SOLD OUT

Thank you to everyone who has bought the paperback version of A Practical Guide to Supporting EAL and SEN Learners.

Sadly we are sold out ………. However there are lots of digital versions available for £15.00.

Just pay via paypal and it will be sent by return.

 

 

Good Practice – Improving pupils bilingual experience

Estyn highlights the good work at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman and their belief in improving their pupils bilingual experience.

Good Practice - Bilingual Education

Good Practice – Bilingual Education

 

To read more of this report visit  http://www.estyn.gov.uk/english/docViewer/265765.5/improving-welsh-language-provision/?navmap=33,53,159,

If you have any good ideas or see good practice in progress let us know.

 

 

Interested in becoming a Headteacher?

The guardian have kindly pulled the standards for headteachers in 2015 in their blog Standards for headteachers 2015 . If you are interested in further reading the standards can be found on the DfE website – Standards for Headteachers 2015  So if you are an aspiring head this a good place to start as it is next reviewed in 2020.

It includes;

The Four Domains The National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers are set out in four domains.
• Qualities and knowledge
• Pupils and staff
• Systems and process
• The self-improving school system
Within each domain there are six key characteristics expected of the nation’s headteachers.

Domain One

Excellent headteachers: qualities and knowledge 

Headteachers:

1. Hold and articulate clear values and moral purpose, focused on providing a worldclass education for the pupils they serve.

2. Demonstrate optimistic personal behaviour, positive relationships and attitudes towards their pupils and staff, and towards parents, governors and members of the local community. 3. Lead by example – with integrity, creativity, resilience, and clarity – drawing on their own scholarship, expertise and skills, and that of those around them.

4. Sustain wide, current knowledge and understanding of education and school systems locally, nationally and globally, and pursue continuous professional development.

5. Work with political and financial astuteness, within a clear set of principles centred on the school’s vision, ably translating local and national policy into the school’s context.

6. Communicate compellingly the school’s vision and drive the strategic leadership, empowering all pupils and staff to excel.

 

Domain Two

Excellent headteachers: pupils and staff

Headteachers:

1. Demand ambitious standards for all pupils, overcoming disadvantage and advancing equality, instilling a strong sense of accountability in staff for the impact of their work on pupils’ outcomes.

2. Secure excellent teaching through an analytical understanding of how pupils learn and of the core features of successful classroom practice and curriculum design, leading to rich curriculum opportunities and pupils’ well-being.

3. Establish an educational culture of ‘open classrooms’ as a basis for sharing best practice within and between schools, drawing on and conducting relevant research and robust data analysis.

4. Create an ethos within which all staff are motivated and supported to develop their own skills and subject knowledge, and to support each other.

5. Identify emerging talents, coaching current and aspiring leaders in a climate where excellence is the standard, leading to clear succession planning.

6. Hold all staff to account for their professional conduct and practice.
Domain Three

Excellent headteachers: systems and process

Headteachers:

1. Ensure that the school’s systems, organisation and processes are well considered, efficient and fit for purpose, upholding the principles of transparency, integrity and probity.

2. Provide a safe, calm and well-ordered environment for all pupils and staff, focused on safeguarding pupils and developing their exemplary behaviour in school and in the wider society.

3. Establish rigorous, fair and transparent systems and measures for managing the performance of all staff, addressing any under-performance, supporting staff to improve and valuing excellent practice.

4. Welcome strong governance and actively support the governing board to understand its role and deliver its functions effectively – in particular its functions to set school strategy and hold the headteacher to account for pupil, staff and financial performance.
5. Exercise strategic, curriculum-led financial planning to ensure the equitable deployment of budgets and resources, in the best interests of pupils’ achievements and the school’s sustainability.

6. Distribute leadership throughout the organisation, forging teams of colleagues who have distinct roles and responsibilities and hold each other to account for their decision making.
Domain Four

Excellent headteachers: the self-improving school system

Headteachers:

1. Create outward-facing schools which work with other schools and organisations – in a climate of mutual challenge – to champion best practice and secure excellent achievements for all pupils.

