Monthly Archives: September 2014

BESD and Mental Health


This blog has been written as a contribution to Martin’s brilliant #sharingiscaring collection.

Last Wednesday I ran a session for primary mainstream SENCOs on BESD and mental health. The current situation is grim….children as young as 5 are displaying symptoms of acute distress including disturbed sleep patterns, hyperactivity, feelings of withdrawal and isolation, disassociation. These can manifest themselves in poorly formed relationships with others and, at the extreme end of the spectrum, acts of violence and aggression and incidents of self-harm. As DHT of a PRU I despair that these marginalised children end up with us because often the right help is not sought, so I was on a mission to both inform and give pointers to early support.

I was fortunate to have a lovely lady from Barnardo’s come to speak to the group about their commissioned services and the role of CAMHS was also discussed with useful contact…

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Training staff

“If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

Abraham Maslow

I have spent a large proportion of September training staff at our school. We have had quite a lot of new staff start and many of the current staff have moved year groups. Although this has helped revitalise many of the staff, it has highlighted a wide range of issues around consistency hence, a jam packed training schedule. I delivered my first actual INSET yesterday based around the key changes to our behaviour policy. It was an odd situation. There were lots of periods of silence part from opportunities that I gave for them to speak. The training based around reminding staff about the conflict spiral and scripted language (both two things that I have blogged about), our 3 new school rules and then sanctions and praise. Although my training style was slightly informal due to a didactic style not being appropriate, I felt that maybe the staff had not bought into it. As I got in today though, I was pleasantly surprised as I was given good feedback from staff from all levels of hierarchy in the school. I think this is a good sign…

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Praise: The good, the bad and the ugly

“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open and the rules are flexible”

Virginia Satir

Sanctions and praise have always gone hand in hand. The old adage of ‘carrot and stick’ rings true for many. It would be easy to think that in terms of managing children in a school, they would want to avoid the sanctions and punishment and work tirelessly for the praise. For the masses this may be gospel truth but there are some children who end up getting sanctioned when they do something wrong and then what feels like a sanction again when they are praised for doing something right.

There are many types of personalities in a modern day classroom and although many school systems seem to try to suppress them and uniform them, with a classroom ethos based on secure relationships they are still there. There are the boisterous ones, the quiet ones, the studious ones, the shy ones and the ones who like to be involved in malarkey but stop before being caught. In an attempt to actually label the children in some ratifying system for this post, on one end of the scale there are the introverts and on the opposing end the extroverts and everyone else between them. If a class teacher thinks about their own class, they will be able to easily pick the ones for either end of the spectrum and these are the most suitable ones to use for the discussion.

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