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Back to top. Get to Know Us. Amazon Payment Products. The data will be used to inform the outcomes of the review. The focus of the review has now shifted; this phase includes analysis of evidence, assimilation of information and development of a set of hardhitting recommendations and calls to action for a range of stakeholders. These will focus on local and national government, systems leaders and practitioners on the ground supporting children and young people with SLCN.
What does the survey say? At the time of the first Bercow review, the vision was that SLCN would become mainstreamed — an integral part of the fabric of services for children and young people. Has that happened? The truth is probably not, but there have been some positive developments. For example, in , 30 per cent of respondents to the survey felt that expertise of school staff was good or excellent; ten years on, this has increased to 48 per cent. The evidence therefore tells us that we have a more confident workforce.
Analysis has identified consistent themes coming out of the evidence. The commissioning landscape has matured, and where it happens joint commissioning is effective, but it is rare. Financial cuts in local authorities have meant shrinking specialist services such as speech and language therapy, but although much more is known about the most effective models, cuts do not reflect this. Clearly, for many people there is still a need for the case to be made for prioritising, identifying and supporting SLCN; early identification and intervention can save money in the short- and long-term.
Ten years on Of course, recommendations arising from Bercow: Ten Years On must not only identify what will make the most difference for children and young people but also must identify the levers that will allow this to happen. For example, joint local area SEN and disability inspections are proving to be a driver for change; they provide a vehicle for highlighting best practice. But where practice is inadequate is there the potential to require a review resulting in a joint commissioning plan for SLCN? Is there the potential to share best practice through thematic reviews similar to those arising from Ofsted surveys in schools?
Learning with hydrocephalus Andrew H. Wynd outlines some practical ideas to help teaching staff support pupils with hydrocephalus. What is hydrocephalus? Everyone has cerebrospinal fluid CSF , which circulates around the brain and spinal cord to protect the brain and keep it healthy by removing unnecessary waste products. People with hydrocephalus have an excessive amount of CSF which builds up and puts pressure on the brain, squashing the delicate tissues and causing the chambers or ventricles within the brain to swell. What does it mean for children? Symptoms depend on the cause of the hydrocephalus, the age at which it develops and the extent of damage to the brain.
The usual treatment for hydrocephalus is surgery, usually to insert a shunt long tube that drains fluid from the brain, normally into the abdominal cavity, allowing the fluid to drain away. However, there may be ongoing neurological problems which affect learning and development. No matter how it is treated, hydrocephalus can only be managed but cannot be cured. There is a danger that the needs of children with hydrocephalus can often be overlooked or misunderstood and as a result they may under-achieve.
Children with hydrocephalus will have varying degrees of difficulty and, like all children, will have their individual strengths and weaknesses. An essential aspect to helping children achieve is the commitment of staff to creating a positive and purposeful climate for learning, characterised by mutual respect, trust and an understanding of the condition. Common issues children with hydrocephalus may experience include difficulties with: learning and concentration, behaviour and emotions, attention span, organisational skills, and taking spoken and written words literally.
These children may also experience difficulties with visual processing, coordination, fine motor skills, noise sensitivity and sensory overload. Learning challenges Executive functioning Although the neurological implications of hydrocephalus vary between individuals, there are a number of areas where many children and young people may have difficulties. Two of the most common that educators report are motivation and task initiation. Some children with hydrocephalus may struggle to initiate their learning, and be much more reliant on teacherled activities.
Communication Language skills, including comprehension understanding of language and expression production of language are incredibly important for learning in the classroom and in everyday life. There is a need for young people to be able to communicate effectively both face-to-face and in writing through an increasing range of media.
These skills can be more difficult for children with hydrocephalus as they may have difficulty with some aspects of understanding of language and literacy. These difficulties are often masked by adequate expressive language skills; in fact, many young people with hydrocephalus have excellent reading skills which can further mask problems with language, but we need to be aware that reading and comprehending are two different skills.
Therefore, it is important to think of the language and literacy experiences provided for children. The best experiences are those that are embedded into everyday routines, which allow children to learn in meaningful contexts. Health and wellbeing If children and young people are healthy and emotionally secure they will be more able to develop the capacity to live a full life. With a sense of wellbeing, and an understanding of what it entails, they will be better able to deal with the unexpected and cope with adversity.
