Rethinking mental health first aid in schools

  The need to improve support for children’s mental health is rising to the top of the political agenda. As a highly emotive issue with celebrity status it makes sense to politicians for them to launch headlines that promise the earth. But we need more than promises on the front line, where caring is something we’re doing minute by minute, an essentially practical issue. We […]

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Getting creative about inclusion.

Ok, this is bad. It’s time for the hard hats. The exclusion rate is rocketing skywards, ground control has lost communication with Major Tom and everyone’s running for the shelters. A headline from BBC News recently; “Barnsley and Middlesbrough see pupil exclusion rises of 300%”  “The number of pupils expelled from schools in some parts of England has risen by more than 300% in three […]

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Solutions Focused coaching in schools – Impact16

Closing the gap in behaviour, engagement and achievement.   The first green shoots of spring were showing when I was contacted by the ‘Teach First Impact16’ conference organiser to be asked if I could run four workshops on Behaviour in summertime Leeds. On Monday this week I was late getting to the main arena for the keynote speakers – I’d had a problem setting up […]

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Why focusing on children’s strengths is vital for their mental health

  Today is day four of the UK mental health awareness week Exactly a year ago I wrote about the importance of relationship in promoting mental health. In mental health awareness week 2017 I’m publishing the article again, as it is just as relevant now. In schools we need to critically examine what we do to make sure that our relationship is based on honesty […]

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Relationships? Talk to the elephant

What’s Debate? Debate is all about winning an argument. It’s war and as we all know, all’s fair in love and war. We know what Debate means, the toffs learn how to do it at nanny’s knee. It’s a blood spattered battle of words, with crowned winners and cowed losers. It’s PMQs. How about Discourse? That’s one of those words that drips off the balcony […]

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Asthma and behaviour – a modern parable

Asthma’s in the news at the moment because of an odd problem about something with an odd name. The problem is that it’s being overdiagnosed, diagnosis often leads to medication and too many people, many of them children, are using puffers when they don’t need to because they don’t actually have asthma, a dangerous condition in its most severe form. From a lay perspective diagnosis […]

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Teaching, relationship and children’s mental health

The problem Are good teacher/student relationships important in promoting children’s mental health? When the subject of children’s behaviour comes up, teacher/student relationship is always mentioned as an important factor in the development of good behaviour. Good relationships engender good behaviour, good learning and good memories of school too. When we talk about behaviour it’s not usually good behaviour that’s the main topic. Good behaviour gets […]

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Solutions for behaviour – Behaviour and Snake Oil

                               Sixty second summary If we were designing our approach to helping children behave well in school today, we wouldn’t start from where we are now. The reward and punishment approach has been subjected to a long field-trial, a natural experiment, which shows up its limitations. It produces segregation of a large minority of children and promotes exclusion. It’s largely unchallenged and is vociferously […]

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Behaviour Report Card – 2016 week 1

Section 1: What’s been happening this week with behaviour as we set out into the new term? A behaviour expert, who asked not to be quoted and who shall therefore remain anonymous, has told us that in his personal experience of working in a secondary school, 95% misbehaviour is opportunistic. Children are poised and waiting for the opportunity to muck about unless he can get […]

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Support …….. now!

I am writing this in response to an article by ‘Bergistra – “Headteacher on a Knife-Edge’ in the Education Guardian of May 28 2013. She said ‘I have a reception child, aged four, who desperately needs some serious long-term therapy. In school she is unmanageable.’ She goes on to talk about the difficulty of keeping this child in school and her deep commitment to fulfilling […]

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