Helping ADHD pupils and students through school

There is little doubt that the most effective way of supporting ADHD pupils and students is not only to provide help within the special needs department, but also to work with colleagues throughout the school, to ensure that there is in place a complete strategy to help them through their school lives.

This means ensuring that not only you and your colleagues working in special needs have a full awareness of ADHD and how it affects young people, but also that everyone in the school has the chance to be aware of what ADHD is.

For ADHD pupils and students may well relate differently from others to such issues as the school’s behaviour rules, and special school days (such as school visits or days when a visitor arrives to work with the pupils or students).

Likewise just as you work with those who have ADHD to help control their impulsiveness, so others need to be aware of this problem too – and the best ways to manage the results of this behaviour.

Then there are issues relating to sports, the arts and other specialist activities, the issue of responsibility and so on.  At each point in the school, the ADHD pupil or student can potentially have a reaction that is different from that of others.

It is to help with this multiplicity of issues that we have produced “Helping ADHD pupils and students through school”.

It is a book which is available as a download, which means that you can then take any of the short articles that appear in the book and make them available for colleagues without any further charges for reproducing the information.

Because each article is deliberately kept short and to the point, it is more likely that colleagues will have the time to read the briefing, and gather a greater understanding of what ADHD is, and how the needs of ADHD pupils and students can be taken into account to improve their learning in school.

“Helping ADHD pupils and students through school” is available exclusively as a download.  The text can then be copied in whole or in small units and distributed to interested parties within the school.

ISBN:  978 1 86083 855 2   Order code: T1789 – please quote with order.

You can purchase the download copy of the volume

  • On the phone with a school order number at 01604 880 927
  • By email to sales@schools.co.uk with a school order number
  • With a credit card via PayPal at our on-line shop

Could you help us improve the availability of materials that will help students with Down’s Syndrome and Autism to achieve independent lives?

In association with SEN Press we are looking at the number of pupils in schools who have Down’s Syndrome and Autism and at the sort of help they need, particularly around the age of 14-19, to prepare them for independent lives.

With this in mind I’d be very grateful if you could spend just a moment (it will only take two minutes maximum) to complete our short survey.

We are not asking for your school’s details – although if you wish to see a copy of our findings, we will forward these to you if you provide an email address.

You can find the link to the survey here.

Many thanks

Jenny Burrows
Hamilton House Mailings

A big thank you from the Education Management News team – in return we’d like to offer your school some free publicity

The Education Management News team would like to say a big thank you to the subscribers of the newsgroup who completed one or more School Awareness Week surveys this term.

You can see the outcomes of your contributions by clicking on the various report links below.

As always you can keep up to date with the various School Awareness Weeks (and any new research/findings) by visiting www.schoolawarenessweeks.co.uk.

By contributing to the School Awareness Weeks you have made it possible for us to continue offering this news service to you and your colleagues free of charge next academic year. In return we would like to offer you some free publicity for your school.

Each year a number of schools have details of their summer activities and achievements published on www.ukeducationnews.co.uk; all you have to do to get your press release published is to follow our guidelines below and send in the notice.

UK Education News will, of course, run any story you send in, but I thought it might help if I outlined a few of the topics that we covered last summer. They included:

  • Exam results released in the summer
  • Achievements of students on gap years
  • Stories about schools being oversubscribed
  • New buildings opening in September
  • Refurbishments being undertaken during the school holidays
  • Universities that students are moving on to
  • Achievements of past students

These of course are just examples – if you wish to deal with any other subject to do with your school just send the press release to Chris@hamilton-house.com

The press release must be written in Word and must only contain the story that you want to run. We will take the text word for word and publish it all without any editorial change – so please don’t add any extraneous comment such as “Dear Chris, could you publish this please” or “ends” at the end, since that is likely to be published too.

Please do include the name, address, phone number, email address, and website of the school, if you wish to. If you don’t, we won’t add it. But please don’t include any pictures as we can’t run pictures on this service.

Simply attach the Word file to an email and send it to Chris Searle at the email address above.

Once again, thank you, and enjoy your summer.

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The Exceptional Teaching website (exceptionalteaching.org.uk) is a library of exceptional teaching resources divided up by subject area. It has been produced by the School of Education Administration and Management and Training in conjunction with Hamilton House Mailings.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

Secondary schools will need to make a further 16,284 spaces available by 2023, according to the analysis of official figures by BBC News

Following the analysis of official figures by BBC News, which suggest that the number of children starting primary school exceeds the number of spaces in secondary schools, secondary schools will need to make a further 16,284 vacancies available by 2023.

The analysis covers a total of 134 areas in England and clearly shows that secondary schools in some areas are in more need of spaces than others with Surrey, Birmingham, City of Bristol, Leeds and Lewisham requiring more than half of the 16,284 spaces of themselves. You can see the full analysis at the end of this article.

Indeed, pupils transitioning from primary school to secondary school this year are already experiencing the impact of the rising pupil population in secondary schools with reports suggesting that one in six pupils missed out on their first choice of secondary school.

