Special Educational Needs in the Mainstream Classroom-EEF recommendations (2020)

Essential reading for educators-‘This report presents five recommendations for mainstream primary and secondary schools seeking to improve their provision for pupils with SEND. Some of the recommendations included here will also be helpful for pupils in special schools.’
Recommendation 1 Create a positive and supportive environment for all pupils,
without exception. Recommendation 2 Build an ongoing, holistic understanding of your pupils and
their needs. Recommendation 3 Ensure all pupils have access to high quality teaching.
Recommendation 4 Complement high quality teaching with carefully selected
small-group and one-to-one interventions. Recommendation 5 Work effectively with teaching assistants.

Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools | EEF (educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk)

Download the poster summary here-Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools—Recommendations (d2tic4wvo1iusb.cloudfront.net)

To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget

“Without forgetting, we would have no memory at all,” said Oliver Hardt, who studies memory and forgetting at McGill University in Montreal. The process is necessary for the functioning of a healthy brain—just as important as the ability to remember.

Read this fascinating article on the latest research into the theory of ‘forgetting’ as an active component of the long-term memory process.

To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget | Quanta Magazine

Educating your child at home

Give your child the chance to read each day (10 minutes is fine)
Read stories to your child (three short stories before bedtime goes down a treat)
Cook with your child (preparing a meal, operating the microwave or weighing and measuring are great opportunities for learning mathematics)
Buy bread and milk (or other basics) on the way home from school. Doing this in person at the shop using loose change is great ‘real life’ mathematics
Have fun. Playing games, taking turns, watching TV together and dressing up are great ways to support your child
Write shopping lists, keep diaries, write letters and invitations to inspire you child to write.

There are lots of ideas on this 50 Ways to Learn poster that you could also use at home.

Anson Primary school has a great range of resources. Check their website:

Maths at home – Support for busy parents (lgfl.org.uk)

Becoming Word Aware at Osmani Primary School

Linda Hall and Tracey Grant from the Language, Literacy and Communication Team led training on Word Aware, a structured whole school approach to promote the vocabulary development of all children. Focused on whole class learning, the resource is of particular value for those who start at a disadvantage – including children with Developmental Language Disorder, Special Educational Needs and those who speak English as an additional language, but it will extend the word learning of all students.

Practical, inspiring and fun ideas were explored that can be easily applied by busy classroom practitioners to develop both spoken and written vocabulary.

Remi Atoyebi (Headteacher), Helen Vail and Tracey Grant (Language, Literacy and Communication Team Learning Advisory Service Advisory teacher for inclusion).

Contact linda.hall@towerhamlets.gov.uk for further information if you are interested in booking this training for your school.

Developmental Language Disorder -DLD

Key facts

Developmental: starts in childhood, but continues
Language: sentences, vocabulary, grammar. Can be understanding and / or talking
Disorder: not something that a child will just grow out of
It is often called categorised as a ‘Hidden disability’.

Listen to lovely poem read by a child with DLD. (Dorset NHS Trust)

For more information:NAPLIC | Developmental Language Disorder, Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) – Afasic

Educating your child at home

Climate change and Environmental Science

Enjoy a light-hearted illustrated children’s book about climate change and caring for our animals that is perfect for inspiring the next Greta Thunberg or David Attenborough.

Listen to the author read it aloud- https://youtu.be/ZEn-6ZiAUNM

Climate Change resources

Climate change resources for schools | WWF

Climate Change for Kids – Science Experiments for Kids (science-sparks.com)

17 Weather Science Projects and Lessons | Science Buddies Blog

Classroom Strategies to Support Pupils with Literacy KS2

Great learning at Arnhem Wharf Primary School led by LLC advisors Alison Haines and Tracey Grant. Staff delved into current theory and innovative practice leading to classroom success!

November 24th is No Pens Wednesday

What is No Pens Wednesday?*

It is a national day dedicated to speaking and understanding language which takes place in schools and settings annually. Click on the picture above, or link below to sign up and get lots of ideas to try in your class. There are ideas for Early Years, Primary and Secondary.

Why take part?

Speaking and understanding language are often overlooked in the UK education system in comparison to written language skills. However, as with literacy and numeracy, schools can play a crucial role in developing children’s skills in this important area.

No Pens Day Wednesday puts speaking and understanding language in the spotlight. Through a day of fun and engaging activities, schools and
settings can:

Raise awareness of the importance of speaking and understanding skills with staff, children and families.

Improve children and young people’s speaking and understanding skills and increase their engagement in lessons.

Support their curriculum’s focus on speaking and understanding language, and develop staff skills and confidence in teaching speaking and understanding skills.

Identify children who may have speech, language and communication needs and provide additional support.

Why is it so important?

Language levels at age two predict reading, writing and maths ability when children start school.

As many as 50% of children in some areas of social disadvantage start school with delayed language. Without early support, these children may struggle to catch up with their peers.

In Primary School:

Children who have difficulties speaking and understanding language are at a higher risk of behavioural, social and emotional difficulties in childhood and through adolescence.

More than 90% of children who have persistent language difficulties at age 5 have literacy difficulties at age 15.

In Secondary School: 

Good communication skills are rated as the most important employability skills needed for young people entering their first job – from a survey of schools, employers and politicians.

Up to 88% of long-term unemployed young men may have speech, language and communication needs.

*taken from the ICAN guide to the day

Continue reading

See Dyslexia Differently- video from BDA

Click the image  above to see this short YouTube video from the British Dyslexia Association. It explores the possible difficulties and strengths of young people with dyslexia. It is three minutes long.

The video could be used pupils, parents, teachers and teaching assistants.

Dyslexia Awareness Week is:

October 4th-8th October 2021

Using Busy Things to develop phonological awareness skills

Using Busy Things to develop phonological awareness skills

Almost all schools now offer a literacy curriculum based on systematic synthetic phonics which most children respond really well to. But, there is a small group of pupils that don’t make the progress that we expect.

The building blocks to good phonic skills include really strong phonological awareness skills (the ability to identify and manipulate sounds in spoken language e.g. syllables, rhyme etc.) and phoneme awareness  (manipulating individual sounds).  Research shows that the majority of pupils that go on to struggle with spelling, reading and writing have a relative difficulty with their phoneme awareness and other phonological skills.  This group need extra time and attention.

Early Years settings are brilliant at developing phonological awareness skills, but as children move up into Key Stage 1 and beyond, it becomes harder for class teachers to find time to spend time on this.

One useful resource, available to all schools with access to the London Grid for Learning is Busy Things.  We found their phonic games very helpful when supporting children during lockdown, as they develop phonological awareness as well as phonics.

They updated a lot of the materials in May 2021.  We like the way you can customize the games to concentrate on specific grapheme phoneme correspondences.

Games

Our pupils loved the games. There are games to support rhyming skills such as Topple the Tower and Robert Robot:

As well as games like Feed the Monster and Build the Word which focus on oral blending and segmenting:

The software allows you to choose which scheme you want to follow, as well as your regional accent preference (north or south of England):

Once pupils are confident at using the games online, you can also produce pdf’s of specific patterns to reinforce areas that they are working on. This was useful to set as targeted homework.

Busy things does not replace the work we need to do to help strengthen phonological awareness skills but it is a really useful tool. Children can independently use the game on laptops during class reading time or other pockets of the school day.

Teachers can set up class profiles and monitor how their pupils are doing.

For more information, there are youtube videos on how to get started, as well as tutorials online. Alternatively, do contact us for more information. While not experts,  we are  happy to share what we have learnt!

Tower Hamlets Language, Literacy and Communication Team

September 2021