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