Hi, my name is Amanda Bell I have worked at Birch Wood Special School since it opened in 2004. I am a Senior Teaching Assistant presently based in the Nook (Autism Provision based at Birch Wood Vale).
I have worked in all areas of the school on both sites, across all key stages. I plan and deliver various parts of the curriculum mostly to the students in the Nook. I hold certificates in Professional Certificate in Education studies Special and inclusive Education and NNEB BTEC Diploma.

During my many years at Birch Wood I have completed several different types of interventions/inclusions which have included Behaviour Management, home visits, personalising individual student time tables, 1-1 session around feelings and emotions, and Behaviour for Learning. Most recently I have undertaken the Engage Disengage Re-engage (EDR) training package which will enable me to disseminate this training to the whole school as part of the behaviour expert team and delivered as part of the whole school inset/twilight sessions.

What is Behaviour for Learning (BFL)?
Most social, emotional and behavioural skills are learned. As a theoretical approach it can best be described as a set of three relationships experienced by the student. These relate to their:
– Relationship with themselves – how they feel about themselves and their confidence as a learner.
– Relationship with others – how they interact socially and academically with all others in their class and school.
– Relationship with the curriculum – how accessible they feel a lesson is, how best they think they learn.

The most common problems that students wish to talk to me about are:

  • Relationship or family problems.
  • Problems affecting school (lessons, peers for example).
  • Illness and bereavement.
  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Harassment/Bullying.
  • Anger.
  • Stress including post-traumatic stress.
  • Trauma.
  • Low self-esteem/confidence.

The sessions take place during an appropriate time to suit individuals so they do not miss their core curriculum lessons. Students requested for a counselling session by their Tutors/Support Staff as they feel this type of intervention would benefit the student. Most of the referrals have been from students that have had a family bereavement. I spend the first few sessions building up the Counselling Relationship. Once they are comfortable I have found they have shared with me how they are feeling.