But whilst the DfE claim that LAs had plans for 52,000 more secondary school places by 2018 and is putting £7bn aside to help secondary schools to create more vacancies, it seems that this may not be enough for areas that are foreseeing the biggest increases.

Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, explains: “We need to create more than 11,000 extra school places over the next five years but, because demand is not being matched by extra funding from the government, it is leaving us with a shortfall of £30m in each of the next two years alone.”

In response to this report a DfE spokeswoman has commented: “Delivering good quality school places is a top priority for this government and the latest figures show that the system continues to work. The government has already committed £7bn for school places, which along with our investment in 500 new free schools we expect to deliver 600,000 new places by 2021.

“Our reforms and our academy programme are raising standards for all children with 1.4 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010. We will continue to invest and work hard to ensure every child has an excellent education that allows them to reach their full potential.”

Area Secondary school places in 2016 Primary school applicants 2016 Extra places needed
England

530,274

546,558

16,284

Surrey

                                        11,542

13,859

2,317

Birmingham

13,944

16,000

2,056

Bristol, City of

4,068

5,565

1,497

Leeds

8,615

9,956

1,341

Lewisham

2,568

3,838

1,270

Manchester

5,670

6,932

1,262

Ealing

3,321

4,370

1,049

Merton

1,699

2,728

1,029

Wandsworth

2,207

3,233

1,026

Greenwich

2,734

3,703

969

Leicester

3,721

4,647

926

Barking and Dagenham

2,829

3,745

916

Nottingham

2,980

3,846

866

Kingston Upon Hull, City of

2,810

3,666

856

Essex

15,887

16,686

799

Hounslow

2,887

3,635

748

Southampton

2,355

3,032

677

Milton Keynes

3,260

3,930

670

Sheffield

5,727

6,392

665

Reading

1,554

2,210

656

Waltham Forest

2,950

3,580

630

Swindon

2,327

2,945

618

Harrow

2,560

3,174

614

Brent

3,309

3,916

607

Northamptonshire

8,461

9,067

606

Salford

2,453

3,045

592

Croydon

4,454

4,979

525

Richmond upon Thames

1,869

2,393

524

Hillingdon

3,576

4,096

520

Knowsley

1,360

1,855

495

Wolverhampton

3,052

3,515

463

Thurrock

1,930

2,376

446

Islington

1,635

2,066

431

Portsmouth

2,018

2,425

407

Stoke-on-Trent

2,939

3,339

400

Enfield

4,121

4,510

389

Lambeth

2,590

2,968

378

Stockport

3,080

3,452

372

Newham

4,411

4,773

362

Sandwell

4,181

4,525

344

Middlesbrough

1,627

1,965

338

Bradford

7,400

7,724

324

Tower Hamlets

3,116

3,440

324

Luton

2,910

3,228

318

Southwark

3,016

3,332

316

Slough

2,084

2,397

313

Hackney

2,421

2,712

291

Barnsley

2,520

2,790

270

Rochdale

2,729

2,980

251

Blackpool

1,385

1,634

249

Haringey

2,604

2,836

232

South Gloucestershire

3,003

3,223

220

Bracknell Forest

1,347

1,547

200

Peterborough

2,664

2,863

199

Redbridge

3,959

4,147

188

Bromley

3,851

4,036

185

Barnet

4,379

4,555

176

Brighton and Hove

2,505

2,666

161

Coventry

4,330

4,479

149

Liverpool

5,211

5,358

147

Hampshire

15,306

15,426

120

Bournemouth

1,994

2,111

117

Plymouth

2,960

3,076

116

Medway

3,418

3,525

107

Derby

3,194

3,278

84

Stockton-on-Tees

2,363

2,446

83

Oxfordshire

7,277

7,356

79

Kingston upon Thames

1,921

1,990

69

Tameside

2,806

2,873

67

St Helens

2,012

2,077

65

Wokingham

2,072

2,136

64

Dudley

3,818

3,862

44

City of London

0

34

34

Kent

17,974

18,006

32

Darlington

1,212

1,240

28

York

1,933

1,958

25

Blackburn with Darwen

2,141

2,158

17

Hartlepool

1,159

1,160

1

Bury

2,355

2,336

-19

Bolton

3,809

3,789

-20

Camden

1,717

1,690

-27

Hammersmith and Fulham

1,563

1,524

-39

Warrington

2,567

2,513

-54

Buckinghamshire

6,389

6,335

-54

Herefordshire

1,866

1,791

-75

North Somerset

2,484

2,404

-80

East Sussex

5,584

5,498

-86

Kensington and Chelsea

960

835

-125

Norfolk

9,669

9,534

-135

Wigan

3,854

3,718

-136

Southend-on-Sea

2,289

2,148

-141

Gloucestershire

7,140

6,987

-153

Cheshire East

4,300

4,141

-159

Gateshead

2,244

2,077

-167

Halton

1,689

1,522

-167

North East Lincolnshire

2,003

1,829

-174

Wirral

4,064

3,872

-192

Havering

3,328

3,133

-195

Telford and Wrekin

2,401

2,202

-199

South Tyneside

1,828

1,619

-209

Rutland

570

358

-212

Nottinghamshire

9,487

9,271

-216

Trafford

3,214

2,995

-219

Torbay

1,636

1,400

-236

West Berkshire

2,106

1,865

-241

Rotherham

3,480

3,238

-242

Redcar and Cleveland

1,918

1,647

-271

Calderdale

2,837

2,566

-271

Sunderland

3,230

2,956

-274

Walsall

3,733

3,456

-277

Bexley

3,395

3,095

-300

North Lincolnshire

2,232

1,922

-310

Cheshire West and Chester

4,085

3,748

-337

Westminster

1,663

1,313

-350

Sutton

3,084

2,711

-373

Isle of Wight

1,651

1,266

-385

Warwickshire

6,683

6,287

-396

Oldham

3,438

3,023

-415

Devon

8,105

7,681

-424

Wakefield

4,199

3,773

-426

Shropshire

3,302

2,869

-433

Wiltshire

5,802

5,328

-474

Doncaster

3,763

3,237

-526

Solihull

3,349

2,662

-687

Sefton

3,545

2,835

-710

Durham

6,065

5,334

-731

Bath and North East Somerset

2,545

1,802

