Section 10 Key Principles of Effective Leadership and Partnership
Senior Leaders across schools and all partner services have a key role to play in demonstrating commitment to all children and young people, including those with additional support needs. Their unconditional positive regard for all children, including the most vulnerable and those with challenging behaviour, is a key element in promoting an ethos of acceptance and professionalism within schools and services. In best practice, these key managers become a ‘Champion of inclusion, acceptance and diversity‘ (Dr Loretta Giorcelli, Fellow of the Australian College of Education) and continuously promote the importance of building a positive relationship with each child or young person.
Senior Leaders in schools, with advice from relevant others, have a key responsibility to ensure that the curriculum and broader learning opportunities are suitably differentiated and flexible to meet the needs of all children and young people, including those with additional support needs. They must also ensure that all practitioners take very good account of advice and guidance from support and specialist staff together with information provided in transition documents. Excellent leadership for learning demonstrates the desire to take responsibility and to accept
- Leadership for Learning: Leadership of change and improvement
- Leadership for Learning: Leadership and direction
- Leadership for Learning: Leaders matter
- Leadership for learning: The Challenges of leading in a time of change
- Leadership for Learning : Pathways for leaders
- Leadership for Learning: Developing people and partnerships
Each school and service has a duty to ensure that children with additional support needs have their full entitlement to education and support so that they can maximise their attainment and broad achievement. Key tasks to be undertaken by Senior leaders in schools in relation to meeting additional support needs are shown at Further Information 10.1. Advice on developing procedures, protocols and practice which clarifies the school’s approach to meeting (additional support) needs is shown at Further Information 10.2.
A key challenge in respect of managing provision for additional support needs is the time and effort it takes to make sense of and co-ordinate information about each child or young person. Updating the information requires open communication in both informal and formal settings. Indeed, all daily interactions including sharing insights with young people and staff are vital and often illuminating – ‘Insight is a perishable commodity‘ (source unknown). Irrespective of the size of school,what is essential is an understanding about the importance of having in place systems which facilitate the co-ordination and management of information, resources, expertise, strategies and best practice of very many professionals, parents and carers.
Some schools have in place excellent systems which promote the flow of communication and enable close monitoring of progress and concerns about learning as well as emotional and behaviour needs. These schools also ensure much informal communication. The range and extent of meetings will vary in each school depending on the complexity of needs in the school at various times as well as the size of the Support team within and beyond the school. This may vary from year to year and even within the school session. Suggested in-school and multi-agency meeting formats which work very well are described in Section 12. Senior Leaders across all services play an important role in ensuring that practitioners effectively monitor and track progress of all children and young people across all aspects of learning and social competence.
Partnership is crucial if Aberdeenshire’s children and young people are to achieve success. Senior Leaders are key to understanding the importance of working in partnership with a range of practitioners as well as with parents and young people in order to meet additional support needs.
The needs of almost all children or young people with significant additional support needs can only be met using the combined skills and expertise of a range of practitioners who plan and work closely together, led and supported by competent Leaders. Partnership working within each school and its community is the first and most important port of call. In order that this happens effectively, all schools and services should be clear who constitutes the in-school Support Team. They must also be clear who constitutes the wider multi-agency team which includes the school’s partners beyond Education and Learning and can include Health staff, Post 16 Services and a range of voluntary services. All members should be clear about who takes responsibility for managing and co-ordinating these teams. They should also be clear about each other’s respective roles and responsibilities which are described in detail in Section 1 1.
If all our children and young people are to develop and use their potential to the fullest extent, they need the skills and expertise of a team to support them. The ability to develop people and partnerships is an essential skill of a good leader. The Scottish Government website contains information to support ‘Partnership working’
Getting it Right for Every Child and Young Person (GIRFEC)
Scottish Government’s programme, ‘Getting It Right for Every Child’ aims to improve outcomes for all children and young people through a shared approach which:
- builds solutions with and around children and families;
- enables children to get the help they need when they need it;
- supports a positive shift in culture, systems and practice.
