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Archive for the 'Special educational needs and psychology' Category

‘You’re the best!’ Your belief in your kids’ academic ability can actually improve their grades

Blog Editor, IOE Digital30 June 2021

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Philip D. ParkerJake Anders, Rhiannon Parker,  and Taren Sanders.

We have all met the parent who thinks their kid is the next Picasso or Einstein regardless of the evidence. But it’s hard to know if these beliefs are helpful or harmful.

Overly optimistic parents could reduce their kids’ drive to work harder and give them a false idea of the opportunities available to them. Or this same optimism could fill the child with confidence, kindle their self-belief and give them the courage to try harder.

We set out to discover which of these possibilities is most likely. We found a mother’s optimism about how good their child is in maths and reading (more…)

Touched by music: a Christmas playlist with a tactile spin

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 December 2020

The In-Touch team, UCL Knowledge Lab

Music is a part of our everyday lives: many song lyrics both ‘touch’ us and tell stories of our tactile relationships with one another.

The interdisciplinary InTouch Project at UCL explores the social implications of digital technology for touch communication. As a fun side-project the team has compiled a Touch Playlist – and it seems every music genre loves a bit of touch!

This winter season, lit up by Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas and Hogmanay, heralds its own set of songs packed with tactile metaphors, invitations to touch, and felt memories. Here, we share a few thoughts on ‘touchy’ Christmas lyrics. Indeed, in the words of Queen (not The Queen), ‘it’s been a long hard year’ for many of us, in shared and different ways. How might the usual medley of (more…)

Special schools: still open and providing a lifeline for the most vulnerable

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 July 2020

John Vorhaus.

Covid 19 presents extraordinary challenges for schools. Children with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable pupils – and none more so than children whose disabilities are multiple and profound. What makes these children especially vulnerable is that they are often immunocompromised and their complex health needs require constant, close attention and physical contact. I have been speaking with three heads and assistant head teachers about their experience of running special schools in London during the pandemic. Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.

When the news first broke that schools would be closing in March Anita Ward, Diana Clarke and Helen Shapiro each faced a similar problem: Government announcements were principally aimed at mainstream schools, and very little attention was initially given to special schools – schools for severely and profoundly disabled children: how would they be expected to adapt so as ensure that extremely vulnerable children were kept safe and well?

In 2018 10,032 children were identified as having profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), most of whom were boys. Children with PMLD were more likely to be (more…)

Covid-19 and education: How can parents foster whole family wellbeing as some children return to school – especially for youngsters with special needs?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 June 2020

Amelia Roberts

During periods of upheaval, it can be particularly challenging to meet the needs of the whole family. Families now are juggling the school partial reopening, meaning that some children may be going back, while brothers and sisters are not. Not only is this difficult for practical reasons (such as getting some children to school while caring for others at home), but perceptions of fairness may well escalate. It may be hard, for example, not to meet friends when your sister can, or go to school when your brother gets to stay at home.

Explaining the situation

Social stories can be a very useful way to explain changes in circumstance to children with special educational needs. Beaucroft Foundation School have a wide range of excellent examples. ‘Going to school part time’ uses common visual symbols to explain the changes and has an excellent example of a simple visual calendar to show when a
child is at home and when at school.

Supporting the transition back into school

Communication with the school is absolutely crucial at this time. You will need to know how social distancing and deep cleaning measures are being handled so that you can (more…)

What should teachers be prepared for when young children return after lockdown: lessons from China and elsewhere

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 May 2020

Yuwei Xu and Clare Brooks. 

With the outbreak of COVID-19 globally, school closures and online education have become shared  experiences for children, teachers, and parents around the world. As China emerges from lockdown, schools are preparing for re-opening.

National guidelines, issued by the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Education, on COVID-19 prevention and control at all school levels, focus on medical suggestions, physical health and hygiene. However, teachers everywhere are concerned about the mental and social aspects of children’s returning to schools. In this blog, drawing on relevant research from China and elsewhere, we summarize some of the major considerations for young children’s post-COVID-19 psychological and social readiness. (more…)

10 years on: how researchers and the autistic community are making a future together

Blog Editor, IOE Digital27 November 2019

Anna Remington and Laura Crane.

The way we view autism is slowly changing. When the Centre for Research in Autism Education (CRAE) was set up in 2009, autistic people were not often heard. Today, a world-wide Climate Change protest is led by a 16-year-old young woman who calls autism her ‘superpower’. 

But while this is positive, it should not overshadow the fact that autism is a wide spectrum and that there is still a long way to go before the voices of the wider autistic community come into their own. 

This month, the CRAE team celebrated its tenth anniversary.  Housed within UCL Institute of Education, CRAE’s mission is to enhance the lives of autistic people through conducting high quality research that has a genuine impact on autistic people’s day-to-day lives. We achieve this by meaningfully engaging autistic people and their allies – such as families and teachers – in the research we do.

(more…)

Oracy: children’s skills are skewed by deprivation and privilege. How can schools bridge the gap?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital3 October 2019

Julie Dockrell.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has been set up to make Parliament and the public aware of how important the ability to communicate is as a life skill and the impact communication difficulties have on people’s lives. The APPG, which aims to press for increased provision of speech and language therapy, is to gather evidence this month.

Here is some of the research evidence that will be informing their discussions and their final report, due next year.

(more…)

Education of children in care: small changes that can make a big difference

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 July 2019

Michael Bettencourt.

Policy and publications concerned with children in care often focus on their ‘plight’ and map out a bleak scenario for their future opportunities. The narrative is beginning to change as a more sophisticated understanding of this vulnerable group and the complexity of the impact of care becomes better understood.

A ground breaking new report from the Centre for Inclusive Education at UCL’s Institute of Education highlights what schools are doing well and where things could improve. The study, The education of children in care in North East England, also showcases the views of children gathered from one to one interviews and for the first time from classroom observations.

Messages from children in care

Two key findings stood out from the accounts of children and young people. The first was that children wanted to be stretched. They welcomed academic challenge and indeed enjoyed it. In fact some (more…)

When it comes to Ofsted’s judgments about school inclusion, context is everything

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 June 2019

 Rob Webster.

Last week, Schools Week reported on an academy in Dorset that had controversially retained its ‘outstanding’ grade despite Ofsted inspectors’ notes revealing that ‘dozens of pupils leave each year’.

The inspection was triggered by concerns over ‘exceptional levels of pupil movement’, but to be clear, the regulator concluded there was “no hidden agenda” and “no sense of any inappropriate movement”.

The social media firestorm that predictably followed reflected the uncertainty that surrounds a signature feature of the new inspection framework, which comes into effect (more…)

Exclusion and mental health difficulties: unravelling cause and effect and seeking answers in classroom practice

Blog Editor, IOE Digital26 February 2019

Amelia Roberts

We are in an ‘exclusions’ crisis.With a rise in exclusions for three years running, we now have 40 children per day being permanently excluded across the UK.

There is a clear link between exclusions and subsequent mental health difficulties. Add the ‘high number of prisoners currently serving time in jail – 42 percent – hav(ing) formerly been permanently excluded we urgently need to understand the reasons behind excluding. The thinktank Poverty and Social Inclusion articulates the links between exclusions and subsequent mental health difficulties. Too often we are assuming that the reason for exclusions lies in prior pupil behaviours or pre-existing illnesses. Should we be instead considering that the cause and effect are the other way round? Could it be that exclusion has an impact on mental health, rather than that the mental illness came first? Perhaps it is the early experiences of excluding in school that reinforces social exclusion in later life?

Such questions will feed into discussions at a conference at UCL on March 15 which will examine how the Lesson Study approach can support vulnerable children. (more…)