Meeting the needs of every SEN school

Earwig Academic

Earwig Academic Timelines is a fresh and unique approach to bridge the gap between parents, teachers, students and OFSTED by creating timelines of achievement for every student.

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Image courtesy of supplier. Image courtesy of supplier.

In 2013, marketing communications specialist Emilie-Kate Kidd got together with a bunch of teachers who felt that, in the 21st century, technology must provide a better way to manage teaching evidence, learning journeys, formative assessment and reporting.

Several thousand techie-hours later, Earwig Academic was born. It’s a software package that has been improving life in schools for the past three years. The latest Earwig product is a package built specifically for SEN schools and units around the country. Emilie-Kate tell us more about it…

Why are you particularly excited about the latest Earwig module?

Two reasons. First, I have a child with severe communication disabilities who attends a brilliant SEN school that is using Earwig, so this is an application which is close to my heart, and I can see the benefits from a parent’s point of view. Second, because special needs assessment and progress measurement is so demanding, this is an application which vividly demonstrates how the latest technology can make a big difference to teachers.

Assessment tracking software has been around for ages. What’s new?

The original tracking software from people like Target Tracker and B Square have replaced spreadsheets and paper records in some schools, but they only do part of the job, and are not equipped to deal with the new, flexible SEN assessment requirements.

Why have SEN assessment requirements changed?

Last year the DfE published the Rochford Report on the future of SEN assessment. This has removed fixed assessment structures like P-Levels, and now requires schools to create individualised targets for each child with special needs, based on the objectives contained in their EHC Plan. This is clearly a step forward but, without appropriate technology, it will add another layer of admin to already stretched staff and school management.

What is so special about the Earwig SEN Assessment Suite?

Earwig is designed to accept ANY assessment framework and can run any number of these at the same time. Special schools use several different schemes to deal with different types of disability and cognitive skills. These can now all be incorporated into one package - designed specifically for each school - which covers every level from EYFS to KS4. So analysis and reporting is easy and consistent, and staff (and even outside care professionals) only have to learn and use one system.

The latest version also allows teachers to start with each child’s EHCP. They can build their own objectives into the scheme, and then report on these with a couple of clicks. This has been designed in consultation with Rochford Panel members, and the DfE and is a huge step forward.

Here’s what Alex Rayner, the headteacher at Gibside SEN School had to say about it:

We have found the impact on teacher's workload huge, the benefits for showing progress for children monumental and it meets our needs brilliantly. A marvellous tool that not only benefits teachers but impacts on children's learning - SUPERB!”

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