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Every Child Matters and the Child Act of 2004 was created to guard children from abuse, neglect and harm. ECM aims to help children by nurturing and protecting them and by improving the opportunities a child has to improve their quality of life. All pupils should reach their optimum potential.
There are five ECM outcomes;
be healthy: enjoying good physical and mental health and having a healthy lifestyle.
stay safe: being protected from harm and abuse.
enjoy and achieve: getting the most out of life and developing the skills for adulthood.
make a positive contribution: being involved with the community and society and not engaging in anti-social or offending behaviour.
achieve economic well-being: not being prevented by economic disadvantage from achieving their full potential in life.
The five ECM outcomes are linked, and show the importance of a child's education in relation to their overall well-being.
Along with the child's parents/carers and families, teachers play a massive role in supporting a child to achieve those aims. This means changing the teaching, support and provisions to fit an individual's needs, strengths and interests, so that they succeed and reach their full potential. A teacher needs to remove the barriers to learning and issues with inclusion by personalising learning in order for a child to achieve the ECM outcomes.
ECM and Inclusion
Schools supported by Local Education Authorities and others should actively seek to remove the barriers to learning and participation that can hinder or exclude pupils with special educational needs. (DfES, 2001a paragraph 7).
Difficulties in learning often arise from an unsuitable environment - inappropriate groupings of pupils, inflexible teaching styles, or inaccessible curriculum materials - as much as from individual children's physical, sensory or cognitive impairments. (DfES, 2004 p28).
Personalised learning needs to be tailored to the wide range of needs of all children, ensuring that children learn, achieve and participate within inclusive classrooms, where the education, successes, character and well-being of every child, matters.
When considering inclusion, it is important to remember the National Curriculum's inclusion policy and the three principles it expects teachers and schools to implement. (The National Curriculum, 1999, p30)
setting suitable learning challenges;
responding to students' diverse learning needs;
overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of students.
This means that teachers should not expect every child in a class to work to the same learning objective. Individual learning objects can be adjusted to fit an individual's requirements.
A teacher should teach using variety of approaches matched to the learning styles/multiple intelligence needs of individuals.
The teacher needs to consider the learning environment as it can both hinder, as well as support learning. Access strategies should be planned to aid children to overcome barriers to learning.
Special Educational Needs.
This links very closely to the SEN code of practice (DfES, 2001b) and its recommendation for an approach to match provisions to an SEN child's individual needs.
The areas for need are defined as:
communication and interaction
cognition and learning
behaviour, emotional and social development
sensory and/or physical
If a child's overall achievements do not fall inside the expected range they may have special educational needs, and further action should be taken in school, starting at School Action. School Action begins when a teacher identifies a child as requiring individual provision due to that child having Special Educational Needs. The provisions should be extra or adapted from the strategies used in the classroom.
A teacher will usually discuss the child's SEN with the SENCO who can then advise a variety of strategies. This then needs to be discussed with child's parents/carer. The SEN Code of Practise (DfES, 2001b p16 2:2) states parents should:
recognise and fulfil their responsibilities as parents and play an active and valued role in their children's education.
have knowledge of their child's entitlement within the SEN framework.
make their views known about how their child is educated.
have access to information, advice and support during assessment and any related. decision-making processes about special educational provision.
The child will then be given an Individual Education Plan. A child's IEP could include adjustments to regular classroom activities or a specialist programme of work for the child. The IEP will also include achievement criteria for assessing successes, a section for recording outcomes. The child's IEP should be reviewed regularly to check if the aims of the IEP are being achieved. The teacher, child and parent should all be involved in creating the IEP, as well as discussing the effectiveness of it.
If a child needs further provisions, such as support from outside school agencies, these children require School Action Plus. In my area, this includes support from the SENSS team, (Special Needs Support Service), whose aim is to "contribute towards the life-opportunities of young people in North East Lincolnshire by raising the level of expectation and quality of teaching and learning for pupils with cognitive and specific learning difficulties." (NELINCS, 2010)
Other specialists that may be involved at School Action Plus level include;
Educational Psychologists, Speech Therapists, school nurses, health visitors, social workers, doctors, physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Education Welfare Officers.