-743

East Riding of Yorkshire

4,167

3,388

-779

Cornwall

6,293

5,497

-796

Derbyshire

9,012

8,129

-883

Lincolnshire

8,853

7,807

-1,046

Lancashire

14,688

13,441

-1,247

Cumbria

6,162

4,604

-1,558

North Yorkshire

7,604

5,961

-1,643

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You are reading just one of 12 different news services that we run. The topics covered range from careers to efficiency to discipline and behaviour, from school management to individual subjects.

All the services are free, and there is no restriction on how many services you subscribe to. You (and your colleagues) can subscribe at www.schools.co.uk/subscribe.html

If you find this service helpful, please pass this note on to colleagues at your school so that they may subscribe to our services as well.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd 

Alder Grange School press release: Students are drawing on childhood to beat exam stress

GCSE and A Level students are escaping the stress during exam season armed with felt tips, pencils and crayons.

Alder Grange School have introduced colouring in sessions to help students combat stress and wind down from their exams.

Adult colouring books have become a craze across the UK as a method of relaxation. The school in Rawtenstall decided to embrace this approach in an effort to help students find peace and quiet while they take their exams.

After the colouring-in sessions started to become quite a success Jo Griffiths, Head of School, decided to arrange a ‘Mindful Day’ for all year 10 students.

The day will include various new activities including yoga classes, meditation sessions, calming walks and mental health awareness training.

“These different methods or relaxation are not only to help them wind down after an exam but also to encourage them to stay calm and positive before and during tests. Some students can feel a lot of pressure around this time of year and our role is to make sure they succeed and remain happy, healthy students,” said Head of School, Jo Griffiths.

Courtney Lea Reader, year 12 student at ag6, said: “It’s really nice and calming to sit and colour in. Obviously this time of year can be quite stressful for some of us and it’s lovely of the school to help us find some peace and quiet. It helps me feel positive about my exams.”

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You are reading just one of 12 different news services that we run. The topics covered range from careers to efficiency to discipline and behaviour, from school management to individual subjects.

All the services are free, and there is no restriction on how many services you subscribe to. You (and your colleagues) can subscribe at www.schools.co.uk/subscribe.html

If you find this service helpful, please pass this note on to colleagues at your school so that they may subscribe to our services as well.

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

Limiting the extent to which hay fever affects your students’ exam performance

A few years ago SecEd wrote an article exploring the extent to which hay fever can affect students’ performance at school, and more specifically, students’ performance in exams – a problem which is more prevalent than you might think.

In fact, according to the NHS, an estimated 20% of the population is affected by hay fever at some point in their lifetime, with the severity and range of hay fever symptoms often portraying themselves in very different ways from one person to the next.

But even the mildest form of hay fever can be distracting to students sitting their exams.

Indeed, through gathering information from a range of scientific studies, SecEd found that 16 to 24 year olds are most likely to suffer from hay fever, and in some studies up to 50% of students have reported symptoms of hay fever around the time of their exams.

What is really surprising (to me at any rate) is that their research revealed that hay fever sufferers are 40% more likely to drop a grade from January to summer.

So what can you do to limit the extent to which hay fever affects your students’ exam performance?

A few practical suggestions would be to provide plenty of water so students can keep well hydrated, ensuring that students aren’t queueing outside beforehand where they could be affected by pollen, and keeping windows closed if possible during exams.

You can find more suggestions, which you might want to share with your students, on the Nursing Times website: http://www.nursingtimes.net/clinical-archive/respiratory/managing-hay-fever-during-the-exam-period/5056514.fullarticle

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A complete list of all the nation’s schools with links to their websites now appears in the Schools Directory at www.schools.co.uk   If your school’s website link is missing or is faulty, please let us know the correct entry and we’ll get it changed.  Tens of thousands of parents use this site every year to check potential schools for their children.  All listings are completely free.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

Proven support for pupils with emotional and behaviour problems – Latest Evidence Base Results

Various sources suggest that 20% of primary school pupils have an emotional, behaviour or mental health problem that impedes their learning and sometimes results in disrupted classes.

