News

Former school pupil helps to break communication barriers

Go>Grow group

A former student at a Newcastle school has returned to her roots to help break down communication barriers thanks to a free training initiative, Go>Grow.
 
Debbie Jervis, who is a profoundly Deaf native BSL user, has returned to Northern Counties School where she was once a student, to deliver British Sign Language training to staff. 
 
Northern Counties School in Jesmond, supports Deaf children as part of the Percy Hedley Foundation. They also support children and adults with complex disabilities, including cerebral palsy and speech and language disorders.
 

Winsford school is setting the standard in reading

Oak View Academy

Oak View Academy, in Cheshire, has been commended by a national charity for ensuring all pupils are fully supported as they learn to read.

Beanstalk, an organisation which recruits, trains and assists volunteers to give one-on-one support to children who need extra help with their reading, have been working alongside the Winsford school for six years.

Now they have presented a special partnership plaque to recognise the hard work the primary does to promote children’s literacy.

In the latest Government School Performance Tables, the school was named as the most improved primary in Cheshire West and Chester, for progress in reading.

Pioneering day service provides work experience for young people and adults with autism

The new Orbis Education workplace

Orbis Education and Care has opened a new day skills facility in Swansea, providing young people and adults with autism with a way to gain hands-on experience in the world of work.

Located in Morriston’s High Street, The Orb is a shop, a café, an office and a laundry. The individuals who volunteer at The Orb have complex needs associated with autism and a learning disability.

Lucy Pottinger, Director of Education at Orbis Education and Care, said of the facility:

Sally Phillips at FestABLE: ‘The SEN world is a treasure chest’

FestABLE speaker Sally Phillips

Having a child with special needs enables parents to understand and appreciate the important things in life, says actress and writer Sally Phillips. The well-known British comic was speaking at FestABLE, a festival celebrating specialist learning staged at National Star College in Cheltenham. 

It is the first time a festival dedicated to specialist learning has been staged in the UK.

“We are sitting on a treasure chest in the SEN (Special Educational Needs) world. Not only do we have freedom from some of the standards that the world operates with which are completely bogus but there’s a lot of living in the moment,” said Sally, who has a son with Down’s Syndrome. 

Crest Nicholson supports children’s charity, Variety

The children stood outside with their new Variety Sunshine Coach

Award-winning developer Crest Nicholson is proud to announce the donation of three Variety Sunshine Coaches to St Francis Special School and Mary Rose Academy in Portsmouth.
 
Crest Nicholson’s South Division presented the coaches to the schools, following a children’s fun day of activities and games earlier this month at Silvermere Golf Club in Cobham, Surrey.
 
Each Sunshine Coach will provide pupils with a vehicle to help them to visit their local parks, theatre and wider community during term time, whilst also supporting able-bodied children to take part in exciting sporting activities each day.
 

New Research Reveals Our Children Are Out Of Touch With Nature

The Play More campaign kit

Sudocrem set up the award-winning Play More campaign because playing outside and discovering the world of nature is part of growing up - or is it? Do children still push aside logs to see what’s crawling underneath? Are daisy chains part of playground life or a relic from the past? 

Children are spending more time indoors than outside and they are missing out on exploring the natural world. In fact, research found that 1 in 9 British children have not visited a beach, park or forest in twelve months, and on average a British child only spends 4 hours a week playing in the great outdoors.

Chroma sees an increase in demand from schools to provide art therapy sessions

Boys playing the drums in a Chroma therapy session

Chroma, the UK’s only national provider of arts therapy services, has seen an increase in demand from mainstream schools to provide art therapy sessions for pupils requiring more supported learning or with special education needs. 

Over the past year Chroma has seen a shift in attitude from mainstream schools to the use of arts therapy as an effective means of supporting SEN pupils. 
The use of arts therapy is proven to better engage with pupils, achieve higher levels of development and provide additional support not previously seen outside of independent special needs schools. 

Future First brings working world to life for young people in social mobility ‘cold spots’

Girls doing science after Future First revives government funding

The education charity Future First has been awarded a second round of government funding to extend its work  improving young people’s employability skills and boosting their ambition in areas where careers advice is lacking.

The new money from The Careers and Enterprise Company means Future First is the only organisation working in all the government’s 12 opportunity areas benefiting 50,000 state school and college students by broadening their jobs horizons.

The new funding will help an additional 10,600 students at 19 state secondary schools and colleges in Bradford, Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich and Stoke-on-Trent, areas identified by the government as careers ‘cold spots’ where careers advice is lacking.

Pupils win space challenge with NASA module design

Generation Beyond

Five UK primary school pupils are reaching for the stars after winning a competition to design a spacecraft for NASA, for the Generation Beyond Challenge.