Cross agency collaboration, communication and information sharing is paramount as specified in the SEN Code of Practice (2001b p8 1:7),
Meeting the needs of children and young people with SEN successfully requires partnership between all those involved - LEAs, schools, parents, pupils, health and social services and other agencies. Partnerships can only work when there is a clear understanding of the respective aims, roles and responsibilities of the partners and the nature of their relationships, which in turn depends on clarity of information, good communication and transparent policies.
If a child has longer term or severe difficulties or disabilities the school or the child's parents can make a request to the Local Education Authority for a statutory assessment.
Where a request for statutory assessment is made, the child will have demonstrated significant cause for concern. The LEA will generally seek evidence that any strategy or programme implemented for the child in question, has been continued for a reasonable period of time without success. The LEA will need clear documentation in relation to the child's Special Educational Needs and any action taken to deal with those needs.
(DfES 2001b p38 4:35)
A child may then be issued a Statement of Special Educational Needs that outlines specific educational provisions as decided by the LEA. These provisions are compulsory as this is a legal document and the Statement should include the resources that will be implemented, the aims of the specific provisions and how the child's progress will be assessed.
Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning
The SEAL programme is designed to create a school environment where all aspects of school life help children to develop their social and emotional skills.
According to the Department for Education and Skills guidance for SEAL (DfES, 2005 p6) there are five different social and emotional aspects of learning:
These skills link directly to the five ECM outcomes as SEAL promotes positive behaviour by developing skills and attitudes. SEAL encourages better attendance by improving the motivation and enjoyment a child has at school. SEAL helps children realise bullying is wrong, enhances pupils understanding of the community and themselves. SEAL links to the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) framework. SEAL helps children to become valuable members of their school and community.
SEN and Inclusion help children by removing educational and physical barriers to learning, SEAL helps children overcome social and emotional barriers to learning and helps all children to be more efficient learners.
In this study I will be considering the learning needs of a child in my class and how these needs are met by the school. Before choosing and observing a child I wanted to read and research to better informed when determining their needs. The areas I decided to research were;
Every Child Matters, Inclusion, Special Educational Needs, Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning, Learning Styles and Child Development.
I chose these areas as I felt they would be relevant to and greatly assist my Child Study when considering the needs of a child and how these are fulfilled. I will discuss these areas of research individually before moving on to discussing my observations and evaluations of Child-X, how XXXXXXXX Primary School meets their learning needs, before concluding by reflecting on my study.
All children learn in different ways and there are many theories regarding learning styles. I will be researching two of the most used and widely accepted, the VAK model and Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.
Learning styles are how people, both children and adults prefer to be taught, whether they know it or not. Learning styles can be used to make learning more effective by changing the way people receive information.
With children, if they are not being taught in their preferred learning style this can cause a barrier to learning. Therefore it is important for teachers to use a variety of learning styles and creative approaches to enable children to reach their full potential, helping fulfil the ECM outcome to enjoy and achieve.
Tailoring work to children's learning styles also links back to Inclusion and SEN as discussed earlier with the personalising of learning.
Personalised learning, taking into account children's learning styles, does not solely benefit the less able and SEN children. Adjusting teaching approaches can remove learning barriers for the more able, and gifted and talented children.
The VAK model is a simple sensory based model, categorising learners into one of three groups based on their preferred way of receiving and processing information.
Visual - Learn best when watching visual materials, drawing diagrams and mindmapping.
Auditory - Learn by listening, discussing and reading aloud.
Kinaesthetic - Learn by doing, demonstrating and modelling.
These categories can be used to help find barriers to learning.
Visual learners learn least when they are working against the clock or do not spend enough time or attention to a task.
Auditory learners learn least when information is repeated multiple times or when they are given unclear instructions.
Kinaesthetic learners learn least when information is given orally or written down and when they work on their own.
These are very board categories and not every learner will fit precisely into one of the three categories showing all the defined characteristics. In fact some VAK models have an extra category making them a VARK model, as Reading and Writing is included for learners who have a strong preference for learning by reading information and writing it down.
A teacher must be able to assess whether an approach is working and if not tailor the approach accordingly. (How and when??????)
