Catalyst Courier November 2023

Welcome to our latest edition of the Catalyst Courier. If you have information to share or topics, you’d like us to cover please get in touch ([email protected]

Our November SENDCO Network was held in person, at the Old Parsonage, with information from Dr Teresa Regan, Managing Director and Principal Educational Psychologist who led discussion around the new MCC EHCP pilot and subsequent Catalyst audit with input from SENDCos and feedback from SENDCos on experiences of recent OFSTED inspections.

Ofsted inspection: A SENDCO's view based on recent experience.

A feedback and discussion session was led by speakers from various primary schools whose schools had undergone a recent OFSTED inspection alongside input from other network attendees. One of the main take homes from the discussion was the relative feeling of ease during this inspection: contributors shared “it was the least stressful OFSTED inspection I have experienced” emphasising the process was more straightforward and predictable across the two days.

Questions asked during OFSTED SENDCo Meeting:

  • Number of children on SEND register, EHCP and SEND Support
  • Context of the school – demographics of area and cohort – Discussed how a two-tier system could develop (e.g. in this context, parents able to access private professional reports) – Big focus from OFSTED regarding this.
  • How you identify SEND children? – school have a system where the assistant heads have a monitoring system and APDR ‘quality first toolkits’ for teachers with actions already in place. Then it comes to the SENDCO and then it goes to the SEND register.
  • How do you engage with parents and families? – workshops, weekly learning support meetings.
  • How do you support reading for children with SEND and how do you know the support is having an impact?
  • What was the focus last year and what are this year focuses?
  • How do you share information with teachers and wider staff?
  • What training is available for staff?


Asked teaching staff if they were supported by the SEND department.

Less of a focus on the paperwork (asked for 6 EHCPs and 1 one-page profiles)

SEND was discussed with every staff member mirroring that of safeguarding.

Big focus on observing SEND provision in the classroom. Also spent time for some schools observing in school SEND provision during core curriculum sessions (maths, phonics)

OFSTED inspector also asked if everyone felt comfortable with the process and if there is anything staff wanted to discuss with them about the inspection process.

MCC EHCP pilot: sharing experiences & discussion of the Catalyst audit.

Still very few outcomes to discuss from the new MCC EHCP process, however early decisions indicate plans are likely to be pushed back if outcomes listed are listed in the ordinarily available prevision document. Funding also appears to be reduced from the bands previously expected.

Challenges shared:

  • OAP difficult to manage due to the cyclical impact of reduced funding on recruitment and retention of TA’s.
  • Management of TAC meetings. Need to co-construct outcomes is leading to more workload for SENDCOs and no decrease in time.
  • SENDCos report difficulties co-constructing outcomes with parents who have language barriers.
  • Co-construction of outcomes may need time to be considered after information is shared in the TAC.
  • Quality of the reports submitted across the local authority will greatly vary with the new process of co-construction.


Teresa Regan presented preliminary results of the Catalyst audit which is a new process attached to the EP/AP planning meetings. (Link to slides here).


A discussion around the audit was had during the second half of the network. SENDCos shared thoughts on the audit process and some further questions emerged regarding what can be observed in the data and how it could inform research direction in the future.

  • How many children who work with an EP/AP don’t go on to have needs assessed?
  • Why has there been an increase in SEND need? - Reduced capacity of early intervention services, rise in awareness of SEND, impact of COVID, impact of cost of living, parental mental health etc.
  • Is it possible to disseminate how many specialist places may be needed across the local authority?

Our next SENDCO Network is 28th November 2023.

Our next Catalyst Courier is due out on Monday 11th December 2023

If you have any items, you’d like us to cover please get in touch: [email protected]

With best wishes

Teresa and the Catalyst team

Dr Teresa Regan

Principal Educational Psychologist and Managing Director