Preparing teachers with disabled children in their classrooms

Guest post from Tracie Linehan, an educational specialist at Scope.

Man and disabled student using a computer smilingAs teachers, we’ve all experienced the challenges of including each pupil, with different abilities, in our classroom activities. There are added pressures to consider if a child is disabled or has special educational needs (SEN). It’s rare for teachers to have the expertise about each different impairment or condition and this means finding ways to include them can be tricky. Teachers and teaching assistants often feel under-prepared in dealing with the challenges posed by disabled students or those with special educational needs (SEN).

According to the Department for Education, there are more than 1.6 million children with special educational needs in schools, 779,665 in mainstream primary education alone. Of these, 226,125* have a formal ‘statement’, which outlines an individual child’s needs and details how they should be supported.

Until now, there’s been little in the way of practical guidance for teachers on how they can go about supporting disabled children and pupils with SEN in their classes. That’s why Scope, funded by the Department for Education, developed a new online resource for teachers.

A toolkit to bridge the gap

Learning together is our new online toolkit for teachers and special educational needs co-ordinators (Sencos). It provides practical tips and techniques that have been proven to work in a classroom environment, and includes:

The information covers a wide range of conditions and impairments including autism spectrum disordersphysicalvisual and hearing impairments, dyslexia and communication impairments.

We developed Learning together with the help of an expert panel of teachers and specialists, and we also tested it among over 25 professionals, including Sencos, teachers, speech and language therapists and SEN teachers.

Feedback so far

We launched Learning together just before the summer holidays and we’ve had some great feedback:

Barbara Mazliah, a deputy head and Senco at Moriah Primary School in Harrow, said:
“This toolkit is an incredibly thorough and easy-to-use website for non-specialists. I think it will be a very useful resource for any Senco and class teacher to have at their fingertips. We’re all focused on the assessment of children’s attainment and progress and this will help class teachers monitor SEN children more accurately in the future. “

and on Twitter:

Join us in developing best practice for inclusive education

We are continuing to develop the Learning together toolkit and to add new content. This is where you come in! If you would like to submit classroom resources, lesson plans, techniques or tips for including pupils, please email

Or just let us know what you think, by sending us your feedback online!

I hope you find it a useful resource.

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