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Simply the best

Geraldine Brennan reports on what the judges said about the books nominated for this year's NasenTES book awards. Winners to be announced on October 20.


For the book that does most to inspire and inform educators. Shortlisted titles. Leadership and SEN: Meeting the challenge in special and mainstream settings. By Nick Burnett. David Fulton Publishers

A practical guide that draws on current thinking in education management.

"A book with this title is encouraging; the area of leadership and SEN has been underplayed." "Thought-provoking and very relevant to its audience. In mainstream settings people tend to look inwards at their own department and this is an invitation to do otherwise." "Highly practical in focus and a good resource for Sencos aspiring to become senior management." "The mind-mapping and creative thinking sections were very useful to help structure your thinking."

Handbook of Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

Edited by Peter Clough, Philip Garner, John T Pardek and Francis Yuen Sage Publications A substantial volume involving more than 40 authors from five countries. "A refreshing book which makes you think about the labelling process used with children. It is very sensitive to the whole range of reasons why children become labelled." "A three-dimensional look at a topical issue with some stellar contributions." "The US case studies could transfer easily to UK readers." "We were impressed by the accessible style of many chapters."

Mother-Teachers: Insights into Inclusion

By Barbara Ann Cole David Fulton Publishers The author, a lecturer at Sheffield University, has combined teaching children with special educational needs with bringing up her own son, who has disabilities and learning difficulties. Her book includes interviews with six mothers facing the same personal and professional pressures.

"A real eye-opener, and enlightening about how parents honestly feel: something about which we should know more. It shows how parents who are also professionals are grappling with a dilemma, and enhances professionals' knowledge of how to consider parents. Has a lot to say about how professionals relate to each other. What do they do if they feel a colleague is behaving unacceptably towards another parent?"

"A novel perspective on people torn between their school and their family, which finds an original way into the debate about inclusion and some of the tensions that arise."

"Has wide appeal, while being intellectually challenging."

Special Teaching for Special Children: pedagogies for inclusion. Edited by Ann Lewis and Brahm Norwich. Open University Press

Papers on a wide range of special needs, with commentaries. "A stimulating and potentially influential book; a coherent set of papers with substantial introductory and concluding chapters by the editors providing a clear integrated theme. The chapter authors are authoritative specialists... The dense text and carefully structured chapters are worth the effort."

The judges. Tony Cline (chair), professor of educational psychology, University of Luton. Roberta Fulford, assistant head, St Hugh's special secondary school, Scunthorpe. Roy McConkey, professor of learning disability, University of Ulster. Jean Salt, president of Nasen and recently retired Senco at Hardenhuish school, Chippenham


For the children's book that most successfully provides a positive image of young people with special needs

Shortlisted titles

Caged in Chaos: A dyspraxic guide to breaking free

By Victoria Biggs. Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Written when the author, who has dyspraxia, was 16. A handbook for other teenagers with dyspraxia and their friends, families and teachers, it explains the condition and suggests strategies for managing it.

"It's helped me understand my younger brother, who has dyspraxia, and I've given it to my mum to read."

"The message is very positive: use the label but don't be defined by it, don't let your symptoms dictate who you are."

"A clear sense of what it feels like being inside the behaviour."

"The advice covers the outside world - shopping, seeing friends, flat-sharing - as well as school." "This book is very literate, witty, self-ironic but also self-respecting." The Outcasts. By L S Matthews. Hodder Children's Books

An adventure novel for 12-plus set during a very strange residential field trip in Dorset in which five students learn a lot about themselves and each other. Very popular with the young judges, Harriet and Gemma.

"It's a great cover which makes you want to pick it up."

"An exciting story with lots of cliffhangers."

"The key characters have various special needs which are important in various ways throughout their adventure. It's the child without special needs who seems like the anomaly." "The story made me think of His Dark Materials although the explanations are simpler."

Need to Know: ADHD By Philippa Pigache. Heinemann Library. In a series of briefings for teenage and adult readers, a slim volume covering the causes, symptoms and treatments of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. "An hour reading this would give you a good insight into what ADHD is all about."

