Blog

Born Free launches Great Debate schools initiative

Group of children ready for the great debate

International wildlife charity Born Free has today announced the launch of its new educational Great Debate initiative and is now calling out to schools across the UK to get involved.

Designed to provide teachers with the tools to engage their students in meaningful debates about key wildlife or environmental topics that will affect their future. Born Free’s Great Debate will not only allow students to gain knowledge about the debate topic, but also offer them skills that will help them to research, frame and deliver an argument while becoming responsible citizens, reducing their impact on biodiversity and the environment.

SEND pupils: ‘It’s crucial that we don’t make any child feel singled out’

SEND pupils at St Giles are boosted by the inclusive school ethos

St Giles’ C.E. Primary School is a mixed primary school with approximately 400 pupils in Walsall, West Midlands. The school has an above average number of SEND pupils and around a quarter of pupils speak English as a second language. Simrat Mavi, Deputy Headteacher at the school, talks us through their priorities for all pupils. 

A Guide to Monitoring Mental Health Within Education

Sad little girl with bad mental health

Article from Ellie Collier, High Speed Training

In recent years an increasing number of children have shown signs of suffering from mental health issues, with three children in every classroom reported to have a diagnosable mental health disorder according to a Young Minds charity report. As well as affecting a student’s emotional wellbeing, their educational attainment can also be negatively impacted if they’re struggling to cope with their current mental state. So, as exam season commences, it’s fundamental that those within the industry take extra care and precautions to ensure students thrive during this defining time of their lives. High Speed Training explains how to compile a thorough mental health policy document.

Options Trent Acres School – implementing a positive learning culture for students with SEN

Boy with SEN at Trent Acres School

Options Trent Acres, Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, a special independent school for boys and girls aged 8-18 with autism and a range of complex needs including mild learning disabilities, was recently declared ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Trent Acres, run by Options Autism,is part of Outcomes First Group. Here, headteacher Melanie Callaghan-Lewis discusses how staff have implemented a positive learning culture at the school. 

The dyslexia assessment: why I was in tears

Helene Cohen, who was found to have dyslexia at 54

Hélène Cohen from Please Miss is a former SENCO who now trains teachers and advises schools on their SEND provision. She also tutors for the NASCO and iSENCO Masters awards and the NPQ senior and middle leadership qualifications. Here, she discusses with Education for Everybody what happened after she made the decision to be tested for dyslexia  during her doctorate studies, as outlined in her previous blog for Education for Everybody…

The Assessment

Temprocket: Why the CCS framework could reduce teacher choice and quality

Temprocket's Andrew Johnston

The way the CCS framework has been applied could do schools (and agencies) more harm than good, says TempRocket Founder Andrew Johnston.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) helps to provide commercial services to the Public Sector and save money for the taxpayer by improving government commercial and procurement activity. The CCS framework has recently been applied to the education sector to make it cheaper and easier to recruit full-time teachers. 

Why marketers need greater neurodiversity

nerodiversity - a man points at a screen

by Mark Evans, Marketing Director, Direct Line Group

Despite contributing over £120bn to the UK economy, marketing is one of the most misunderstood industries amongst young people. As a result fewer people are considering becoming a marketer than ever before. According to research by Unidays, just 3% of students aged 18 to 24 believe marketing is a good career option, and only 2% believe it is the best career for long-term success. Marketing clearly needs to get better at marketing itself! 

Inside our specialist school – by deputy head Laura Smith

Laura Smith, deputy head at Hillcrest Shifnal specialist school

Laura Smith, Deputy Head of Hillcrest Shifnal specialist school, answers our questions on her school and the education it offers pupils…

Could you tell us a little about the history of Hillcrest Shifnal School?

Hillcrest Shifnal School is a Department for Education-registered independent school operated by Outcomes First Group – a leading specialist provider of education and care services to children, young people and adults with autism, complex needs, learning disabilities and SEMH (social, emotional and mental health needs). We have been based in rural Shropshire for just over ten years and during that time have extended the number of students on roll and the range of needs we meet. 

Pupils with autism twice as likely to be bullied – what can teachers do? 

Tania Marshall, autism education expert

Primary pupils with special educational needs are twice as likely as other children to be bullied, according to the Institute of Education. Here, Tania Marshall, M.Sc., award-winning author, psychologist, AspienGirl Project lead for girls with Autism or Asperger Syndrome, and Autism Ambassador for Education Placement Group, specialists in education recruitment, discusses the key signs that indicate a female student with autism is being bullied as well as some strategies for preventing this harmful behaviour…

Enhancing the underlying skills for learning using MiMo

mimo - graph 2

The authors of a new white paper have explained how their primary intervention MiMo – Minimum Input Maximum Output – can improve maths, literacy and personal skills in short six-minute sessions. 