2. Develop effective relationships with fellow professionals and colleagues in other public services to improve academic and social outcomes for all pupils.

3. Challenge educational orthodoxies in the best interests of achieving excellence, harnessing the findings of well evidenced research to frame self-regulating and selfimproving schools.

4. Shape the current and future quality of the teaching profession through high quality training and sustained professional development for all staff.

5. Model entrepreneurial and innovative approaches to school improvement, leadership and governance, confident of the vital contribution of internal and external accountability.

6. Inspire and influence others – within and beyond schools – to believe in the fundamental importance of education in young people’s lives and to promote the value of education.

 

 

Inclusion – Support for a professional discussion

I have just read and reblogged a reply to Tom Sherringhams post about inclusion and exclusion in relation to the learning of others by the small group who inevitably thwart our behaviour systems and sanctions. http://headguruteacher.com/2015/01/04/inclusion-and-exclusion-in-a-community-school/

Since doing this I have re. read some of it and began focussing on the SEND part of the article. The partially sighted boy is a great example to use (see below for an extract) for many to understand the entitlement of these students. However, there are many others out there on the autistic spectrum etc. that are just not being recognised.  Some of this is because the class teacher knows that something is wrong/different but cannot put their finger on it, hence the book A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN pupils. It is for these very practitioners so that they can then talk to the SEN department/ Headteacher/consultant with more evidence for a truly professional discussion.

Included in the book are tick boxes for class teachers to work out if they support the child in their classroom including asking, in relation to language development, whether the teacher speaks at a pace the child can follow, reinforces key messages and asks a range of open and closed questions.

Following on from that, is a comprehensive tick list that incorporates general learning difficulties which include all the following; Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, Speech,language and communication needs, Autism, Social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH), and Sensory impairment – Hearing and vision. By ticking the child’s traits it is easier to start working out where the child has a building block missing. In turn this allows the professional to have a more defined conversation rather than a vague ‘This child is not learning but distracting others. I am following our behaviour policy. What can I do?’

To support this there are further ideas throughout the book including looking at the classroom environment, provision mapping and ways to record evidence for those professional discussions. If you are interested in receiving a PDF copy or paperback @15.00 you can get more information by following the link above or email lsbooksinfo@gmail.com.

Recently in school I met a very happy young man who was wheelchair bound, and had a voice recorder to express his very good sense of humour. It was quickly made clear by him that he was very able academically, and I could see that the school had in process some great practices which ensure that he can access the curriculum. He was being taught in main stream classrooms by qualified teachers and the support assistant as part of their remit ensured that tables were heightened to allow wheelchair access etc. (see the emboldening of the sections below).  Tom (Sherringham) is correct – learning what entitlement really means can be scary to start with, and mistakes will be made, but if we always start with the premise of Every child matters then entitlement/equality/diversity etc, etc are all covered as we make sure every child has the tools needed to thrive in school.

Tom writes …. I learned a lot about the principles of SEND inclusion from a boy at KEGS who was partially sighted. His parents had had to fight hard to get him into the school and then championed his needs with passion and determination thereafter. Everything we did wrong was ‘appalling’ in their eyes and that hurt.  We made lots of mistakes and learned a lot but ultimately he did extremely well at GCSE and A level.  Our main learning was to understand the concept of entitlement: we were not doing him a favour when we made special provision for him, we were just giving him what he was entitled to; we learned not to seek gratitude for doing routine tasks; we learned that his teachers needed to teach him directly, not through his Learning Support Assistants; we learned that helping him to access most work wasn’t good enough – it had to be everything, all of the time because anything less was unacceptable.  The key here was getting the resources in place and working with the student and the family, really listening to what they said without being defensive – even though that was hard at times. We got there in the end but he suffered – there’s no doubt about that.