GIRFEC practice applies to all those working together to support children and young people in all aspects of their lives and therefore encompasses those who have, or may have, additional support needs. In essence GIRFEC practice means:
“Making the most of bringing together each worker’s expertise: respecting the contribution of others and co-operating with them, recognising that sharing responsibility does not mean acting beyond a worker’s competence or responsibilities.”
GIRFEC practice means ‘providing leadership and strategic support to implement the changes in culture, systems and practice’ required within and across agencies. It also means a strong focus on ‘child centred processes’. Please note The Information Commissioner has produced advice specifically relating to information sharing under existing law where a child’s wellbeing is at risk and the concern is less than that required to trigger child protection procedures. This related document provides guidance and clarity:
Senior Leaders across all services must demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement and support their staff to self-evaluate their practice in line with national advice and by using the Prompts for Reflection in this Manual. In line with GIRFEC, practitioners will be expected in the future to record information using shared language, structured around a standard practice model sharing key relevant information through the eCare framework.
Effective Partnership with Children and Young People
The Aberdeenshire’s Support Directory for Families can be accessed here
A key principle of GIRFEC is the need to put the child at the centre: ‘children and young people should have their views listened to and they should be involved in decisions that affect them’.
- For children and families Getting it right for every child means:
- they will feel confident about the help they are getting;
- they understand what is happening and why;
- they have been listened to carefully and their wishes have been heard and understood;
- they are appropriately involved in discussions and decisions that affect them.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 incorporated the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) by giving all children the right to express their views on matters affecting them, should they wish to do so. This includes Local Authority decisions for Looked after Children, and certain decisions made by courts and children’s hearings. Scotland’s Commissioner for children and young people is passionate about the need for us all to listen to children so that they can have their rights respected and upheld. During 2010 the Commissioner has heard from, met and ‘blethered’ with thousands of Scotland’s children and young people to help influence his work over the next four years.
Schools and services therefore need to consider how best to truly engage with children and young people in relation to stating their (support) needs. Some children and young people with additional support needs will be able to express themselves clearly and directly. Their views must be listened to including those who use alternative means of communication and for whom the development of communication passports may be helpful.
The 2009 Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Acts (i.e the 2004 Act, as amended) provides useful advice on how best to listen to children and young people:
“In order to express views, children and young people need to have experience of being asked for their views, being listened to, making some choices and having some influence over what they do. (Authorities) may need to make arrangements for those who require an interpreter; or whose first language is not English; or who have behavioural difficulties and are unwilling to co-operate. A range of approaches will need to be considered to determine the use of alternative or augmentative communication systems, including signing, the use of interpreters, and engaging the views of others such as family members, foster carers, social workers and other professionals who know the child or young person.”
Aberdeenshire Children's Rights Service
The Children’s Rights Service is based within Gordon House in lnverurie. There are two Children’s Rights Officers who provide a service for all looked after children within Aberdeenshire and those placed in out of authority placements out with Aberdeenshire.
Who can use the Children’s Rights Service?
Any young person who:
- has been placed away from home and lives in foster care, a children’s home, a residential school or secure care.
- has moved on from care.
Anyone can ask for help from the children’s rights service,but the children’s rights officer will only get involved with the agreement of the young person.
What can the Children’s Rights officer do?
- Give young people information and advice about their rights.
- Help young people to represent their views at meetings.
- Help young people to make a complaint, or sort out any concerns.
- Listen to and take seriously what young people say.
- Help young people to put forward their views on services for young people.
Young people who are placed away from home should receive a Children’s Rights Pack which provides them with information on the service and other issues related to the rights of children and young people.
The Children’s Rights officer will visit and work with the child/young person on enabling them to share their views or resolve any issue related to the rights.