An evidence base, built over the last 12 years using actual practice data from over a thousand primary school, shows that between 77% and 84% of those receiving play therapy delivered to Play Therapy UK standards show a positive change, as observed by teachers and parents. Now with over 20,000 measures, the evidence base is highly reliable.

If your school is not using play therapy, you have three options:

I ) Contact your nearest PTUK registrant to see if one is available: www.playtherapyregister.org.uk

2) Apply for a PTUK Trainee placement.  There is no fee – your school just has to provide a suitable room for the sessions with the children and some materials and basic equipment.  During a year you will see how successful Play Therapy can be for your school.  We have over 300 new trainees each year but it depends upon one being available in your area.

3) If you can find annual funding of about £5000 the best solution is to send one of your teaching staff to be trained as a Registered Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills and a Registered Play Therapist.

You can also experience how play therapy works and how we train by attending a one-day ‘Introduction to Play Therapy’ course held at 12 convenient venues throughout the UK. Phone: 01825 761143 to book.

More information: www.playtherapy.org.uk

If you would like to discuss these options in more detail please email Monika at:

mokijep@aol.com

The views of educators and GPs concerning the issue of poor mental health among young people are two of a kind and one of the same.

The results of a survey conducted by stem4, a charity that works to prevent mental ill health in teenagers, has revealed a consensus among GPs and educators in England on the issue of poor mental health among young people aged between 11 and 18.

It was found that 78% of GPs have witnessed an increase in the number of young patients they see suffering from poor mental health compared to five years ago, with 63% reporting that they had seen a patient with an addiction, 89% reporting that they had seen a patient with an eating disorder, and 97% reporting that they had seen a patient with depression in the last five years.

Furthermore, 97% of GPs have also seen a young person who self-harms in the past five years, with 61% reporting that they see more cases of self-harm among young people now, than they did five years ago.

However, the survey also revealed that 36% of GPs who have received specialist training to support young patients dealing with self-harm said that they don’t believe their training to be adequate as they don’t feel confident in their abilities.

Moreover, half of GPs surveyed said that they had received no specialist training.

As for their thoughts on the mental health services available to young people, with the rise in cases of young people suffering from poor mental health 87% expect pressure on services to increase.

As a result 90% of GPs fear that young people suffering from poor mental health may come to harm while waiting for specialist treatment – a waiting list which comes as a result of a lack of funding, specialist training, and access to services.

To elaborate further, 76% of GPs said that the funding for mental health services for young people is already above and beyond the amount that was initially promised to be adequate to improve such services. 54% reported that specialist training on young people’s mental health was necessary. And 56% said that they would like to see a complete overhaul of mental health service provision.

Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Founder of stem4, Dr Nihara Krause, commented:

“Young people’s mental health services are at crisis point. GPs are having to cope with the consequences of our failure to focus on prevention, and a lack of access to specialist services. We may not be able to change the world we have created for our young people, but we need to take action to ensure that help is available when they need it. GPs are at the forefront of addressing this crisis and they need far more support.

“The increase in mental ill health among our young people is exacerbated by our trophy culture. They are under enormous pressure to succeed in every way, not only at school where they are constantly tested and graded, but also by endeavouring to gain social cachet by competing to be ‘followed’ and ‘liked’ on social media.”

In response to the findings, stem4 will be hosting a conference on 22 June to provide GPs with the latest information on dealing with poor mental health among young people.

You can read the full report entitled “A Time Bomb Waiting to Explode” at http://www.stem4.org.uk/images/downloads/a_time_bomb_waiting_to_explode
_stem4_press_release.pdf

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You are reading just one of 12 different news services that we run. The topics covered range from careers to efficiency to discipline and behaviour, from school management to individual subjects.

All the services are free, and there is no restriction on how many services you subscribe to. You (and your colleagues) can subscribe at www.schools.co.uk/subscribe.html

If you find this service helpful, please pass this note on to colleagues at your school so that they may subscribe to our services as well.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

Lego identifies five different types of play – physical, symbolic, with rules, with objects, and with pretence.

Hanne Rasmussen, head of the Lego Foundation, recalls that as a child growing up in Denmark there was more time to play because there were fewer activities scheduled on the timetable. And the same applies in the UK, particularly when we consider that children in the UK start school three years earlier than their Scandinavian counterparts.

Thus many children are missing out on the early play-based learning that is known to promote the development of creativity, problem solving, and empathy.

So is it possible for children to learn about the “Three Rs”, whilst at the same time acquiring the benefits of play?

The answer is yes, yet there is little evidence to suggest the best way of going about doing it.

And so it is for this reason that the Lego Foundation is campaigning for there to be a change of mind-set about play in education around the world.