As we start the new year I am sure that we will all strive to do our best, so I may just return to this towards the end of term when we are all tired and sometimes the basics can get lost in politics and all the other things that happen daily.

Inclusion and Exclusion in a Community School.

It was really refreshing to read this truthful insight into inclusion and exclusion. There are many senior teams with the same issues, and are addressing them, but keep tightly lipped. Well Done to Tom for having the confidence to broach this subject out aloud. From my experience and practice I think we must always think about the other 27/28/29 in the class. Their parents have sent them to school and expect the best and would be horrified if they saw exactly what went on in their child’s classroom/playground, by these few known individuals. On top of this many in the classes/groups do want to learn academically and socially and get frustrated at having their efforts thwarted daily. For them, we need to show that we are doing our best for them as well. So whilst considering what to do ‘ with a small handful of students. Most of them are in Year 9 but sadly one is in Year 7 … do all you can… but equally weigh up the impact on the other children they deserve as much of our attention as well.
I think the idea of looking outside the institution for help and support is also very brave and hope that the community and other professionals support you all in this.

teacherhead

inclusion-exclusion Taken from http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2014/01/02/inclusion-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt/

I’ve just read Nancy Gedge’s excellent, powerful blog ‘Battle Weary’ about her son’s experience of school and the challenges of parenting a child with Down’s Syndrome.  It encapsulates a range of issues around inclusion and the extent to which schools truly embrace the concept.   Since arriving at Highbury Grove, inclusion is something I’ve thought about a great deal, in different contexts.  Here are some of the issues we’ve been wrestling with:

Behaviour:

This is a daily challenge.  We are trying to set very high standards as part of our drive to secure ‘impeccable behaviour’ across the school.  I firmly believe that educating all children how to behave well is an inclusive agenda. However, our system has some strong sanctions and a built-in process that removes students from lessons and, if necessary, the mainstream school if their behaviour has an unacceptable effect on others.  That’s non-negotiable, in…

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2014 in review – Thanks to all my readers.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

OFSTED Updates for implementation in January 2015

Just as teachers are about to embark on the Christmas holidays OFSTED have just published a few documents for implementation in January.

Safeguarding – This is a comprehensive guide for inspectors on what to look for in schools  to ensure safeguarding is a priority in schools. – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inspecting-safeguarding-in-maintained-schools-and-academies-briefing-for-section-5-inspections

It states in section 9 that;

Definition of safeguarding

  1. Ofsted adopts the definition used in the Children Act 2004 and in ‘Working together to safeguard children’. This can be summarised as:
  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
  1. Safeguarding is not just about protecting children from deliberate harm. It relates to aspects of school life including:
  • pupils’ health and safety
  • the use of reasonable force
  • meeting the needs of pupils with medical conditions
  • providing first aid
  • educational visits
  • intimate care
  • internet or e-safety
  • appropriate arrangements to ensure school security, taking into account the local context.

Safeguarding can involve a range of potential issues such as:

  • bullying, including cyberbullying (by text message, on social networking sites, and so on) and prejudice-based bullying
  • racist, disability, and homophobic or transphobic abuse
  • radicalisation and extremist behaviour
  • child sexual exploitation
  •  sexting
  • substance misuse
  • issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence
  • particular issues affecting children including domestic violence, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

and section 30 describes … The responsibilities placed on governing bodies and proprietors include:

  • their contribution to inter-agency working, which includes providing a coordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified
  • ensuring that an effective child protection policy is in place, together with a staff behaviour policy
  • appointing a designated safeguarding lead who should undergo child protection training every two years
  • prioritising the welfare of children and young people and creating a culture where staff are confident to challenge senior leaders over any safeguarding concerns

Also new today are:

Inspecting schools: questionnaire for school staff – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inspection-questionnaire-for-school-staff  which includes;

 

(please tick) Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree
1 I am proud to be a member of staff at this school.
2 Children are safe at this school.
3 Behaviour is good in this school.
4 The behaviour of pupils is consistently well managed.
5 The school deals with any cases of bullying effectively (bullying includes persistent name-calling, cyber, racist and homophobic bullying).
6 Leaders do all they can to improve teaching.
7 The school makes appropriate provision for my professional development.
8 The school successfully meets the differing needs of individual pupils.
9 I know what we are trying to achieve as a school.
10 All staff consistently apply school policies.
11 The school is well led and managed.

