By Heather Park


SEN-friendly A

PTA events can create special memories for children, but children’s varying needs should be taken into consideration. Here’s how to make sure everyone feels included

PTA event should enable the whole school to come together in a safe and enjoyable space. Making

sure your events are considerate of all children’s needs means everyone can partake in the experience equally and have their share of fun. Your fi rst port of call should be to

talk to parents to see where children are at risk of being left out and fi nd any areas of weakness that can be addressed. Wherever possible, give children and their parents the opportunity to have some input into the planning of events. If you have a SEN parent forum

then consult with them to discover the specifi c needs within your school, or send along a PTA representative to their meetings. Get the children involved, too and fi nd out what they’d like and what their concerns may be. Parents and children are a great source of information about what works well.

Involve the school SENCo to

discuss the needs of individual children. The school can’t share sensitive information, but if you collect a list of who’s attending an event you can hand this over and ask if any special arrangements need to be made to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment.

While requirements will vary from

school to school and child to child, we’ve considered the various elements of PTA events that could have a negative effect on a child, and how to adapt them to ensure everyone can enjoy themselves.

Risk assessments

Because every child and school is different, it’s important that every event has its own risk assessment to determine the number of volunteers needed. As part of this, consideration should be given to ensuring that there are enough adults to deal with any issues,

with the appropriate number left over to continue supervision of the rest of the group. When carrying out a risk assessment, fi nd out from the school what kind of strategies and approaches they use. It may also be appropriate to talk

to parents to fi nd out what works for them. Holding some general

awareness-raising sessions could be useful, too – see if you can invite your SENCo to speak to your PTA committee and volunteers to make them more aware of how to support all children.

NOISY AND CROWDED Situation: A mass of people can be overwhelming, making children feel uncomfortable and anxious. Consideration: Invite SEN children to the event early so they can get used to the growing atmosphere gradually, rather than walking straight into a noisy, crowded space. Ensure areas aren’t overcrowded

and there’s enough space for the number of visitors attending. Don’t cram everything into a small space, and make sure all stalls can be navigated easily. Consider ticketing events and selling in advance so you know there won’t be more attendees than can be accommodated by the AUTUMN 2018 17



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