Howard Gardener in his 1983 book Frame of Minds, suggested rather than having one specific way people preferred to receive information, they had multiple intelligences. Gardner proposed eight different intelligences:
Linguistic intelligence - The capacity to use words effectively, whether orally or in writing.
Logical-mathematical intelligence - The capacity to use numbers effectively and to reason well.
Musical intelligence - The capacity to perceive, transform, and express, musical forms. This intelligence includes sensitivity to the rhythm, pitch or melody, and timbre or tone colour of a musical piece.
Bodily kinaesthetic - The ability to control of one's bodily motions and capacity to handle objects skilfully.
Visual-spatial intelligence - The ability to perceive the visual-spatial world accurately to perform transformations upon those perceptions. This intelligence involves sensitivity to colour, line, shape, form, space, and the relationships that exist between these elements.
Interpersonal intelligence - The ability to perceive and make distinctions in the moods, intentions, motivations, and feelings of other people.
Intrapersonal intelligence - Self-knowledge and the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge. This intelligence includes having an accurate picture of one's strengths and limitations.
Naturalistic intelligence - Expertise in the recognition and classification of the numerous species, the flora and fauna, of an individual's environment.
Kincheloe and Horn (2006)
Even though many theorists debunk Gardner's theory due to the lack of published evidence proving multiple intelligences, Gardner's theory to teach to all the intelligences, not just the linguistic and logical intelligences, is widely used in schools around the world.
Howard Gardner himself was involved in the designing of the International Primary Curriculum which is currently used at my school.
These theories and models are always evolving and being revised. For example, Gardner recently has theorised there are five kinds of minds (the way people think or act). In his book Five Minds for the Future (2007) he defines them as the disciplinary mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind, the ethical mind.
Again as with the VAK model, this is not the definitive theory in defining and classifying learning styles. Teachers should useGardner's theory of multiple intelligences as a guide, but not as a rule. I personally feel Gardner's theory of teaching a multiple intelligence curriculum is common sense, as it we all know that all children learn in different ways.
Teachers may teach in their own preferred learning style either consciously or subconsciously, which can create barriers to learning as a child may not share the same learning style. Teachers must be aware of this and be adaptable to a child's individual learning needs.
There are numerous models regarding learning styles including Honey and Mumfords and Felder and Solomans. I have concentrated my research using the VAK model and Gardner's theory as I feel these two models will best help me assess and evaluate the needs of the child I am studying.
Once again I will look at specific theories into child development that will aid my study of a child's needs and especially how they relate to Every Child Matters.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Need
Maslow's Hierarchy of Need relates directly to the ECM outcomes:
Figure 1.1 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
The Five Needs:
Physiological needs are the basic needs of the human body, food, sleep, water.
Safety needs are the need for shelter, a roof over our heads to keep us from harm.
Love and Belonging needs come from our tribal instincts, the need for friendship and family.
Self-Esteem needs relate to confidence, respect of others, respecting others and achievement.
Self-Actualisation needs areas personal growth, self-fulfilment, becoming the person you are capable of becoming.
If a person is not having their basic fundamental needs fulfilled, they will not be able to meet their higher needs. For example if a person feels unsafe and in danger, they will care little if people do not respect them.
Just as with the ECM outcomes a child's fundamental needs have to be fulfilled in order for them to achieve their full potential.
Child-X is a year 6 pupil, with Special Education Needs. He is on School Action Plus, and his IEPs show his areas for concern lie in Literacy, Numeracy and Behaviour. (Appendix 1-1)
In discussion with Child-X's teacher and the school SENCO, I found out Child-X currently has a Home School book and a number of outside agencies included the SENSS team, School Nurse and G.P are involved in providing provisions for Child-X.
Child-X is currently working at National Curriculum Level 1a in reading, 1a in writing and 2a in maths.
I decided to observe Child-X on two different mornings and two different afternoons, over three weeks. This would give me an opportunity so see how Child-X worked, acted and learnt in a variety of different subjects, with different teachers and in different environments. Over these three weeks, Child-X would also have specialist sessions with a SENNS teacher and the class TA.
