Continuing Professional Development in The SEND Sector: How Quality Assurance Tools Help.

We share how quality assurance tools help to focus CPD efforts, benefit professionals in the SEND sector and help improve outcomes
Continuing Professional Development in The SEND Sector: How Quality Assurance Tools Help.
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Continuing Professional Development in The SEND Sector: How Quality Assurance Tools Help.

Despite the challenges posed by the demands of increasing numbers of EHCPs, meeting statutory timeframes, workload and capacity, professionals involved in the EHCP process are committed to providing the best possible service to support children, young people, and their parents/carers. They aim to deliver the highest quality support that is necessary to help these individuals achieve their desired outcomes and thrive within the community.

Continuing professional development (CPD) helps SEND teams and individuals to utilise their knowledge and experience to contribute to high-quality care plans. Whether developing specialist knowledge or learning to use cutting-edge technology to improve professional practice, CPD is essential to an improving SEND system.

But, is there a way to target CPD for SEND teams and individuals- streamlining Local Area (LA) budgets to focus on the areas needing the most improvement quickly? There sure is!

In this article, we share how quality assurance tools help to focus CPD efforts, benefit professionals in the SEND sector and help improve outcomes from children and young people with SEND.

What is CPD in the SEND sector?

When you think of CPD, does your mind lead you to online or in-person training courses focusing on a specific area? You aren’t alone. Many people think effective CPD must involve a trainer-trainee structure. However, there are lots of activities that fall under the CPD umbrella that expand beyond online training courses.

Continuing professional development encompasses deliberate learning to improve an area of focus.

What does that look like in the SEND sector?

Well, it could mean an LA recognising an area for improvement in the quality of EHCPs or the underlying professional advice that informs the plan, following an Ofsted or CQC SEND inspection, or through using EHCP Quality Assurance Tools.

Once the areas for development are highlighted, the SEND team can target their efforts (collectively or individually) to improve knowledge or even connect with another LA benchmarked as performing well in an area. Consider what an effective team training session looks like, using peer to peer learning by discussing areas of strength and improvement is a valuable use of training time. Not forgetting, the first step towards improving practice is knowing what ‘good’ looks like as a goal to strive towards.

When identifying a particular service as performing well (let’s say health) SEND teams can evaluate what is working well in this service, aiming to replicate these learnings across others.

What are quality assurance tools?

Quality assurance tools help to do just that, they measure the resource quality in line with recognised standards. In this case, we’re talking about the Invision360 EHCP Quality Assurance Tool and how this can be utilised to help with CPD practices.

With no current EHCP template to follow, there is understandably a huge quality inconsistency nationally and regionally. Two LAs a mere 5 minutes apart could have very different EHCP templates/formats submitted, making a difficult task even more so.

Invision360’s EHCP Quality Assurance Tool is designed for LAs. It measures the Draft EHCP against recognised standards, grading the quality (from inadequate to outstanding)- and, importantly, highlights the improvements needed to achieve good or outstanding EHCPs.

Let’s take EHCP outcomes as an example, we know the variation families can receive regarding EHCP outcome quality. Creating good or outstanding EHCP outcomes relies on knowledge, sufficient detail from health and care professionals and access to all necessary information. A quality assurance tool guides SEND professionals (including case workers) when the detail is sufficient and clearly sets out what outstanding looks like, saving time and upskilling the SEND team working on the EHCP application.

What are the benefits of quality assurance tools?

Quality assurance tools in the SEND sector are beneficial to improving the current service. It helps LAs stay current with proposed and implemented reforms, especially whilst the EHCP process is digitised.

The benefits of Invision360’s Quality Assurance Tools are:

  • -EHCP auditing process is simplified
  • Time is saved through efficient processes
  • LAs can benchmark the quality of their plans against others using the tool both regionally and nationally
  • The tool moderates between auditors highlighting consistencies and inconsistencies in auditing
  • CPD efforts can be targeted via analysing trends and identifying areas for improvementObjectivity is achieved

How do quality assurance tools improve CPD in the SEND sector?

Let’s get SEND specific. A quality assurance tool can help improve CPD in SEND teams in many ways.

Benchmarking

Quality assurance tools are built by amalgamating the best industry practices, nationally recognised good practice documentation, and national SEND standards. When comparing EHCPs utilising this tool, LAs can benchmark against other Local Areas both regionally and nationally. Giving SEND teams visibility across all areas.

Self-assessment and reflection

Self-assessment and reflection are essential for effective CPD, SEND professionals can identify strengths and areas of development for their own work, projects or practice. Targeting areas for individuals to develop knowledge within helps to improve professional progression.

Professional feedback and peer review

A supportive network for peer reviews and professional feedback is necessary to provide the best SEND service possible. Access to objective, data-driven information as a base for constructive feedback helps managers and supervisors give their teams easy-to-understand areas of strength and development.

Support individuals with performance management

When a SEND team member is identified as needing to follow a customised learning plan to reach their potential, it can be tricky to know where to start. With a quality assurance tool, plans can be targeted to suggest relevant training, courses or resources for their CPD.

Quality assurance tools help SEND teams that may experience a high staff turnover means consistent supervision and support, even if management changes.

Communication between other SEND services

Collaborative learning is a valuable aspect of CPD in every field. When services don’t collaborate, communication becomes disjointed (which is a main driver for the SEND Green Paper proposed changes). Utilising collaborative features, LAs can share best practices and insights with peers.

Increased efficiency and convenience

The SEND world is becoming digital, and not a moment sooner! Access to online tools designed to enhance SEND team performance and capacity makes CPD focus easier. By streamlining the assessment and feedback process, the EHCP Quality Assurance Tool helps SEND professionals save time on arduous administrative tasks, allowing more time for CPD- even for remote team members.

Stay relevant with changing SEND EHCP standards

Some professional organisations require evidence of ongoing learning and development within current changes to the SEND system for certification or continued recognition. Digital quality assurance tools can help professionals meet these standards whilst staying relevant with the ever-changing face of SEND for children and young people.

How can Invision360 help with SEND CPD?

In summary, a quality assurance tool can be a powerful resource for professionals engaged in CPD. It aids in self-assessment, benchmarking, feedback, and personalised development planning. By using such tools, professionals can continuously improve their skills and knowledge, staying current in their field and meeting the evolving demands of their profession.

Invision360 offers award-winning quality assurance solutions for Local Area SEND teams, improving the quality and consistency of EHCPs, EHCP Annual Reviews, Quality Health Advice, statutory Educational Psychology advice that informs children's EHC assessments and Personal Education Plans against recognised standards.

Want to learn more and book a free demo? Get in touch today!

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