Focusing on pupils with medical needs

by | 25 Jan 2020 | Alumni Stories, CPD, Mentors, PGCE Updates, Science | 0 comments

My name is Georgia Grant and I currently work as the lead support of medical needs (Physical and Sensory SEN Pathway) at Manchester Academy School. I completed Secondary Science (Biology) PGCE at The University of Manchester in 2019, following Human Biology (Biophysics) BSc. My chosen pupil enquiry with UoM was titled “investigating the impact of long-term hospitalisation from chronic illness on pupils’ confidence and attitude to group work” following my interest in medical PRU’s and hospital schools. Throughout my second and third placements I followed a group of students identified as SEN for medical needs returning from hospitalisation (such as childhood cancer and severe epilepsy), and observed how they participated in collaborative learning compared to their full-attendance peers. I thoroughly enjoyed my project, giving me an opportunity to explore specific aspects of special needs often overlooked in mainstream education (such as the impact of isolation in medical care) which inspired me to take on my current role with medical SEN pupils.

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I am responsible for meeting pupils/parents and discussing their current medical situation, gathering hospital documents and designing medical plans to accommodate them into mainstream or “pathway” SEN classes. I work with the school SENCo, school nurse and visiting specialists such as Teachers of the Deaf, Child Psychologists and specialist hospital staff to discuss the pupils’ progress in school. I then observe my key pupils in lessons throughout the week to ensure they are confident in communicating their feelings and needs to teachers and have the appropriate resources. After teaching SEN classes during my PGCE I discovered how remarkably divided those with medical conditions (often having missed months of school), and those with cognitive and learning disabilities can be. I became determined to assist in making lessons more accessible to those who were of the same high cognitive ability, but too behind to re-join mainstream classes. I now hold intervention sessions for pupils with mobility difficulties and neurological conditions (trained by the Occupational Therapist), and research equipment for the school to buy to allow access – such as single-handed kitchen equipment for hospitality and catering exams.

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