Morning 1 - Monday 4th October
A rainy day, and as all the children entered the classroom, Child-X was nowhere to be seen. The class TA mentioned she saw Child-X splashing around in the puddles outside. Child-X entered the classroom soaked through. When questioned why he was so wet, he told the teacher "I fell in a puddle". Child-X asks the teacher if he can get changed into his P.E kit. The teacher agreed and Child-X went to get changed.
Child-X came back into the class just as the other children were lining up for Wake Up Shake Up (morning physical activity). Child-X seemed happy and rather smug that he was in his own P.E (especially trainers).
While most of the class do W.U.S.U, Child-X and three other children in the class have a daily twenty minute phonics lessons with the TA. This extra provision is provided for children whose reading and writing skills need some extra help. The TA uses the Letters and Sounds programme and Child-X is working at Phase 3. Phase 3 is the same level as the children in Foundation Stage are currently learning.
Child-X's mood soon changed when he is told it's time for phonics. He wanted to go to W.U.S.U and he sulked, bashed tables and kicked chairs as he reluctantly joined the Letters and Sounds group. He was very reluctant to participate in the phonics session and when asked a question, with eyes looking down, he answered "I dunno". When the TA gave Child-X some 1 on 1 help he was a little more co-operative and he seemed to understand the lesson even though he said he didn't.
Lesson 1 - Maths
Child-X sat back in his own place (close to the TA's desk) when the rest of the class returned. He was initially focused on the Mental Maths starter but when the teacher started to ask the class questions, he switched off. The main maths lesson was a follow up to a previous lesson where the children will be classifying shapes. Child-X is grouped with the lower ability children and their task was to choose a 2D shape from a box, describe it to their partner and to then cut out the shape from a worksheet, stick it in their book and write about the properties.
Child-X was reluctant to start this task, but when the TA who was sat at the LA table and physically demonstrated the activity, he became enthused about which shape he was going to use and started finding shapes in the box. With a shape in his hand Child-X could describe the shape accurately to his partner, but when he was listening to his partner describing a shape he could not picture it. When Child-X moved onto the cutting out of shapes again he was enthusiastic and accurate in his work.
These actions started me thinking Child-X may be a kinaesthetic learner. Child-X seems to enjoy working in a group, doing practical activities, learned by demonstration and was on task when using and manipulating objects.
Assembly time and Child-X goes down to assembly with a piece of blue-tac. The teacher explains that if Child-X has something to fiddle with he isn't as disruptive in assembly.
Again this points to Child-X being of kinaesthetic-bodily intelligence. As one way of assessing multiple intelligences is to look at how a child misbehaves, a strongly linguistic intelligent child may be talking out of turn, a highly spatial child may be doodling and daydreaming, and the kinaesthetic-bodily intelligent student will be fidgeting.
Lesson 2 - English
Child-X returned to the class from playtime with a scowl on his face and szt quietly but disruptively into his place. The English lesson task is for the children to write their own Greek myth. Child-X is now working on a table with LA children guided by the teacher. Child-X refused to start writing the story and when questioned by the teacher about the features of a myth he responded "I dunno". The teacher repeated the input and tried to remind Child-X of the work done in the previous lesson. He responded "..can't remember". The teacher gives Child-X myth story cards, colourful picture cards, highlighting the features he should use in his story. Child-X set to work but it was not long before he was asking the child sat next to him for ideas for his story. The teacher reminded Child-X that this was an individual piece of work and guided him with the next line of his story using prompts from the story cards.
I feel this shows Child-X not to be an auditory learner as in both lessons he struggled to process information given orally, it was only when the task was modelled to him he started to understand.
Child-X continues to work satisfactorily although staring outside for long periods of time. When lunchtime arrives Child-X is the first out the door onto the playground.
His eagerness to leave the classroom seemed to be due to his lack of interest in learning and his eagerness to have some physical activity.
