As this week draws to a close, I hope you have enjoyed being back in University, thinking through this term, analysing your experiences and continuing to develop your knowledge about teaching and learning.

On Wednesday you focused on Special Educational Needs for the day and I thought I would use this as an opportunity of showing you one way in which you could quickly reflect and capture your ideas on a topic . Have a look at this mind map – I created this whilst sitting in the morning lecture listening to Patricia, Domand Phil. If I am totally honest I did spend five minutes adding colour later in the day but it really was only five minutes!


I like mind maps because you can add to them over time and keep all reflections on a topic in one place. It might not work for you but it may give you a new idea that you could try out.

Keeping with a focus on SEND you might also be interested in the following series of short BAFTA award winning animations:

All are real-life stories bringing concerns around some serious psychological issues into focus. As you watch them, I would encourage you to think about how a pupil dealing with a particular issue might present themselves in your classes and how they might respond to your subject.

What might they find particularly difficult?

What could you do to pre-empt a situation that might be difficult for them?

 If you take the Asperger’s Syndrome video, for example:

  • How might you meet the child as they arrive at your room?
  • What instructions could you give them that might alleviate some of their stresses?
  • Where would be a good place to sit them in your classroom?
  • What activities might be problematic? How could you adapt them?

How could you do these things without drawing attention to the pupil or making them feel marginalised?

Finally I leave you with data from the Communication Language Trust. Have a read through this and try to have a think about what might be going on and what questions are raised for you as a teacher:

Poor spoken language puts young people at risk of poor literacy, poor behaviour, poor social and emotional development and poor attainment.

  • Just under 14% of pupils with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) get 5 good GCSEs (including English and Maths) compared to nearly 61% of all young people.
  • 50-90% of pupils with persistent SLCN go on to have reading difficulties.
  • Studies have also shown that many pupils excluded from school have language difficulties that the adults around them are not aware of.

More than 1 million children in the UK have long term, persistent difficulties.

  • In areas of social deprivation, the numbers of pupils with SLCN is greater than elsewhere.
  • While we would expect around 10% of young people to have long term SLCN, at Key Stage 4, less than 1% of pupils have SLCN identified as their primary need.
  • A detailed study showed 83% of young people assessed in one inner city secondary school had SLCN which hampered learning, behaviour and social relationships.
  • Language development continues throughout the secondary years, and though changes in spoken language can be subtle, they are important for overall development, progression and attainment, for building relationships and for working and communicating with others.

The Communication Trust (2015) Universally Speaking

Try to consider each of the statements above and:

  • ask yourself a question – e.g. why do SLCN go unrecognised?
  • think about something you could do as teacher of your subject that could support pupils with SLCN – when explaining a new concept; when explaining a task; when creating resources; when asking pupils questions; when marking and assessing work; when giving feedback; ..

What small changes could make a big difference?