Frank Lampard becomes National Literacy Trust ambassador...

The National Literacy Trust has announced Frank Lampard as an ambassador for their work. The footballer, father and author of the ‘Frankie’s Magic Football’ books will support the charity’s work to raise the profile of literacy in the UK and motivate disadvantaged children to read.

Lampard who is currently playing for Manchester City Football Club, has been a long-standing supporter of the National Literacy Trust’s football and literacy work. He played at Chelsea Football club for 13 years where he was Chelsea’s Reading Star in the charity’s Premier League Reading Stars programme last year and joined children’s author Cressida Cowell to officially launch the scheme at Chelsea FC in March 2014.

Lampard has renewed his role as a Premier League Reading Star for 2015, representing Manchester City. As part of this, Frank talks about his favourite books and sets reading challenges via an online video. These challenges are used to support over 30,000 children in schools and libraries who are taking part in a ten week reading intervention with Premier League branded materials, including certificates, wristbands, reading journals and wall charts.

Having a man like Lampard become National Literacy Trust ambassador is a very encouraging thing as many children look up to Frank as being a football legend and a role model to follow. He has a very positive impact on children and young adult’s lives so by him doing this will inspire and motivate underprivileged children to read and to promote the profile of literacy in the UK.

article tags:
Blog, News, SEN, Frank Lampard, Literacy, Role model

Posted By: Maidstone - 19th Mar

The History Of Special Educational Needs...


In the early 20th century, ideas about the provision of education for children with special needs were based on a medical model of ‘defects’. This model focused on difference rather than normality, on illness rather than well-being and particularly on the ‘problem’ with the child. Children were given medically diagnosed categories with the emphasis on deficit rather than potential. It is hardly surprising that education for children with SEN originally took the form of separate special schools for those who were thought to need them.

In 1944 significant reforms to the education system were brought into effect. The majority of these reforms were directed at mainstream education and the provision of free education for all. This act still addressed certain aspects of education for children with SEN but still focused on the medical model of a disability. It established eleven categories of ‘handicap’ and children falling into these categories were described in terms of the ‘treatment’ they could receive.

In the 1960s and 1970s, work with children with SEN moved towards an approach favoured by behaviourist psychologists. This approach stressed the need to use operant conditioning techniques. Behaviourists rejected the medical modal and advocated an approach that dealt only with what they could observe, in which some people were very much against this idea and approach but it did prove successful in having a better understanding of different Special Educational Needs. The 60s and 70s paved the way for a new approach to special needs. Attitudes to special education in general started to change, and in part the behaviourist initiatives made the teaching of children with learning difficulties seem more accessible to teachers in mainstream schools. Theses idea helped to promote the possibility of inclusion of children with SEN.

Then in 1993 the Education Act which we all know came in, there were now legal requirements that oblige schools to provide for children with SEN and all schools had to publish their SEN policies and name a SEN Co-ordinator (SENCO). The SENCO would put things in place and provide support for all pupils that have statements of Special Educational Needs.

In September 2014 the new ‘SEN Code of Practice’ was put in to action, this was the biggest shake up to the SEN system in over 30 years. Instead of a child to be given a statement of SEN, the child would be given an Education, Health Care Plan (EHCP) which covers people from birth up to 25 years of age, Parents will have the option to have a greater say in how money is spent on their child’s SEN support and young people are to have the right to be consulted about their support.

Over the years support for children with Special Educational Needs has changed dramatically and improved for the better. As technology and understanding is growing so is the support that people with SEN need. This is a very positive thing to see as with anything in life, as time goes on the exploration and research into SEN will provide us with a better view on how to meet the needs of our young people.

article tags:
blog, news, sen, history, information

Posted By: Maidstone - 27th Feb

Can Autistic children be excluded by Inclusion?

There are a variety of differing views based upon whether children with high functioning Autism should be educated in mainstream schools. According to parents and educators some children cope very well in a mainstream setting and it helps them with their social interaction difficulties, however others can feel socially excluded and overwhelmed by their anxiety and the mountain of expectations thrust upon them on a daily basis.

Children with high functioning Autism usually have very good academic ability, this can often disguise the fact that they struggle with interaction and communication while at school. It is of the opinion that teachers can often overlook this due to a child’s ability to meet academic targets, they often forget that their well-being can be affected by noise, smells and that any negative behaviour can be caused by a sensory over load rather than the intent to purposely disrupt learning.

A common misconception regarding children on the Autistic Spectrum is that those who are verbally capable are able to communicate well with others, however this is not always the case. Some parents put this down to teachers having a lack of understanding and empathy in regards to the reasons behind their child’s actions. They also feel that if mainstream inclusion is to be successful, staff need to know more about Autism and the underlying issues that their children face in school so that a provision can be put in place that caters for their social and emotional well-being as well as their cognitive well-being.

Parents feel that there are a number of things that need to be considered to help their Autistic child to cope in a mainstream setting:

  • Listening to their child is fundamental, high functioning Autism allows them to say when they are feeling safe and comfortable and when they are not.
  • Teachers need to consider their own judgements and look into the reasons behind a child’s behaviour rather than taking it at face value.
  • Increased cooperation between professionals in schools and the opinions of families need to be respected and taken seriously as parents know their children best.

In conclusion, it is clear that some children will cope better than others in a mainstream setting as every child has their own individual needs. However, it has been brought to light that parents feel that some mainstream schools need to have more of an Autistic provision to help their child manage in school. Nurture units and specific ASD classes are favoured and also having an ASD coordinator so that an increased knowledge, expertise and understanding is offered ensuring children get the empathy that they deserve. It is key for schools to find a balance for children with Autism to help them look forward to going to school and avoid them feeling excluded. 

article tags:
Blog, mainstream, Autism, SEN, Inclusion, Exclusion

Posted By: Maidstone - 20th Feb