Children and young people have rights laid down by international and Scottish law, and by government policy. These include:
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- The Children (Scotland) Act 1995
- The Standards in Scotland’s Schools Act 2000
- The Human Rights Act 1998
The Children’s Rights Officer will not pass on anything that children or young people have shared in confidence without the permission of the child or young person, unless they or someone else are at risk of harm.
Young people will have open access to any records kept about him/her by the Children’s Rights Officer. For more information go to our website.
The child or young person may communicate using speech, in writing, tape, sign or other form of communication such as facial expression or body posture. “Supporters and advocates can help by making sure that a parent’s or young person ‘s view is understood, put across and taken account of in discussions where parents or young people feel unable or less confident to do so themselves.” This link takes you to helpful guidance developed by young people in YPOC, as a result of their own experiences. The ‘Voice of the Child‘ under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995: Act states: “Due regard should be given to children’s views, subject to their age and maturity” when making decisions about them. This includes children and young people who are looked after. It is important that schools and their partners understand that some children who are looked after will not have the same kind of parental support as other children. This helpful link to ‘My Turn to Talk’ (Scottish Executive 2006) presents issues to consider in relation to talking with children who are looked after and the acknowledgement of a possible set of five levels of participation as developed by Shier in 2001 .
Further Information 10.3 is a real life story which demonstrates how important it is for all professionals to listen carefully to the views of children and young people, and the consequences of not doing so. All partners can only claim to have full involvement with each child and young person when they have followed through all options to ensure their voices are heard.
Effective Partnership with Parents, Families and Carers of Children with Additional Support Needs
“Successful communication between parents and practitioners is a/ways based on positive engagement and mutual respect. Creating an atmosphere where positive engagement is the norm will benefit all parents and children, producing the type of nurturing environment where learning flourishes .”
Communication Matters an ESRC funded publication
The Scottish Schools (Parent Involvement) Act 2006 established a new model of parent representation and supports parental engagement in children’s learning. The Act provides that all parents and carers of children at a school are automatically members of the Parent Forum for that school. Each Parent Forum may then establish a Parent Council to represent the views of parents to both the school and the local Authority. The constitution of the Parent Council is determined by the Parent Forum and should reflect what it feels is best for the parents, the pupils and the school; the constitutions of Parent Councils will, therefore, vary from school to school.
In Aberdeenshire there is an annual Parent Council Conference where parents have opportunities to network, view examples of good practice and share their own experiences. A Parental Involvement Focus Group has been set up with representatives from parents across Aberdeenshire Parent Councils; they also have the opportunity to meet with Area Heads of Service three times per year. In addition to this, there is Aberdeenshire’s Additional Support Needs Parent Forum. The meetings are an opportunity to share information with parents as well as involving them in the development of policy and practice.
The Additional Support for Learning Acts (2004 and 2009) introduced new rights for parents, and young people with additional support needs. In addition to Aberdeenshire’s Additional Support Needs Parent Forum a range of leaflets have been developed for parents. These include:
As a result of the Acts, parents have the right to:
- request the Education Authority to find out whether their child has additional support needs;
- request the Education Authority to find out if their child requires a co-ordinated Support Plan or to review an existing plan; request a specific type of assessment and/or examination;
- request the use of mediation services;
- make a placing request to an independent special school if their child has additional support needs;
- be informed of the outcome of these requests and any applicable rights of appeal;
- receive a copy of the Co-ordinated Support Plan or, if not eligible for a plan, receive advice and information about their child’s additional support needs;
- have their views taken into account and noted in the Co-ordinated support Plan;
- appeal to new independent Tribunals on matters relating to Co-ordinated Support Plans;
- make use of dispute resolution arrangements for matters about additional support needs that are not eligible for formal appeal;
- have a supporter or representative with them at any meeting with the School or Education Authority and at Tribunal Hearings;
- make a placing request to any school in Scotland including schools outside the local authority in which they live.
