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Archive for the ‘Comments on the SEN news’ Category

New Research: The Impact of Behaviour and Wellbeing on Educational Oucomes

Research published last month can be downloaded here. This investigation into the impact that different aspects of a child’s social, emotional and behavioural functioning have on their educational outcome makes interesting, if unsurprising, reading.

The key findings are these:

  • Children with higher levels of emotional, behavioural, social, and school wellbeing, on average, have higher levels of academic achievement and are more engaged in school, both concurrently and in later years.
  • Children with better emotional wellbeing make more progress in primary school and are more engaged in secondary school.
  • Children with better attention skills experience greater progress across the four key stages of schooling in England. Those who are engaged in less troublesome behaviour also make more progress and are more engaged in secondary school.
  • Children who are bullied are less engaged in primary school, whereas those with positive friendships are more engaged in secondary school.
  • As children move through the school system, emotional and behavioural wellbeing become more important in explaining school engagement, while demographic and other characteristics become less important.
  • Relationships between emotional, behavioural, social, and school wellbeing and later educational outcomes are generally similar for children and adolescents, regardless of their gender and parents’ educational level.

Surely this type of finding can olny add to the justification for any effort and expense that a school goes to in order to meet pupils’ social, emotional and behavioural needs.

It is particularly interesting that attentional skills have been highlighted as a factor across that age ranges. I hope, amongst other things, findings such as this will encourage the development of strategies and interventions to support and develop attentional skills. Many pupils have weaknesses in this area of functioning, not just those diagnosed with ADHD or ADD, and it can significantly impede their learning. Improved teacher awareness of the role of attention in learning and new strategies and interventions in schools would certainly help many children.


The Guardian on Excluded Pupils

This article highlights the problem of what happens to pupils who have been permanently exluded. The govenment have proposed that excluded children should have the right to a full time education, which is very positive, but the problem remains that, in many boroughs, there is no suitable provision available for them.

It is high time that it was accepted that one size DOES NOT fit all and that some children just will not be able to access a meaningful education in a ‘normal’ school. There needs to be research into effective, value for money ‘alternative’ provision and a range of educational settings made available to our young people.

Fortunately, I think this is just beginning to become more of a reality. I recently read about and alternative provision called Engaging Potential which sounds superb. I really hope to see more settings such as this springing up and being supported and nurtured by Local Authorities.

‘Asperger’s’ to be dropped from DSM-5

Reported in the Guardian. I understand the move towards broader ‘umberella’ terms for diagnoses. I have seen numerous children go without a diagnosis because they did not ‘tick enough boxes’ to meet the rigid criteria for any particular condition. Hopefully broader definitions will help with this.

However, it means that statements (or care plans, or whatever it is going to be) will have to be very clear about each child’s strengths, difficulties and needs if this is going to be less obvious from thier specific diagnosis.

I will be interested to see the ‘specifiers’ included under ‘autism spectrum disorder’.

Delay to new SEN legislation.

The TES reported delays to the SEN review. Thank goodness Ed Timpson has the sense to put the breaks on if they don’t have enough information to get it right. From what I have heard the ‘Pathfinder’ authorities have been very slow (reluctant?) to run pilots of the proposed reforms, especially concerning personal budgets. Children and their parents deserve better than another hotch-potch.