They should also be able to recognise and deal with the many different pressures in life, make healthy choices and identify when they need support. It is useful to use the agreed shortterm targets as a weekly working document with the child. Staff have a responsibility to ensure that targets are regularly reviewed with the child or young person and parents to ensure the best possible provision. The need for multi-agency partnerships is essential to ensure that children benefit from the earliest possible intervention. Working alongside and building partnerships with parents is paramount in achieving success for all children.
Time invested in finding out wider information about a child who has hydrocephalus and their particular needs and issues is well spent. Every child and young person is entitled to the support that will enable them to fulfil their potential. Children with hydrocephalus are no different. If you have a child with hydrocephalus in your class, reflect on what you need to know about that child and what you can do better to help them progress.
Working together Supporting children and young people in their learning involves people both within and outside the school setting, including parents and carers, early learning and childcare staff, primary teachers, secondary teachers, support staff and a wide range of other professionals. In most cases, children will require an individual education plan IEP or in some cases a coordinated support plan in Scotland. Plans should take account of the views of the child, their parents, school staff and other relevant agencies.
They should contain long- and short-term targets for the child to confidently achieve. Andrew H.
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According to a report by the World Economic Forum, in many industries and countries, the most indemand occupations or current specialties did not exist ten or even five years ago. The role of technology, meanwhile, is changing just as rapidly as our economies are. No longer a separate part of the curriculum and no longer used in prescribed ways, edtech can be used to break down the many barriers that SEN pupils often face.
From assistive technology and adaptive learning to lesson content that enables easy differentiation, technology and effective practice is key for meeting the needs of all pupils, and for managing data, workload and assessment. But changes in the ways we teach, learn and consume information are combined with the rising importance of skills such as resilience, collaboration and problem-solving.
The value in coming together to explore these changes and share the ways in which schools are navigating them has never been higher. The specialist suppliers join over education suppliers, from global technology giants to exciting edtech start-ups. The opportunity to trial and test resources is perhaps one of the most valuable features of Bett, particularly when purchases need to demonstrate clear value to schools for whom budgets are under pressure.
One of the more organic benefits of time at the event meanwhile, is the opportunity to meet other education professionals. These opportunities enable visitors to find out more about the practicalities and realities of meeting the needs of all pupils — including those with SEN — and. The wide range of resources are complemented by inspirational content addressing the priorities, opportunities and challenges in education. Topics range from meeting the needs of all pupils, being effective with budgets, managing teacher workload and dealing with recruitment and retention issues, to solutions that manage pupil progress and attainment and methods of creative teaching.
Some of the key tech themes being explored will include the effective assessment of computing learning, demonstrating the value of tech to senior leadership teams, infrastructure and having the bandwidth and systems in place to support good tech in the classroom. Underpinning it all is the belief that everyone has a role to play in transforming education, and that education should be accessible and exciting for each and every student.
For more information, to find out more about the programme of content and to register for your free pass, visit: www. For the fulfilment of the standards for Qualified Teacher Status QTS , competency in teaching pupils with SEN and disabilities is specified, yet academic research has repeatedly shown that the quality of SEN input during initial teacher training ITT is poor, and as a result, newly qualified teachers NQTs do not feel confident in this aspect of their role. It may be surprising to learn that no specific guidance is in place which stipulates the content, amount of coverage and nature of delivery of SEN input during teacher training.
SEN content in training has changed very little in the last 35 years — a scenario which has been likened to a Groundhog Day. Despite SEN input. A poisoned chalice? By assigning the SENCO a much more explicit role in leading and instructing others in schools it perhaps goes some way to admit that ITT does not fully prepare teachers for inclusive classrooms, as there is no other area of teaching where the need for additional instruction is required and stated. However, similarly to ITT, it was never specified how SENCOs would ensure they had the opportunity, time, resources and support from colleagues and senior management to train their colleagues.
It seemed to be implied that there would be no opposition or challenges to overcome. Yet influencing the practice of others is not an easy feat. Although policy intended that the SENCO position was that of a whole-school inclusive leader who operated with the support of those above them, and their colleagues, the reality is often a single practitioner, with sole responsibility, working in isolation.