It is essential that schools and their partners work very closely with parents to demonstrate how they are meeting additional support needs. They should explain to parents Aberdeenshire’s staged intervention model and clarify what additional support is being/can be provided. They should also have effective arrangements for meeting the varying needs of parents, for example, those who need interpreting or translation services or have restricted mobility, visual or auditory impairments. All schools should ensure they accurately describe the nature of their provision and, along with their partners should work closely with parents in developing and implementing the range of relevant plans including Individualised Education Plans, Care Plans, Managing Accessibility Plans and Co-ordinated Support Plans. They must also ensure that relevant Additional Support meetings,including for children and young people who are looked after,and transition meetings at all stages are supportive and effective and adhere to the timetable set down within guidance on transition as shown in this link . In this way schools and service can try to allay parents’ fears about the challenges faced by their child ‘moving on‘.
Effective Communication with Parents
Parents have told us what is important to them and what makes the partnership between parents and school work:
- Feeling included and respected.
- When my child is treated as an individual and their views are taken into account.
- Celebrating success.
- Being listened to within an open and receptive ethos.
- Keeping lines of communication open and using a variety of means, eg home school diary, weekly timetable, receiving advance warning of things that will happen.
- Using plain language, no jargon.
- Having a clear agenda so we know what the purpose of the meeting is.
- Having clear action points – who/ what/ when.
- Acting on actions within agreed timescales and providing clear effective feedback.
- Involving all relevant staff and other agencies where appropriate.
- Transition planning at all stages.
This link takes you to advice from Education Scotland on Developing parents’ support for their children’s learning and on encouraging full involvement of parents in school activities.
This link takes you to Learning Together: partnership working
Working with Partners Multi-agency approaches to improve learning.
The Contribution of Health
All recent legislation has promoted the benefit of agencies working closely together so that the needs of children and young people can be effectively met. This includes effective implementation of GIRFEC and the Additional Support for Learning Act which states: “Where it appears to an education Authority that an appropriate agency could, by doing certain things, helping the exercise of any of their functions under the Act, they may, specifying what these things are, request the help of that agency. In making a request the Education Authority should be very specific about the help they are requesting“.
The Other Appropriate Agency Regulations made under the Act specify that appropriate agencies are expected to: “respond to requests for help within 1 0 weeks from the date the request is made by the education authority, subject to certain exceptions.”
National Health Service Therapists – Speech & Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists – have much to offer Education practitioners in relation to improving children’s communication, their general motor function and mobility and generally contributing to minimising barriers to children’s learning.
The School nurse, the Paediatrician and Children and Adolescent Mental Health service staff and others, also have an essential role to play.
The Contribution of Skills Development Scotland, Colleges and Universities
Skills Development Scotland officers are essential partners in supporting young people to transition beyond school to a suitable placement. They currently provide information about:
- support in learning;
- financial assistance for young people with additional support needs;
- local resources in your area.
These services are also available to parents of children with additional support needs.
‘More Choices, More Chances’ (Scottish Government, 2006) is a strategy developed to reduce the proportion of young people aged 16-19 not in education,employment or training. This link provides useful information on the ‘More Choices, More Chances’ project being undertaken by Scotland’s Colleges. Subsequently, 16+ Learning Choices aim to ensure that young people leave school with an offer of a positive and sustained destination.
To ensure young people are given an appropriate offer they must be given the support they need while at school to make an informed choice. Secondary schools must ensure effective co-ordination of 16+ Learning Choices. Effective partnership between schools, health and social work and colleges and Skills Development Scotland can help ensure most appropriate destinations.
Partnership with other Agencies
There are partnerships with other agencies such as CAIR (see Section 11) and the Police through the schools liaison officer.
Contacts may be sourced from the contacts and useful information section of the ASN website
Building on the recommendation from ‘For Scotland’s Children 1 ‘, and ‘Protecting Children: Framework for Standards 2‘, the GIRFEC initiative has introduced the concept of a Named Person for every child in health or education, depending on the age of the child, to act as the first point of contact for children and families. Good schools have already used this concept albeit the nomenclature may be different.
