Scunthorpe Inclusive Festival raises autism awareness and brings together families across the community

Options Autism

Options Autism is proud to be hosting its annual Inclusive Festival in Scunthorpe on Sunday 12 August, welcoming both families affected by autism as well as the wider local community to enjoy festival fun at this relaxed and safe open-air event.

Organised by professionals from Options Autism, part of Outcomes First Group – the national provider of care and education to children, young people and adults with autism, complex needs and learning difficulties – the festival aims to raise awareness of autism, to fundraise and help integrate members of the community.

How can a supply teaching agency help a Newly Qualified Teacher?

NQT advice

Caroline Cafferty, Operations Director, justteachers, specialists in matching school staffing needs with the best available teachers, teaching assistants and SEN staff - day-to-day supply, long-term and permanent - gives her advice to Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT) who are unsure how to progress their teaching career.

Being a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) can be daunting especially in the first term as you establish yourself with your colleagues and your class.

How Adaptive Learning Technology Supports Languages

Supporting Interleaved Practice

A classroom is the worst environment in which to learn a language enter Adaptive Learning. With 30 or so students in a class, verbal exercises turn a room into a cacophony of excitement and confusion. With feedback only from peers, learning is slow and hard to measure.

Psycholinguistic findings suggest that learning ‘in the wild’ engages implicit memory systems which help to deeply embed a language. The more aural and visual opportunities there are to experience a language, the better a student’s learning and understanding. Practise and language immersion are essential.

For students with dyslexia, speech recognition unlocks new opportunities in education

The Dyslexia Association

Of the learning challenges facing students with dyslexia, reading difficulties are amongst the most prominent. It is believed around 10% of the population have the condition which usually sees suffers struggling to process information whether written or spoken, which can hamper their natural ability to share and document their creative ideas, knowledge and enthusiasm for a subject. This could potentially have an adverse educational and psychological effect on this group and possibly negatively impact their engagement with education. Encouragingly though, through dedicated study and research, great advances have been made in understanding dyslexia, how it affects individuals and what needs to be done to provide support for them from an early age.

High quality autism education training set to reach more children


The Autism Education Trust (AET) is set to help more autistic children and young people get the education they deserve following a two-year extension of its contract with the Department for Education (DfE).

The Trust, which recently reached its 10th anniversary, is the leading autism training and support programme for education settings and practitioners. Its evidence based programme is developed in consultation with prominent autism education academics and professionals, and with the direct involvement of people on the autistic spectrum.

Does a rise in Patience signal a more intelligent society?

Does a rise in Patience signal a more intelligent society?

"Patience is the mental equivalent of jogging: its purpose is to tone the brain up and get rid of unsociable mental flabbiness." David Parlett, Penguin Book of Patience (1979)

Patience, the card game often referred to by its American name, Solitaire, has risen in popularity markedly since 2008 according to Google Trends. It is set to soon overtake poker as one of the most popular online games, which is astounding since poker had a humongous peak in popularity back in 2005 overtaking all other card games.

Becoming a Thinking School helped our pupils become self-motivated learners

Becoming a Thinking School helped our pupils become self-motivated learners

Our journey to becoming a Thinking School began back in 2008; it has been a complex and demanding process, but the impact on our school and its pupils has been dramatic. 

What prompted it?

We had observed that a vast number of our students, who are aged 11-19,  were passive learners. They were being given information in order to pass exams but there was little opportunity for them to discover things for themselves. What we wanted was to raise the level of challenge and for them to become self-motivated and lead their own learning. 

Hillcrest Shifnal School, Shropshire, rated Good in all areas by Ofsted

Hillcrest Shifnal School

Students and staff at Hillcrest Shifnal School, Shropshire, are celebrating having been officially rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in all areas, including: ‘Effectiveness of leadership and management’, ‘Quality of teaching, learning and assessment’, ‘Personal development, behaviour and welfare’ and ‘Outcomes for pupils’. 

Hillcrest Shifnal School is an independent specialist school, which is run by Hillcrest and is part of Outcomes First Group. The school provides education, care and therapeutic services to children aged 7 to 19 with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

Ofsted praised new head teacher David Coles saying:

Safeguarding apps rolled out to schools nationally after Sunderland trial


School children who receive extra support could be given access to apps created by Mind of My Own (MOMO) to help them talk about and influence the care they receive and share concerns and worries about their lives.

The two apps – MOMO One, for children and young people aged 8+ and MOMO Express, for younger children and those with learning disabilities – are to be offered to children in contact with Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENco) and safeguarding leads in schools following a successful trial at Oxclose Community Academy in Sunderland. 

Helen Caldwell, from the University of Northampton, on using technology with SEN pupils

University of Northampton, Special Educational Needs, Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Computing, Net-Aware,

Helen Caldwell, Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Northampton, who’s also an Apple Distinguished Educator, shares her thoughts on the use of technology for education and outlines some ideas for implementing technology in outdoor sessions…

Our children are increasingly spending less time outdoors exploring their environment. They spend more time engaging with the world around them in a digital format - through the various mobile devices now available to them at home and in the classroom.

They’re mixing learning, gaming, watching video content and using social media to communicate in a more interactive way than ever before. They are often way ahead of the curve in understanding technology, compared to parents, and some educators.