Reading the Signs: A Discussion Aid for Identifying the Reasons Why Young People May Disengage

National Foundation for Educational Research

18 October 2013

Discussion aid | Interactive checklist | Checklist guidance

These tools for practitioners have been created to support schools’ efforts to re-engage young people at risk of not engaging in education, employment or training (NEET) but who do not face multiple and complex barriers to learning.

The discussion aid can be used in a one to one meeting with the young person whose behaviour is causing concern. It will enable the member of staff and the young person to reach a better understanding of the reasons behind their behaviour so that an appropriate support strategy can be put in place.

It has been designed for use with young people in Year 9 who do not face multiple and complex barriers to learning. However, you might find it useful for young people across all year groups.

The interactive checklist can be used to log concerns about individual young people, including actions taken and outcomes. Various risk factors, grouped into themes including attainment, environment, personal qualities, attitudes and aspirations, help to prompt practitioners to consider the underlying issues. This confidential log may complement data provided by the local authority and help to inform conversations with other agencies about possible interventions.

The checklist guidance will help you to use the checklist.

Who should use these tools? Form tutors, Heads of Year, those responsible for inclusion, those responsible for careers advice and guidance.

The evidence that underpins these tools comes from research carried out with 216 secondary schools and 78 local authorities in 2012-13. The findings established a comprehensive checklist of indicators to understand the reasons why young people may be at risk of disengaging.

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