The Lead Professional
The Lead Professional is the second key role in the Getting It Right For
Every Child approach which must be seen alongside the role of the Named Person. Where a child’s identified needs involve two or more agencies working together to effectively meet his or her needs, a Lead Professional will be required. This Lead Professional becomes the person within the network of practitioners supporting the child and family who will promote effective team working and ensure the support they provide fits together to provide seamless and appropriate support for the child and family.
The Lead Professional will have a significant role in working with other agencies to coordinate a multi agency Child’s Plan where this is deemed necessary as a result of:
- growing concern over time
- a particular change in the child, or an event, or behaviour of the child or family
- the child and family, in working with the Named Person, have identified that extra support is needed.
Career Long Professional Learning
Standards for Registration
The Standard for Provisional Registration (SPR) and The Standard for Full Registration (SFR) are part of the suite of GTC Scotland’s Professional Standards which also includes The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning and The Standards for Leadership and Management.
These standards are underpinned by the themes of values, sustainability and leadership. Professional values are at the core of the Standards for Registration.
They are integral to, and demonstrated through,all our professional relationships and practices. Further information can be accessed here.
Identifying Career Long Professional Learning
Senior Managers across all services should promote an ethos of accountability and sustainability to empower and support staff to embrace the inclusion agenda. They must ensure regular review and/ or supervision of professional performance to highlight their own training needs and those of others in order to ensure everyone feels confident and suitably skilled up for the tasks required of them.
Senior Managers in schools, through their Co-ordinator for Continuous Professional Development, and those in other services play a crucial role in terms of identifying and sourcing professional development to ensure all staff, including themselves, have requisite knowledge and sufficient skills and confidence to meet additional support needs. This includes modelling positive attitudes and practice in relation to including and accepting all children and young people. It includes ensuring all staff, including those who are involved in specific support for children and young people access an appropriate range of generic training, which can be accessed through ALDO. They should also ensure that all staff are clear about how to meet additional support needs. The successful support stories in Section 15 of this Manual provide excellent opportunities for partnership reflection and professional discussion.
Specialist training can generally be accessed from Support staff, Educational Psychologists, Peripatetic teachers, Therapists and other Health workers, Home Link workers, Social workers and practitioners from other agencies.
Further Information l0.4 provides a useful guide to a selection of specialist knowledge and skills required by all who support children and young people with additional support needs, and their parents. This guide can be used to audit staff professional development needs and help clarify priorities for specialist training.
Clearly training in all aspects of working in partnership in line with GIRFEC will contribute to improved outcomes for children and young people
10.1 Key Tasks undertaken by School Senior Leaders in relation to meeting additional support needs include:
- Headteachers/ Senior Leaders have the final management responsibility to meet the needs of all children in their school/ service;
- Headteachers/ Senior Leaders develop and support an inclusive environment and promote methodologies which consider and include all children and young people;
- Headteachers/ Senior Leaders develop positive relationships with all involved in meeting the needs of children and young people, including parents and carers;
- School Senior Leaders should ensure that a Support team is established in their school, even in a school where there is one teacher (the team may consist only of a member of the Management team and an Educational Psychologist in a very small primary school);
- School Senior Leaders should work with relevant Support staff to ensure their audit of needs submission to the Authority accurately reflects needs;
- School Senior Leaders appoint a specific person/s to support, provide advice to, deploy and redeploy, manage and meet regularly with School Auxiliaries;
- School Senior Leaders allocate Named Person responsibility, particularly in larger schools, and will clarify this named contact for parents of children with additional support needs;
- School Senior Leaders will clarify a Named Person for visiting specialists such as Peripatetic teachers, Therapists, Social worker, Community Link worker, Health practitioners;
- School Senior Leaders will organise a suitable range of meetings, including consulting with others to agree when a child or young person who is looked after requires a review. The Social worker and relevant school staff should agree the most appropriate venue for the meeting, and discuss how best to undertake this review simultaneously with an additional support meeting;
- School Senior Leaders ensure that the school and its partners undertake rigorous self-evaluation of their provision for children and young people with additional support needs, in line with the advice in this Manual and other relevant guidance.
