layout of the book enables myself as SENDCo and other teachers to easily find sections that are applicable and use the -˜Try It' activities or -˜Did you know?' information boxes to support their practice. Additionally, the case studies give real life examples to help teacher's relate to their own experiences. For example the section related to speech, language and communication needs has supported teachers in our school with implementing pre-teaching strategies. Before using the book, this may have been something we would have sought professional advice on because it has been our main area of need for the past few years. Instead I was able to use the book to support others in the school. This has impacted on the progress of children especially in Key Stage 1. The section related to SEMH has proved useful as this has become one of our main area of needs in school this year. In some instances, we have used sections related to this to suggest strategies for both teachers and parents, whose children have SEMH as their area of need. These have been extremely beneficial and have meant that children are able to access more learning within the classroom therefore impacting on their progress and attainment. For very little outlay, I feel the recommendations from the book have been advantageous. Overall, a well thought out, easy to use guide to all things SEN.
  6. The author, who specialises in SEN and school improvement, has held roles as a headteacher and SENCO and runs professional development courses in collaboration with national and international organisations. In this book, she sets out to provide class and subject teachers with the knowledge they need to meet the requirements of legislation.

    The book is divided into two main parts, with the first providing information on the current state of SEN, EHC plans and the implications of “high quality teaching” within an inclusive teaching environment. Further chapters cover the elements of successful SEN support and working in partnership with other professionals and parents.

    Part 2 of the publication is titled “The Teacher's Toolkit” and covers areas such as: communication and interaction; cognition and learning; social, emotional and mental health issues; and sensory physical needs.

    The chapters share a common structure that details classroom strategies and specific activities, with links to published resources and websites. Packer includes short case studies that are based on classroom experience and on advice from practitioners and specialist organisations. Chapters end with short reflective activities and links to additional sources of professional development.

    The book closes with a useful list of abbreviations, a glossary of related terms and a description of the roles of a range of associated professionals.

    This is a practical and informative text that would be of value to a wide range of classroom practitioners seeking information and strategies for delivering more inclusive provision.
  7. -‹This book is a superb introduction to the subject and offers guidance and advice on how to include all learners with SEN. Of significant importance is how to modify teaching and modes of learning in such a way as to be inclusive and embracing. Case studies, probing questions and key facts are presented for consideration. Ideas offered can be used with all learners and demonstrates how 'reasonable adjustments' can be made.

    This is an essential guide and should be in every school's staff library.
  8. Current legislation emphasises the role of schools and colleges in addressing access and inclusion of learners considered to have SEND (special educational needs and disabilities). A key aspect of the Code of Practice (2014) is the emphasis on the responsibility and accountability of the teacher for every pupil in their class.

    Natalie Parker, who has extensive experience of teaching and managing pupils with SEND, enlightens the reader with a really well presented array of strategies and case studies that will demystify anxieties and enable staff at all levels to make a difference for all learners.

    I was particularly impressed with the -˜areas for reflection' and -˜try it' sections which extend the reader's knowledge, understanding and practical skills. The discussion of HQT (high quality teaching) for all gives considerable insight regarding engagement, motivation and challenge for learners.

    This is a practical toolkit and excellent resource for use within all classrooms, which will promote the skills and confidence of staff at all levels to champion the pupils with the greatest needs and make a real impact and difference to their quality of life.
  9. This book is a useful guide to how the SEND system works in England. It is useful for both primary and secondary teachers, of all subjects, and will help non-specialists to understand the sometimes opaque language and systems involved in supporting SEND students in English schools. This book is underpinned by recent and relevant research, which shows the writer's deep knowledge of the subject, and has lots of useful links and places that teachers can look for more information.

    I recommend this book for teachers wanting to inform themselves about the SEND system and how it works, while remembering that, while things might look straightforward on paper, in reality, nothing is as simple as it seems.
  10. The Teacher's Guide to SEN is both practical and informative; an ideal read for teachers, SENCOs and school leaders wishing to understand how best to support the needs of all learners. Highly recommended!
  11. The Teacher's Guide to SEN demystifies the jargon and complex issues surrounding students' additional needs. Filled with helpful, practical, classroom-based strategies and case studies it reassures and guides in equal measure. Apply these techniques so you can make -˜reasonable adjustments' and provide high-quality learning experiences for all your students, irrespective of their individual starting points.
  12. Natalie Packer uses her expertise, knowledge and vast experience in SEN to produce a book that should be read by every new teacher entering the profession. The Teacher's Guide to SEN balances theoretical approaches to supporting children with special educational needs with helpful ideas and case studies that are rooted in current practice. It is a book that offers the reader the opportunity to critically reflect on their own practice and empowers teachers to put in place practical strategies that will genuinely make a difference to learning in the classroom.
  13. In The Teacher's Guide to SEN (her follow-up to The Perfect SENCO) Natalie Packer demystifies SEN. The first part of the book gives an overview of SEN and what it means to be an inclusive teacher in practice. In the second part, each of the four main areas of SEND is covered in turn, in a very clear and user-friendly way. Finding useful tips and strategies is made easy with the use of icons throughout. This is a really practical and readable guide. This book will contribute to an increased knowledge and understanding of SEN at a critical time in the implementation of the government's reforms.
  14. A fantastic, practical resource.This book demystifies the world of SEN so that every teacher can exhibit inclusive practice to meet the needs of a wide range of learners.The combination of brief case studies, key ideas from research, links to further resources and instant things to try makes this book a unique CPD tool for busy teachers.
  15. Natalie draws on her wealth of experience and knowledge of SEN, plus the best available evidence, to produce this essential trove of key information and reflective and practical activities. The actionable strategies to support learners across the common areas of need are built on core components of high-quality teaching that work for all. This book demystifies the process of removing barriers to learning and will help new and practising teachers alike to develop confident and independent learners.

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