Case studies

Disengaged pupil increases level of interaction and improves vocabulary


The school has always catered well for its SEN pupils and children experiencing difficulties in class are usually identified early and supported within class and with some intervention out of class.


The Learning Support Team were asked to support a year one pupil who was struggling to communicate with adults in class. The teacher thought that there may have been underlying difficulties. The pupil was seen in the summer term but had had a new teacher at Easter. The Teaching Assistant had been constant since September.

School described the pupil as “working below ARE in literacy and numeracy and struggles to sound out words independently…often looks anxious especially when starting new things. Is working within comfort zone but now needs stretching.” They were concerned that pupil would not respond during the assessment as they find it difficult to measure the pupils learning in class due to lack of engagement.

Parent commented that they are “quite confident at home but gets nervous in new environments.”


Before the assessment the Learning Support Teacher observed the pupil in class before taking them to another room to begin the assessment. The pupil was able to complete all of the assessment tasks and the school was provided with standardised scores for language, reading, spelling and some aspects of memory.

The report suggested that the pupil’s receptive vocabulary was within the average but expressive language was below average.

The teacher was given advice and support to help the pupil with expressive skills.


A term later the SENCo reported that the pupil had settled well into their new class and was already building a positive relationship with their new teacher. As staff now know that the pupil’s understanding is not a problem they have increased the level of interaction with the pupil and provide sentence openers that enable the pupil to voice their own thoughts and opinions.

The school feel reassured that the pupils learning needs have been accurately identified. They are using visuals to support curriculum learning. The teacher feels that the pupil could possibly be removed from the SEN register next term if the current rate of progress continues.