That Kid Should Be In School…by @ASTSupportAAli

I posted this short post on @Staffrm ‘s brand new site here. Thanks to its relative popularity, I thought I would post it here too…

Being in post as the Director Of Inclusion for just over a year now, I have learnt after several mind bending reflections with myself, simply, that the best possible provision, support and help a damaged child can receive is the gift of achieving IN SCHOOL…

Education itself, is a therapy.

Essentially, what I am saying is, nothing works better to break the cycle of deprivation, the mould of despair and the heartbreak of rejection than a student doing well in school, in school.

So lets stop* and prevent. Block and resist any calls from teachers to get students on alternative provision. Or to have a student removed from a mainstream setting if they are displaying difficulties. Or from putting a student in isolation if they are affecting the learning of others. But instead get them to achieve… start small, work their way up.

Here at my school we have developed a cause for concern panel meeting- CFC. Every short term, college leaders, AHT, DHT, SENCO/Asst. SENCO/ Family Link Support Worker, Police, CAHMS, Youth Support, Attendance Team, Counsellor, Behaviour Manager and teachers all come together to talk about what we can do to support our students displaying difficulties. Often, earlier in my career, I kept thinking of alternative provision, offsite support, work experience and so on. Was this just to make things easier for me? My teachers? I think so… However, now, every outcome is linked to attainment, therapy is coordinated alongside this, but the main aim, hope, goal and plea is to get the student engaged and learning…

A student achieveing a grade they never have before; seeing a certificate of achievement they never thought was possible, receiving a positive phone call home or having a heartfelt well done from a teacher who may have usually have been constantly disappointed with them is worth more than any intervention we can put in place. I do not mean rewards, chocolates, positive behaviour report cards, I mean really achieving well in school. Completing a controlled assessment exceeding their end of year target, or finishing their projects for their DT work, or finally figuring out that really difficult equation…

Look Miss/Sir, I did really well. 

I guess, all I am really saying is, nothing inspires, creates ambition or a desire to achieve more so than actually achieving. Success breeds success.

The EEF foundation website states that programmes of inspiration/ambition building have very little actual impact on a young persons life. Yet, I am not saying this isn’t necessary, or wanted, But, ultimately, what works best is them being able to do their best.

I have also learnt that children do not necessarily want us to inspire them per se. But want us to awaken their ability to inspire themselves!

From Studnets- “Get us to realise, we can do it ourselves. Stop telling us.”

(Click here for a post by my students about Motivation and Inspiration.)

If a child is displaying negativity, rejection and anger, then, please, think, how can I make this young person achieve and do well. (Here is a detailed post about some of the difficulties young people face.) When these students do achieve, you have a hook, you have a way in, you have an opportunity to say, you can do this, you have done this, lets do this.

I wish it was easy. But, it can be achieved.

Good luck.

*I am not saying excuse poor behaviour, avoid consequences of chosen situations or ignoring the education of others.

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8 comments

  1. I read this today a few hours after listening to this:

    freakonomics.com/2014/12/04/how-to-fix-a-broken-high-schooler-in-four-easy-steps-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

    It vindicates your point of view, I think.

    I’ve been that teacher, who has been keen to have a child taken out of my class, partly for selfish reasons as you point out, but mainly because managing them has had a negative effect on the learning of the others. (This was primary age chn). How do you balance needs of majority with the very real needs of chn who need extra care and encouragement?

  2. When the learning of others is impacted, then something needs to be done. It may be short term, it may be temporary. But School, and schooling is what is essential. I agree, that others shouldn’t suffer. Balancing act, is one of those complicated things to explain or measure, but its something each school needs to pursue. I will have a listen of the podcast. Thank you for the comment.

  3. A thoughtful post – as always – keep them coming as your level of insight and particular perspective (inclusion) is important to keep us focussed on what is important in education. These are difficult ethical questions, and we should all reflect, as you do, on the processes behind the decisions that we make about excluding children from mainstream, even for a short time. it is also worth saying that from the point of view of the child schools can be scary, intimidating places, and often what appears to be irrational behaviour (‘kicking off’) can be perfectly justifiable (maybe their only recourse) from their perspective. We need to spend time understanding without excusing.

    Just a point about the list of agencies involved in your pane meeting. Where is the parent? I know it’s difficult, but their support and backing is crucial to achieve the aims that you set out for every child at your school. More than that any parent would want to know what is being discussed and decided about/on behalf of their child. I would welcome your thoughts on this.

    • Hi, Many thanks for commenting and taking time to read. I appreciate it. In regards to where are the parents, we have X 3 reviews for all Statemented students. Also, parent surgeries regularly. However, for the cause for concern panel, we have not considered invited parents, maybe something I suggest…

      • I hope so, I was a parent governor for a time and it did seem that parents became marginalised once the multi-agencies got involved and began meeting to resolve problems. I imagine that there are complex issues around the sort of language that is used (professionals tend to use a different register and formal language), and power relations come into play too. However from a social justice perspective it is important to bring the parents into the decision making. I’d be interested to know if you find a way forward in this respect.
        Best regards
        Alison

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