10.2 Procedures, Protocols and Practice on Meeting Additional Support Needs
- Introduction: Statement that this policy has relevance to all staff who work in and beyond the school, supporting children and young people.
- Rationale: Description of how the school is committed to ensuring it meets the needs of all pupils, including those who require additional support, with references to legislative and local contexts. Statements which demonstrate how to meet the needs of most pupils: that is, reference to Journey to Excellence, Dimension 1 . For example, ‘Learning is flexible and adapted to toke account of learners’ interests. Teachers take full account of the understanding and learning needs of all learners.’ Statements which clarify entitlement to a broad and meaningful curriculum for all children and young people.
- Reference to other policies and guidance to which this policy relates such as Curriculum for Excellence, Journey to Excellence, Assessment is for Learning, National Assessment Resource, Risk Assessment, Promoting Positive Behaviour; Additional Support for Learning guidance, Child
Protection and A RIGHT blether.
- Roles and responsibilities and partnerships: Clarity about individual roles and responsibilities, including Authority personnel; clarity about the role of the School Support team; statements which promote team working and show the ways in which staff should work together; including working with parents and key partners, taking account of the advice in this Manual. The policy should clarify the links between the requirements
of ASL legislation and the principles of GIRFEC, including working towards having one Child’s Plan and ensuring a named person and lead professional are in place when needed.
- Identification and assessment: Clarification about how the school intends to identify and assess the additional support needs of its pupils.
- Description of a flexible school curriculum in line with Curriculum for Excellence and the range of additional support needs which the school and its partners can meet within this curricular framework. Reference to the need for flexible timetabling.
- Approaches to planning for classes, groups and individuals, including the school’s approach to Plans, including Individual Education Plans, Managing Accessibility Plans, Co-ordinated Support Plans. Aberdeenshire’s Planning Documentation (CSP, M AP, IEP) and other planning information can be accessed here
- Approaches which promote effective learning for all pupils, including pupils with Additional Support Needs; a brief description of specific strategies and programmes such as Information Technology support, specialist resources or equipment, enterprising and thematic approaches and pathways to ensure positive achievement such as Duke of Edinburgh, ASDAN, Caledonian, John Muir and Youth Achievement Awards.
- Approaches to ensure robust care and welfare which includes child protection, risk assessment, intimate personal care, administration of medicines in schools guidelines
- Procedures and support for course choices.
- Procedures for referral, recording and review: (using the ASL guidelines) brief description of how the Framework of Identification and Support works in the School.
- Accessing additional support: brief description of audit of needs procedures.
- Transition arrangements: Arrangements for planning for and supporting pupils to ‘move on’ to the next stage of education.
- Arrangements for evaluating effectiveness of this policy: statement which outlines how the effectiveness of Additional Support Needs is evaluated, including the relevance and impact of the school policy.
