Category Archives: Special educational needs

Educate Positive – Edition 5

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Welcome to the fifth edition of Educate Positive, our fortnightly bulletin which showcases the innovative and effective practice taking place within the district’s schools and settings. In this edition we celebrate one primary school’s improved attendance, another primary opening its ‘Adult Learning Centre’, and how practitioners came together to share skills and knowledge through their work with children from birth.

Improved attendance – sharing best practice

Rigorous monitoring of absence at a local primary school is paying dividends as the school is celebrating an all time high of 95.97% attendance, up from 92.7% in 2009/10. Trinity & All Saints Primary School in Bingley researched best practice and came up with the new way of tackling absence.

The school started work on its new Attendance Policy in Spring 2010, and implemented the new practices to great effect.  They tirelessly continue to assess these practices and policies, and communicate with other schools within the Airedale Learning Community to promote a uniform approach to attendance within its community of schools.

What did the school do to achieve its goal?

  • Created a clear set of practices and procedures for absences
  • Continuous and thorough monitoring of attendance
  • Regular communication with parents and other stakeholders promoting a positive attitude to the importance of good attendance and punctuality and linking attendance with achievement

A new rewards system was implemented where children collected credits when their attendance was over 95% each term, and bonus credits where 95% has been sustained for over two terms. Pupils spent their credits in the “school shop” which allowed them to buy pencils, rubbers, sharpeners, notebooks etc, most of which were branded with “excellent attendance”. All pupils with 100% attendance all year round receive a £5 gift voucher at the end of the year.

The school, which subscribes to the Council’s Education Social Work Service, also had a “Be on Time Week” in school when an educational social worker was in attendance – this also proved very effective.  Pupils are also involved in promoting the importance of school attendance: so much so, that the School Council is putting on a play in school in June around the benefits of being on time and being in school.

The school is delighted with this achievement and it continues to communicate with parents, the LA, other schools and other outside agencies.  It has improved not only its whole school attendance but has also made an impact on reducing persistent absence, helping some of the school’s most vulnerable pupils.

The new monitoring of absence has also contributed to the school’s academic performance; in the last three years it has achieved year on year improvements in its levels of attainment and progress within EYFS and Key Stage 1 classes.

For further information please contact Jane Glendinning, Headteacher at the school on 01274 564977.

First Investors in Health Conference for Special Schools

Pupils at Special Schools across the district were able to learn new skills at the inaugural Investors in Health Conference last month.  Following the successful event, plans are in place for this event to become a regular feature of the Health and Well Being calendar for schools –primary and secondary phases.

Special Schools from all over the District took part in this event, organised by the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Team and the School Nursing Service – hosted by Beechcliffe School in Keighley.  Various workshops took place including:

  • Interactive and informative Workshops on key issues were provided by Hazelbeck School (Participation and Pupil Voice),
  • High Park School (Personal Care, with reference to boys)
  • Nicola Hawkins, Health promotion Specialist of the Public Health Sexual Health Team (Relationships and additional needs).

Innovative Conference for Early Years practitioners

Key practitioners in the field of early years gathered in the district last month to share skills and knowledge as well as exploring scientific discoveries around working with children from birth to three years.

Practitioners from various agencies, including Bradford Council’s Early Childhood and Library Services and the National Literacy Trust hosted the conference called “I’m under 3 talk to me – building secure foundations in the early years.”

Those working in this area play a key role in helping parents and carers of young children to understand how important they are in shaping a child’s brain development and emotional capacities.

The “Early Communication Project” focuses on:

  • Enabling more children to start school with age related expectations for communication and language and personal, social and emotional development.
  • Ensuring that there is greater emphasis on children’s language development, particularly in pre-school children.
  • Having effective early identification of children at risk of language delay.
  • Supporting and increasing skilled and confident practitioners to have good knowledge and understanding of communication and language development. This involves taking actions to involve and engage parents and respond effectively to support children at risk of delay.

Learning together at Killinghall

Parents in BD3 now have the opportunity to improve their own educational skills and become more involved in their children’s learning thanks to a new ‘Adult Learning Centre’, named ‘Brighter Future’ at Killinghall Primary School.  It is hoped that the new facility will have a significant impact on Parental Involvement and raising the aspirations of parents and carers within their communities.  The school is keen to increase its Family Learning Programmes, involving more parents, especially ‘dads’ to learn with their children.  All parents who attended the opening ceremony of the new Centre signed up for courses in the future which will provide them with the learning they need to be more involved in the pupils’ learning and school life.

For further information please contact the headteacher at the school, Gill Edge, on 01274 771166.

 We hope you have found this bulletin informative and look forward to providing updates to you on a regular basis.  If you have any stories to contribute please contact Alyson Hardaker T 01274 385615 or Simon O’Hare T 01274 438899.

Special Educational Needs News

Bradford Council is firmly committed to the principle of inclusion and to ensuring that all the children and young people across the district have a real chance of success in their lives.

For this reason, as a Local Authority, we seek to provide a range of educational opportunities so that, wherever possible, children with special educational needs are educated alongside their peers in their local community. For most children with special educational needs, this provision will be made in their local neighbourhood school.

Contact: Please visit the Local Offer website where you will be able to find further information and help.

My Role in Supporting Children with Hearing Loss by Sue Marsden

Sue Marsden

I am Sue Marsden and I am leader of the Support Team for Deaf Children, based at Future House, Bradford. Our team supports deaf and hearing-impaired children from when their hearing loss is diagnosed until they leave school.

The team is made up of teachers of the deaf, an educational audiologist, specialist practitioners in audiology and early years and a deaf instructor.

Our work with deaf children and their families starts very early. All babies have their hearing checked when they are born and if they are found to have a permanent hearing loss the hospital refers them to our team.

In the early years we visit children at home to:

  • help the family understand hearing loss and what it means for their child
  • encourage the use of hearing aids
  • advise on speaking and listening and how the family can help the child with communication and language development
  • introduce signs, if that is helpful for the child
  • tell families about useful organisations such as the National Deaf Children’s Society
  • assess the child’s development to make sure that they are making the expected progress

We aim to give the family impartial, balanced advice and information to enable them to make the best decisions for their child. We know that each child and family is different and although we know about deafness, parents and carers are the experts in their children.

Our work requires great sensitivity because few families expect to have a child with a hearing loss and it takes time for them to get used to the news. We are available to talk with families about their concerns throughout the child’s early years.

We arrange ‘stay and play’ sessions, often at children’s centres, so that families can meet and chat and support each other. Our staff are always on hand to answer any questions they may have.

We work closely with other professionals such as audiologists, speech and language therapists, paediatricians and educational psychologists – aiming to provide a seamless, family-friendly service.

When the child starts school our role changes to advising staff on how best to help them in class. Most children with a hearing loss in Bradford go to their local mainstream school. Some need a higher level of support because of their deafness and they attend resourced mainstream schools with specialist staff.

As team leader I have a small caseload and make visits to children in schools but most of my time is spent working with colleagues to ensure that we deliver a high quality service to children, families and schools.

I enjoy my job very much. Every day is different and it is a privilege to work with such a wide range of families, schools and professionals who are committed to helping deaf and hearing-impaired children achieve their potential.