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Archive for the 'Special educational needs and psychology' Category

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

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 2 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

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 11 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

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 27 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?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 3 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

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 2 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

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 14 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

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 26 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…)

Supply and demand: Looking to the past to meet the inclusive challenge ahead

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 29 January 2019

Rob Webster.
It’s no secret pupil numbers are rising. By 2023, secondary mainstream schools will need to have found the space for an additional 376,000 young people. If current prevalence is any indication, we can expect at least 45,300 of these extra pupils to have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). A further 6,800 will have needs complex enough to qualify for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
The geographic distribution of these young people will, of course, be uneven. But if it were even, it would mean each existing secondary mainstream school in England would need to accommodate 15 additional pupils with SEND, two of whom would have an EHCP. The populations of special schools and alternative provisions (AP)[1]are also set to boom, by 15% and 19% respectively. That’s a further 13,000 or so young people with SEND.
If you think the solution to the increase is, in part or in whole, to up the capacity of (more…)

Should prison officers be recruited to support behaviour in schools?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 19 October 2018

Amelia Roberts.
Last month The TES revealed that prison officers are being sought by recruitment agency Principal Resourcing to deal with ‘behaviour issues and disruptions’ in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Wakefield.
The image this conjures up is rather unfortunate, and one can’t help but wonder what some prison officers would do without the customary tools of the trade, such as lockable cells, handcuffs, tasers and solitary confinement. As Mary Bousted, joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, says in the TES story: ‘…the set of skills you learn as a prison officer are not necessarily transferrable to schools.’ Moreover, there is an unspoken implication that these young people are unruly and incorrigible, incapable of being helped and merely prison fodder on a predetermined pathway to incarceration.
On the other hand, some prison officers could carry out the behaviour support role in schools with aplomb. Recent research looking at prison education found that:
‘Most prison educators felt that, in addition to achievement, it was important to be able to develop the learning skills and self-image of those they worked with. As one said: ‘I would like learners to gain self-confidence and work on release and be able to network … Teaching has to reach the whole person’.
Our whole school Knowledge Exchange programme: Supporting Wellbeing, Emotional Resilience and Learning (SWERL), takes (more…)

Children’s mental health and well-being – a truly trickle down issue

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 9 October 2018

IOE Events.
Our first What if…? debate of 2018/19 addressed the provocation What if… we wanted our kids to be happier? We were delighted to be joined by panellists Caroline Hounsell of Mental Health First Aid England; Praveetha Patalay of UCL; Patrick Johnston of Place2Be, and Viv Grant, former head teacher and Director of Integrity Coaching. What emerged from the discussion was just what a trickle down issue children’s mental health is: first in the sense that, for teachers to be able to support young people’s well-being, their own needs to be looked after first; and then there’s the  failure of (for the sake of a short-hand) ‘trickle-down’ economics.
The panel were clear that the prevalence of mental health issues has increased markedly over recent decades, and particularly so in the last few years: the IOE’s birth cohort study data show that today’s parents of teenagers have greater levels of mental health difficulties than parents from a decade ago, while a host of studies document the increased levels of reporting among children, and from ever younger ages.  As last month’s Nuffield Trust report also shows, reduced stigma may account for some of the rise, but by no means all of it. Nowhere are these pressures felt more strongly than in schools – which are themselves simultaneously caught up in the same dynamics and on the frontline of mediating young people’s (more…)