Schools with Enhanced Facilities should also include the following in their policy:
- clarify that the aim of the provision is to equip each child or young person with sufficient self-worth, skills and confidence to learn in wider groupings where appropriate and enable them, if appropriate, to return to their local school, albeit with support and with their parents’ agreement. It is important that specialist provisions clarify to all mainstream schools their continuing role and responsibility in remaining open to the return from specialist provision of their children with additional support needs. They should also ensure that parents and partners such as Educational Psychologists, Paediatricians, Therapists, Social workers and Home Link workers are clear about the aims and nature of the Specialist provision. This includes describing the pathway from each Primary provision to Secondary Specialist provision so that parents remain confident about their child’s transition beyond Primary 7;
- describe the continuum of support which can include full or part-time specialist provision with some time in mainstream classes, where appropriate. The policy should explain that the aim is to maximise the most inclusive and appropriate learning situation for each child across the range of learning opportunities in and beyond the school, albeit some children supported by the provision will continue to require individualised programmes and one-to-one support almost all of the time. In mainstream schools, all Support staff should be open to an interchange of role so that the needs of children and young people can be effectively met within appropriate/ different groupings;
- clarify who fulfils the designated Named Person/ Lead Professional role so that parents and carers and the child as well as partners have a clear point of contact;
- describe the core curriculum of the specialist provision which will take account of all aspects of Curriculum for Excellence including – as appropriate to each specialist provision – Child at the Centre, the Elaborated Curriculum and specialist programmes such as Equals and use active enterprising methodology and practical activities such as Outdoor Education and Skills for Work,so that children and young people from mainstream classes can join relevant specialist provision groupings when appropriate. This description of the curriculum will explain that personal , emotional and social development and communication form the core of the curriculum for many children with significant needs;
- describe how the accommodation in the provision is fit for purpose and allows a range of activities for a sizeable group of children. Explain that the name of the provision has been chosen sensitively so as to reduce discrimination and ensure children and parents are happy for any child to learn in that environment;
- describe the management structure, including explaining how provision managers can be released from teaching duties to undertake their other considerable roles.
10.3 A Young Person's Story (illustrating the importance of listening to Young People)
Hi, my name is Luke Smith and I am 13 years old. I was 6 weeks premature and when I was 5 1/2 months old I had pneumococcal meningitis which is a life threatening infection. After some serious interventions I had to get my food via a drip. But after that I was ok. I just rested a lot and I got on with life, including having an operation for a squint. I had a nice healthy life during Primary School and had a lot of great friends. At the end of P7 I started getting very bad abdominal pains and went to the doctor who diagnosed ‘growing pains’. The (spasmodic) pain continued and we paid many visits to the doctor and hospitals. They diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome or abdominal migraine. After a spell of 2 weeks of pain I collapsed and was rushed to hospital where appendicitis was diagnosed. This seemed to solve the problem and I was feeling over the moon since I had no pain anymore and could get back to everything I was doing before, such as my dance, drama and singing. However, this was not the case for long.
After moving to a new school campus, I started having apparent fainting episodes. It was very frightening and all I could remember was I had terrible chest pains before passing out. My eyes were hurting and I was so tired I just wanted to go to sleep. Paramedics undertook certain tests and I was taken to hospital. It was suggested I return to school. The same happened again.
After passing out, I got bad chest pains and numbness in my legs and headache. This time the receiving hospital doctor wished to undertake extensive tests and scans but this was vetoed by the consultant on the basis there was ‘no need’. I was devastated as were my mum and dad. I continued to pass out pretty much every day in school as well as a couple of times when we were out in the community. It also happened in our kitchen where we have a fluorescent light. I felt my life had been put on hold. I had to give up all of my activities. Most of all my school work was suffering. I continued to ‘pass out’, sometimes for up to 15 minutes and my seizures were getting more and more violent. Sadly no doctor believed the symptoms I described such as chest pains and numbness.
The school were fantastic, including all the office staff and teachers. I used the learning bay to do my school work in a quiet place because I was disrupting the class with my seizures. I think it was very scary for my friends to see me like that. I got work home to help me catch up and I got work in the learning bay. I was still behind but I knew I would catch up because I really want to be a doctor very badly.
I was told nothing abnormal had shown up on the scans. When I explained that the lights that were in my eyes when they did the scan had caused my eyes to hurt very badly it was suggested I see a Clinical Psychologist. It was suggested I was having pseudo seizures caused by stress or worry, and emotional issues. I was just so upset and couldn’t believe what was being suggested. Things deteriorated and the seizures were getting more violent. I could be ‘out’ for 30 minutes to 1 hour. I was unbelievably tired and getting so forgetful and getting very bad deja vu. I got dark glasses to dim the lights and it worked until I took them off. It got to the stage that I was having a seizure every day at school and the paramedics were being called every day. I felt my life was closing down. I was not seeing my friends, my teachers or taking part in any hobbies.