In their mission statement they say: “Our contribution to the world is to challenge the status quo by redefining play and reimagining learning,”

In response to a study conducted by Cambridge University, the Lego Foundation aims to look further into the benefits of play, not only in respect of learning but also in respect of well-being, by funding research projects at universities such as Cambridge, MIT, and Harvard.

The Cambridge study consisted of children creating, telling, and acting out a story with Lego before writing their story down. The results showed that the play they participated in beforehand enabled them to boost their narrative and writing skills, as well as interaction and cooperation.

Hanne Rasmussen says: ‘In the early years – up to around eight – a play-based methodology makes a lot of sense’.

“All over the world, we see parents spending much energy doing the best for their child, and play is not on that list because they don’t have the background to understand what it could do.”

Link to article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/mar/15/children-learn-play-age-eight-lego

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You are reading just one of 12 different news services that we run. The topics covered range from careers to efficiency to discipline and behaviour, from school management to individual subjects.

All the services are free, and there is no restriction on how many services you subscribe to. You (and your colleagues) can subscribe at www.schools.co.uk/subscribe.html

If you find this service helpful, please pass this note on to colleagues at your school so that they may subscribe to our services as well.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

It’s time for your SEND students to start developing some life skills. Starting with cooking.

Too many students with SEND who transition from secondary school to college and beyond haven’t developed the life skill of preparing meals, which can be something of a problem later down the line. And not just in relation to their eating habits, but also to their safety in the kitchen.

Indeed, with support and guidance, your SEND students can learn how to prepare meals (safely), just like anyone else.

Which is why SEN Press has devised an activity pack entitled ‘Simple Meals’ which contains a series of simple narratives exploring the different situations in which young people may be required to put their kitchen skills to the test.

The Simple Meals Activity Pack, which supports the ASDAN Transition Challenge and Towards Independence Life Skills courses, is suitable for students aged between 14 and 19 with SEN and a reading age of around seven, and consists of:

– Four story books: “Breakfast in Bed”, “Lunch for Guests”, “Packed Lunch” and “Tea”. These are not instructional cookery books, but descriptions of everyday situations in which young people have to prepare simple meals themselves.

– A CD-ROM providing electronic versions of the above titles, making it ideal for interactive whiteboard presentations and for students who would also benefit from listening to the text. It is also possible to edit and save the text to make your own story, create differentiated texts, and personalise the text with your students’ names to enhance engagement.

– An extensive range of activity worksheets and interactive activities which look more closely at practical skills and safety issues around preparing hot and cold food. Activities include: Words & Pictures, Picture Search, Keyword Flashcards, Wordsearch, Spot the Difference and How Well Did You Read?.

– Supporting resources for teachers including page-by-page notes for all the stories and assessment resources (feedback sheets and student record sheets).

The complete set of resources containing two copies of each of the six readers, the complete teacher book of notes and worksheets, and the CD Rom is available for £99 plus VAT.  Individual elements from the pack are also available separately.

You can find more information and see sample pages from the readers, and details for ordering individual items as well as the full pack, on our ‘Simple Meals’ web page.

If you have any questions or need more information, please email info@senpress.co.uk  or call 01582 833205.  We’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Janie Nicholas

Special Needs Report – Solutions to Problems

Special needs affect the whole school, not just the SENCo and their department.  Unless attended to, these pupils drag down the overall academic results, may cause disruption to other pupils, and may cause stress for teaching staff.

In March 2016 the Hamilton House Special Needs Week team sent questionnaires to SENCos in every primary school across the UK, inviting comments on the provision of special needs within their schools.

This identified a number of problems, many of which have immediate solutions which can be provided by Play Therapy UK registrants and/or by training for school staff – sometimes at very little cost to the school.

SENCos were asked if they felt they had any pupils who had a condition and for whom they did not have adequate resources to help this pupil.

In 57 of the 67 categories the answers of the special needs teachers who completed the survey was “yes” for at least one pupil in at least one school. The most common areas for such difficulty were

●       Attachment disorder (66% of schools)

●       Behavioural emotional and social difficulties (53% of schools)

●       Anxiety disorder (40% of schools)

●       Mental health issues (38% of schools).

A proven solution is Play Therapy. When delivered to Play Therapy UK (PTUK) standards, it results in a 77% to 84% positive change, as observed by teaching staff and parents based on over 12,000 cases.

The survey found that nearly one third said that demand was outstripping the ability to meet the special needs they were faced with.  A short term solution is to apply as a placement organisation for a PTUK Trainee.  There is no fee – your school just has to provide a suitable room for the sessions with the children and some materials and basic equipment.  During a year you will see how successful Play Therapy can be for your school.  We have over 300 new trainees each year but it depends upon one being available in your area.

If you can find annual funding of about £5000 the best solution is to send one of your teaching staff to be trained as a Registered Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills and a Registered Play Therapist.

More information:

www.playtherapy.org.uk    Play Therapy Register

Email: mokijep@aol.com    Phone: 01825 761143

“Are there any assembly resources about special needs that you can recommend for us to use during Special Needs Week?”

My colleagues and I often get approached by SENCOs, many of whom are also subscribers of the SENCO Newsgroup, with questions.

