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Achievement for All (AfA) Strand 2 parental engagement

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1 Achievement for All (AfA) Strand 2 parental engagement
Structured Conversation CASCADE TRAINING FOR SCHOOLS 1pm – 4pm

2 Welcome Your presenters today are:
Val Brown (Service Manager - Learning Support Service) Julie Thompson (SIPS SEN Lead Consultant) Zoe King (Educational Psychologist - Psychology Service) George Thomas (Service Manager - Autism Outreach) 2 presenters

3 Outline of session 1.00pm – 2.30pm Overview of Achievement for All Purposes of the structured conversation Training: outline, supporting materials Framework for the structured conversation Refreshments 2.45pm – 4.00pm Framework for the structured conversation (cont’d) Demonstration of the structured conversation (Video) Issues and questions Next steps

4 Aims of the Cascade Training
To understand the purpose and nature of the Structured Conversation. (What it is) To understand the basic skills of carrying out a structured conversation. (How to do it) To begin to consider how participants might train others in the structured conversation framework.

5 Achievement for All – What is it?
2 year innovative pilot National Strategies project with 10 LAs and 460 schools. Started in Sept 2009. Commitment from Children’s Plan - £31m funding. Targets pupils with SEND in Y1, Y5, Y7, Y10. Builds on good practice – Assessment for Learning; Assessing Pupil Progress; Quality First Teaching and Personalised Learning. Enables schools and LAs to reflect on existing strategies that are effective and provide capacity to strengthen provision. Staff have liked the fact that it builds on many of the National Strategy materials and good practice

6 Aims of Achievement for All (AfA)
3 Main Aims: To improve the achievement and progress of children and young people with SEND. To improve the engagement of parents of children and young people with SEND with their school. To improve the wider outcomes for children and young people with SEND. Therefore the aims of the project are… Improving achievement and progress in particular within English and maths So they become partners in their childs learning, are given appropriate information and the opportunity to contribute to meeting their childs needs and become more confident in the education system Not just focused on attainment within English and maths – also about improving those outcomes which relate to the development of those personal skills, characteristics and attributes that will enable children and young people to enjoy their childhood and to make positive and fulfilling contributions to society (and will have an impact on other aspects of their learning).

7 To meet these 3 aims, there are 3 strands.
The aims of the project are being achieved through the delivery of 3 key strands: 1. Assessment, tracking and intervention includes the use of Assessing Pupil Progress (APP) to track pupils’ progress, the setting of curriculum targets and implementation of appropriate interventions to support children and young people to make progress in their learning. 2. Structured conversations with parents which focus on the use of a clear framework for developing an open, ongoing dialogue with parents about their child’s learning. 3. Provision for developing wider outcomes. This has involved schools developing key actions to support children and young people with SEND to make progress in one or two of the following areas; attendance, behaviour, bullying, developing positive relationships and increasing participation.’ Schools in pilot have engaged in all of these strands as one area of the project will have a positive knock-on effect on the other areas. We will just be looking at one today – which as we will hear later has shown evidence of impact. As we know parents engagement in their child’s learning is key to their outcomes. Parents may have their own reasons for not wanting to engage with their child’s school fully. Their own experiences of school and teachers. We know the tremendous impact a good teacher can have. Watch Video – one parent’s story about his experience of schools. VIDEO

8 Why the need for a structured conversation?
Harris & Goodall “Parents: Do They Matter?” (2007) found parental engagement is critical to the child’s achievement. Brian Lamb’s Inquiry (2009) reported: “What has struck us quite forcibly is that it seems no one has had a discussion with parents about the outcomes they aspire to for their child.” Good to have academic background , most importantly a structured conversation stops our own agenda masking what others are thinking and feeling. Very easy to only hear what we want to hear and steer conversation the way we want it to go. Lamb – sad to think that parents may feel this way. Question WHAT would you want parents to be saying about you? Talking today about Structured Conversation - proper noun part of AfA, but doesnt need to be – contains a useful structure for any conversation with parents. For many staff a useful reminder of the skills we need to use.

9 Focus for our session today – Strand 2: the Structured Conversation Why? Because of impact so far
Outcomes of the initial structured conversations have shown improvements in provision and in ensuring aspirational targets are set. Overwhelming evidence already from schools prioritising the structured conversations of significant impact on improving the engagement of parents with the education of their children Particular focus on parental engagement within strand 2 through development of the structured conversation. Impact so far reported from Pilot authorities has been encouraging and so we felt this would be well worth sharing with schools in light of research / wider parental feedback. Significant impact key teachers within these schools have undertaken the structured conversation training, and a range of strategies have been employed to support the conversations to take place.

10 Pupils are reporting: they talk to their parents more about what they are learning at school; their parents are helping them with their learning at home; they feel more confident to contribute in lessons; they are happier in school because they are becoming successful in areas where they have previously struggled.

