‘Language for Thinking’ project 2018-2019
The dialogue between teacher and student that underpins learning frequently involves students being asked questions. However, a significant proportion of children find it difficult to understand these increasingly complex questions, including those with autism, social communication disorder, Developmental Language Disorder and learning difficulties. They may be able to understand simple and direct language, but when required to ‘read between the lines’ they struggle. This difficulty with questions may an impact on their understanding of social situations as well as reading comprehension.
Language for Thinking is a structured approach to develop children’s language from the ‘here and now’ to the ‘how and why’. 50 black and white drawings form the backbone of the resource. Written scenarios and question sheets are provided so adults can ask carefully promote children’s verbal reasoning and thinking skills.
The resource can be used flexibly with whole classes as the basis of a literacy lesson. With small groups or individual children it can be used as an oracy or literacy task. It is most applicable for use by Class Teachers working with 4-7 year old children as well as SENCOs and TAs working with children from 4 up to 11 years and more.
‘Word Aware project’ 2018-2019
Word Aware is a structured whole school approach to promote the vocabulary development of all children. Focussed on whole class learning, the resource is of particular value for those who start at a disadvantage – including children with Developmental Language Disorder, Special Educational Needs and those who speak English as an additional language, but it will extend the word learning of all students. This approach is full of practical and inspiring ideas that can be easily applied by busy classroom practitioners to develop both spoken and written vocabulary. Word Aware has been developed by combining up to date research with extensive classroom experience. Stephen Parsons and Anna Branagan have been using this approach and training many practitioners since 2010. The end product is an effective and time efficient method for developing the spoken and written vocabulary of all children.
‘Using Mindfulness to Promote Self Regulation’ Early Years project Jan 2018 – July 2019
Following our successful school based Mindfulness project we are now keen to introduce mindfulness within our Early Years settings. This exciting project is open to all PVIs within DSPL3. After initial training, delegates will be supported in developing mindfulness techniques within their setting to promote self regulation in adults as well as the children. For more information see our Early Years page.
The Early Year settings currently signed up to take part are: Bengeo Playgroup, Blues Pre School Nursery, Buntings Nursery, Flying Start Montessori Preschool, Hertford Heath Pre School, Hollybush Pre School, Layston Pre School and Nursery, Riverside Nursery School, The Meads and The Pines Pre School.
National Nurturing Schools Programme (2017-2019)
The National Nurturing Schools Programme is a programme that allows staff to develop personally and professionally whilst embedding a nurturing culture throughout their schools, enhancing teaching and learning, promoting healthy outcomes for children and young people. This is achieved by focusing on emotional needs and development as well as academic learning in a whole school environment. The programme is based on the six principles of nurture that have successfully underpinned nurture groups for over 40 years.
The primary schools taking part in the project are: Hertingfordbury Cowper, Hollybush, Little Hadham Primary, Mill Mead Primary School, Morgans Primary School, St Andrew’s School Stanstead Abbotts, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School (Hertford) and Windhill21.
WellComm Speech and Language Screening Project (2015- 2019)
Our WellComm project has been very successful, with 90 settings already trained and using it. Ideal as an initial screening tool, the WellComm Toolkit provides a complete speech and language toolkit that can be used by all Early Years practitioners. With 1 in 10 children under 5 years of age experiencing some degree of difficulty in learning language and communication skills, early identification is crucial. To help achieve this, WellComm Toolkit’s clear and easy-to-use record forms enable the screening process to be carried out quickly and efficiently.
AET Autism Standards Project (2016-19)
The AET Autism Standards enable educational settings to evaluate their practice in addressing the needs of pupils on the autism spectrum.
The standards have been designed for use across all types of educational settings from mainstream to special and specialist, for pupils from the ages of 5 – 16 years, at all levels of ability. The standards mirror the categories established by the AET training hubs materials. There are interactive links from the set of standards to resources that demonstrate how a school or provider might implement practice or policy. The standards also link to the AET schools autism competency framework, the SEND code of practice and the Ofsted framework.
The project will have tranches of schools and settings meeting to use the Autism Standards as a way of self-review and planning developments. SENCOs and/or Setting Autism Leads will meet for a morning at the beginning of a half -term to look at the standards together to develop their understanding of them. This session will be led by Julia Carmichael, Specialist Teacher for Autism (Communication and Autism Team). It is then expected that the SENCOs/Autism Leads will carry out a review back in their schools before meeting again a month later to support each other with development planning, again facilitated by Julia. Participating schools and settings will receive funding towards supply cover when their action plan is submitted and also be able to apply for 50% funding grants towards resources.
Twenty schools took part in our Mindfulness Project. Lead staff from each school have attended four twilight training sessions during June and received a range of resources and books to support their projects back in school. Each school has identified specific key areas of improvement that they are hoping to achieve through being part of the project. Some examples are:
¨ To provide relevant pupils with SEND with the tools to achieve greater emotional regulation and develop a more positive outlook.
¨ Increase resilience of our children.
¨ Children need to understand the importance of good mental health and where they can go for support.
¨ Supporting those children (and staff) whom are prone to anxiety.
¨ We are hoping that the promotion of mindfulness across the school will have a positive impact on behaviour, supporting pupils to feel more content, calm and in control .
¨ Support the changing emotional needs of the children
¨ To further enhance our children’s well being and resilience in their learning to ensure they embrace mistakes and enjoy the challenges they face in learning.