Inspecting Schools Framework – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-framework-for-school-inspection

A handbook for Inspectors – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-handbook

 

Coaching for Learning

Those who know me know that I have a love for mentoring and coaching. This is based on all of my experiences where these styles of conversations actually improve learning.  I also follow a blog called whatedsaid and was really pleased to see some of the comments made by others including;

Action

If there’s no action, there is no point in coaching. What happens as a result of the reflective conversations? What do teachers do? How does practice change? How is learning affected?

This is so true, the whole point of these conversations is to move learning on. Also commented on was;

Evidence based

Coaching is grounded in evidence. From the first conversation, it’s about noticing and naming what the coachee is feeling, followed by gathering of agreed data through planned observation, to seeking evidence that change has taken place. How will the teacher know she has been successful? How is student learning impacted?

For those of us trying to support teachers whether experienced or new to the profession all conversations should be productive for the coachee rather than a time waster, that stops them from reflecting and moving forward. And finally;

Listening is a key element

Coaching is about LISTENING, not about TELLING. It’s like inquiry teaching… Listen to where the learner (teacher) is at and ask questions that help them figure out where to go next. The coach needs to get rid of their ‘internal dialogue’ – It’s not about you!

So many senior leaders think that they have to be the one in charge, really bad coaching can leave the coachee feeling very uninspired and demotivated. I know I have been there,and heard others. In the staff room I hear after appraisal ‘ they are giving me one last chance’, or ‘I tried to explain that over the course of the year x, y or z happened which was outside my remit, but they just wouldn’t listen and help me work out what to do if it happens next time’. and finally ‘it just feels like they are using appraisal to stop me getting paid any extra’. Just remember if you were the coach who wasn’t being an effective coach – None of these teachers deserved this as they were good solid teachers, none of the departments or their leaders needed the demotivated staff as it impacts not only on the coachee but all of the people around them. Finally if they get that demotivated they drag everyone down with their negative tones and/or eventually leave which is counter productive. Retention is clearly the best option as you know the person in front of you, anyone else will take more time and money to fit in…just worth thinking about.

If you want to see more on this blog visit http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/coaching-for-learning/#like-19189

What is your leadership style?

Today I was reminded of a seminar I once attended by the Colourworks, mainly because their blog talked about;

Engaging Managers can come from any possible colour combination

It always seems sad to me to think that managers have always previously been managed and therefore presumably thought about how they would like to have been managed better, yet seemingly fail to learn from that experience. As soon as promoted, they seem to believe that they’ve got to change, to adopt more of a stereotypical “manager” style, to wear the mask of authority. Whilst there may be good reasons for this belief – it is stereotypical after all and some organisations promote and reward a “redder” style of leadership (e.g. quick, decisive, controlling, capable of making hard decisions and whip the department/team into shape) – it is, of course, a huge mistake. Not used to behaving in this way, these managers struggle to use this Fiery Red energy in a mature and positive way and soon lose the trust of their people, whilst simultaneously suppressing their natural leadership talents.

One thing Colourworks does very well is work out quite quickly what colour leader you are and those of your colleagues. At the time I attended the seminar my colour was sunny yellow, with a mix of green and red and a bottom colour of blue. On reflection I can now see that I had fallen into the trap above. Despite being a successful leader because my top colour didn’t come out as red I struggled internally to believe it. Even though I recognised everyone else as being the right colour for them i.e. the data manager came out cool blue, whilst the head fiery red and the pastoral manager green, it took me a month or so to see that I was just as integral a part of the team as everyone else and we needed all of the strengths including mine. It did make me then think of team building and the need for Senior leadership teams to be made up of different characteristics if they are to be successful.

