Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

——————————————————————-

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.)

——————————————————————

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

——————————————————————

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

——————————————————————

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

——————————————————————

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

——————————————————————

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

——————————————————————

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.

——————————————————————-

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.

Why is it beneficial to have an understanding of what dyscalculia is?

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…

Should work experience be made compulsory?

Should work experience for under-16s be put back onto the compulsory curriculum?

The government is being urged to bring back compulsory work experience for under 16s in order to tackle youth unemployment following a study conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The poll, which was completed by 3500 businesses and leaders in education, revealed that the majority would like to see work experience back on the compulsory curriculum. It was also revealed that although over a third of businesses do not offer any work experience, many reported that they would if they had more support.

Director general of the BCC, John Longworth, commented: “Business and school leaders are clear – we won’t bridge the gap between the world of education and the world of work unless young people spend time in workplaces while still at school.

“Work experience is crucial to bringing down our stubbornly high youth unemployment rate. It will help ensure more young people are prepared for work. It will help close the yawning skills gaps reported by frustrated businesses across the UK, who face huge difficulty filling vacancies at every level.

“We pledge to work with governments in all four nations to ensure that more and more businesses then engage with schools, offer work placements to young people, and help the next generation get the start that they deserve.”

And the shadow education secretary, Lucy Powell, commented: “Hundreds of thousands of young people are still unemployed, yet the Tories have downgraded careers advice in schools, scrapped work experience and neglected vocational education.

“The Government must now urgently break down the barriers between schools and businesses to support young people to develop the skills and experiences they need for the workplace and tackle the skills gap that is holding Britain back.”

Link to article: http://business-reporter.co.uk/2015/10/14/government-urged-to-bring-back-compulsory-work-experience-for-under-16s/

——————————————————————-

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 

None the wiser.

Still, the question remains, what are British values?

You may recall that Tony sent an email at the end of last term addressing the issue of what British values actually are, to which we had a fair few replies expressing similar concerns over Ofsted’s guidelines.

(Among these replies were also some kind comments about the newsletter as a whole which we are always grateful to receive.)

Since concerns over the issue of British values was so widely shared, the Education Management News team made it their mission to find a resource and/or method that might just make the task of promoting British values (and proving this to Ofsted) less of a concern.

Fortunately, on our hunt we did find what looks like a comprehensive set of posters that promotes one value at a time – which we thought was less overwhelming than some other  resources which tried to look at all the values at once.

Also, we thought that by promoting British values through posters, it should make proving to Ofsted that the school promotes such values a fairly straightforward task. The posters can be found at http://www.carelpress.co.uk/exclusive/. See what you think.

Or, of course, if your school has found the answer to promoting British values (and indeed proving this to Ofsted), I would be grateful to hear from you and share it with the newsgroup.

——————————————————————-

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 

Sleep education to prevent sleep deprivation

What is the most effective way of ensuring that your students aren’t sleep deprived as a result of their own actions?

Current studies are not just revealing the extent to which teenagers have difficulties with controlling their sleep patterns, but indeed, why they have difficulties with controlling their sleep patterns – which are mainly down to their natural body clocks and technology.

So now researchers appear to be looking into how teenagers can alleviate the symptoms of sleep deprivation (which can include lower attainment levels) by changing the behaviours and routines regarding sleep that are in their control.

The Guardian believes the answer is sleep education and a recent article (link below) has reported on a number of ways that you can introduce sleep education to your students, including a number of different activities that you can encourage them to try.

The first suggestion is to encourage your students to keep a sleep diary. The benefit of this is that students can identify for themselves the correlation between sleep and their performance at school – a motivation for some to perhaps change their bedtime/morning routine.

The second suggestion is to educate them about the science of sleep, such as the different sleep cycles, including the exploration of REM and non-REM. Showing pictures of brain scans in the different sleep cycles might well intrigue the aspiring scientists.

Also, educating students about the science as to why they shouldn’t use technology before bed is likely to be much more powerful than just telling them that they shouldn’t.

(The science being that light from the screens of technology can delay the body’s production of melatonin – the chemical that anticipates the daily onset of darkness – and therefore can mean that it takes longer to drop off.)

And the third suggestion is to encourage students to explore what makes them sleepy by sharing ideas such as sticking to regular sleep and waking times, keeping bedrooms quiet and dark and avoiding bright screens in the hour before sleep.

