This is an excellent introductory text to special educational needs and inclusion. It is aimed at trainee teachers and addresses relevant Professional Standards for QTS, but is certainly not constrained by these. The book is organised around three key themes of: principles and policies of special educational needs; working with others; and practical applications in the primary classroom.

Individual chapters are concise, and carefully designed to encourage personal and professional reflection through the use of extracts from a broad range of thought provoking articles and up-to-date books. The text lends itself to use as an interactive reader, perhaps through seminar teaching, and it certainly illustrates how initial teacher education can ensure that trainee teachers do not achieve QTS status without gaining a good introductory grounding in special educational needs.

Reflective Reader: Primary Special Educational Needs Sue Soan, price £14 ISBN 1-84445-038-4

Learning Matters


The Learning Mentor’s Source and Resource Book

Kathy Salter and Rhonda Twidle, price £18.99 ISBN 1-4129-1205-9 Lucky Duck – Paul Chapman Publishing Many vulnerable children and young people in schools are supported by learning mentors. This practical resource, based on development work in a large high school, covers a wide range of topics (see this month’s Professional Update, p6-7) and provides an excellent ‘starter pack’ for new mentors and anyone involved in their induction. SENCOs, too, may find some of the material to be very useful, particularly in relation to the staff development aspect of their role and the support they provide to colleagues. The 13 themes used as a basis for supporting the work of mentors are all introduced in a sensitive manner and linked to activities for children, young people and staff. These activities are supported by the provision of worksheets that can be photocopied from the book or accessed via a CD-Rom (included with the book).

Although the book is based on work in the secondary phase of education, the activities and resources lend themselves to use with older (10+) primary aged children.

Teaching assistants

A Teaching Assistant’s Guide to Managing Behaviour in the Classroom

Susan Bentham, price £16.99 ISBN 0-415-35119-7 Routledge This is an excellent introductory text on behaviour, and to the challenges presented to teaching assistants and teachers by pupils who:

  • are never in their seats
  • disrupt other pupils
  • continually talk out of turn
  • use inappropriate language to refuse to do what is asked of them
  • have difficulty in controlling anger.

Chapters on each of these challenges use case study ‘events’ drawn from both primary and secondary schools, and explore solutions to difficulties and problems described. The possible solutions presented are carefully linked to theoretical perspectives outlined in chapter two of the book, and to expectations of teaching assistants and other adults working in schools discussed in chapter one. Rather than offering a highly prescriptive ‘quick fix’ to complex problems, readers are encouraged to think carefully about difficulties pupils may experience, and to consider a range of strategies for helping them to manage and overcome these.

The author hopes that the book will be a valuable resource for teaching assistants enrolled on NVQ 2 and 3 courses, HLTA and Foundation degree programmes, and their tutors. It certainly does fulfil this need, but is also likely to be a useful resource for SENCOs and behaviour coordinators.

Teaching Assistant’s Pocketbook Dot Constable, price £6.99 ISBN 1-903776-67-8 Teachers’ Pocketbooks

This book is well informed and up to date. It includes a good overview of the role of the teaching assistant (TA) and explores in greater detail, in relation to assisting teachers, pupils and the school as a whole. A final section on the profession looks at important issues like career progression, the implementation of the National Workload Agreement and its local derivatives (frameworks). The book provides new TAs with an excellent induction experience.