Jogo Behaviour Support Blog

Positive Behaviour and Education Services Supporting Children, Young People and Families

 

 

Using LEGO®-based Therapy to Support Students Experiencing Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties.

LEGO®-based therapy helps children to learn and practice social skills through facilitated, collaborative, group play. LEGO®-based therapy was originally developed as an intervention to develop social competence in children with autism however, it is thought that it may also be helpful for children with communication difficulties, anxiety and depression (LeGoff, Gomez de la Cuesta, Krauss and Baron-Cohen, 2014). After attending a one-day course in LEGO®-based therapy run by Dr Elinor Brett last summer, Sonia and I could immediately see the potential in this method of teaching for our students. Since then we have worked with several schools in Northamptonshire providing training and support to staff as well as running groups ourselves.


Of course, working with students who are experiencing social, emotional and mental health difficulties rarely runs smoothly (even when the group is led by a so-called “expert”!) Sometimes students need to practice the basic skills of turn taking 1:1 with an adult before joining a small group.  However, I have found that even when students become angry or upset (usually when they are not chosen to be the “builder”) the lure of completing a model together as a team has been enough to re-engage them with the activity.  

In my opinion LEGO®-based therapy sessions provide a valuable space where students learn to ‘give and take’ in order to build something together.  As students learn that greater levels of co-operation lead to more exciting models as well as additional time to complete freestyle building, they reinforce vital skills needed to form meaningful friendships within the safe boundaries of a small group setting.


By Rachael Taylor

National Funding Formula Set to Change Thursday, 29 September 2016

 

Although the new Education Secretary Justine Greening has pushed back proposals to implement the new national funding formula to 2018-2019, it is still very much on the agenda. The aim of the policy is to see fairer funding across England, and to ensure pupils receive funding to match their needs.  For the 2017-18, schools will still be funded through the local formula set by their local authority. There has been reassurance that schools will not see a reduction in the schools or high needs block of the dedicated schools grant next year, and that the current minimum funding guarantee for schools will be retained in 2017-18.

The current funding is distributed to schools by the Local Authority (“LA”) area by using a local funding formula.  This gives different weights to different factors meaning there are variances in the amount of funding received per pupil by individual schools within a LA area.  In certain areas, some schools receive 50% more funding than others in similar situation.  The government says the new formula is needed to tackle uneven levels of funding across England, but there are concerns that while some schools will benefit others will not.

Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “The introduction of a national funding formula will see the biggest step towards fairer funding in over a decade – ensuring that pupils get funding that genuinely matches their need.”

The new national funding formula will remove the LA’s role in distributing funds between schools, they will however, remain involved in the distribution of “high needs” funding for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.  The £40bn budget will be shared based on four main factors:

There are some concerns for areas that are currently well funded, such as London and other urban areas, that will potentially lose funding but at the moment it is unclear as to which areas will lose and who will gain under the new system as there has been no indication by the government as to how much weight will be placed on the above four factors.

The reaction to the proposal has been mixed but most welcome a more transparent distribution of funding. The Education Secretary Justine Greening has said she did not want to rush into changes without being sure of their ramifications. "There is a strong sense in the response to the first stage of the consultation that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for an historic change and that we must get our approach right."

She said she would publish a full response to the first stage of the schools and high needs consultations and set out proposals for the second stage in the autumn.

"We will run a full consultation, and make final decisions early in the new year," she said. Given the importance of consulting widely and fully with the sector and getting implementation right, the new system will apply from 2018/19

Useful links


Government Set to Re-Introduce Grammar Schools Friday, 16 September 2016

 

The government has recently announced that it is set to re-introduce grammar schools.  Although the new grammar school system is unlikely to resemble that of the 1950’s, could it still have the flaws of the current system? A controversial and at times emotive issue the re-introduction of Grammar schools is set to be a topic of discussion that will dominate the education agenda for some time.  Is it possible to be true to the ideals of inclusion and equality of access if selection is expanded?

It is argued that grammar schools help brighter children from lower income homes.  but at present as little as 3% of grammar school pupils come from families that have a household income of less than £16,000 a year. The selection process in the past has seen Grammar schools accepting pupils subject to them passing the 11 plus exam. The purpose of the exam is to see if applicants are able enough to learn with students of a similar standard.  Those who pass the exam go on to attend a grammar school, whilst those who fail will attend a local secondary school.  Grammar schools often have higher exam results but it is questionable if this is because they are only dealing with those pupils who are most able.

