Differentiated Behaviour Management. An inclusion essential

If ‘no excuses’ means that inappropriate, disrespectful, risky behaviour must always be squarely addressed, then nobody would take issue with it. If, on the other hand, it means that such behaviour must always be addressed in the same way, according to an inflexible ‘do this-get that’ policy, then the approach is not compatible with inclusion.Continue reading “Differentiated Behaviour Management. An inclusion essential”

Inclusion. Children do get it.

When my eldest daughter was in Year 4, a new boy joined her class who had difficulty managing his behaviour. He’d call out, bounce out of his seat, huff and puff over his work, lose his temper sometimes. Meg saw his frustration just as, I’m quite sure, her classmates and the teacher did. She didn’tContinue reading “Inclusion. Children do get it.”

In defence of the ‘Velcro TA’

The factors affecting the capacity for learning are related to the capacity for relationship. In order to enable such children to improve access to learning, one has to pay particular attention to processes of relationship. (Greenlalgh, 1994) Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral invented his first touch fastener in 1941 when he returned from aContinue reading “In defence of the ‘Velcro TA’”

Communication for inclusion. Language strategies that help insecurely attached pupils succeed in school

Developments in neuroscience mean that the impact of loss and trauma on early brain development is widely understood. However, Louise Bomber’s Inside I’m Hurting (2007) contends that education has not kept up with other fields in relation to the development of specific practical strategies to support the inclusion of children with attachment needs. Her book isContinue reading “Communication for inclusion. Language strategies that help insecurely attached pupils succeed in school”

The facts suggest that institionalised discrimination is entrenching disadvantage.

We are firmly committed in our English schools to equality and inclusion, on paper. Current DfE Guidance on Behaviour & Discipline (January, 2016) makes several clear references to a legal requirement under the 2010 Equality Act for behaviour policies to make reasonable adjustments in relation to disabled children and those with SEN. For example, we are remindedContinue reading “The facts suggest that institionalised discrimination is entrenching disadvantage.”

What an extraordinary privilege, to be a teacher who can do this for another human being. #attachmentaware

Attachment theory in a nutshell John Bowlby describes attachment as a ‘lasting psychological connectedness between human beings’ (1988). He explains how a child’s initial dependence on a caregiver for protection creates, when needs are sensitively and reliably met, the ability to regulate emotions, reduce fear, attune to others, develop empathy, self awareness and moral understanding.Continue reading “What an extraordinary privilege, to be a teacher who can do this for another human being. #attachmentaware”

Hearing the voices of young people at risk of exclusion. 

I happened upon a fascinating, densely referenced research study by Bethany Hawkins (University of York, 2011) recently. Its aim was to hear the voices of pupils at risk of exclusion and to identify what they perceived to be the barriers to engagement at school as well as the potential enablers. Through a series of semi-structured interviews, theContinue reading “Hearing the voices of young people at risk of exclusion. “

Teachers aren’t therapists, but our impact is huge.

‘Teachers aren’t therapists’ is a statement of the obvious that concerns me. Its subtext is that we are teachers of subjects and nothing more. It’s an expression of the new era ushered in by Michael Gove, in which pupils are expected to “attend to an expert” (The Importance of Teaching, 2013) all ears and eagerness toContinue reading “Teachers aren’t therapists, but our impact is huge.”

If homework’s a battle, let’s call a truce. #inclusion

The single most important thing you can do as a SENCO is invite parents in for progress reviews and really listen to what they tell you. The first time I did this, the message I heard about homework was so resounding, so emphatic and heartfelt, that I took a proposal for a change of policyContinue reading “If homework’s a battle, let’s call a truce. #inclusion”

‘He Picks and Chooses’

Of all teacher-speak, this is the phrase that perplexes me most. I heard it often as a SENCo, spoken as a kind of judgement against children whose SEMH or neurodevelopmental needs made for irratic and sometimes challenging behaviour. The phrase may comprise just four words, but it manages to pack an awful lot of discountingContinue reading “‘He Picks and Chooses’”