Competing demands It can be argued that, sadly, many teachers still do not recognise that they are responsible for students with SEN. I believe that this can be sourced back to having a poor introduction to this aspect of teaching during the initial training phase. Lack of opportunity to discuss the theoretical underpinnings of inclusive education, either in training or when in post, could lead on to the development of negative or uninformed attitudes towards inclusion. Furthermore, the very existence of the SENCO role and their departments could contribute to the view that teaching children with SEN is a specialist, separate job and therefore limited or no action by mainstream teachers is required.
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SEN departments, and the presence of other adults in the classroom such as teaching assistants, whose job it is to work specifically with individual children with SEN and disabilities, often by withdrawing them, could be seen to de-skill mainstream classroom teachers and send a confusing message about responsibility. SENCOs are charged with the task of changing practice to be more inclusive, but may not have the authority to do so.
However, initial findings show that this recommendation has not been taken up by schools. In a nasen study of SENCOs, only 33 per cent of secondary school respondents were on the senior leadership team. It is unsurprising that lack of status is cited by SENCOs as one of the key inhibitors to their performance. If a SENCO is not on the senior leadership team, what guarantees are there that colleagues will respond positively to the advice, instruction and feedback they are given, and what follow up procedures are in place to ensure accountability?
Although the routes into teaching are now more varied than ever, what is not changing is the prevalence of children with SEN being taught in mainstream classrooms by often ill-equipped mainstream teachers, supported in an almost impossible task by the SENCO. The SEN Code of Practice was informed by the general principle that schools should and could meet the needs of children, yet the training provision does not seem to have kept pace. This might become increasingly crucial if the role of training teachers is increasingly devolved to educational settings as a replacement for traditional higher education routes.
Influencing practice is specified in. Kate Sarginson is an experienced teacher and SENCO who has worked in specialist, mainstream, state and independent education. She has a Masters in Inclusive Education, is currently completing an MPhil in Education where she has researched the role of the SENCO in influencing practice and will be starting a new role as an assistant headteacher in January Why art therapy?
Auriel Sarah Eagleton looks at what neuroscience has to say about the benefits of art therapy. The importance of pride for a child who struggles to keep up at school and suffers low self-esteem, cannot be underestimated. Nor can the significance of feeling understood to a child who struggles with social relationships. Both of these experiences of art therapy are suggestive, not only of the curative potential of the arts but also of the importance of the relationship between therapist and child, supporting the unique and intimate processes of an evolving sense of self.
What is art therapy? Crucially, art therapy is about making art in the company of a masters level-trained arts therapist who can help to regulate difficult emotions, broaden perspective and work toward equipping the child with the tools they need to navigate life with increased confidence and resilience. Art therapy offers children a safe form of emotional expression and communication that is unrestricted by language and communication difficulties. Some art therapists work with the broad array of sensory materials available to the visual arts, such as paint, clay, pastels and collage.
Whichever approach is taken, art therapy provides children with opportunities to explore different sensory materials and to express themselves. Art therapy for SEN Children with learning disabilities can struggle with low self-esteem, isolation and behavioural difficulties related to challenges they might face with communication, academic performance and feelings of not fitting in or not understanding social norms and expectations. For children struggling with such difficulties, art therapy offers a bridge between the child's inner world and the outside world, enabling them to express their inner turmoil in the company of a safe and regulating adult.
The art therapist adapts their approach according to the individual needs of the child they are treating and can focus on specific outcomes, for example:. Some of these goals will be particularly relevant to children with SEN. Emotions WWW. The arts can offer an emotional outlet whilst simultaneously supporting the child's sense of being understood. By creating and exploring symbolic images, children are able to develop their own understanding and to communicate their perspective to the arts therapist, without being limited by the words and narratives of the adults in their lives.
This can be especially relevant when helping a child to understand and process a diagnosis, for example. Diagnoses are given by adults; children are assessed and spoken about by adults in the process. Art therapy can support children to explore and express their personal narratives around diagnosis, what it means to them, how they experience their additional needs and how they would like others to support them. Since reflective and communication skills may not be sufficiently developed to do this verbally this can be challenging for the most articulate adult , the arts can support children to find a voice.