Link to article: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/sep/27/help-teenage-students-see-the-importance-of-sleep

——————————————————————-

If you have a press release relating to your school, or a piece of work by a pupil or student in your school that you think should reach a wider audience, it can become the featured item of the day on UK Education News (www.ukeducationnews.co.uk)   Please send it to chris@hamilton-house.com and we will do the rest.
 

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd 

Improving communication

18 ways you can improve your communication with pupils who are non-verbal

There are, of course, a number of different reasons why a pupil may be non-verbal.  But of course, just because a pupil has little or no speech it does not mean that s/he doesn’t have the same communication needs as the rest of us.

So it is really important that we find a way to improve communication with and for non-verbal pupils.

An article in SEN Magazine shares some useful tips on how to communicate with people who are non-verbal, including the use of signing, objects of reference and flashcards, among a few – https://senmagazine.co.uk/articles/articles/senarticles/more-than-just-talking

——————————————————————-

If you have a press release relating to your school, or a piece of work by a pupil or student in your school that you think should reach a wider audience, it can become the featured item of the day on UK Education News (www.ukeducationnews.co.uk)   Please send it to chris@hamilton-house.com and we will do the rest.
 

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd 

Is it really possible to teach reading and spelling using just one resource on its own?

In an ideal world there would be one teaching resource that covers every phonic, every spelling choice, every word pattern, and every spelling rule in the English Language and is suitable for each and every one of your pupils, no matter their age or ability.

What’s more, using such a resource would naturally make it much easier to assess and track your pupils’ progress in reading and spelling.

Fortunately there is one such resource – the carefully structured Reading and Spelling Rescue Programme developed by Multi-Sensory Learning.

Literacy skills are introduced and clearly developed through a series of 20 Modules in over 1,000 imaginative structured worksheets. The Record Chart for each Module has been designed to increase motivation by showing attainable goals, revision activities and space to indicate completed tasks.

Every Module Includes 50 top quality structured worksheets, dictations to reinforce new spelling choices, structured word lists with the emphasis on key words, revision activities and a record chart, full and detailed teaching notes, and placement and progress tests in order to monitor your pupils’ progress.

Every Level has 5 Modules which are A4 ring bound copymasters. There is also an option to have the same resources on CD-ROM. The CD-ROM format makes it quick and easy to print as often as required, with the additional benefit of making individual workbooks.

You can order the Reading and Spelling Rescue Programme in any of these 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

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 what is the solution?

I received a press release just the other day reporting on some interesting (though not surprising) research carried out by Bath Spa University.

The research cites a sharp drop in the number of children in schools with special educational needs which, yet again, appears to be a response to government policy changes and increasing pressures on school budgets.

Quite understandably, without funding schools cannot offer testing for children with SEN, whether this be for autism, ADHD or specific learning differences, to name just a few. Which also means that the additional support and resources for these pupils is limited too.

But clearly schools do have funding, just not a lot of it, so using the likes of an educational psychologist to get pupils tested or screened for SEN can be far too costly and hence we see the above trend.

And it seems that the waiting list for an appointment with an educational psychologist may indeed be getting longer, particularly when we consider the results of a survey which has revealed that 85% of AEP members reported “substantial” increases in workloads.

You can read more about this at http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1153720/educational-psychologists-warn-services-face-being-overwhelmed#sthash.PLjZFl8e.dpuf

So what is the solution? Many will argue that in identifying the condition or difficulty it is possible to provide the right support in the classroom – which makes the identification somewhat important. Yet it is the support in the classroom that will raise pupils’ attainment and not the statement of SEN itself.

It is for this reason that many schools are now, more than ever, using the testing services (and indeed, supporting resources) that private organisations offer (I’ll put some links at the bottom). Such testing services are typically much more affordable and will help achieve the end goal: raising the attainment levels of pupils’ with SEN.

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, explains the need to focus on support rather than numbers:

“The SEN reforms are about supporting young people with autism and other SEN being able to thrive and achieve at school – not about an arbitrary change in the way that we classify SEN. If pressure on budgets is driving schools to reduce the number of children they identify as having SEN that is deeply worrying.

