Should prison officers be recruited to support behaviour in schools?

Amelia Roberts.

Last month The TES revealed that prison officers are being sought by recruitment agency Principal Resourcing to deal with ‘behaviour issues and disruptions’ in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Wakefield.

The image this conjures up is rather unfortunate, and one can’t help but wonder what some prison officers would do without the customary tools of the trade, such as lockable cells, handcuffs, tasers and solitary confinement. As Mary Bousted, joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, says in the TES story: ‘…the set of skills you learn as a prison officer are not necessarily transferrable to schools.’ Moreover, there is an unspoken implication that these young people are unruly and incorrigible, incapable of being helped and merely prison fodder on a predetermined pathway to incarceration.

On the other hand, some prison officers could carry out the behaviour support role in schools with aplomb. Recent research looking at prison education found that:

‘Most prison educators felt that, in addition to achievement, it was important to be able to develop the learning skills and self-image of those they worked with. As one said: ‘I would like learners to gain self-confidence and work on release and be able to network … Teaching has to reach the whole person’.

Our whole school Knowledge Exchange programme: Supporting Wellbeing, Emotional Resilience and Learning (SWERL), takes Read more ›

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Posted in Special educational needs and psychology, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Michael Young: fighting for working class students’ access to knowledge

John Morgan. 

The Guardian Education section last week published a profile of Michael Young, Professor of the Sociology of Education at UCL. Its author, Peter Wilby, charts what he saw as Young’s dramatic shift from countercultural figure on the educational left to alleged supporter of Michael Gove’s narrow view of the National Curriculum.

Wilby reverts to what has been described as the default settings of educational discourse in England, whereby to be in favour of the dissolution of subject boundaries is to be “progressive”, whilst to be in favour of strong subject boundaries is seen to be at best “traditional”, and at worst, “Conservative”. This could not be further from the truth. As Wilby acknowledges, Michael Young has always sought to advance the socialistcause in education.

The fact that he Read more ›

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Posted in Employment and skills, Social sciences and social policy, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Early childhood provision: are we moving forward, backward – or both?

Helen Penn

The Labour party manifesto brings in a new policy on early education and childcare. It extends the government’s 30 hours of free childcare programme to the parents of all two-, three- and four-year-olds and improves the training of childcare workers. How new or radical is this policy? Can it deliver?

In my new book Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible: A memoir of work in childcare and education (Routledge) I explore the changes in early education and childcare policy over the last 50 years, from the point of view of someone working in the services and trying to change them. On 6 November, a conference at the UCL Institute of Education, Looking Back, Looking Forwards, will take the debate further.

When I began as an early years teacher in London 50 years ago, there were three Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Education policy

Children’s mental health and well-being – a truly trickle down issue

IOE Events.

Our first What if…? debate of 2018/19 addressed the provocation What if… we wanted our kids to be happier? We were delighted to be joined by panellists Caroline Hounsell of Mental Health First Aid England; Praveetha Patalay of UCL; Patrick Johnston of Place2Be, and Viv Grant, former head teacher and Director of Integrity Coaching. What emerged from the discussion was just what a trickle down issue children’s mental health is: first in the sense that, for teachers to be able to support young people’s well-being, their own needs to be looked after first; and then there’s the  failure of (for the sake of a short-hand) ‘trickle-down’ economics.

The panel were clear that the prevalence of mental health issues has increased markedly over recent decades, and particularly so in the last few years: the IOE’s birth cohort study data show that today’s parents of teenagers have greater levels of mental health difficulties than parents from a decade ago, while a host of studies document the increased levels of reporting among children, and from ever younger ages.  As last month’s Nuffield Trust report also shows, reduced stigma may account for some of the rise, but by no means all of it. Nowhere are these pressures felt more strongly than in schools – which are themselves simultaneously caught up in the same dynamics and on the frontline of mediating young people’s Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, IOE debates, Social sciences and social policy, Special educational needs and psychology

Personalisation in children’s reading: what do the literacy experts think?

Natalia Kucirkova.

With the advent of personalised news and algorithms automatically predicting what one should read, children’s own agency as readers is in peril. When this is coupled with a boom in the children’s personalised book industry, reading for pleasure is becoming reading about ‘me’ rather than ‘you’. It’s self-oriented rather than outward-facing. What can be done about it?

Personalisation is a buzzword in education, with a lot of confusion about what it actually means. UCL Institute of Education has a strong expertise in the context of children’s personalised reading, and last week, the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0-11 years) and the International Literacy Centre hosted a one-day conference as part of my project on Personalised Stories.

The conference’s aim was Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Language and literacy
UCL Institute of Education

This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.

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