Articles and blogs
Resilience is currently a bit of a toxic word currently. The idea that we need to build young people’s resilience to ‘survive’ some of society’s contemporary challenges has hints of ‘victim’ blaming. Living in poverty – toughen up. Experienced trauma – develop grit. Mental illness – not strong enough. This is not where Every Child Should is coming from.
It’s been a series of rapid releases in education. I have had a lot of requests to write a response and to date I have struggled. And it’s taken me a while to figure out why. I have realised it’s because the general response from the education system has been – well – broadly ‘pin the tail on the blame donkey’.
There’s one group of people who are likely to provoke a lively response in a teacher led pub debate. No not HMIs. Not even Education Ministers. Consultants. For some on social media it has become the ultimate ad hominin. To read articles you’d think contractors and consultants were single handedly bringing down education.
Last week I attended the last session of this year’s A New Direction Advocates. This programme supports teachers of the arts to lead learning in both their own schools and across the system. As this group of Advocates – some of whom I had the privilege to have worked with for 3 years – presented their work I was struck by quality, passion and impact of their projects.
I thought hard about writing this blog. I really did. I’ve been warned – a lot – not to stick my head above the parapet. To keep my head down. Not to make any waves. And – honestly – I considered it. Being labelled a difficult woman – a trouble maker – is career threatening. Even more so perhaps when like me and over a million women you are self employed and reputation is what you trade on.
The current Department for Education SEND Workforce Contract ends this week and the new contract holder is to be announced. As a consultant I am remarkably proud of the part I played in securing and delivering this work with and on behalf of both London Leadership Strategy and NASEN. £5million is a considerable consultancy fundraising win and successfully implementing something of this scale to effect such change is something I am glad to have led.
Part of my work over 2018 through Every Child Should is to look at the importance of outdoor learning and connections to nature for every child. My own personal experiences as a lover of adventurous activities, combined with the work I have done over the years with organisations that work in this field, has shown me the value of this work on well-being and happiness.
The strength of consortiums in affecting change is a core principle of Every Child Should. As is the belief that all children should be included in all aspects of education. In her recent piece for Schools Week Anita Kerwin-Nye talks about the change affected by Whole School SEND in the battle for inclusion.
Ecotherapy. I confess I rolled my eyes at the title. An attempt to medicalise the language attached to something many of us just know to be true – being outside makes us feel better. But, if the word further embeds outdoor experiences into approaches to mental health the title works for me.
Anita Kerwin-Nye leads the Every Child Should Campaign and is a key note speaker at the CLOtC conference on 16 November 2017.
‘Inclusion’ seems like an easy idea to quantify when placed next to ‘exclusion’. Trying to explain the term without doing so is a little harder but, as Anita Kerwin-Nye said in her introduction to the Is Inclusion Over? Conference, if they don’t, education sector specialists end up just talking to themselves
As we prepare for our Is Inclusion Over? event we have been reviewing the importance of language. Leaving aside technical definitions of exclusion as a school process (which is not universally understood) do the words that we use help to create shared understanding of both the issue we are trying to address and its potential solutions?
I’ve worked with young people with SEND my entire life. From volunteering to take young people with Muscular Dystrophy climbing when I was a teenager; through specialising in SEN in my teacher training; to working on literacy in prisons and… Read More »
Anita’s paper, on why and how the charity sector should communicate, looks back on ICAN’s initiative to establish greater collaboration in the field of communication disability. This paper led to the DCSF funding the establishment of The Communication Trust – a not for profit coalition of over 40 traditionally competing charities – which Anita founded and led as Director until 2012. The Trust was recognised by the Cabinet Office and Third Sector as an example of best practice in effective collaborative working.