“Identification of SEN should be based on an assessment of a child’s needs and nothing else. We mustn’t let the debate about numbers distract us from delivering the best possible additional educational support to the children that need it.”

Website links to organisations that offer testing:

The Dyscalculia Centre – Testing for dyscalculia

Dysgraphia Help – Testing for dysgraphia

Website links to organisations that offer SEN resources:

First and Best in Education

Multi-Sensory Learning

Dysgraphia Help

Behaviour Matters

Loggerhead Publishing

R time

Typing training for SEN pupils.

Are you looking for a highly effective, fun to use online typing training program for your special educational needs pupils?  Then ‘Typequick for Students’ is just what you are looking for.

What makes Typequick for Students so special?

  • It includes a cartoon story to keep your pupils engaged throughout.
  • Lots of games and challenges will ensure your pupils are encouraged and incentivised to progress.
  • There is a tracking system through which you can monitor the progress of every pupil in as much detail as you need.
  • Containing up to 60 hours of varied content, more than any other online program, your pupils won’t get bored.
  • There is the option to include automated pre and post course assessments using our ‘Skill Evaluator’ tool, so that you can measure pupils’ progress.
  • You can even print off a personalised certificate of achievement for each pupil who completes the final assessment, to reward them for their efforts.
  • Typequick programs have been the only choice of UK Awarding Bodies to prepare students for national typing qualifications.
  • It will transform your pupils’ keyboard skills in a matter of weeks, raising their proficiency and increasing their computing confidence.

Prices range between £1 per head for large numbers of students to £15 per head for one student, including the optional pre and post course assessment tool.

For more information and a free course evaluation, please contact Andy Stevenson at Type&Test Ltd on 01480 861867 or email enquiries@typeandtest.com

Supporting young people with autism

Finished at School: supporting young people with autism to move from school to college

One day training courses to help staff support young people with autism to move from school to college are being hosted across all nine regions in England, on dates in Autumn term 2015 and Spring term 2016, across ten colleges.

Ambitious about Autism, the leading national charity for children and young people with autism, is running the one day sessions, ‘Finished at School: Supporting young people with autism to move from school to college’ to improve the experience of transition from school to college for young people with autism.

The training, commissioned and funded by the Department for Education, follows up Ambitious about Autism’s Finished at School Programme. This project, which ran for two years between 2013 and 2015, helped young people with autism, including those with complex needs, to access further education and training beyond school.

Although the Finished at School Programme had a specific focus on young people with autism, the learning from the project has relevance to other young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The training is being run in all nine regions in England, on dates in Autumn term 2015 and Spring term 2016, across ten colleges.

The training has been designed to help colleges fulfil the requirements of Children and Families Act and the revised SEND Code of Practice. The sessions are open to all further education college staff (including curriculum managers and learning support teams), sixth form college staff, secondary school special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) and local authority transition leads.

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive at Ambitious about Autism said: “We know from our own extensive research that fewer than one in four young people with autism continue their education beyond school. It is vital that young people with autism are given the same opportunities as their peers. With the right support, they can make successful and worthwhile transitions to college, which is crucial to opening up doors to employment and preparing for adulthood. We are delighted to see so many colleges across the country recognise the issue by hosting these courses.”

Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families at the Department for Education, said: “It’s essential that young people with autism are supported in the move from school to further education, and eventually into work, to ensure they develop the best skills to help them reach their full potential.

“Our SEND reforms are placing them at the heart of a more collaborative system tailored to their individual needs. We’re delighted to have provided nearly £240,000 for Ambitious about Autism to provide the training for staff working with youngsters with autism, to make sure their move from school to college is as smooth as possible.”

Course objectives include:

To develop an understanding of the implications of the current SEND policy context for each role in improving transition and outcomes for young people with autism and/or special educational needs making the move from school to college.

To identify ways to work effectively with parents and young people to support successful transition.

To discuss the role of person–centred tools when working and planning with young people and their parents, developing Education Health and Care (EHC) plans and personalised outcomes.

A copy of the Finished at School guide, which captures the learning from the Finished at School Programme and maps the key themes to the SEND code of practice, will be available for all people who attend this course.

Following the training, each participant will have access to a new online module on person–centred thinking and person–centred tools.

Cost: £20.00 per place.