"Bang up to date with recent research."

"It's about the friends and family as well as the child with ADHD, and clear about what it means for everyone."

"A very good resource. You could sit down with a younger student and go through it."

Adam's Alternative Sports Day: an Asperger story. By Jude Welton. Jessica Kingsley Publishers

"This is especially helpful to give to a child in primary school who has a peer with Asperger syndrome."

"It's about friendship, rivalry, getting things wrong and learning to have the courage to apologise."

"It sets up a debate about winning and why we want to win."

"We see Adam from inside and out: from the points of view of his mother, his teacher, his friend Josie and himself." The judges Rosanne Bartlett (chair), assistant head, The Earls high school, Halesowen, West Midlands Nick Andrews, joint acting headteacher,Whitfield and Aspen primary school, Kent Tom Deveson, teacher, freelance writer and TES contributor based in Southwark, south London. Junior Judges. Harriet Davies andGemma Mills, Year 11 pupils at The Earls high school


For the book that most successfully helps children and young people with SEN access the curriculum.

Shortlisted titles

Meeting SEN in the Curriculum series

Series editor Alan Combes

PESports by Crispin Andrew

Design Technology by Louise T Davies

Music by Victoria Jacquiss and Diane Paterson. History by Richard Harris and Ian Luff. Religious Education by Dilwyn Hunt. English by Tim Hurst. Modern Foreign Languages by Sally McKeown. ICT by Mike North and Sally McKeown. Maths by Brian Sharp. David Fulton Publishers. "A cracking series that goes right to the heart of the classroom with subject volumes that stand alone."

"It's what teachers say they've been looking for: good solid advice and good suggestions on making the curriculum work."

"A useful everyday resource, well presented and easy to navigate."

"Sencos have appreciated the advice on managing support staff."

Language for Learning Across the Curriculum: a practical guide for supporting pupils with language and communication difficulties By Sue Hayden and Emma Jordan. Worcestershire County Council and Wyre Forest Primary Care Trust Written by a primary language specialist and a speech therapist and aimed at key stages 1 and 2. "Every school should have this. A very useful framework with good theoretical background, assessment techniques with checklists and links to the national curriculum."

"It is much needed. There are so many children whose difficulties with language are being labelled as behavioural difficulties." "Written by people who know what they're doing, based on discussions with teachers."

"A great accessible all-round resource that demystifies the magic wand of the speech therapist."

"Very helpful to the NQT and anyone who needs support in this area."

"Attractive graphic icons, a good glossary and spiral binding which makes it easy to use. "

Visual Thinking: Tools for mapping your ideas. By Nancy Margulies and Christine Valenza. Crown House Publishing. Ideas for working with students on learning skills and exploring feelings, with the emphasis on visual recording of ideas. "Written by passionate converts. Good interesting ideas that kick you into trying them out, such as the Iceberg to look at underlying causes and the Belief Tree to explore the roots of beliefs."

"Highly useable resources with clear diagrams; practical implications."

"Very useful for areas like EBD, where it helps in 'unpicking' behaviour."

The Learning Mentor's Source Resource Book. By Kathy Salter and Rhonda Twidle. Paul Chapman Publishing. A guide to the various kinds of special needs that mentors may encounter and materials to use in their sessions.

"Excellent: it meets a real need on the part of learning mentors going into schools, who can be expected to sort out problems that staff with years of experience can't sort out and to act as a sponge for all sorts of trauma and emotion."

"This is something schools can keep on hand: not a complete training package, but useful." "The contacts sections, for example the one on bereavement, are invaluable: learning mentors are expected to know a bit about everything."

The judges. Philip Garner (chair), professor of education, University of Northampton Alex Griffiths, editor of Special! magazine and managing director of Educational Guidance Service, based in West Yorkshire Debbie Bailey, deputy head, Wandle Valley school, Sutton, Surrey Maria Brierley, SEN advisory teacher, Bolton children's services authority The awards will be presented at the British Library next Thursday (October 20)

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