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SEN Support

Art can be an important area for pupils with difficulties and disabilities of all kinds, identifying previously hidden abilities they may possess and providing opportunities for enjoyment and achievement that can be missing from other areas of the curriculum.


The development of the senses is central to art, using sight, touch, emotional response and intellect to learn about different elements of visual language: drawing, colour, texture, printing, form and pattern. For children with SEN, as with all children, personal experience and personal response might be a starting point for any activity. Direct handling and manipulation of materials build on a child's natural interest in shape, colour, rhythm and movement and can lead naturally into developing skills and confidence. For this to happen, though, careful planning must take place in order to ensure that there is success in all activities, equal with each pupil's level of development and ability.


Our long-term planning takes account of different learning styles and include a good variety of skills: drawing, painting, printing, collage, 3D, textiles, information gathering and ICT.


Important points for planning inclusive art and design lessons include:

  • providing opportunities for learners to use all their senses
  • using a wide range of activities/materials
  • helping pupils to manage their behaviour by setting out clear expectations and engaging them in practical work which ensures success
  • nurturing a sense of achievement
  • acknowledging and celebrating even tiny steps of progress.


An essential element of art teaching is the creation of a degree of uncertainty, a chance for children to discover for themselves the potential of materials and processes within a carefully structured and safe environment. Material and equipment must be appropriate for children and young people with limited fine motor control.  Bear in mind that children on the autistic spectrum may dislike the feel of some materials − for some youngsters this may be a strong aversion.


Safety tips

  • Remind pupils of particular safety pointers at the beginning of each lesson, both verbally and visually.
  • Provide a variety of scissors: round-ended, left/right handed.
  • Use washable PVA glue where possible, or a low-temperature electric glue gun (PVA can also be used as a safer substitute for varnish).
  • Use water-based and non-toxic printing inks.
  • Try using reflective plastic tiles instead of mirrors which need more careful handling.
  • Provide gloves and goggles to wear when using chicken wire, willow or canes.
  • Tape down all flexes to avoid accidents.
  • Ensure close supervision if using hot wax (batik) and sharp tools for cutting doweling, etc.