Some questions we can answer immediately, others we have to search around a little bit and use our connections to find the answer, and sometimes we prefer to pose the question to the subscribers of the Newsgroup – just like with this question.

So here it is.

“Are there any assembly resources about special needs that you can recommend for us to use during Special Needs Week?”

I would be really grateful if you could let my colleague, Jenny Burrows, know if you know of (or, even better, recommend) any resources about special needs that can be used for assemblies during Special Needs Week. Her email address is jenny@hamilton-house.com.

And of course, if you haven’t already, please do take a look at the Special Needs Week website where you will find the Special Needs in Schools Reports, an index of special needs and information about managing parental expectations and about what the law says.

Thanks

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All today’s educational news stories appear on www.ukeducationnews.co.uk – the free news service for UK schools. 

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We’d appreciate your help in completing the Special Needs Week Survey of the work of SENCos in schools throughout the UK.

Special Needs Week takes place between 13 and 17 June, and as part of this event we are conducting research into what special needs SENCos have to deal with, which special needs cause particular difficulty, whether colleagues in the school have a full grasp of what SENCos like you do, and whether demands on your time are expanding.

To help us gather this information – the results of which will be published on the Special Needs Week website – we are asking all SENCos to complete a very short questionnaire. It will only take two or three minutes at most to complete.

So if you would like to participate in this questionnaire, which is of course completely anonymous, please click here.

Once we have gathered in the results of the survey we’ll be writing again with details of the results and also putting these results on line on the Special Needs Week website.

Special Needs Week is being sponsored by Aspire GB, Clicker-7, Dysgraphia Help, Dyscalculia Centre, Multi-Sensory Learning, PTUK, Robinswood Press, SEN Press, and Turnabout Programme.

If you have any enquiries about this research, please do write to HQ@specialneedsweek.co.uk or call 01536 509822.

Tony Attwood

Do you have something to say to teachers in the UK?

In addition to publishing stories from the BBC, various newspapers, specialist magazines and the government education departments, we like to publish other stories too.

Stories from schools, colleges and universities, and information from suppliers about products and services in the UK that will be of interest to teachers.

If you have a positive and interesting story about your school, that you feel might interest some of the teachers who read our site each week, (we’re currently getting over 300,000 visits a month) we’d love you to send it in.

Likewise if you have a product or service that could be of interest to teachers, please send information about that in too.

We do ask for a small (and it is small) contribution to our running costs from companies that are selling education products but information from educational institutions and information about free products and services is normally published without charge.

To submit a piece for inclusion on UK Education News just email Chris@hamilton-house.com and attach the story as a word file.  Please write, at the top of the file, the headline that you want to appear on the site.  Unfortunately we can’t include any pictures on this service, but you can include a link to your website in your text, and of course that can lead to a website containing as many illustrations as you like.

If we feel that a fee would be appropriate, we’ll email you back with details – we won’t publish it without your agreement.

If you would like to talk to us about any aspect of UK Education News please call 01536 399 000 and ask of the UK Education News team.

Tony Attwood

What more can be done to support students who are finding it difficult to grasp the many concepts involved in spelling and reading?

There are typically two reasons why some students find it difficult to grasp the concepts of the English language in terms of spelling and reading: a simple lack of primary education and dyslexia – but this is nothing new.

Fortunately there is a fairly straight forward method of learning that can be used with your struggling readers and spellers to ensure that they make swift progression and ultimately achieve that all-important C grade (or higher).

It is a method that has been devised by MSL and conveniently set out in The Complete Reading and Spelling Programme.

The Complete Reading and Spelling Programme covers all the 90 different spelling and sound rules and adds in ten sections on issues such as word patterns, suffixes, prefixes, homophones, and irregular final syllables, making 100 topics in all.

The 90 rules and associated topics can be seen on our website where you can see the structured order of teaching that we have introduced.

What we have then done is broken these 100 topics down into 20 modules, presented in an order which allows students to use the spelling rules as soon as they have learned them.

As a result of this structured approach, which includes placement & progress tests, you can introduce a student to the sequence from the very start. You can also begin work at a point where the individual will be revising key points, before moving on to areas of weakness where his/her knowledge becomes erratic.

A copiable printed version of each module costs £29.99, or you can order five modules together on a CD for £80 plus VAT. All 20 modules (including the 4 CD’s) are available for £450.

You can order the Complete Reading & Spelling Programme in a variety of ways:

  • On our website
  • By phone on 01536 399017
  • By fax to 01536 399012
  • By email to msl@schools.co.uk       
  • By post to Multi-Sensory Learning, Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, NN17 4HH

Understanding what dyscalculia is can allow schools to help sufferers improve their maths and obtain reasonable results in their examinations

It is a strange but true fact that while most of us working in schools have come across dyslexic children and adults, many teachers have not had direct contact with anyone who is dyscalculic.

And yet dyscalculia is not only a genetic issue, as is dyslexia, it is also as common within society at large as dyslexia.

So why is it that we don’t come across dyscalculic children as often as dyslexic children?

