Five articles that caught our attention this week
1.Children as young as two grouped by ability in English nurseries
Reports research evidence from 1,300 teachers and school leaders in English primary and nursery schools. They found that young children were ability grouped in a range of ways, from phonics groups to streaming and setting. This despite the Education Endowment Foundation research that showed that, in general, setting and streaming showed “negative impact”. We would question whether putting children with low level skills – especially in language – together is likely to improve progress.
2. A quarter of UK parents of disabled children provide 100 hours of care a week – new research launched today
The “Caring More Than Most” report by Contact surveyed the half a million households in the UK who have a disabled child. Their findings are stark – nearly a quarter of them provide over 100 hours of care every week whilst respite care centres are closing around the country. It’s no wonder 20% leave paid employment, a third suffer from depression and many have financial difficulties.
3. Secret Teacher: funding cuts leave us unable to help SEN children at school
This article by “Secret Teacher” highlights the difficulties of teaching the number and range of children with SEND in these days of reducing budgets. She makes some valid points and we wouldn’t doubt the strain schools are under as they try to meet the needs of all their pupils. It does raise some questions about the class teacher’s role in teaching every child, the SENCO’s role in providing guidance and support, and the leadership’s role in providing adequate CPD.
4. People with complex mental health needs are hidden away
A sad piece in SEN magazine about the “forgotten” children and young people with complex mental health needs and challenging behaviour who are institutionalised in hospitals or in 52 week residential schools. These children have a mix of mental health issues, autism and learning difficulties and aspirations and outcomes are low. The CDC review “These are our children” called for a shift in thinking to give these children the same rights as others to health, education, family and community life.
5. Government pledges £300m for mental health staff in schools
Much reporting this week across print and social media about the £300m mental health initiative for schools. The consultation on the Green Paper begins on Monday with services expected to be started in 2019 and phased in over years. This is welcome news but no quick fix for children already in need of services. And is this new money or will it be taken from another area of education and health?