Art therapy for learning Neuroscience increasingly demonstrates the importance of the arts for both cognitive and emotional development Malchiodi, The creative process of art-making activates multiple areas of the brain Kaufman, ; Bolwerk et al. Healthy brain functioning is correlated with the integration of different brain structures Cozolino, By activating different brain regions, art therapy might provide a means of exercising the whole brain, supporting integration, brain plasticity and healthy brain functioning.
In art therapy, different modalities and sensory materials are used to explore dominant themes and to support intended outcomes. Even when movement is not explicitly part of the therapy, processes of. The creative process of art-making activates multiple areas of the brain painting, moulding, playing, gesturing and vocalising add physicality to the areas of emotion, cognition and symbolic representation pursued through the arts. The tactile nature of different art therapy materials and the kinaesthetic processes of creating and embodying art, can provide important opportunities for sensory integration Hass-Cohen, While our cultural perception of the arts often limits creativity to the domain of leisure and recreation, creativity using the arts entails complex thought processes and physical mastery.
For example, when painting a picture the brain is engaged in thinking about shape, form, colour, light, scale, relationship, perspective and symbolic meaning. This is an abstract thought process that is then translated into two-dimensional form through careful attention and the action of painting. In art therapy, this is done with the intention of conveying meaning from one mind to another, expressing or eliciting feeling.
The process of making art to convey something of depth and importance to another is very powerful and necessitates a high level of cognitive and emotional planning. Additionally, the use of the arts to support communication skills and social development can be furthered through small art therapy groups. This can work well in schools, where children might need extra support to form friendships with peers. Self-regulation for learning The stress reducing and regulating qualities of art therapy directly support learning.
Studies have demonstrated the stress-relieving effects of art-making, showing reduced cortisol levels after 45 minutes of engagement with the arts Kaimal et al. Furthermore, the art therapist attends very carefully to the body language of children they work with, noticing the impact of different sensory experiences.
Studies have demonstrated the stress-relieving effects of art-making and any physical tension or signs of distress a child might exhibit. Many art therapists are informed by the growing emphasis on self-regulation supported by neuroscience findings. Selfregulation techniques, involving breath, movement, the capacity to observe and tolerate emotional responses and. It can take time to master self-regulation but children with these skills and capacities are better equipped for navigating life challenges and maintaining an internal equilibrium that is supportive of learning and development.
New York: Norton. New York: W. Whole brain-body benefits As our understanding of development and wellbeing evolves, there is general consensus that interventions that treat the whole person are most effective. The mind-body integration of the arts therapies certainly offers possibilities for the activation and expression of the whole person.
It is also increasingly clear that emotions form a part of cognition and that learning and neural growth and development is best supported by nurturing and enriched environments. The scope of art therapy is broad and this article offers only a limited definition of it. Art therapy can be offered individually and in groups, at school and privately. In schools, art therapists can be instrumental in developing creative, inclusionpromoting strategies to support both teachers and children.
If you are looking for an art therapist to work with your child, it is important to ask the therapist about their approach and to explore how they might work with your child's needs.
Early intervention is important and art therapy can be initiated at any age. Art therapy can be beneficial at any stage in life. It is as valuable to adults as it is to children. In Hass-Cohen N. Kindle, New York: W. In Carr, R. Kindle, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Art Therapy. Scientific American. In Handbook of Art Therapy. She is based at the London Art Therapy Centre: www. Ursula, an illustrator and live drawing artist based in Glasgow, invited schoolchildren across Scotland to submit their artistic impressions of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe through any form of creative art, with three winning entries to feature as the official posters for the Fringe.
One overall winner will be selected in each age category, alongside 14 regional winners. Winning designs will feature in an exhibition, alongside other shortlisted entries, that will take place at Dynamic Earth between June and August The Creative Stars award will also return in for the individual pupil, teacher, class or school who go the extra mile in creating their Fringe poster design.
The competition encourages imaginative minds to action their creativity and ideas, using any artform that appeals to them. For information and to submit online entries, go to: www. Connecting the Artsmark community in the East Midlands The Mighty Creatives recently celebrated some of the success stories from the growing community of Artsmark schools, at their first Artsmark Celebration Event, Celebrating Artsmark, held at Nottingham Contemporary.
