Tracy McConnachie explains how SEN Diary has helped her make better use of her time
A few months ago I was lucky enough to be asked to test a new piece of software designed to help busy SENCos survive! As a SENCo working in a relatively small secondary school in South Derbyshire (750 pupils on role) I jumped at the chance. The school has 90 pupils on register of which 41 have statements of special educational needs. Any program designed to make my task easier had to be worth investigating. Now I couldnt do my job without it. I have found SEN Diary to be an invaluable and now essential tool of the job. I am now the most organised SENCo I know!!
So how exactly does it work? SEN Diary is a way for me to organise and store information, which can be sorted and printed to provide invaluable checklists, diary entries, reminders and useful and professional graphs and charts! I am able to store information and use this to keep me on track with individuals, groups and in fact the whole SEN register.
I also give each teacher a printout which shows each pupils stage on the Code of Practice. This is colour-coded with a different colour representing each stage. Those children about whom we have concerns can be entered on the database as Amber or Concern and their progress monitored. Yes, you can configure this word too, to work the way your school does.
- Individuals are added to the database and information about Year group, date of birth, mentor, stage, date of next annual review. The date of next IEP review is picked up from the diary and shown alongside each individuals name.
- Many aspects of the individuals summary line can be customised to suit your school and structure. You can choose your own headings for the columns shown in the demo data above as Class, LSC, TA Hrs and Funding. For example: I have customised my SEN Diary to have: Mentor; ETT (for extra teaching time); TA Hours; and I havent found a use for the fourth column yet but I will!
- Each child also has his or her own diary.
- Diaries can be viewed and printed out at the click of a mouse. I have found this to be particularly important as I am now able to keep all information in one place which can be printed out quickly. Incidents are logged on a daily basis, meetings noted and any other information relevant to that child entered and stored.
- Events that have not taken place are dated and the all-important Done box left unticked what could be simpler? When the event takes place all I need to do is add any details and tick the Done box.
- Confidential information can be added and kept private even when printing the diary entries out.
- Children can be grouped in a number of different ways on both the display and in reports: by year group/class, mentor, stage etc. At the push of a button I am able to select a group of pupils in any Year group at any stage and then:
- Print out reminders of when annual reviews/IEPs are next due. I am also able to print out lists of children by class teacher/mentor and give these reminders to individual teachers. Each teacher has a checklist of the pupils they are responsible for, giving information such as date of next annual review/IEP.
All of the names added to the database form the basis of my own SEN register. I am able to give detailed information about the register and an invaluable PLASC summary saves an incredible amount of time all at the touch of a button. I can print out the SEN register which gives a detailed breakdown of the numbers of pupils with SEN, at each stage in each year group. I choose the Stages at any date I choose so I can show the difference between the beginning of the year and now.
I have SEN Diary on my laptop and use it on a daily basis. It is easy to install and easy to use. There is a handy and readable manual integral to the system which explains in an easy-to-follow manner how to use its many features.
We are due an Ofsted soon and I know that SEN Diary will be invaluable. I am able to answer questions from the Headteacher/LEA at the touch of a button. All the information I need is stored within SEN Diary and can be accessed and printed within seconds. It even takes care of the organisation of backing up my data. Id be lost without it! I feel much more organised, less stressed and have more time to focus on the pupils and I would highly recommend SEN Diary to fellow SENCos.