‘Language for Thinking’ project 2020-2021

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.

For more information about Language for Thinking click here.
Language for Thinking training provides participants with a greater theoretical understanding of the approach, as well as learning to set and run effective language interventions. Participants will be provided with a training package that can then be delivered to colleagues in their own schools/departments.  This course is suitable for Speech and Language Therapists, Class Teachers, specialist teachers, Teaching Assistants and Learning Support Assistants, SENCOs and Educational Psychologists. No prior knowledge of ‘Language for Thinking’ is required.

The aims of this course are:

  1. To be familiar with the ‘Language for Thinking’ (LFT) resource
  2. To understand the theory behind LFT.
  3. To understand how to use LFT in groups and within the differentiated classroom.
  4. To know which facilitation techniques to use and how to teach these to others.
  5. To have experience of scoring assessments and interpreting profiles
  6. To be able to deliver a brief ‘Language for Thinking’ trainin

What participating schools will receive:

  • Training for up to two colleagues on 24th March at Wodson Park led by Anna Branagan and Stephen Parsons who devised the approach
  • A copy of the Language for Thinking book

What the school needs to do:

  • Send up to two members of staff to the training day, one of whom must  be a teacher. 
  • Complete a case study in July 2021
  • Fund the supply cover for staff to attend the training in March.

To apply for a place please click here.

Whole School Approach To Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing – Self Review Tool project. PAST EVENT

We are working in partnership with Breda O’Neill, CAMHS Schools Link Manager, to run a three hour workshop from 9.15 a.m. – 12.15p.m.  on the morning of 4th March at Wodson Park.  During this time colleagues will be supported in completing the audit and begin drafting their school’s action plans.

We will be ordering a number of appropriate resources as recommended by Breda, Fiona (from Families Feeling Safe, Protective Behaviours) and Sharon (Natural Flair) for colleagues to take away on the day.  Following this, if as part of a  school’s action plan, further resources are required  DSPL3 will be able to offer 50% funding towards these.

What schools need to do:

  1. Sign up to Healthy Young Minds in Herts if they have not already done so:  https://www.healthyyoungmindsinherts.org.uk/
  2. Attend on the morning of 4th March – needs to be someone with an overview of school strengths and issues and we encourage schools to consider sending a couple of people
  3. Bring along a laptop with the Self Review Toolkit (RAG Table attached ) on it
  4. On the morning of 4th March draft their self review and start considering their action plan and be prepared to share their school’s good practice with others
  5. Return to school and share their draft self review with at least a couple of members of staff to ensure it is accurate and fair
  6. Transfer their self review RAG rating  to a DSPL3 online database – this will take less than five minutes- which will provide us with an overview of development needs across our schools
  7. Complete writing their action plan
  8. Submit their action plan bid to DSPL3 if they wish to apply for 50% funding

It might be that after completing their self review and writing their action plan schools wish to work towards Healthy Young Minds in Herts School Accreditation, which Breda will no doubt talk about on 4th March.

Schools signed up so far:

Anstey First School, Bayford, Edwinstree Middle School , Furneux Pelham, Hertford Heath, High Wych, Jenyns, Larkspur, Layston, Mill Mead Primary School, Puller Memorial, Ralph Sadleir, Roger de Clare First school, St Joseph’s Primary, St Mary’s VC Junior School,  St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School, Thorley Hill, Thorn Grove and Tonwell St Mary’s Primary

‘Becoming an ADHD  Aware School’ 2018-2019

Our ‘Becoming an ADHD Aware School’ launch event is on Friday 16th November at Wodson Park.  This event is for one or two members of staff plus up to three parents of children with a diagnosis of ADHD.

This promises to be a great day with Health, ISL, schools and parents all working together – see the attached flyer for details about the day.

It is important that schools understand that this is not a one off event, the idea is that after the launch day  the attending staff will work with parents and colleagues across their schools to make some tweaks and changes that will help the school  to become a more ‘ADHD Aware School’.  In the spring and summer terms 2019 there will be facilitated network meetings to share good practice and problem solve any issues that have come up.

So, if this sounds of interest to you:

1)  Decide the 1 or 2 most appropriate member/s of staff to attend.  It is important that whoever attends has the ‘power/authority/credibility’ to make changes back at school.

2) Invite at least one, but up to three parents (recommended), to attend with you.

3) Apply online following the link that was sent out to schools in an email on 3rd October

4) Gather some views of children and young people about their experience of ADHD at school ready to bring along on 16th November.

5)  Come along on 16th November – remember to bring the pupil view evidence that you have gathered.fi

Schools signed up so far are:  Bayford, Bengeo, Christ Church, Hertford St Andrew, Hollybush, Larkspur Academy, Little Hadham, Millfield, Mill Mead, Morgans, Presdales, Priors Wood, Sacred Heart, St Andrew’s (MH), St Michael’s and Thorn Grove.

‘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.

The schools signed up so far to be part of the project are: Albury, All Saints, Christ Church, Fawbert and Barnard, Hillmead, Little Hadham, Little Munden, Manor Fields, Millfield, Morgans, Reedings, Roger de Clare, St Andrew’s (MH),  Spellbrook, Stapleford., Thorley Hill Primary,  Thorley Hill SPLD Outreach Base and Watton at Stone.

‘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 100 settings 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.

Whilst we are no longer funding for new settings to start using WellComm, we are still providing free training each term in recognition of the fact that staff who were WellComm trained in schools and settings may well have left and need new staff trained.

This term’s training is from 9.00 -12.15 at Wodson Park on Wenesday 24th October.
Please click here to apply for a space.

For further information click here

List of partipating schools and settings

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.  

For further information click here

Click here for the list of schools taking part

Mindfulness (2016-2017)

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.

List of participating schools