Afternoon 1 - Thursday 7th October
Child-X returned from lunch with a scowl on his face which was bright red. He kicked up a fuss as he sat in his place. He needed be to reading quietly, but hadn't got his book out. As all the other children were reading, the Lunchtime Supervisor came in to the classroom to tell the teacher Child-X had been involved in an incident at lunchtime where two children were hurt. The teacher asked Child-X to come over to talk to them. He stood up shouting "I didn't do anything!" and kicks his chair and the bin on his walk to the front. The teacher asked Child-X what happened at lunchtime, "I didn't do anything!" was the response. The Lunchtime Supervisor explains what had happened - Child-X had tied two children up with a skipping rope, and they had fallen and hurt themselves. It was a game that had gotten out of hand, but when asked to stop by a dinnerlady, Child-X refused, then ran away and climbed up a tree across the playground.
The teacher followed him out and explained to Child-X even though he was playing a game, people got hurt and that is unacceptable. Child-X had 10 minutes of Golden Time taken from him, the extra reward playtime that takes place on a Friday afternoon, and was asked to write a letter of apology to the two children who were hurt. Child-X stormed back to his seat and scrawled hurriedly an illegible letter of apology. When the teacher explained that wasn't good enough Child-X refused to do it again saying he had already done it. The class TA then sat with Child-X encouraging him until he wrote the letters.
Lesson 3 - Art
Child-X's mood changed immediately when the teacher announced they would be finishing their Greek pots. Child-X was completely focused on working with the clay to make an animal for the lid of their pot.
Lesson 4 - P.E - Gymnastics
Again Child-X was completely on task, after getting changed sensibly and helped get the apparatus out. Child-X achieved all the objectives of the gymnastic and moved on to more complicated techniques and equipment.
By observing Child-X in Art and P.E this reinforces my theory that Child-X is a kinaesthetic learner possibly with a visual-special intelligence preference.
Hometime and it was up to Child-X to write his negatives into his Home School Book, the teacher does not want to concentrate on the negatives. She will only write positives in the book, it is Child X's responsibility to write any negative aspects of the day. At this point his attitude and demeanour completely change again as he knew he will be in trouble when he got home. Again Child-X was the first out of the classroom.
Morning 2 - Wednesday 13th 2010
Child-X was one of the last children into class, but quickly sat down to work on this morning's intensive activity which is written on the interactive whiteboard. The teacher quickly noticed Child-X had not written anything and asks why, Child-X said "I don't know what I'm doing". The teacher then modelled.
Although Child-X's reading is poor I asked Child-X if they could read and understand the words on the IWB which he did.
I believe although Child-X understood the words, he could not process the information as it was given visually (written down).
Lesson 1 - Maths
The teacher started with a starter based on oral timetables. Child-X was not on task and very reluctant to participate when questioned. But when the teacher puts some multilink cubes onto his table and explained what the children would be doing (an investigation looking at patterns), Child-X became much more focused. Child-X achieved all the lesson objectives and seemed to be feeling, looking and acting much more confident than eariler.
Lesson 2 -English
Child-X came in from playtime without incident and proceeded to listen intently to the teachers input. The class were writing descriptions of monsters concentrating on using 'wow' adjectives and similes. Child-X full of confidence proceeded to start work independently, even though the TA was sat on his table, by looking at pictures of Greek monsters and describing them. Child-X took into account the learning objectives and when the teacher asked the class to self assess their work, Child-X had met all the objectives and produced an excellent piece of work.
Realising the effect Child-X's confidence had on his attitude to learning and end piece of work the teacher asked Child-X to take his work to the headteacher so she could see what an amazing piece of writing he had created. This filled Child-X with even more confidence and the teacher asked him to show his work to many more teachers and TAs praising his work thus raising his confidence further.
That ended my observations for that day, but on discussing the afternoon with the class teacher she remarked that Child-X had had an excellent afternoon, more prolific in his work and much more focused than usual. We discussed how this could be due to the built up self-confidence of Child-X.
Afternoon 2 and Parents Evening - Monday 18th October
This afternoon was taught by a supply teacher new to the class.
Child-X didn't enter the classroom but stood just outside the door, hitting the door and the wall. The class TA approached Child-X to see what the matter was and although she didn't get an answer, she managed to convince him to come inside and start reading. Child-X was then asked to go and see the head teacher, accompanied by the TA. Child-X stormed out to the head's office. It transpires Child-X has being involved in an incident winding another child up, the other child had then gone into crisis and ended up kicking a member of staff. At first, Child-X denied any involvement but later on admitted being involved but that it was just a game that went too far (as it had been on the occasion of Thursday 7th October!).
