Written by Fran Morgan with Ellie Costello and edited by Ian Gilbert, Square Pegs: Inclusivity, compassion and fitting in – a guide for schools is a book for educators who find themselves torn between a government/Ofsted narrative around behaviour, attendance and attainment, and their own passion for supporting square pegs and their families.
Over the last few years, changes in education have made it increasingly hard for those children who don’t ‘fit’ the system – the square pegs in a rigid system of round holes.
Budget cuts, the loss of support staff, an overly academic curriculum, problems in the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) system and difficulties accessing mental health support have all compounded pre-existing problems with behaviour and attendance. The ‘attendance = attainment’ and zero-tolerance narrative is often at odds with the way schools want to work with their communities, and many school leaders don’t know which approach to take.
This book will be invaluable in guiding leaders and teaching staff through the most effective ways to address this challenge. It covers a broad spectrum of opportunity, from proven psychological approaches to technological innovations. It tests the boundaries of the current system in terms of curriculum, pedagogy and statutory Department for Education guidance. And it also presents a clear, legalese-free view of education, SEND and human rights law, where leaders have been given responsibility for its implementation but may not always fully understand the legal ramifications of their decisions or may be pressured into unlawful behaviour.
Bringing different perspectives and expertise together in one place, Square Pegs aims to help school leaders and staff support children (and their families) more effectively. The authors cover a wide variety of topics – including school attendance, building relationships, trauma-informed practice, and behaviour management. Featuring contributions from more than 50 individual authors, this is an accessible, dip-in, dip-out book – perfect for busy school leaders.
Suitable for all professionals working in education and the related issues surrounding children and young people’s mental health, as well as policymakers, academics and government ministers.