Places can be booked at www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/further-information-on-finished-at-school-training-courses

For all other enquiries, please contact training@ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

Free lesson plans for teaching sustainability

What is The World’s Largest Lesson?

The World’s Largest Lesson is a campaign which aims to get schools involved in working to the same sustainability goals that are to be announced by the United Nations on the 25th September 2015.

On this date a total of 93 world leaders will show their commitment to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development which are: to end extreme poverty, to fight inequality and injustice, and to fix climate change.

The World’s Largest Lesson believes that “if every school in the world teaches children about these goals, we will help them become the generation that changed the world.”

To achieve this, they will be offering schools free teaching resources and lesson ideas to support students’ understanding of sustainability across a range of subject areas such as science, geography, citizenship and technology.

Free lesson plans that are already available on the website include:

Introducing the Global Goals – Time: 30 mins – Age Range: 8-14

Working Together to Achieve the Global Goals – Time: 60 mins – Age Range: 8-11

Understanding Sustainable Living – Time: 60 mins – Age Range: 11-14

Mission: Gender Equality – Time: 60 mins – Age Range: 11-14

To get access to these free lesson plans, simply register with The World’s Largest Lesson.
——————————————————————-

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

Cognition-enhancing drugs – not just an ethical debate.

Does this research signal the end of the debate?

Time and time again it has been suggested that drugs such as Modafinil, prescribed to people with narcolepsy, improve cognition.

So, on the off-chance that Modafinil does in fact improve cognition, students have for a while been taking the smart drug to support them in their studies, revision, and examinations.

An article in the Telegraph has reported on some research conducted by Oxford University and Harvard Medical School which might put an end to the debate over whether the drugs do enhance cognitive abilities but opens up another on the ethics of using such drugs.

A survey conducted by Oxford University was issued to a number of UK university students to identify the extent to which the drug is currently used as a tool for improving cognition.

The survey revealed that 26% of students at Oxford University use the smart drug and 25% of students at Newcastle and Leeds and 20% of students at Imperial, Sheffield, Nottingham and Manchester universities have admitted to trying Modafinil.

However, the main research involved reviewing a total of 24 studies into the drug, and the researchers did indeed find that the drug leads to improved cognition. It was reported that it enables students to achieve more desirable outcomes in learning, planning, organisation, memory, decision-making and creativity.

Dr Ruairidh Battleday commented: “Modafinil can and does enhance some cognitive functions.

“For the first time, we have a cognitive enhancer that appears not to have significant detrimental cognitive, emotional, or physical side effects.

“This means that it is time for a wider societal debate on how to integrate and regulate cognitive enhancement. The ethical exploration is a huge and important goal for the near future: one that both scientists, politicians, and the public need to be involved in.”

President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), Professor Guy Goodwin, said: “If correct, the present update means the ethical debate is real: how should we classify, condone or condemn a drug that improves human performance in the absence of pre-existing cognitive impairment? “

For me there are more immediate issues than debating whether the use of cognitive-enhancing drugs should be viewed in a similar light as the use of anabolic steroids by athletes (which is generally viewed as cheating).

What concerns me most is the health and safety issue: if students are indeed using these drugs on the scale suggested by this report I would be concerned for them for two reasons:

a) If they are buying them on the internet, which seems to me the most likely source, they have no way of knowing how safe the drug is and whether it is indeed what it claims to be.

b) Although researchers have cited that Modafinil appears to have few side effects, doctors tell a different side to the story, reporting that they are having to give students Valium to manage withdrawal. This suggests that research into cognitive enhancers is still limited.

Link to article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11812682/Smart-drug-taken-by-one-in-four-students-really-does-boost-performance.html
——————————————————————-

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

School leaders report on children’s mental health

Exploring the extent to which primary and secondary school pupils are suffering from poor mental health

The Key for School Leaders has conducted a survey which explores the extent to which primary and secondary school pupils are suffering from poor mental health.

The survey was issued to 7,000 school leaders working in schools registered with The Key, of which 1,131 school leaders completed.

The analyses of the responses to the survey revealed the following:

1. Overall, how would you rate the mental health of pupils in your school?

19.5% reported that the mental health of pupils in their school was “Very good”

66.9% reported that the mental health of pupils in their school was “Good”

11.9% reported that the mental health of pupils in their school was “Poor”

And 1.9% reported the mental health of pupils in their school was “Very poor”

2. During your school career, have you had to deal with any mental health issues among pupils in your school?

76.9% of school leaders reported that they had had to deal with mental health issues among pupils at some point. This accounts for 74.2% of school leaders in primary schools and 78.5% of school leaders in secondary schools.