11 Parents are reporting:
they value the experience of the structured conversation and feel they are being listened to; they feel that this is the best opportunity they have had to really talk to the school about their child; they are sharing ideas with the teacher about the most effective ways of supporting their child.

12 Teachers are reporting:
the training has effectively equipped them with the core skills they need to hold a more open and listening dialogue with parents; they are feeling more confident to have ‘open conversations’ with parents; they are gaining more information than ever before about their pupils; they are starting to use the increased knowledge and information they have about their pupils to improve provision to meet their needs more effectively

13 The AfA Structured Conversation Resource
Available on-line Includes resources to cascade training: PowerPoint presentation (very similar to this!); Information booklet ‘The Structured Conversation: Handbook to support training’ Structured conversation video clips to use in training Easy to find at moment google structured conversation but not sure longer term plans by DFE so may be worth downloading training clips. Handbook in pack

14 Aims of the structured conversation
The structured conversation is intended to facilitate a relationship that develops around the shared purpose of improving the educational achievement of young people with SEND; this will allow the free exchange of information and views; the evolution of supportive teaching and learning strategies and clarity of learning objectives. Page 6 Activity - By yourself identify key words in this paragraph. Then share with partner. (2 mins) Relationship Shared purpose Free exchange of info Which informs Teaching and learning strategies Agree parameters of conversation Physical environment Emphasise the importance of teachers striking the balance between more active listening and less talking to parents.

15 Benefits of the structured conversation
Establishes an effective relationship. Parents can express their aspirations. Teacher and parent can share concerns. They can set clear targets and decide on how to achieve them. Clarifies responsibilities of all parties. But not about parents offloading all their problems Pupil voice – at some point will want to involve pupil. Probably not in an initial meeting. Talk about later IEP targets – often given to parents with only token involvement. In pilot found by doing SC and with provision map in place more collaborative - didn't need IEP targets for some pupils. Everyone was clear what action they were taking and how this would be reviewed.

16 Process for the Structured Conversation
Prior to meeting key teacher gathers information on progress and gaps in learning including information from staff. Key teacher gathers the pupil’s views (this may be part of the structured conversation). The key teacher holds the initial structured conversation with the parent as early as possible in Autumn term (see following framework for details) The pupil may also be part of this conversation, dependent on age, maturity and level of understanding. The key teacher informs the subject teacher and any other school staff of the outcome of the conversation and agreed curriculum targets. Through the communications arrangements agreed the key teacher confirms the targets, actions and support with the parent and pupil. Detailed Guidance in Handbook to support training.Part 1 There is an expectation, for example, that the majority of young people in Year 10 will be directly involved in the structured conversation for at least part of the meeting If not directly involved, there should be an opportunity for the child or young person to make their views known. In Pilot the first structured conversation needed to take place as early as possible in the autumn term . And was between thirty minutes to an hour in length. In your school this may well align with existing meeting. Preferably, the structured conversation was held three times a year. However, schools also needed to agree ongoing communication systems with parents which were flexible and meet the needs of all involved. If this works well, a second or third formal structured conversation may not be necessary. Point out that, not all initial conversations will take the same length of time; second conversations may take even less time, but always plan for an hour; any spare time can be used to record the outcomes.

17 Negotiating a contract
The contract is a concise verbal statement about the purpose of the conversation and a request for the other person’s view of that purpose or for what they want from the meeting. For example, ‘I’d like to find out as much as possible about Hannah and what you think we can do to help improve her maths. We have about thirty minutes. Is that ok with you?’ Prior to start of meeting – parents need to know what purpose of meeting is; time available; likely number of meetings; confidentiality Advantages of negotiating a contract – less threatenting; ground is cleared, purposeful tone VIDEO

18 Framework for the structured conversation
Stress the importance of preparing for the meeting. Gather information from all staff that teach and support the pupil beforehand; gain the views of the child. Many schools report the importance of establishing a simple recording mechanism to facilitate this. Framework offered as a guide to the direction the conversation should take – opening out as issues are explored, narrowing to a point of focus; widening as parents and teachers endeavour to fin solutions to these issues. Explain there are key skills linked to these four stages which will be explored in turn.

19 Stage 1 Exploring stage: attending
The Structured Conversation Stage 1 Exploring stage: attending Attending is about giving the right non-verbal messages, using open body language and maintaining good eye contact. It’s also about asking the right kinds of questions with a tentative tone, questions around the parent’s aspirations, the child’s needs, what’s been tried before, what barriers there are to achievement. ●As teachers we are already good at interpersonal skills and use of body language but useful reminder Questions What are the needs of the child or young person? ● What provision is currently in place for them? ● What has worked well in the past? ● What have been the barriers to achievement? ● What does the parent want for their child and believe is attainable in the best possible circumstances? The skills required at this stage are those of an active listener and intelligent questioner. The key teacher must try to understand how the parent may be feeling, for some parents this may be the first time they have been part of a conversation like this and they could be quite anxious about it. Questions should be open rather than closed that questions that require only yes/no responses.