The young scientists, from London and Surrey, are the winners of this year’s Generation Beyond Challenge - organised by Lockheed Martin and Discovery Education.

The challenge - a UK first - was launched to schools last year as part of a new STEM education programme to inspire the next generation of astronauts. Children were asked to stretch their imagination by designing a habitation module for Orion, the NASA spacecraft which will take the first crew to Mars in the 2030s.

New Compass office opens to guide families through fostering

Compass Fostering

Compass Fostering were delighted to announce the opening of their new Regional Office in Felsted Essex recently. The new office allows Compass Fostering to enhance its local delivery across the East of England. 

As a well-established Independent Fostering Agency, Compass Fostering is a national provider of both Fostering and Residential provision.

Paul Kent is the Head of Fostering for the East at the new Felsted Office. Paul brings a wealth of experience to the role with 28 years’ service working within children’s services for Local Authorities (including 14 years in Norfolk) and seven years working within the private fostering sector in the East of England.

1600s church refurbished for SEN pupils

TCES

East London Independent School in Stratford Marsh, which is part of the TCES Group, has extended its site by redeveloping a church that dates back to 1662. The refurbished church now boasts six new classrooms, as well as a double art room and state-of-the-art classrooms for science, ICT and food technology.

There is also a new school hall, two sensory rooms, and an excellent outside space.

To accommodate it all, the single storey church building has been converted to two storeys, retaining all the existing windows that now cast light both upstairs and downstairs.

The group prides itself on uniquely integrating pupils from 7-19 years with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs and autism spectrum conditions (ASC).

‘Garden school’ by architecture initiative opens in the heart of East London

Olga Primary School

Architecture Initiative’s new school, Olga Primary School, in east London has opened its doors to over 700 primary school pupils. Designed for Tower Hamlets School Ltd and London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Olga Primary School envisions a ‘garden oasis’ in the heart of the capital city.

The school’s vertical design consolidates 25 classrooms around a naturally-lit atrium with the age of pupils increasing as the building rises. The three-storey, glazed atrium creates a circulation core that separates the structure into two distinct volumes: one accommodates the teaching centre; the other contains the administrative and communal spaces, delivering the added benefit of opening the facility to the wider community outside of generic schooling hours.

Scotts of Thrapston - UK Construction Excellence

Scotts of Thrapston - UK Construction Excellence

A learning environment, or the physical, psychological and instructional atmosphere, can critically affect a pupil’s morale and learning, in the same way that a clean, bright, organised space can positively influence the learning experience.

Therefore, pupils should be encouraged to feel comfortable and confident as learners which is why the design of a classroom is so vitally important.

Scotts of Thrapston, specialists in the manufacture and installation of bespoke timber-framed buildings,has a dedicated design manager who studied classroom attainment and the effect of educational environments on children's behaviour. Everything from light levels to atmosphere and the amount of CO2 present comes under the spotlight. 

How music and technology can increase engagement and social communication in SEN school settings

SEN

A pioneering new research article, on SEN subjects, published in the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities explores the impact of an intervention combining music and technology on children with a dual diagnosis of autism and intellectual disabilities (ID), and excitingly reports positive outcomes, especially regarding social communication (i.e. behaviour regulation and joint attention). Although there has been much academic research conducted on the benefits of music on children with autism, this is the first study to explore the impact of a technology-mediated music-making intervention on the engagement levels and social communication skills of children with autism and ID at school.

Could a mastery approach help pupils with SEND make progress in Maths?

SEND

by Katie Hiatt

When it comes to teaching maths, ‘mastery’ is the current buzzword, with more and more UK schools choosing to adopt this approach to drive a deeper understanding of maths and SEND subjects for all children. 

Could mastery, which in recent years has become almost synonymous with South-East Asian approaches, help our children with SEND too? 

While the needs of your pupils with SEND may be varied and not all aspects of the mastery approach will be suitable for every child, drawing on elements of mastery teaching could help them make progress in maths and equip them with vital life skills. 

Here are five things you could try if you think they may benefit your pupils:

1. Use a CPA approach 

'At Orbis we're passionate about creating great homes and an exceptional learning experience'

Orbis HR manager Simon Drinkwater

Simon Drinkwater recently joined Cardiff-based Orbis Education and Care as its new HR Director. Here, he talks to Education For Everybody about Orbis specialist schools and residential services for people with autism…

Tell us about Orbis and the service it provides.

Orbis Education and Care provides specialist day schools, as well as residential services for children and adults who have a formal diagnosis of autism. Orbis currently encompasses four residential schools for children and young people and nine adult homes.

How do you feel about joining Orbis and what are your plans in terms of HR?