We don't have the budget... 😞
I had an email from a lovely SENCo that said “We love the look of your resources, but our school is not in a good place budget-wise at the moment.”
School budgets have always been tight and funding doesn’t cover near enough the demands from government and legislation creators to schools and teachers to provide education to children with a range of needs and requirements.
The expectations on schools to provide inclusive environments for children with a range of needs and requirements are high, however the training and support for schools to meet those needs are shockingly low. After one of my training sessions in a local school, one teacher told me “I’ve been a teacher for 25 years and that was the first training on speech and language I’ve had!”.
Providing training and easy-to-access speech and language information to schools has always been a top priority for me. I’ve been delivering face-to-face training on a range of topics to schools in my local area for over a decade and I was delighted to find a way to create speech and language training courses that education professionals in schools all over the country (and beyond) could access in their own time, and access multiple times with the same login. (See the Online Courses page on my website for more infomration).
If you need to convince the Headteacher or Business Manager of your school that the speech and language training course or resources you’ve seen available for instant access on my website NEED to be purchased and they respond with “we don’t have the budget” ask them "which budget?"
In the past, schools have purchased my vital speech and language resources and training (as well as my local service provision) through a number of budgets. Here’s a selection of school fundsfor you to mention to the Business Manager:
SEN Budget- lots of schools have a tiny SEN budget but the training course or resource you’re keen on will be good value for money as a digital download that you can access multiple times and share with your team. This means you can divide the cost of the course between the number of people who access it. Some SENCos have pressed play on my Auditory Memory course and delivered it as training to their team of 10 LSAs, making the specialist course £5 per person.
Pupil Premium Budget- did you know that more than half of children from socially deprived areas start school with impoverished speech, language and communication needs? You probably have 2 or 3 children from your class in mind already who would benefit. You could present this as whole-school data to the Board of Governors for your school and show how you can meet the SLCN needs of your PP children through High Quality Teaching and Learning when staff apply the knowledge and strategies learnt through my SLCN course.
Training and CPD Budget- well it is staff training after all, and you can train your whole team on the same login. Some of my schools use my online training courses during their staff meetings (that’s why the Auditory Memory and Vocabulary courses are 30 mins long 😉) and other settings have trained up newer members of staff who will be working as 1:1 with children.
Coronavirus Catch-up Premium- because there will be so many children whose skills were already delayed before lockdown who will be so much further behind after 5 months off school. Justification for speech and language resources to help staff catch up the children who need a little boost could be easily applied for this budget. You can support X number of children by assessing and monitoring them using the SLCN checklist tool, for example.
I know lots of schools have had to spend big money on coronavirus resources and measures (for which a special budget was created by the government) but don’t dilute your attention on your school’s SEN needs with hand sanitizer.
Make sure you can access the tools and resources you need to help you to identify and support the needs of the SEN children in your school.
Beth Morant MSc BA (Hons) CertMRCSLT MASLTIP is a Highly Specialist Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist with extensive experience working with children and schools.