(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({'gtm.start': new Date().getTime(),event:'gtm.js'});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0], j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'?'&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.data-privacy-src= 'https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id='+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f); })(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-PDJPJSW');

A new focus on Special Educational Needs

BlueSky Learning: New SEND and SEL modules released

Now more than ever, the development of interpersonal communication skills, and fostering positive relationships are crucial elements of the journey that our young people embark upon, and schools are an essential vehicle for this. The social and emotional impact of a worldwide pandemic continue to affect young people in classrooms everywhere [1], but the consequences of such have exacerbated the challenges that already existed within the support systems for young people with SEND [2]. 

The National Statistics on Special Educational Needs reported that the percentage of pupils with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan has increased to 3.7% and that the most common type of need for those with an EHC plan are Austistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) [3]. Effective Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) approaches can lead to four or more months worth of gains within the classroom [4]. With a prominent attainment gap between learners with SEND and their peers [5], it is easy to see that effective SEL delivery can have a potential impact on helping to close this gap. 

SEL matters within all classrooms; not only can it improve academic performance, but perhaps more importantly it leads to a development in attitudes, behaviour and social relationships This in turn leads to a reduction in emotional distress and bullying [6]. In the wake of the current climate, surely these gains far outweigh the importance of data and performance, particularly for learners who find developing the nuances of these softer social and emotional skills and situations more challenging.

But is there suitable and sufficient training available for school staff to deliver SEL? Particularly to support learners with SEND and to have the impact that young people need? The results from the Social and Emotional School Survey found that only 36% of schools involved reported that almost all of their staff, including those without teaching responsibilities, had received SEL training [7]. This suggests there is still work to be done to ensure that provision across all schools is more consistent.

To help those in education settings deliver SEL to learners with ASD and those who find interpersonal communication more challenging, BlueSky is pleased to be launching two new modules to the BlueSky Learning library. These have been developed by Kate Taylor who has vast experience in SEND leadership having worked within Special Educational Needs and Inclusion in a wide range of settings for over 20 years. The powerful tools of Social Stories and Comic Strip Conversations™ are explained and demonstrated, and practical advice on how these approaches can be best utilised and adapted to the needs of individual learners is explored. The first session in each module focuses on the background of these approaches, whilst the second session is a chance to explore practical application. Watch the Taster and learn how you can start to implement these tools in your classroom today.

For privacy reasons YouTube needs your permission to be loaded.
I Accept

Module Key Take Aways:

  • The origins of Social Stories™ and Comic Strip Conversations™
  • When and how to utilise these tools
  • How to take individual characteristics into account when planning practical application


[1] HM Government, (2022). Opportunity for all: Strong Schools with Great Teachers for your Child.

[2] HM Government, (2022). SEND Review: Right support, right place, right time Government consultation on the SEND and alternative provision system in England. 

[3] National Statistics: Special Educational Needs in England Academic Year 2020/21 

[4] The Education Endowment Foundation, 2021. Improving Social and Emotional Learning in Primary Schools Guidance Report. [online] London.

[5] The Education Endowment Foundation, 2021. Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools Guidance Report. [online] London. 

[6] The Education Endowment Foundation, 2019. Improving Social and Emotional Learning in Primary Schools Guidance Report [online] London. 

[7] Wigelsworth, M., Eccles, E., Mason, C., Verity, L., Troncoso, P., Qualter, P., Humphrey, N. (2019). Primary Social and Emotional Learning: Survey results. London: Education Endowment Foundation.

Discover more BlueSky Learning SEND modules here

Tamsin Denley

Author: Ally Sousa
Content Specialist, BlueSky Learning

Share this article

Register for our newsletter to receive the latest BlueSky updates

Go to Top