Supporting SENDCos


“Networking is not about  just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas and people with opportunities”

Welcome to our latest edition of the Catalyst Courier, after a long absence. The Catalyst Courier was a source of support and information during the long lockdowns in 2020, but we were unable to keep it going during the hybrid disruption of the past year. This year, our aim is to produce a newsletter following each of our SENDCO Networks, approximately one each month, with news and information arising from the monthly SENDCO Network meetings. If you have information to share or topics you’d like us to cover please get in touch ([email protected])

The Engagement Model

The Engagement Model is statutory for use from the 2021/22 academic year. Schools can no longer assess pupils against P scales 1 to 4. This new expectation has caused some concern for SENDCOs and there is also some confusion about which children fall within these requirements.

The main message for SENDCOs is that this requirement applies to children in Key Stage 1 and above who are not engaged in subject specific learning, children who would previously have been working at P levels 1- 4.

The Engagement Model can be a useful framework for thinking about children experiencing developmental delay in the Early Years Foundation Stage, but these children should have their progress monitored using the EYFS framework, not the Engagement Model.

We have provided a briefing PowerPoint for SENDCOs here:

The Engagement Model: information for SENDCOs

Discussion at our recent SENDCO Network indicated that this applies to a very small minority of children in our mainstream schools. If SENDCOs would like more information and advice for individual children, please get in touch.

Children with significant needs in the Early Years

There is a great deal of concern about the impact of the pandemic and its aftermath on children in the Early Years, with increasing numbers of children presenting with significant developmental needs. For some of these children, the ‘ordinarily available’ provision in the Early Years requires considerable adjustment. Following requests for support from several schools, we are providing a series of 6 Forum meetings specifically to consider the needs of the children and support for their staff.

This Forum is intended for staff working in Nursery and Reception classes and provision for 2-year olds. Sessions are open to teaching and support staff. The focus is supporting children with significant needs who are struggling to access the EYFS provision (children working well below developmental expectations for their chronological age). 

The aims of the Forum sessions are to: 

  • provide a supportive forum for staff to discuss their concerns and the challenges they face;
  • share approaches, strategies and solutions to common challenges;
  • think about the Engagement Model and consider how this framework for understanding early learning development might help in making adjustments to the provision ordinarily available in EYFS settings.

For dates and further information please see the attached flyer:

Early Years Early Development Forum

Welcoming refugees and asylum seekers

As schools in Manchester prepare to welcome refugees and asylum-seekers from Afghanistan we are offering supportive webinars that will also be of interest to schools receiving international new arrivals from other parts of the world.

These webinars are intended for all school staff but will be of particular interest to staff involved in policy and procedure relating to the admission, induction and inclusion of children newly arrived as refugees, asylum seekers or economic migrants.

The Part 1 session will also be of interest to other workers involved in supporting international new arrivals.

The aims of the webinars are to:

  • provide information and resources relating to ‘best practice’ in welcoming newly arrived children;
  • provide a supportive forum for staff to discuss their concerns and the challenges they face;
  • share approaches, strategies and solutions to common challenges.

These webinars are funded through Catalyst's social enterprise and are offered at no cost.

Dates are as follows:

Monday 29th November 4pm – 5pm (link to register here)

Repeated: Thursday 2nd December 4pm – 5pm (link to register here)

For further information please see the flyer here: 

Welcoming international new arrivals including refugee and asylum-seeking learners

Resources and information (Catalyst website)

During the past months our assistant psychologists have been refreshing our website, which we are aiming to develop as a useful source of information and resources for school staff and also for parents, carers and others who work with children and young people.

In order to keep developing in ways that are useful for you, we are asking you to complete a very short questionnaire about how you use the website (or don’t) and the kinds of resources and information that you would like to be able to access. Please use this link to access the questionnaire:

Catalyst website survey

Future dates

Our next SENDCO Network is Tuesday 7th December. The meeting link will be sent out on that morning.

Our next Catalyst Courier is due out on Monday 13th December.

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