Supporting ASC/SEMH Pupils Returning in September: My ‘Top Ten’ List
My 'Top 10' Tips for supporting SEMH/ASC pupils returning to the school environment after their Summer Holidays:
Discuss their strengths and needs
If you have a new class of pupils discuss their strengths and needs with their previous Teachers and Teaching Assistants and read the pupils’ files but remember that a file never represents the amazing talented children and young people that we work with.
Visit them at home
Do a home visit to meet the pupil and their parents/carers to introduce yourself and to discuss their child’s strengths and to set out your high expectations and the IEP targets for them around learning and behaviour including reminding them of upcoming leadership week at the end of September and the leadership opportunities this offers them. Get them interested in being young leaders. Use the visit to signal to Parents/Carers that you want a positive partnership with them and establish an agreed plan for communication. Remember to call them regularly and mostly about the positives.
Meet and greet each pupil
Teaching teams please meet and greet each child as they arrive at the front door of the school and signal that they have been missed and please explore how our pupils with most complex circumstances including LAC have managed through the holidays.
Nurture them back into the school environment
Remember your pupils may have been out of routine throughout the holidays, some will not have had structure, boundaries or occasionally enough food and some of our LAC pupils may have been moved and will need an appropriate blend of care, support and control to get back into the school routine - provide lots of nurture.
Hold a ‘Welcome back’ assembly
Join a whole school assembly where pupils are welcomed back and where the whole school; pupils and staff are reminded of the community values and especially the high expectations that set your school/Create apart and make it the inclusive school that we are all proud of.
Create a welcoming environment
Work together with your pupils to put some significant effort into making your classroom a welcome learning environment. Work together to create Inspirational wall displays and display motivational speeches linked to our Leadership specialism in every school. Give your class a real wow factor.
Hold a Tutor Group
Prepare and deliver a Tutor Group to your pupils in which you remind them of the support you will provide them and the work you, the teaching team will do to support them in making it a very successful year. In the Tutor Group deliver positive messages to each pupil; successes last year and our collective community values for the coming year - remind pupils of leadership options and our high expectations of them in learning and behaviour - go through the Classroom High Five Behaviour for Learning expectations and give everyone in class a personal responsibility.
Behaviour is a communication
Teaching teams to remind themselves that behaviour is a communication and poor behaviour is very often a communication of unmet needs - anticipate needs in advance and subtly find out the underlying reasons for concerning behaviour - watch out for those pupils who communicate unmet needs by their silence or by withdrawing.
Stay calm and support each other
Remember that the only tool we have when working with children/young people who challenge us is ourselves. Always take a breath before getting involved in a situation that is escalating, stay calm and support each other and always look to deescalate.
Seek advice from your clinical team
Seek advice from the Inclusion or Clinical team if any pupil is clearly demonstrating difficulties with settling back into class after the long break but remember it is your relationships with these pupils that will enable them to settle most quickly.