Resources and news round-up

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
The distrACT app is aimed at teenagers who self-harm or feel suicidal (Image: Supplied)

This week's resources and news round-up includes an app addressing issues of self-harm, details of a programme of live streamed lessons from the Royal Shakespeare Company, information on the 9th National Pupil Premium and Ofsted Conference, and details of the government's recent SEN funding announcement

App to tackle self-harm

A NEW free app is helping young people who self-harm or feel suicidal.

Entitled distrACT, it has been created by doctors, psychologists, young adults, and experts in self-harm and suicide prevention. It is aimed at 16 to 24-year-olds.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the UK has the highest number of people who self-harm in Europe and it is estimated that 10 per cent of young people self-harm – two in every secondary classroom.

The app, for iPhone and Android, divides content into six areas:
• Facts and figures about self-harm, including dangers and warning signs.
• Self-help: dealing with feelings, managing the urge, distracting yourself, safer alternatives.
• Support: talking to family, healthcare, helplines.
• Local support: access to links with local information.
• Emergency: first aid, feeling suicidal, A&E.
• Chill zone: art, videos music and other creative interests.

The app’s creation has been led by a group of experts including GP Dr Knut Schroeder and clinical psychologist Dr Asha Patel.

SEN funding pledge

The government has outlined funding worth £45 million to provide additional help for children with SEND. It includes money to help the continued roll-out of the SEND reforms, including Education, Health and Care Plans. The plans include:

  • A £9.7 million fund to create supported internships, to bridge the gap between education and employment for vulnerable young people.
  • Funding worth £29 million to support councils and local partners with implementation of the SEND reforms.
  • Funding of £4.6 million for Parent Carer Forums, designed to link parents and local decision-makers.

Minister for children and families Robert Goodwill also promised that further funding would be available “to build capacity in the system and support the on-going delivery of the SEND reforms over the next two years”. This is to include providing families with access to information and advice, continuing support for the SEND workforce, and expert support for local areas.

It comes as the National Association of Head Teachers raised concerns about the “delays and difficulties” still being experienced in getting the right support for children with SEND. It said that local authorities and families are being put in impossible situations because of “chronic underfunding” and that while the number of young people who require support is rising, “funding is not keeping pace with demand”.

Live Shakespeare lessons

Schools in the UK are being offered access to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s rehearsal rooms as part of a new series of free 45-minute live lessons. Lessons for both Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth will be streamed directly into classrooms in a bid to give students an insight into the creative process leading up to an RSC production.

The first Live Lesson for Romeo and Juliet is scheduled for 10:30am on January 25 and will provide an overview of the show’s concept before focusing on the famous balcony scene.

Students will be able to feedback and send in their questions to be answered by the RSC professionals. Schools that register will receive lesson plans and activities to help them prepare.

The second Live Lesson will be Macbeth on April 19. Schools can also sign up to take part in the RSC’s free live broadcasts of both productions later in 2018.

The RSC live broadcasts have been running since 2013. Pictured is a scene from The Merchant of Venice, broadcast live into schools in 2016.

Pupil Premium advice

Advice on how schools can meet Ofsted requirements when it comes to Pupil Premium provision and outcomes will take centre stage at the Ninth National Pupil Premium and Ofsted Conference.

The event, in Birmingham on March 23, offers its usual mix of Pupil Premium best practice, interventions and strategies.

Organised by SecEd and Headteacher Update, it will feature a keynote address from senior HMI Peter Humphries focusing on what inspectors look for in relation to how a school uses Pupil Premium funding.

He will share effective practice on how schools evaluate the impact of Pupil Premium spending. This session will include a Q&A.

There is also a secondary keynote offering phase-specific Pupil Premium and Ofsted advice.

The event features 13 further mainly school-led sessions. Key themes for secondary delegates include employer engagement, Pupil Premium Reviews, evaluating/demonstrating impact, data and tracking, turning around Pupil Premium performance, SEN and mental health, and case studies of Ofsted inspection.

Places at the event cost £299. Early bird booking at £269 is available until December 22.


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