Inclusion = liking children

Following on from my posts about
Children need to be liked and
Being positive about inclusion have set me to thinking that this is perhaps the key to the inclusion agenda. In my experience where a teacher, or a school for that matter, adopt an “Unconditional Positive Regard” for children, then the inclusion responsibility is effectively discharged. Whereas, if the relationship is characterised as being “transactional” , i.e. you do something for me and I’ll do something for you” then inclusion will not happen. For those who are worried that this sounds like children can just do as they please, I would repeat that I’ve never been soft on discipline – if fact I tihnk we should use short-term exclusions much more frequently (half to two days) for very minor events i.e. lower our tolerance threshold for poor behaviour, whilst always wanting to our best for the individual child.

Chief Officers’ Group – couple of presentations to start the meeting – the first was on Healthy Respect (Improving the sexual health of young people) – I was interested to learn that drop-in services are much more effective than just providing information. We currently don’t have any such services within any of our schools – in one of my previous schools we had such a service which provided C-cards (access to condoms) – teenage pregnancies in the area dropped significantly. I understand the reservations of many people and groups about such easy access to condoms but the facts are difficult to dispute.

The second presentation was on transition of children with additional support for learning needs to adult services. Apparently this is a very difficult transition – there seemed to be a proliferation of groups trying to sort this out – which set me to thinking – is there any way we can manage to tackle problems in a more action focused manner as opposed to setting up yet another group?

The main agenda item was the Changing Children’s Services Fund – followed by a reflction on our INtegrated Children’s Services Plan – we have received feedback from the Scottish Executive who want more detail – this will make the document over 200 pages? I’m a bit worried about this – a few years ago the HMIe judged school effectiveness by measuring the weight of the development plan – I wonder of the Exec’ might be better to spend their time reflecting upon impact – rather than the plan?

I had hoped to get out to visit a school but a number of issues hit my desk. Out to North Berwick High School for a meeting about pupil support – Sheila Ainslie chaired the meeting – Sheila uses the
solution focussed approach in much of her work and I was mightily impressed with how she managed the meeting.

Back to the office for a communications group meeting which reflects upon communications issues in the department. There is understandable concern about any changes in accommodation when we finally settle on our restructuring process. Nothing unsettles people more than moving desks. We hope to engage all staff in this dialogue – we will probably need some movement but we’d like people to work out the solutions rather than imposing any masterplan.