Theresa May says the ban on new selective schools held back many pupils. She stated that if schools already select on the basis of disciplines like sport or music then why not on more academic criteria. Opposition has come from a variety of sources including Sir Michael Wilshaw Ofsted Chief inspector who described the return as “Tosh” and “nonsense”.  He made particular reference to the success of London comprehensive school and the progress of pupils from lower income families. Those who oppose say Grammar schools by definition select those doing well academically and it is the Governments role to improve the state education system so pupils of all abilities make progress and achieve their outcomes. 

Education secretary Justine Greening has launched the government’s consultation on its new proposal stating the government wanted to “turbo charge” the education and prospects of the disadvantaged.  A selective school must meet certain requirements which are designed to boost social mobility.

Here are the key points:

Conditions
Any new or expanding selective school would have to meet certain conditions. These include taking a proportion of pupils from lower income households; establishing a new non-selective secondary school; setting up a primary feeder in an area with a higher density of lower income households; or partnering with a nearby comprehensive or multi-academy trust (MAT).
Sanctions
Where selective schools do not meet expectations of providing “good or outstanding non-selective education” alongside their own provision, the government will hit them with sanctions, namely: removing access to any additional funding for new pupils or programmes; removing the right to select by ability (either temporarily or permanently); or barring selective schools from expanding further.
Selection within trusts
The government will encourage MATs to select within their own trusts, by setting up a “single centre” for their most able students. The centre could be “virtual or have a physical location” and would provide their high achieving students with a more challenging curriculum.
Outreach work
Selective schools will have to take part in a range of outreach work to encourage local primary schools to “raise aspirations, improve educational practice, and promote wider access”. Grammar schools will also be asked to work with primary schools to identify individual pupils who might benefit most from “targeted activity”.
Change in legislation
In a bid to improve fairer access to grammars, the government is proposing creating legislation that will require selective schools to prioritise children in receipt of the pupil premium and those from “lower income households”.
New disadvantage funding
The government is asking for advice on how it can “identify the group of people who are ‘just about managing’” and how it can measure the attainment and progress of children from these families in the school system. Prime minister Theresa May last week said the focus on free school meals children “skewed” policy. The government is now looking at how best to identify those pupils from families earning just above the £16,190 FSM threshold.
New national funding formula
The green paper states the government is still committed to a new national funding formula. It states that any new formula will “reward those schools that support schools with a higher proportion of lower attaining pupils and those from less wealthy households”.

At Jogo Behaviour Support we would be really interested on your opinions on this matter. We certainly think it’s going to be a heated debate when Theresa May’s proposal goes before the House of Commons!
Links to other articles:

Getting to Know You - Ball Game Wednesday, 14 September 2016

 

This activity is a quick, fun, imaginative and easy game to play.  Initially the children and young people may be cautious about making sounds, but with confidence the sounds begin to be made.

Standing in a circle, one person begins by saying their own name, then looks at another member of the circle and then they pretend to throw a ball with a sound to the other person. That person then chooses someone else, states their own name and throws the pretend ball with a sound to them.  The game continues until everyone has had a turn.

The pretend ball can be:





The list is endless.  For young people, some boundaries may need placing around the type of pretend ball. 

Benefits of playing this game:

© Jogo Behaviour Support 2014     Tel: 01604 832970           www.jogobehavioursupport.com



 

Getting To Know You Bingo

This game is a quick, simple game for getting to a new class/form to get to know each other.  It is great to use at the beginning of new academic year or during transitions.

Objectives:
 
To enable the children to get to know other pupils in a fun way.

Materials needed:


  • Getting to know you bingo boards
  • Felt tips pens
  •  Space to move about
  • Small prizes for the winners

How to Play:

Each child has a Getting to Know You Bingo board.  Ask the children to move around the room, chatting to the other pupils and finding people who can relate to the bingo squares.  They need to collect a different name for each bingo square. 

The winners are the first to fill their squares:

  • Four corner squares
  • Fill a line
  • A full house
  • The person who can point to all the children they have on their board.

Variation:

For younger children, you could use pictures for the squares. 

Benefits of playing this game:

Please contact us on 01604 832970 if you would like additional support with transitions.