On 4 February 2010 I met an opthamologist who specialises in identifying and addressing sensory integration difficulties. My mum and sister were with me and he was asking me questions and I was so scared because I had very bad trouble seeing, and my hearing was sensitive as well. He asked if I had ever seen people as monsters and I was thinking I do but I have never told anyone but I said yes. He also asked if I saw shapes in the space and I do. He asked about my reading and what I saw. I told him when I am reading the words move about and my eyes skip to another line. But the biggest thing for me was never seeing my full face or anyone else’s face and body. I did not realise how much I had accepted all of this until that day.
After asking me lots of questions, the opthamologist did various colour tests to check my tolerance for them. I put on a pair of glasses with blue lenses and was so amazed at what I could see. It was so very emotional I was crying because I was in shock and I couldn’t believe one pair of glasses could change something so drastic. The opthamologist touched my leg and I felt it on the other side of my body which I have never noticed before. Then I put the glasses on He did it again but this time I could feel it where he touched me. It was amazing I was so happy! He realised I had significant sensory problems and discovered that it was the red filter in the lights that was adversely affecting me and this was causing seizures. So, I can finish on a positive note!
- With my coloured lenses I can see myself and everyone properly.
- I can hear better and see better and have my sensory system working correctly.
- I am able to engage with my studies again and hopefully can achieve my ambition, which is to be a doctor.
- Whilst I may never be seizure free and will not be able to drink alcohol or go to parties with disco lights it is a small price to pay for having my life back.
- I am now enjoying life to the full, thanks to careful identification, assessment and appropriate support.
10.4 Identifying (Specialist) Continuous Professional Development
Below identifies a range of specialist training which may be required by certain staff. Senior Managers can use it both to audit and identify staff training needs.
Extended Curriculum to Promote Broad Achievement
Understanding Specific Needs
Prompts for Reflection
How well do the school and its partners lead and manage provision for support for all children and young people?
|Best Practice||What is the Impact?|
|The vision, values and aims of the school and services promote an accepting and positive ethos based on strong and meaningful relationships. This vision is modelled by Senior Leaders.
All partners have shared understanding of the implications of all relevant legislation and Government guidance.
Senior Leaders are clear about what constitutes universal, targeted and specialist support and have explained this to relevant staff and parents.
Senior Leaders across the school and partner services demonstrate high expectations for all children and young people by bringing about change to systems, procedures and practice.
School systems and procedures are in place to ensure strategic discussion and shared agendas with relevant partners.
The school has in place a system to ensure each child who requires it, has a named person. In the event that several agencies provide support to a child, the school and its partners have agreed who should be the lead professional.
School Senior Leaders have a system to ensure all relevant practitioners are informed about the medical and health needs, the communication and physical needs and the social and emotional needs of children and young people.
All partners are sufficiently informed about Curriculum for Excellence to be able to contribute meaningfully to planning to achieve the outcomes for children and young people.
The school facilitates information / training sessions by relevant members of therapy services, health practitioners, Skills Development and college staff, voluntary agencies as needed. The school and its partners’ training schedules are relevant and accessible. Training is evaluated as useful and pertinent and has impact on practice.
Senior Leaders are committed to working closely with parents and seeking the views of their children.
|Effective partnership develops shared vision and direction (QI 1.3, 2.7)
Partnership working meets legislative requirements, including for transitions (QI 1.4, 2.6, 3.1)
Progress/attainment and achievement data trends show that children
Children are safe and arrangements for meeting their physical, emotional/ mental health needs are met well through effective partnership (QI 2.1)
All practitioners feel confident in supporting children and young people with additional support needs (QI 1.4)
The combined expertise of partners provides effective support and achieves better outcomes for children and young people (QI 2.6, 2.7)
Parents and their children believe they can positively influence the quality of provision (QI 2.7 )