Is Inclusion Working? | Debate from #educationfest

Scenes From The Battleground

I took part in a discussion on inclusion on Friday.

I think what I most noticed was how little disagreement there was. 10 years ago this was probably the hottest issue in education and the types of views I’m expressing would have been seen as outrageous and I would have been told I needed to be sacked or retrained. Amazing to see how things have moved on.

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When is Behaviour not Special Educational Needs?

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

One of the things I used to discuss regularly with an old friend of mind, back when our boys were babies (she also has a son with Down’s syndrome) was where the Down’s ended and the boy began.  It’s a bit of an inelegant way of putting it, and today, I can see that the person that Sam is is entirely interwoven with his genetics, but back then, when she and I knew nothing about babies, other than what we had read in the handbook, we spent long afternoons wondering about the little things they did (or did not do).

And, I got to thinking the other day, when I found myself embroiled in a Twitter-teacher debate over behaviour and SEND, that a little post on the subject would be useful (you can read more about it in my book, available now and you can buy it if you click…

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#SEND Definitions for beginners

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

I was trying to remember, the other day, when I hadn’t been thinking, one way or another, about Special Educational Needs, and you know what?  Since I left the education system as a student myself, I can’t actually remember.  Once I became a teacher, once I became a mother, it never left my consciousness.  Now, personally, I’ve never really worried too much about definitions, after all, a label, is just that, but it occurred to ne yesterday, after I perused my Twitter feed after having consumed my lunch, that the term SEND might need a little bit of a definition.  So, if you’ll pardon me the shameless plugging, I am going to mention my book (which you can buy here, should you so wish).

So.  Special Educational Needs and Disabilities is a bit of a mouthful, but what it basically means is in relation to a school context.  Unhandily, for…

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A Parent’s Guide to the Speech Therapy Process – A Book Review


A short time ago I received a request to review a book. To begin with I was a little taken aback by the request because the subject is speech and language therapy. This is only very loosely part of my job and is hardly my specialist subject. Fair enough I teach children with special needs, many of whom have communication difficulties so I know a little bit. I also know my way around most AAC technology used to support those without a voice. I’m also reasonably good at making visual aids for communication to support my instructions and help those with speech challenges. I’m trained in PECS too, but actual speech and language therapy I know very little. By the time I had thought all this through in my head I decided I might actually be a good person to look at the book. After all, it could only be…

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*That Kid*

Life of a colourful SEND family & ChatterPack SEND.

A few weeks ago I came across a conversation (among many others) on Twitter about dealing with children’s behaviour in school. One tweet which stuck in my mind was from a teacher in response to a popular blog on the subject. It read ”Massive drain on teacher time is dealing with *That Kid*”

I spent a long time considering how to try & fight *That Kid*’s corner, however with every idea came questions I’d like to ask that teacher. I decided that in order to try and change their opinions, I must first try and understand how and when they started seeing problems to be fixed rather than children to be supported. Without the background information and understanding, how can I help? How can I change those opinions? How can I see past anything other than a problem to be fixed?

*That Kid*’s story………..(Permission has been gained to share, although…

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SEND IS Mainstream. But it’s complicated.


Lately I’ve been thinking a great deal about SEND provision in my school – for several reasons.

a) It is at the forefront of our thinking as we plan our staffing and curriculum within the real-world context of declining financial resources – how best to deploy finite resources to meet every the needs of student? In common with other Heads I’ve spoken to, given the need to maximise the impact of every £, I’m keen to prioritise the quality of the mainstream provision – teachers, class size, loadings – because that is where SEND students spend most of their time. We need to know what we’re doing has impact so I also favour investment in specific learning and behaviour interventions (e.g. Thinking Reading, our BSC,) over the more nebulous benefits of in-class support. This can be important but it can also be wasteful. It’s a discussion we’re having.

b) I’ve…

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