3. Are you concerned about any of the following among pupils in your school? (Depression, eating disorder, self-harm, anxiety disorder, other – please specify)

55.8% of primary school leaders reported that they have concerns about depression among their pupils, 32.3% reported that they have concerns about eating disorders among their pupils, 32.8% reported that they have concerns about self-harm, and 82% reported that they have concerns about anxiety disorder among their pupils.

This compares to 78.1% of secondary school leaders reporting that they have concerns about depression among their pupils, 55.2% have concerns about eating disorders among their pupils, 79.8% have concerns about self-harm among their pupils and 77% have concerns about anxiety disorder among their pupils.

4. During your school career, have you had reason to make a referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)?

65.8% of school leaders reported that they had reason to make a referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

5. If you have made a referral to CAMHS, how long did you have to wait for this to be followed up?

19.5% of school leaders reported that they had to wait “less than a month”

45.2% of school leaders reported they had to wait “one-three months

25.9% of school leaders reported they had to wait “three-six months”

And 9.4% of school leaders reported they had to wait “more than six months” for the referral to be followed up.

You can find the full results of the survey at https://www.thekeysupport.com/media/cms_page_media/23/Summer%20Survey%202014_Pupils%27%20Mental%20Health_WEB_5.pdf
——————————————————————-

If you have a press release relating to your school, or a piece of work by a pupil or student in your school that you think should reach a wider audience, it can become the featured item of the day on UK Education News (www.ukeducationnews.co.uk) Please send it to chris@hamilton-house.com and we will do the rest.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

Supporting children with ADHD

According to NHS Direct, around 2-5% of school children have ADHD

Many children with ADHD across the country are more than capable of, and indeed do, attend mainstream schools. However, for those with more acute cases of ADHD, this is only possible through the use of ADHD medication, such as Ritalin.

So the question is, is it possible to support these pupils in achieving their academic potential without medication? And if so, how?

The answer to the first question appears to be a definite yes.

A new study, conducted by the University of Exeter Medical School, has found that by swapping ADHD drugs for extra support in the classroom such pupils are more likely to achieve better exam results as a result of their increased attention and reduced hyperactivity.

The research was conducted in response to a 50% rise in the use of ADHD medication between 2008 and 2013 and consisted of collating the data of 54 past studies to test the hypothesis – is it possible to support ADHD pupils in education without medication?

However the answer to the second question, “how?” isn’t quite as straightforward.

Included in the 54 studies that were reviewed there were 54 different methods of supporting children with ADHD, such as training children in study and organisational skills and receiving daily report cards from teachers.

Yet the researchers couldn’t conclude which one works best – even though all methods appear to improve grades (compared to using medication).

Professor Tamsin Ford, from the University of Exeter Medical School, commented: “There is strong evidence for the effectiveness of drugs for children with ADHD, but not all children can tolerate them or want to take them.

“ADHD can be disruptive to affected children as well as the classroom overall, but our study shows that effective psychological and behavioural management may make a significant improvement to children’s ability to cope with school.”

“While this is encouraging, it’s not possible to give definitive guidance on what works because of variations between the strategies tested, and the design and analysis of the studies that we found.”

The conclusion that the researchers did come to, however, was that information about ADHD should be more readily available to teachers (and the general public) so that from a young age, those affected by it can receive invaluable comprehensive support.

If you are interested in knowing more about how you can help your ADHD pupils in achieving their academic potential, Tony Attwood has written a book, “Helping ADHD pupils and students through school” which can be found at the First and Best shop.

First and Best in Education are publishers of educational resources and you can now follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all that they have to offer.

Link to article: https://www.tes.co.uk/news/school-news/breaking-news/children-adhd-can-improve-without-resorting-drugs-research-finds
——————————————————————-

If you have a press release relating to your school, or a piece of work by a pupil or student in your school that you think should reach a wider audience, it can become the featured item of the day on UK Education News (www.ukeducationnews.co.uk) Please send it to chris@hamilton-house.com and we will do the rest.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd