Person Centred Planning


Several of us in East Lothian were privileged to attend training on Person Centred Planning provided by Inclusive Solutions ( in May.
My Mind Map illustrates the process of making a MAP (Making Action Plans) – a structure that is used at Review Meetings where the child is at the centre. It is ‘a way of organising around one person to define and create a better future’. The idea is that the people who speak the most should be the people who know the person best and that professionals listen to a person’s dreams and acknowledge her/his nightmares so as to decide on actions.

Many of us have already had some practice – with each other and in real review meetings – and are planning to carry on with this exciting method of planning next session.

P.S. If you want to see the Mind Map more clearly, just click on it and it will magically enlarge. Oh the wonders of technology.

Time to see things from a different point of view

The Herald Society features the experiences of Natasha Stevens, a 14-year-old pupil who suffers from complex vision problems – in fact she has several, including colour blindness and night blindness as well as cone rod dystrophy and retinitis pigmentosa – two progressive eye conditions.

‘If school work given to Natasha is not perfectly formatted – in the right font and size, and on a white background, then she can’t use it. Pictures also need to be separate from text. For the most part, her schoolteachers try enlarging handouts onto A3 paper – but, according to her mother, that can make the letters fuzzy and hard to read. “They think they’re doing good, but they are just making it harder for Natasha…’

Unfortunately this experience is common for blind and partially-sighted children, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People in Scotland (RNIB) which launched a campaign on the issue of educational materials at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre yesterday.

The Right to Learn campaign is calling for a National Education Transcription Service which would transcribe curriculum material to a consistent professional standard, at the same time as it is being produced for other pupils.

RNIB Scotland launches ‘Right to Read’ campaign

 Launch event highlighting shortage of educational material in accessible formats.

RNIB Scotland says blind and partially sighted schoolchildren can still struggle to access textbooks in a format they can understand.

They have launched a new campaign to highlight the dearth of educational material available in braille, large print, CD or audio. A giant poster was unveiled in Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre yesterday by young people who themselves have sight loss.

RNIB Scotland is proposing that a National Education Transcription Service be established that could transcribe curriculum material to a consistent professional standard, and be a single point for liaison with educational publishers.

The campaign is being supported by a youth forum, ‘Haggeye’, set up by and for 12 to 25 year-olds with sight loss in Scotland.

Supporting diversity and equality through improved access

JISC reports on groundbreaking work that will provide support for delivery of resources to disabled students and staff.

The JISC TechDis Service has joined forces with the Publishers Association to provide resources which have the potential to transform the delivery of learning materials to disabled students and staff.

These two resources, developed in collaboration with the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and several major publishers, will support the delivery of materials in alternative formats to meet the needs of people with a range of disabilities, a crucial requirement for equality of access for all students and staff in education and research One of the resources – Publisher Lookup UK – will enable education providers and publishers to source electronic formats of textbooks for students with disabilities more quickly and efficiently than existing processes allow.

Good news for people needing to circumvent the barrier of print. And good news too, ultimately, for learners in countries whose libraries and schools are shockingly short of resources because of poverty and/or conflict. How terrific it must be to be a teacher in an African classroom to come across text books online. It will revolutionise children’s learning world wide. (And yes of course there are issues about connectivity and access to computers but that is being addressesd too, not least by the World Bank.)

Moving and Handling Courses

Well we’re off! It’s good to report that East Lothian’s four Moving and Handling Tutors (Handling People with Special Needs, Education) have recently led their first course and the feedback has been very positive! The six willing participants on this first course were great to work with and there was plenty of laughter all round!

In October four staff from East Lothian and a further 3 from Midlothian qualified as Manual Handling Tutors with a view to delivering training within schools throughout our respective local authorities. Both authorities had identified the need to have qualified ‘in-house’ tutors who could offer this essential training to relevant staff on a regular basis.