Artsmark has been designed by schools, for schools, to align with school improvement plans and support core EBACC and STEM priorities, giving the curriculum breadth and balance. And it does wonders for his confidence. Theatre is, at its heart, about finding new ways to communicate with others around us, and about forming an ensemble — a team who will work together to understand each other. A play is play Theatre can be for absolutely everybody.
Whether you are a teacher exploring drama as part of your curriculum, a carer looking for new activities for young people, or a parent keen to try out fun games at home, there are many accessible and enjoyable ways in. The first big question is where to begin. When you start to plan for a theatremaking project for young people with SEN, it can be tempting to begin by deciding what the very end will look like: what exactly your young people would do in a performance or final session.
Sensory exploration is a great pathway into drama for many students with SEN to make these decisions at the very beginning. Games and improvisation activities can introduce the story and characters in a relaxed environment which young people will enjoy. Everyone makes a circle as a group and taps their knees to a rhythm. This will prompt plenty of thoughts about where to go next. Think about all of the settings in the story and write them down.
Are we inside or outside? What is the weather like? Does the place change overtime? For example, does the forest become more overgrown as the story progresses? Sensory exploration is a great pathway into drama for many students with SEN. Consider the space you will be working in: can you turn it into the world of the play so that students can experience it? Once, while studying The Tempest, we projected a big picture of the sea on the floor of the classroom and used a fan and water sprays to experience what the weather would feel like.
You might set up a series of small sandboxes, with wet sand and dry sand, to think about the difference between a stormy and a sunny beach. Inexpensive sensory resources to explore include feathers, bottles of scent, bubbles, pillows, fabrics and torches. Music is also one of the most powerful and easily accessible tools in your sensory toolbox; consider which genre or instruments would best evoke the universe of your play.
Building your ensemble Making theatre with your young people enables them to learn about working together and becoming an ensemble. Whilst this can be an initial challenge for some people with SEN, it can. Through the process the students are precision taught to connect with and support each other. Come the curtain call, my students are often elated; they certainly want to do it again.
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They have experienced a change. Things they found extremely challenging are overcome. For example, you could make a ship, with young people as the bow, rigging and wheel. Use different levels and ensure everyone is linked to someone else in the shape. Young people will imitate your energy and ideas and you are their single biggest motivator. Every way in which human beings can communicate can be a part of how an audience will understand and enjoy your story. For example, one student with PMLD, who uses eye contact to communicate, played a vital role in a play by stopping an onstage battle with a single look, portraying a hugely powerful character.
Your young people will surprise you with their interests, talents, and enjoyment in the story you are telling together. This work has helped to show their true potential and highlighted the importance of letting our pupils have a go and be truly aspirational. Joanne Skapinker is a drama professional with a specialisation in inclusive practice. For someone who finds constructing a sentence challenging, Zac seems to have no problem in communicating through music. Here there is creativity, fun and sharing, potential and possibility.
This is the Nordoff Robbins approach to music therapy — two or more people making music together in ways that open up all the valuable aspects of musical experience: anticipation, shared purpose and shared musical expression. These experiences and opportunities can be particularly valuable for people with special educational needs, as they can be difficult to access in other ways. It just takes time, listening, work, imagination and craft. Nordoff Robbins is the largest independent music therapy charity in the UK, dedicated to changing the lives of vulnerable and isolated people, and helping them to communicate and improve their wellbeing through the skilled use of music.
The Nordoff Robbins approach is person-centred, and therapists work flexibly in a range of settings; most sessions happen in places where people already are, like schools, hospitals, care homes, and community centres — but Nordoff Robbins also has dedicated centres and units around the country where people. As well as bases in London and Manchester, from the charity will be opening a centre in Newcastle upon Tyne, thanks to the Graham Wylie Foundation. The therapist continually makes fine judgements for when to wait, listen and hang back, when to accompany, and when to offer something new.
To attain and fine-tune these skills, all Nordoff Robbins music therapists are trained on the internationally renowned Nordoff Robbins Master of Music Therapy programme approved by the Health and Care Professions Council and validated by Goldsmiths, University of London. This means that for the very first time, musicians in the North East of England will have the opportunity to train locally as music therapists.
Music therapy is a demanding but very satisfying direction for musicians to work in: Nordoff Robbins is currently committed to employing at least 50 per cent of its graduates each year, and sees the new centre and training opportunity as the first step in making their music therapy much more widely accessible in the North East. For more information on how to refer yourself or someone else to Nordoff Robbins music therapy, training as a music therapist, or the range of short introductory courses around the UK, please visit: www. Fingers slip through the materials as they splash and crash to the floor, leaving hair and faces all around coated.
Children can experiment however they like in order to develop their skills and understand more. Some children who have varied abilities are also able to get involved,. Sensory play in general — of which messy play is a sub category — is a communicative and inclusive way of playing. Traditionally, he says, many children would play physical games, such as tag, sports and climbing trees.
Communication skills can also be developed through this form of play as children can interact with their peers in a less restricted way than sports or other play forms dictate. Horses for courses Not all forms of messy play are for every child, though; knowing the individual and their likes and dislikes is crucial. Allergies also need to be taken into consideration. She recommends starting off a messy play segment with dry materials — sand, bark or pasta, for example.
And then once the child becomes OK with that, you can move on to the wet stuff such as paint, goop and shaving foam. If they like certain smells, add drops of the scent into goop or dough. Clothes are able to be washed. Emma Mackenzie currently works in a special needs school in Edinburgh and as a support worker for autistic adults. She is also a journalist: www. Focussing on attachment Nicola Marshall looks at what schools can do to support pupils with attachment issues. It sets the tone for how people are treated and how their needs might be met.
Real change happens when we address the ethos of an establishment — the things that are difficult to put your finger on or explain to someone else. It might be the values that are played out through the people or it might be the atmosphere of the unspoken expectations or demands on someone. Whenever I enter a new school, its culture is the first thing that hits me, be it the feeling of warmth and nurture you get from the receptionist or frontline staff, or the calm, uncluttered nature.
Whatever the culture of a school is, you can guarantee the pupils feel it too of the building. Sometimes, on the other side, you can sense the strict, business-like attitude in some schools, particularly secondary schools.
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Whatever the culture of a school is, you can guarantee the pupils feel it too. Of course, a teacher can make a huge difference in one classroom, but if the overall feeling of. How is the child supposed to feel when faced with such discrepancies? How can we create an ethos that is proindividuality and celebrates difference, where all children are presented with opportunities to fulfil their potential rather than barriers to learning? Much has been said in the media in recent years about creating an attachment aware culture in schools, something which I think is very important.
Yes, it would be great if all our school staff understood the complex needs of vulnerable children and young people and were aware of the messages these children receive. The behaviour of these children is sometimes confusing and knowing why is helpful. We need more than just awareness, though. We need focus. We need to shift our attention from just academic achievement to look at the whole individual. There are three key areas that can help us to focus on good attachment across all our children and young people.
Policy Probably the hardest and most important area for schools to address is our obsession with modifying behaviour. What we have at the moment are systems that essentially work on the premise that children and young people have the same level of respect for authority that they used to have and, indeed, that they all have the same understanding as each other and the ability to change their behaviour when we tell them to.
Zone boards, sticker charts, marble jars, sun and dark clouds, house WWW. If I know that when I speed in my car I might kill someone and end up in prison, does it stop me speeding? It should, and most of the time it does, but there are odd occasions when I forget, or maybe my anxiety over being late, or whatever it might be, takes over and drives my behaviour to ignore the rules.
They need someone to notice that they are struggling and to keep them safe. Moving away from these punitive, shame-riddled systems will take time and can be messy. We may even have to change our approach to certain children, when we consider what their early experiences might have been like. People Relationships are very important for all of us, but for children who have not formed good attachments so far in their lives, they are vital.
For any child to feel safe and calm, and to be able to learn, they need to feel accepted by people, feel that they are valued and have a sense of belonging in their class and school. Feeling loved and belonging and having good self-esteem must be present before we are able to be creative.
There are, perhaps, two main ways of building better relationships in schools see below. The first is the one that most schools already do, but the second is what will change the culture in a school. The first may help and provide support for individual children and young people, but the second has the potential to transform our education system.