So my message from today’s blog with the help of Colourworks is – be yourself after all that is who they hired, not you pretending to be a cool blue or fiery red as in the end you will all be disappointed.

colour

Have a quick look which do you think you are?

Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH)

Following on from the last blog I am focussing on the new acronym SEMH or Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties. This was  previously known as BESD or Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties. The difference now is its focus on mental health and hence why the last blog also shares the mental capacity act.

Myself and many educators over the past years have raised concern about the emotional well-being and mental health of pupils – reflecting that mental health affects all aspects of a child’s development including their cognitive abilities, their social skills and their emotional well-being. To find out more you can visit youngminds.org.uk/ where they have more. But here are some statistics;

  • 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class .
  • Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm.
  • There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68%.
  • More than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood. Less than half were treated appropriately at the time.
  • Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.
  • Over 8,000 children aged under 10 years old suffer from severe depression .
  • 72% of children in care have behavioural or emotional problems – these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
  • 95% of imprisoned young offenders have a mental health disorder. Many of them are struggling with more than one disorder.
  • The number of young people aged 15-16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and the 2000s.
  • The proportion of young people aged 15-16 with a conduct disorder more than doubled between 1974 and 1999.

Within any role in school life where pastoral is within the remit, this is always a concern. Having been within the pastoral route and in many roles over the years, I have found that it is often those with poor behaviour that when one looks a little closer, (after ensuring that they are not just playing the naughty card) there is a possible mental health concern, but generally there is vulnerability as a given and as a result as educators part of our remit both socially and in law is to the vulnerable.

I am not professing this is easy not least because mental health concerns can relate to anxiety, eating disorders, self harming or harming others, low self-esteem and depression. For example this week I walked into a classroom to cover  a lesson of year 11’s, the majority of whom after trying the naughty card realised that they just needed to get on with their work, but there were still two young people who displayed a huge difference between their verbal and written ability – which is always a red light to me I always wonder what support they need. There was also a child struggling in ethics when the topic was drugs, throughout he was constantly rapping the table and using his compass to draw on his arm, getting deeper and deeper? Following up on this I find that he is dealing with a parent involved with drugs, due to this the student absolutely hates drugs, but felt unable to talk about any of this during the lesson.

Vulnerable children often use words as their first line of defence, because if they get the other person child, young person or adult to go away then they never have to explain any further… and in their eyes wont get hurt again. The adult at the other end of it hears the words at a loud level, usually accompanied with anger, high pitch, accusatory and personally related comments and reacts to that, as I used to. Now though after so many experiences I wait until it is calm, maybe even days later and address it again, once they know you can be trusted, it is interesting how behaviour changes.

Recently we have all heard of media personalities who have and are going through the courts due to alleged historical abuse. How would we feel if we missed a child in our care that needed our support? I agree these are extreme circumstances, but the initial support that centres on mindfulness ( Mindfulness is described by The Mental Health Foundation as ‘a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga.) are just prescriptions for well being.  Making them the only focus are just as concerning as ignoring the awful things that children go through and expecting them to just deal with it. We mus ourselves be non-judgemental and seek a solution to the problem not hope that one policy fits all.

Over my career I have experienced many kinds of vulnerabilities and it concerns me that we are moving into a time where more historic abuse is going to come to the fore for boys as well as girls as older people get more confident to speak out. Lets not carried away with these high profile cases because in our back yards the food banks are increasing daily the number of parcels given out  … I ask how many children are already in poverty and in our classrooms?

Just a thought …..    If you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from would you care if you were level 6a or 6b or predicted a D and you were capable of an A?