The course is designed to cover all aspects of theoretical and practical aspects of handling clients in line with Manual Handling policy. Training covers a variety of modules including Safe Load Management, Legal Requirements, Spinal Awareness, Safety Checkpoints, Risk Assessment and Looking After Yourself as well as practical work and the use of aids and equipment. High quality resources, DVDs and teaching materials enable us offer interesting and dynamic courses.

As well as the generic 6 hour training delivered over two Friday afternoons, sessions can also be tailored to individuual schools or partcular clients. These courses will be in the new CPD brochure and particular requirements should be discussed with the Staff Development Team

A Poor Deal for Special Needs

Soapbox | E-learning |

Mick Archer, editor of Special Children magazine, maintains that pupils with special educational needs are not getting adequate access to suitable ICT resources, and nowhere is this more pronounced than in mainstream secondary schools. According to a recent survey by the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa), more than half of secondary Sencos (special educational needs coordinators) felt they were under-resourced in appropriate curriculum software and digital content. This reflects a more widespread resource crisis, as technological innovation gathers pace and schools struggle to keep up. This month a new survey from Besa will highlight the huge discrepancy between the use schools believe they will be making of new technologies in 2010 and current use.

 Organisations representing children with SEN are tired of being treated as the Cinderellas of an education system that claims to be “inclusive”. Increasingly they are arguing for SEN funding to be ring-fenced or for individualised funding where the money is attached to the child.

The article does not clarify whether the survey pertains to the whole of the UK or to England alone.  The reference to SENCO’s implies the latter – no surprises there. However, it is an interesting question as to whether children with ASN are being appropriately provided for.

More Choices, More Chances

The Scottish Government announced yesterday at the More Choices, More Chances conference that the future of every young person in Scotland would be discussed.

The interests of all young people aged from three to 18 will be at the heart of the More Choices, More Chances event at Celtic Park in Glasgow where attendees will be discussing among many topics how they can achieve the biggest development of Scottish education for a generation.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, said:

“At a national level, the Government will be providing a framework for reform which will ensure that Scotland’s education system delivers the most it can for every one of our young people, with additional support and guidance for those who need it.

“However, the responsibility for bringing Curriculum for Excellence to life is a shared one.

“Effective reform must come from local authorities taking ownership and working with schools, teachers and other partners. It is teachers and those working directly with young people who are best placed to meet the needs of individual learners and school leaders and local authorities have a responsibility to provide support in helping them deliver.”

The Consultation on the Next Generation of Qualifications for Scotland’s Young People will also be launched at the event. The document will outline the proposed revised qualifications framework which is another key element of Curriculum for Excellence.

Count Us In: Improving the education of our looked after children

HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIE)

The launch of ‘Count us in: Improving the education of our looked after children’ (HMIE, June 2008) took place on 10 June at the All Bar None Conference be held in Celtic Park, Glasgow.

‘Count Us In: Improving the education of our looked after children’ reports on inspection activity, including visits to a sample of fourteen local authorities, carried out in 2006-07 to assess the progress being made in improving educational outcomes for looked after children. This work was designed to complement the key messages and themes emerging from the discussions which led to ‘Looked after children and young people: we can and must do better’. The report contains evaluations of practice and, most importantly, provides examples of good practice and ‘signposts for improvement’ which local authorities and their partners can use as they continue to improve outcomes for looked after children and young people.

English is too hard to read for children,,2284503,00.html

The Observer reports on recent research that claims that the English spelling system is ‘absolutely, unspeakably awful’. That is the conclusion of new research that has found that children face 800 words by the age of 11 that hinder their reading because of the way they are spelt.

Monkey, asparagus, spinach, caterpillar, dwarf, banana, handkerchief, pliers, soldiers, stomach, petal and telescope have all been included on the long list of words that baffle children because they contain letter combinations that are more commonly pronounced in a different way.

The words have all been identified as problematic for reading, as opposed to writing, because of their ‘phonic unreliability’, according to the study The Most Costly English Spellings. It was presented at the weekend at the conference of the Spelling Society, held at Coventry University.