20 Exploring stage: paraphrasing
A paraphrase is an attempt to restate in a fresh way the main part of what someone has said without adding any of your own ideas, feelings, interpretations etc. The tone is tentative and slightly questioning. It’s powerful because it is the main way in which empathy is communicated and because it clears up miscommunications.

21 Exploring stage: paraphrasing exercise
In triads, A talks about the topic of “a book (or film) / a child or parent I know.” B attends and listens During this period, B should attempt to paraphrase three or four times, maintaining a conversational rhythm as far as possible, avoiding long silences or long periods in which the speaker speaks uninterruptedly. C feeds back on what was effective in the paraphrase and non-verbal communication. The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is that we may listen the more and speak the less.’ (Greek Philosopher Zeno of Citium 333–246 BC)

22 The Structured Conversation Stage 2: Focusing
This is a stage concerned with helping the parent identify the key issues and priorities for action. It involves being explicit about the nature of aspiration and need. The skills required are concerned with being able to identify key priorities, clarify key issues and their impact on progress. Requires use of summarising and questions

23 Focusing stage: summarising
Summaries draw themes and points together and give some `shape’ to an interview. They are most useful when a conversation is becoming repetitive, meandering or confused. A variation called Choice Point is useful when a parent raises several topics for discussion. The teacher summarises and then adds something like ‘Which would you like to take first?’ Choice point – jargon for ‘priority’ Solution focussed

24 Focusing stage: summarising exercise 5
A is asked to talk about an aspect of his/her life that they wish they could change. B listens carefully, attending and paraphrasing at regular intervals. After around 5 minutes, B should summarise what has been said, trying to identify clearly each issue that A has introduced. A continues to speak. C gives feedback to B, carefully noting the impact of paraphrase, summary and choice point. Activity : Exercise 5 summarising and choice points (see page 28 E.g. work life / exercise/ amount of time travelling / living in a warmer climate - remind topic should be low level not distressful

25 Focusing stage: questioning
Questions can destroy or illuminate the tone of a conversation. Helpful questions are those which help a parent clarify or see a new possibility. What do questions do? What is the value of questions? What are their limitations? See Page 13 and 29 Discuss Questions establish facts; elicit information; clarify misconceptoions Also have limitations:Often say more about questioner’s interest and thoughts Can divert from a path that is more useful Can close down conversation if overused may feel more like interrogation ‘The key teacher should always be prepared to ask the follow up question e.g. if a parent is asking for particular provision the key teacher should ask ‘Why do you think that would work?’ By exploring issues openly with the parent, by asking open, follow up questions this will allow the parent to explore what they really want which is sometimes not what they asked for at the beginning of the conversation.’

26 The Miracle Question “If a miracle occurred overnight and when you woke your problem was solved, how would you know? Or “If we put into place all the things we have discussed and they worked really well …” How would things be different? What would you notice? What would someone close to you notice?” …phrased so as to elicit a positive answer. Give Warning about using Miracle question re parents wishing child would no longer have condition / disability ie The use of the word miracle (exercise 6; Using questions, page 29) can be substituted with phrases such as “what one thing would make the greatest difference” or above

27 The Structured Conversation Stage 3: Planning
Skills – giving information; Agreeing and setting targets or goals Plan 7.24 Having identified key issues, this stage is concerned with the actions that need to be carried out to address them. It is important at this time that the parent has as much opportunity as possible to say what they may do to support progress. It is also important that the parent and teacher set and agree challenging but achievable targets. These should be framed in language which is clearly understood by both parties and, most importantly, by the pupil. They will provide a framework against which progress can be measured. The processes and activities which will help to secure achievement of the targets should be discussed and ideally should include responsibilities for the parent, the teacher, the pupil and the school.

28 Planning stage: setting goals
Clear goals need to be established taking into account: What came out of the parent’s aspirations? The teacher’s knowledge of the child. Commitment needs to be established: Benefits of achieving the goal. How much do we want this? 7.25 A plan should be produced as a result of this conversation. The plan should; ● not be complex or too detailed ; ● avoid jargon; ● include long-term and short-term goals; and ● replace current IEPs, if appropriate. (7.26 The school should ensure that a copy is maintained within the school and one is provided for the parent. Where the pupil is not present at the discussion the parent and the school will wish to agree how they will each engage and motivate the child or young person to ‘own’ the targets and work towards their achievement. Furthermore, for pupils with statements, annual reviews could be aligned with the conversations with parents.)

