Teaching Primary Special Educational Needs

Series Achieving QTS
Author(s) Jonathan Glazzard, Alison Hughes, Annette Netherwood, Lesley Neve, Jane Stokoe
Publisher Learning Matters Ltd
Published 2010
Pages 160
Price £16.00
ISBN 9781844453672
Reviewed by Ms Anita Devi
University of Northampton
Review published 28 September 2010

The book is part of the ‘Achieving QTS’ series  and is designed to support trainees through their initial teach training in terms of meeting the 2007 QTS Standards as well as provide readers with knowledge of special educational needs and an understanding of inclusive classroom practice.

The publication is divided into three parts; each part could be read as a separate unit:

1.  Understanding Special Educational Needs which includes a critical discussion on inclusion policy and legislation.  The authors also provide an overview of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (DfES, 2001), and a more specific focus on needs associated with learning and cognition difficulties.  Theoretical frameworks are presented alongside legislation and examples of classroom practice.

2.  Teaching Special Educational Needs.  In this section, chapters are dedicated to addressing specific needs within the classroom context.  These include children with reading difficulties, dyslexia, speech language and communication needs, autistic spectrum disorder, Asperger’s, behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.  Attention is given to defining concepts, the historical development of knowledge pertaining to specific needs and the responsibilities of a teacher catering for these needs.  Due care is given to demark responsibilities of the teacher and that of the SENCo in supporting pupils and staff meet the needs of all learners.  Advice and tips are provided throughout the publication.

3.  The Wider Context.  The final three chapters explore the importance of forming partnerships with pupils and parents as well as outside agencies.  Further thought is also given to how teachers can create ‘learner-friendly environments’ by modifying their practice, by being reflective and by being clear on their own values.

Each chapter begins with specific objectives for the reader and defined links to the 2007 QTS Standards.  In addition, each chapter includes case studies of good and poor practice, practical tasks for the trainee to try during placements, reflective tasks for the reader to discuss with colleagues and fellow students and references for further reading.  In modelling good practice to the reader, the authors conclude each chapter with a highlighted summary of the key points. A useful eight page index is also included at the end of the publication.

Whilst the publication is aimed at trainee teachers, it would equally be of use to newly qualified teachers (NQTs), Special Needs Co-ordinators (SENCos), teacher mentors/lecturers and professionals working in health and social care whose work may involve interaction with educational professionals in order to support children with special educational needs.  In particular, the case studies provide a plinth of experience for professionals to draw on and learn from, either individually or through corporate inset.  The book can be read cover to cover or as a dip-in-and-out reference book.

There is no doubt that this book is a valuable resource for trainee teachers, as well as those, involved in teacher education or those more experienced teachers needing some understanding of special educational needs.  The critical discussion and clarity of concepts linked to relevant practices in the classroom provides readers with useful material to digest, debate and evaluate through personal experience. 

A book that I would consider value for money.