Tamara Nathan & Myrom Kahaner published The Minimum Input Maximum Output Neurodevelopmental Programme for Schools white paper, which outlines their research and has confirmed that in just six minutes a day following the unique combination of activities of the MiMo® Programme, skills in maths and literacy and many developmental areas can be dramatically enhanced.

The white paper states: “In 2007 England had plummeted from third to nineteenth in an international league table of children’s literacy levels and 2018 saw a slide to 49th.

What to keep in mind when teaching pupils with autism

Tania Marshall on teaching pupils with autism

Tania Marshall, M.Sc. – an award-winning author, psychologist, AspienGirl Project lead for girls with Autism or Asperger Syndrome, and Autism Ambassador for Education Placement Group which specialises in education recruitment – discusses best practice for teaching pupils on the autism spectrum, primarily focusing on high-functioning females…

Characteristics of autism in girls and boys and presentation in school 

Girls and boys with autism present quite differently to one another in school – and also across the lifespan. Generally speaking, both differ in terms of the severity of their symptoms, personality, IQ, social skills, sensory processing sensitivities, cognitive profile, disorders and learning disabilities. 

Story-telling helps boys close ‘literacy gap’ with girls

Story-telling at school with teacher and students

A story-telling approach can help boys aged two to five-years-old catch up with the literacy levels of girls in the same class, research by Goldsmiths, University of London has found.

Tales Toolkit is a storytelling programme, currently used for children up to age seven in more than 120 schools across the UK and eight countries worldwide, that encourages imagination and creativity. It provides schools with child-led resources based around symbols to represent story structure of character, setting, problem and solution.

Supported Employment course kicks off for 5th year

Group of students at Supported Employment course

Optalis’ Supported Employment service has successfully launched the fifth year of its Ace@Optalis course, welcoming young students from the learning disability department at Reading College who are looking to secure employment. 

The ultimate goal of the Ace@Optalis course is to support students to achieve paid employment and work towards gaining independence in their role.

Thirteen students looking to secure careers in a variety of industries – including catering, retail and horticulture - have joined the course this year, which is held at social care provider Optalis’ Head Office.

Five priorities to improve teacher recruitment and retention

Monarch Education MD Esme Bianchi-Barry on teacher recruitment and retention

Esme Bianchi-Barry, Managing Director at Monarch Education, discusses the education staff shortage and how teacher recruitment and retention affects the SEND world in particular…

Recent reports have highlighted the chronic shortage of teaching staff in the UK. It is arguable that this is particularly keenly felt in the SEND sector, especially with the rising demand for SEN teachers. The latest Government figures on the percentage of pupils with special educational needs in England has increased to 14.6%, and 2.9% for those with a statement of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Exam Stress: 5 tips to help your kids keep their cool

Exam Stress

Pressure on students to succeed is higher than ever, with fierce competition for university and school places. This pressure is heightened with exam results looming.

The hype means that results day can present a mix of emotions – joy, regret, stress or euphoria. And this isn’t just limited to the children! However, it’s important to support your child in the best way you can – which includes keeping them healthy and reducing their stress in the build up to the day. 

1. Talk things through 

The challenges of recruiting SEND teachers

Supply Desk recruit SEND teachers

Schools across the UK are currently in the midst of a recruitment and retention crisis, with low numbers of candidates and teacher trainees. Applications for teaching training courses fell by one-third this year – plummeting from 19,330 in December 2016 to just 12,820 in 2017, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. Additionally, high numbers of teachers are leaving the profession – 81% of teachers surveyed by the National Education Union (NEU, 2018) said they had considered leaving the profession in the last year. 

Dance teacher at West London specialist school scoops national Inspirational Teacher Award

Jonathan - Dance Teacher

The dance teacher who founded street dance sensation Autism With Attitude (AWA) from Hillingdon Manor School – an independent specialist provision in Uxbridge, West London for children aged 3½-19 with autism run by Options Autism and part of Outcomes First Group – has won the Inspirational Teacher Award at the 2018 National Association for Special Educational Needs (Nasen) Awards. Professionally trained Jonathan Baron introduced dance to the school to provide a unique expressive outlet to help students develop skills both on and off the dance floor, with amazing results!