The reason is probably that many schools recognise that they have a small number of children who are poor at maths because they have missed some schooling or failed to grasp specific lessons.

The nature of the subject, which is of course utterly cumulative, means that some children fail to grasp certain concepts simply because they failed to grasp what went before.

This is, of course, utterly different from English, where the fact that I might not be able to spell “was” does not mean I won’t be able to learn “because”.  In maths, however, if I can’t do division I will struggle to understand fractions.

Furthermore there can be social reasons why children do poorly at maths.  Missed time at school can be more detrimental in maths than in most subjects, and there seems to be a greater tendency for parents to suggest to their children that they never understood maths at school, so it just “runs in the family”.

In short there are many reasons why dyscalculia might not be seen as a special need but rather as a consequence of parenting, poor attendance, etc.  As a result specialist tuition and support may not be given as early as it might be with dyslexia.

Understanding Dyscalculia: An Introduction for Schools examines the five main causes of dyscalculia and sets out the methods of working available which can help pupils overcome their dyscalculic problems. The book contains short sections which can be photocopied to give out to other members of staff in school, to worried parents, and to governors, so that everyone can share in the awareness of what dyscalculia is, and how it can be tackled.

Above all the book shows that once we understand and accept the causes of dyscalculia we can adopt appropriate methods of teaching to overcome the problem. Research suggests that most children who gain appropriate help in school can overcome their dyscalculic difficulties and achieve an acceptable grade in secondary school examinations, thus allowing entry into further and higher education.

The book, which is available in copiable form so that it can be shared with colleagues throughout the school, is published by the Dyscalculia Centre, a leading provider of teaching materials for dyscalculic individuals. The Centre also publishes a range of books for special needs teachers working with dyscalculics, and provides on-line testing facilities for pupils and students who are thought to be dyscalculic.

There is a sample chapter available on-line at http://pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/dyscalculia/T1628.pdf

Cat No: 978 1 86083 614 5;  Publisher reference no: T1628emn

Prices

  • Photocopiable report in a ring binder, £24.95. plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the Ring Binder and the CD £31.94 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the book…

To what extent do school clubs enhance pupils’ engagement in learning?

The BBC has reported on a Demos study which has revealed the extent to which school projects, such as attending a school club or renovating the school’s garden (for example), can enhance pupils’ engagement levels in the classroom.

The study reported that there was an improvement in the behaviour at school of 45% of pupils from schools that host projects where pupils and teachers work together to achieve a common goal.

It also found that participation in school clubs typically increased pupils’ confidence levels and social skills, whilst also improving teacher-pupil relations.

The research was carried out over the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years in which the think tank set up a range of projects in a selection of schools – from launching a petition to change school uniforms, renovating a garden, supporting Tour de France celebrations and hosting a lunchtime sports club.

Feedback was also collected from pupils about how they thought school clubs had helped them. One pupil said: “[It’s helped with] most things – like my social skills, like interacting with other people. I think I’ve got better with my anger, and like helping out with people.”

Another pupil commented: “I have more confidence talking to people and bringing my ideas out. If I want to say something, I’ll just say it now. [It’s helped me] to speak to other people… teachers. Because you speak differently with friends to how you do with teachers.”

Of course, to achieve this enhanced engagement among your pupils you can organise any such activities, and the list of school clubs that you could host is endless: breakfast club, skipping club, chess club, music club, athletics club, gymnastics club, colouring club….

I am grateful to Edventure, who offer all the resources needed to set up such clubs, for pointing me in the direction of this research.  I do hope you can spare a minute to browse their extensive and diverse range of products at www.edventure.co.uk

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

A selection of CPD and training opportunities for SENCos in February and March

As I get quite a lot of queries about training days, conferences and seminars I thought I would list a few upcoming ones that may interest you:

2 February 2016, Autism and technology conference, London
This new conference, organised by The National Autistic Society, will look at how technology can help autistic people as well as the professionals who support them.

6 February 2016, Children in Turmoil: Derailed Development. Cutting-Edge Interventions to Put Them Back on Track, Conference, London

9 February 2016, Promoting Positive Behaviour, Day Course, Reading
A day course for educators and/or support staff, designed to enable successful inclusion of individuals and groups whilst fully meeting the needs of their peers.

15 to 17 February 2016, Three-day Structured Teaching Course
A broad-based, intensive course which provides both the theoretical and practical applications of structured teaching. Ideal for professionals working with individuals with autism.

1 to 2 March 2016, The National Autistic Society’s Professional Conference, Telford
This annual two-day conference is a must for all professionals working with autism. It will give you a unique opportunity to discuss best practice and share learning.

5 March 2016, Enabling Children to Speak About Feelings Through Emotional Literacy Games and Exercises, Training day

9 March 2016, Understanding stress and anxiety in autism, and their impact on behaviour, London
This new course, organised by The National Autistic Society, will help delegates understand the potential causes of stress and anxiety for people on the autism spectrum.

10 March 2016, Special Educational Needs Law and Practice Conference 2016, London
A practical one-day conference addressing the most topical issues in SEN and disability discrimination in education.

12 March 2016, Teenagers in Turmoil: Working Effectively with Anxiety, Depression and Anti-Social Behaviour, Conference

17 to 19 March 2016, The Education Show 2016, NEC, Birmingham
The Education Show 2016, the go-to event for CPD and learning resources, will be returning to NEC, Birmingham on 17 to 19 March, with a jam-packed programme of new content, inspiring training and development.

For information about upcoming CPD and training opportunities in the following areas, visit https://senmagazine.co.uk/cpd/cpd/cpd-listings.

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You are reading just one of 12 different news services that we run. The topics covered range from careers to efficiency to discipline and behaviour, from school management to individual subjects.

All the services are free, and there is no restriction on how many services you subscribe to. You (and your colleagues) can subscribe at www.schools.co.uk/subscribe.html

If you find this service helpful, please pass this note on to colleagues at your school so that they may subscribe to our services as well.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

The Schools SENCo Newsletter’s best bits of 2015

I’d like to share with you some of the newsletters that were sent to you in 2015 and which achieved the greatest levels of engagement – making them the Schools SENCo Newsletter’s best bits of 2015.

So here they are…

(Please do note that some of the emails will have been date sensitive so may no longer be relevant.)

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Keeping SEND children in the loop
The Department for Education and Mencap have teamed up to produce an ‘Easy read guide for children and young people’ so that pupils with special educational needs or … Continue reading

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Being Active: A guide for people with impairments or health conditions
Research into the activity levels of people with disabilities has found that many people with an impairment or health condition are not as active as they would like to be. The Sports England’s Active People survey found that four out of … Continue reading

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Win 30 new chairs for your school
Win 30 new school chairs and an inspirational assembly led by GB’s Olympic and World Champion, Lizzy Yarnold MBE. Don’t Lean Back (dlb) are offering schools the opportunity to win 30 Max II chairs (value of £1000) and an inspirational … Continue reading

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Handy hints and tips for growing fruit and vegetables in your school
An article in the Guardian entitled “Green-fingered teachers: how to grow fruit and vegetables in school” contains a number of handy tips for growing produce … Continue reading

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Finding a solution to a worrying trend.
When funding is cut, the number of children with SEN falls. And when additional funding is available, the number of children with SEN rises. The problem is somewhat obvious, but … Continue reading

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You can find all of our past and present newsletters to the subscribers of the Schools SENCo Newsgroup from 2015 and earlier at teachernews.org.uk/.

Here you will also find news which has been sent to the other Newsgroups that we run, including:

            • The Secondary Educational Management Newsletter

            • The Primary Educational Management Newsletter

            • The Careers and Sixth Form Newsletter

            • The Schools’ Behaviour and Motivation Newsletter

            • The School Efficiency Newsletter

            • The Schools English, Literacy and Drama Newsletter

            • The Schools Computer Science and ICT Newsletter

            • The Schools PR and Fundraising Newsletter

            • The Schools PSHE and Citizenship Newsletter

            • Sustainability and Learning Outside the Classroom – Schools Newsletter

To subscribe to any of the above Newsgroups, simply visit this link, enter your email address, tick the Newsletter you would like to subscribe to, and click the button ‘Subscribe to the Selected Newsletters’.

As from this month, these news items will also be appearing on UK Education News which is a rolling news service exclusively for education news. It accumulates articles not only from us but also from other well-known sources such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, BBC News, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and so on.

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A complete list of all the nation’s schools with links to their websites now appears in the Schools Directory at www.schools.co.uk   If your school’s website link is missing or is faulty, please let us know the correct entry and we’ll get it changed.  Tens of thousands of parents use this site every year to check potential schools for their children.  All listings are completely free.
 

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd 

Why do some of your seemingly bright pupils perform below average in tests that require them to handwrite the answer?

Albert Einstein clearly excelled at school in Physics and Maths, yet it appears he did not do so well in many other subject areas, including History, Geography and Languages.

Although there are a number of suggested reasons for this, including the rigidity of the German education system in the 19th century, it has also been suggested by researchers that Einstein had dysgraphia – a disorder in written expression.

The examinations for the subjects in which Einstein did not excel would have required lengthy handwritten answers (just as some subjects do today), unlike with examinations in Maths and Physics. Causing Einstein somewhat of a problem.

Therefore, even if Einstein knew the answers to the questions in his examinations, it is unlikely that the examiner would have been able to decipher his illegible handwriting and as a result could not award him the marks.

To see if your pupils, who may have a similar story to Einstein, have dysgraphia, Dysgraphia Help offer an online dysgraphia test for pupils over the age of 8 for £32.

After completing the test and sending us a sample of the pupil’s handwriting, you will receive a detailed report on whether or not we believe the pupil to have dysgraphia.

If we do believe that dysgraphia is present, you will also receive some supporting information on dysgraphia and a number of activity materials for the pupil to work through.

You can find more information on testing for dysgraphia by visiting www.dysgraphiahelp.co.uk/testing-for-dysgraphia/. Alternatively you can email admin@dysgraphiahelp.co.uk.