On returning to the classroom Child-X refused to start work and stood sulking in the corner. The supply teacher asked Child-X to return to work but he ignored her. The teacher then started to raise her voice to request he start his work. This is not an approach used by the regular class teacher and Child-X responds poorly to the firm approach by hitting the wall with his fists. I asked Child-X if he would like to help me with some jobs and he came with me to help me return the books in the library. I used this opportunity to find out what Child-X like to do outside of school, he told me he enjoyed playing outside and going to scouts, he doesn't like football or playing computer games.
When Child-X had calmed down we returned to the class and Child-X helped the TA with a few jobs until it was hometime. Once again after writing in his behaviour book he was the first child out the door.
How XXXXXXXX Primary School meets Child-X's needs
To show how the school meets Child-X's needs I will firstly look at the needs related to the ECM outcomes, then Child-X's SEN.
The PSHE, SEAL, Circle Time and philosophy for children all contribute to the teaching and learning of social emotional and behavioural well being of Child-X.
The PE curriculum aims to develop Child-X's knowledge of why exercise is important and the effect it has on the body as well as the practical activities.
The drugs curriculum within school is taught with information being provided by the police and school nursing team.
The school encourages eating healthily with posters displayed in the dining hall. Various clubs are provided e.g. football, basketball and yoga which Child-X children can attend.
A healthy noise level is adhered to in all working environments promoting a healthy working atmosphere.
The space and layout of each working environment is conducive to a healthy atmosphere.
The school and governing body ensure that necessary risk assessments are carried out.
The PSHE curriculum develops a Child-X's understanding of safety in school and in various places within the community.
The school has an effective behaviour policy to ensure the safety of all in the community including SEN children.
When inappropriate behaviour choices have been made restraint (using the Team Teach strategy) may be necessary if the adults deem a situation to be dangerous to others in the vicinity, including the child,, but everything should be done to ensure the safety of the child.
Enjoy and achieve
The school takes action to provide quality first teaching provision. This includes working at an appropriate pace, high expectations, challenge, rewards and planned lesson objectives which are shared with Child-X.
A differentiated curriculum is planned to allow Child-X to enjoy and achieve. This includes planning to using TA's time effectively and having flexible groupings in the class setting.
The school uses an inclusion policy which outlines how every child is entitled to equal opportunities.
Teachers have knowledge of children's different learning styles and consider this when planning the curriculum.
The school provides intervention programmes to maximise Child-X's achievement.
Active learning is promoted by encouraging all children to self assess their learning.
Make a Positive Contribution
Lessons are to be planned to encourage children to question, investigate and solve problems.
Child-X is represented by school council members and peer mediators within school.
The school rewards children's contribution to learning through celebration assemblies, Golden Time, and postcards home to parents.
Achieve Economic Well Being
The learning environment raises Child-X's achievement and goals in life, and all staff encourage his achievements.
The school Learning Mentor works with Child-X 3 times a week, to raise his motivation and aspirations.
Child-X participates in fund raising activities to raise awareness of economic values.
Child-X's Special Education Needs
Child-X is on School Action Plus (Appendix 1.2) His class teacher and school SENCO have discussed and formulated specific provisions for Child-X. He receives:
Letters and Sounds phonic group sessions with class TA - daily, to help with reading and writing.
Wave 3 Maths session with Level 3 TA - 3 times a week, to help with numeracy skills and help Child-X to become secure at Level 3 in maths by the end of KS2.
Handwriting practise with class TA - Twice weekly as Child-X has issues with forming letters correctly and writing them the right way round.
Although the class teacher does not tailor lessons specifically to Child-X's learning style, information is given in a variety of different ways to remove the barriers to learning of children with different learning styles and multiple intelligences. For example the class teacher uses a "Smart Wheel".
The Smart Wheel accommodates and develops children's multiple intelligences by letting children choose how they will work based on the multiple intelligences.
By giving the children the choice to write, to create, to demonstrate, to explain, to calculate, or perform, many learning styles are accommodated.
