More Questions than answers: The DfE SEN data May 2019

At the end of May the DfE released two sets of data relating to Special Educational Needs (SEN): Special needs: An analysis and summary of data sources  analysing data from 2018 and the statistical release for Statements and EHC plans: England, 2019. They show much of the same data, but in different ways and with different foci. The former looked at proportions of the school and SEN population while the latter looked at numbers and focused just on EHCPs and statements. However, individually and taken together they seem to me to raise more questions than answers about what is going on with SEN in schools. Continue reading

Victim and perpetrator

In safeguarding, we are facing major confusion about children who are both victims and either perpetrators of abuse or commit criminal offences. These are complex and emotionally difficult issues. Though our thinking has moved on since 1993 when the press publicly denigrated the child killers of Jamie Bulger as ‘monsters’, it is still a work in progress. We are beginning to understand that these were children enacting their own abuse in the most terrible manner. But this understanding is not universal and even professionals working with child perpetrators of abuse and crime struggle with it. These issues, alongside the misunderstandings relating to grooming and radicalisation, are highlighted by the case of Shamima Begum, who wishes to return from Syria to bring up her child in the UK. Continue reading

Mental Health and Behaviour November 2018

This is non-statutory guidance to go alongside the existing guidance on Behaviour and Discipline in Schools (2016) and updates the 2016 version of this guidance.

It is a rather disjointed document which spends much of its space telling schools things that they already know. It is not fully able to encompass the concept of behaviour as communication. There are mixed messages about the need to individualise approaches understanding the link between mental health problems, SEN and additional vulnerabilities and behaviour, while ensuring a consistent approach to behaviour. Also, that simply by identifying a problem a school should be able to manage it. There is recognition that schools are not experts in mental health, but they are expected to manage complex needs. Chapter 4 talks about multi-agency working, but not what to do when these services are not available or won’t pick up the referral. Continue reading

OFSTED: Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings September 2018

The new OFSTED Inspecting Safeguarding guidance was released on Friday 7th September in many ways this contains little that is new or surprising. Importantly, what it does do is bring the guidance OFSTED inspectors are working from in line with Safeguarding guidance, KCSIE 2018, WTSC 2018 and the changes to Disqualification Under the Childcare 2006, released over the summer. Continue reading