29 Planning stage: giving information
Establishing goals and targets may involve giving parents information to increase understanding. e.g. pupils level of progress in literacy / maths Giving information is different from giving advice. It should help parents make a decision not suggest what the decision should. Complex information is more likely to be remembered if you: use simple words and short sentences, categorise (e.g. there are three points here), avoid jargon, check understanding.

30 Planning stage: giving information example
“Hayley is actually making good progress; and is very close to achieving the two levels you are speaking of. If we can agree what needs to be done to support her to achieve just a little more, she can make the two levels.”

31 Planning stage: setting goals and targets
Start with the prediction and then consider all the other factors in order to determine an appropriate challenge. Target = prediction + challenge The teacher and parents need to consider what else is known about the pupil that might impact on progress in order to agree an appropriate degree of challenge. Suggestion from schools - Replace the word “targets” with “next steps”. Emphasise the importance of agreeing targets in the structured conversation. A target is a prediction based on past performance, plus a challenge: Prediction + Challenge = Target It is the level of challenge which will lead to the realisation of the intended outcomes agreed with the parents and children. The main points to consider are: targets need to be based on an analysis of the child’s real strengths and areas for improvement. The teacher will need to prepared for the structured conversation so this information is at hand and can be shared; all targets need to be practical and agreed with parents and children; parents and children need to know what to do in order to make the expected progress to reach the targets; any strategies or interventions should be clarified to include timescales and the success criteria that will be used to evaluate impact; methods and timescales for ongoing assessment and review should be clarified with the parents and child. It may be at this point in the conversation that ongoing communication arrangements will be made with the parents; Effective schoolswill already have well established systems for assessment, tracking and target setting, including the use of Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP). As far as possible schools should use and build on these systems rather than creating further systems which are different and may not be sustainable.

32 Planning stage: the GROW Model
Goal: What do you want achieve? Reality: What’s happening now? Options: What could you do? Way Forward: What will you do? Also Could be GROWER ie Evaluating - How will we know things have changed? and Review – When will we check progress and decide on next steps?

33 The Structured Conversation Stage 4: Reviewing
Last stage of framework Summarising , clarifying next steps and agreeing further communication

34 Review stage: summarising
It is important that the Review stage includes a written record of what has been discussed/agreed. Summary of areas discussed, important issues, goals and plans put in place. Summary should be concise, in writing, comprehensible to parent and colleagues (limited jargon). Invite parents to check their understanding. Sets clear line of future communication, for example: regular meetings, a person the parent can contact, the date of the next structured conversation. This stage of the meeting provides an opportunity to summarise the key points of the discussion, to clarify the next steps and arrange dates for further meetings or alternative communication. Agree how you are going to stay in touch between formal communication e.g. Text date for next meeting ; be realistic This stage is also the time to check out the perceptions of all participants about how well the meeting has gone and the extent to which it has met the expectations of all involved. It is important that key teachers gain as much insight as possible into how the parent or pupil feels about the meeting; it may be that this is not easy to do straight away but that a follow-up phone call or might be more productive. 7.28 The key teacher could ask the parent and child or young person: ●● How well has the meeting gone? ●● Is there anything else you want to add? ●● Have we missed anything? ●● Have we listened to you well enough and do you think we have understood and appreciated the issues? ●● Can we summarise exactly what we decided? ●● Can we agree when we are next meeting and ways to keep in touch in between?

35 Reflecting on the conversation
Did I: Plan the structure of the conversation? Ensure the environment was conducive? Clear my mind? Overuse or neglect any key skills? How did it impact on the parent? What did it achieve? What are the implications for the future? What worked well Even better if

36 Next steps Consider : What is our self evaluation telling us about the engagement of parents of children and young people with SEND? What more do we want for our parents and children with SEND? What outcomes will the structured conversation approach help bring about? Consider what is needed to implement the structured conversation Build on existing meetings pattern with parents rather than additional e.g. Use approach of structured conversation in target / IEP review meetings Developing staff skills further? (Share training with other schools? Coaching.) Staffing – who /when / where? Which pupils/ parents are our priority? Consider piloting with SEN pupils in an identified year group / class Parents may have personal reasons for not engaging. Parents may have lower expectations and aspirations for their child. Engaging parents - Other ideas from Pilot: As we said before, any limited engagement by parents so far may be based on parents’ own experience of school and perceptions of teachers. Holding a pre structured conversation on the phone with parents to reassure the more reluctant ones of the purpose of the meeting. Giving parents the choice of whether they also want to attend the usual parent’s evening meetings. Offering a range of times for parents to attend meetings covering the whole day from 8am to 7pm – within limits of staffing. Encouraging reluctant parents to invite a key person for the child, other than themselves to the meeting, e.g. an elder sibling, grandparents or a neighbour. Texting parents to remind them of the appointment time and for any other on-going communication.

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