Catalyst SENDCo Network July 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]) 

Due to the conference preperations we did not send out a Catalyst Courier in May or June, so we have included information, slides and resources from the May SENDCO Network, and the Catalyst Conference in the July edition of the Courier. 

  • The May SENDCO Network at the Old Parsonage included a workshop with Dr Rebecca Wright on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism. 
  • We have also published a page with information from our June conference: Inclusion Matters 2023: "It takes a village to raise a child...fostering resilient communities through inclusive practice.
  • The July SENDCO Network was also held at the Old Parsonage, with information from Dr Rhonda Boaler, Educational Psychologist on her doctoral research into Emotionally Based School Avoidance. Dr Teresa Regan then facilitated a discussion on the Manchester LA EHCP pilot. 

May 2023 SENDCO Network 

Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism

At our May SENDCO network, Dr Rebecca Wright led an interactive session for school SENDCO's on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism. The session offered attendees opportunity to share and reflect on their experiences of working with black and racially minoritized children and their families, and to explore where we are at on our journey with working with families. Attendees were encouraged to appreciate that we are all on different parts of the journey in our understanding/knowledge of anti-racism work, and were supported to begin creating an action plan for developing their work in this area.

Slides PDF: click here 


June 2023 Catalyst Conference 

Inclusion Matters:"It takes a village to raise a child...fostering resilient communities through inclusive practice.

On June the 23rd, SENDCOs and Educational professionals from across Greater Manchester and beyond met at Gorton Monastary for our annual conference.

Link to webpage: Click here 


July 2023 SENDCO Network

EBSNA (Emotionally Based School Non-Attendance)

Dr Rhonda Boaler carried out action-based research when working at Trafford EP service as a trainee EP as part of her doctoral studies. She is now working as a qualified EP at Catalyst Psychology.

Link to slides: Emotionally Based School Non-Attendance 11/07/2023

Link to Catalyst Psychology EBSNA page: click here 


What we discussed:

  • Key risk factors related to attendance difficulties that are linked to anxiety.
  • Why early identification and assessment is important.
  • Whole-school and targeted practical strategies to supporting children and young people with attendance difficulties.
  • SENDCO's shared experiences of good practice in their schools. 


What is EBSNA?

‘Where the level of the young persons stress exceeds support’


Risk factors

Rhonda discussed the following risk factors that research has shown increase a child or young persons chance of EBSNA.

  • Parents who have a negative view of school, or have had a negative experience of school themselves.
  • Sensory processing needs.
  • Low and irregular attendance in EYFS.
  • Reading and literacy difficulties.
  • SEND e.g. ASC, anxiety.
  • Siblings with attendance difficulties.
  • Parent/ carer living with physical, mental needs and challenging life circumstances.


Tools to identify EBSNA

Rhonda discussed different tools to identify EBSNA, one of which is the EBSNA Early Identification Tool (EIT) from Trafford schools and services. Using the EIT can be very effective in helping families and schools to quickly identify what risk factors and triggers might be contributing to a child or young person’s anxiety and feeling unable to attend school.

Their resources are available to download from the Trafford directory website: click here

Strategies at a whole school level

For staff:

  • Staff access to communication tools to communicate with parents.
  • Early identification/tracking systems with designated staff.
  • Staff being confident in identifying risk factors.
  • Staff being supported to build high quality and positive relationships with CYP and families.


For parents/carers and families:

  • Clear attendance policies that families see as helpful and respectful and accessible to diverse groups.
  • Home visits (early years).
  • Positive school environment that reflects CYP and families needs.
  • Programmes that work on wellbeing and relationships.
  • Breakfast and after school clubs having activities that are led by the CYP's interests. 
  • Support groups for parents. 
  • Parents/carers feel heard by school staff.


For children and young people:

  • Mentoring programmes (group and 1:1) from the community.
  • Reasonable adaptations linked to a personalised flexible action plan.
  • Providing catch up sessions with supportive peers in class.
  • The right environment for breaks and lunchtimes (safe spaces indoors and outdoors).
  • Rewards for regular and improved attendance.