The Special Educational Needs Support Service has assessed Child-X after the school highlighted difficulties he experienced in his work. (Appendix 1.3)
The SENSS team recommended.
Child-X has a recent eye and hearing test.
Child-X continues to use a multi-sensory approach to learning.
Child-X participates in activities related to Visual Memory and Visual Sequential memory.
Check Child-X's movement patterns before embarking on the ReLEASS Handwriting Book.
To improve handwriting, teach him to write letters in letter strings rather than individual letters.
Child-X has also been tested for dyslexia with negative results but has shown symptoms of Scotopic Sensitivty (Irlen Syndrome). (Appendix 1.4)
Scotopic Sensitivty reduces the readability of letters and numbers due to distortion and background interference. Children with Irlen Syndrome may suffer from slow reading rate, poor reading comprehension or an inability to read continuously without eye-strain and fatigue.
In the classroom Child-X uses a Double Green overlay to help him read more fluently and make fewer areas. When using a computer Child-X alters the monitor's colours to make viewing the screen more comfortable.
Child-X's good behaviour is encouraged with a rewards i.e.
Money in a school bankbook which can then be spent on trips, activities and toys. Golden Time, a period at the end of the week where children are rewarded with time to participate in a chosen activity e.g. computer games, street dance, remote controlled cars, pamper room etc.
Special dispensations have been made so Child-X can attend any lunchtime club. As most of the behavioural incidents he is involved in occur at lunchtime this provides him the freedom and space he needs if an unwelcome situation is arising.
Positive behaviour and attitude to learning is also rewarded with praise. This is a very productive approach with Child-X as he responds very well to praise and when confident he behaves better and his attitude to learning improves greatly.
Child-X regularly meets with the school's learning mentor to discuss issues with anger, attitude and behaviour.
As the Elton report (1989) and later the Steer report (2005) state there isn't a single solution to poor behaviour.
During this study I have become familiar with a variety of learning styles and through my observations of Child-X I have realised the importance of adapting teaching to take into account different learning styles. Just Inclusion means lesson objectives should be tailored to reach children with Special Educational Needs, learning styles should also be tailored to reach all children and remove barriers to learning. I feel XXXXXXXX Primary School is meeting the needs of Child-X helping him to reach his full potential. Provisions are in place to assist him with his SEN, the class teacher is aware of his learning styles and accommodates lessons accordingly providing quality first teaching, strategies are in place to encourage good behaviour and support is given both by outside agencies and Child-X's parents.
I have realised I need to asses my own learning and teaching style in order to remove barriers to learning.
I need to carefully consider inclusion, tailoring objectives and approaches to an individuals needs.
I will end my reflection with a question. Should Child-X be made aware of his learning style? Would be a positive thing, could he use it to aid his learning or to follow a career path? Or would it be a negative thing, could it become a barrier to learning? "I'm not reading that story because I can't learn that way!"
Evaluation of Standards
In undertaking this study I have developed an understanding of how children and young people develop by looking at the Every Child Matters agenda and how it relates to Child-X's learning and fundamental needs. Studying Maslow's Hierarchy showed me how a child's progress can be hindered by not meeting their basic needs and how equality and inclusion are essential for a child to reach their potential.
This study shows my research into and understanding of learning and teaching styles, inclusion and providing provisions for children with Special Education Needs. This shows evidence of knowing how to make effective personalised provision for those they teach.
To aid my completion of this study I had discussions and meetings with and sent emails to numerous people in various roles in school, including the SENCO, class teachers, subject coordinators, TAs and Lunchtime supervisors. This shows I understand the roles of colleagues with specific responsibilities.
I am fully aware of the current legal requirements, national polices and guidance on the safeguarding and promotion of well-being of children and young people. As during this study I have familiarised myself with numerous policies including the Every Child Matters agenda, the Special Education Code of Practice (2001), the Children's Act (1989 and 2004), along with XXXXXXXX Primary School's bullying, behaviour and child protection policies.
This study has enabled me to see first hand the procedure, system and effects of implementing provisions to support a child the Special Education Needs. I feel I have shown evidence of, and I am confident that, I can identify and support children whose progress, development or well-being is affected by changes or difficulties in their personal circumstances, and when to refer them to colleagues for specialist support.