Specialist SEN Solicitor
10th January 2022
In this week's SEN Update (apart from my: 'Thought Of The Week'), you will find sections entitled:
I know how busy everyone always is, so please feel free just to read the sections that are of interest to you or read everything; the choice is always yours.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Conflict is actually very normal, as it is almost ludicrous to truly believe that everybody will always think the same as you - much as you would like them to!
Yet most people believe that conflict never solves or resolves anything and therefore should always try and be avoided by us most of the time, at all cost. However, conflict (or at least some form of disagreement) is often inevitable and, ironically, sometimes you can look at conflict positively. The reason is that it is often really about how you deal with that conflict - constructively or destructively.
To properly solve a conflict, you really have to go beyond the conflict itself and instead try and get to real communication, where you actually ultimately listen to another person with differing views to you and, if you cannot initially resolve your differences, take a break and try again later, without demonising the other person. We need to try to always see things from another person’s perspective first.
Too often we are very polarised in our views so that, if we do not agree with someone, we instantly dismiss them unconsciously (or even consciously) as ‘stupid’. Unfortunately, especially during recent years, there seems to be only talking, but no listening anymore. We also seem to have a mindset where now, not only must someone ‘win’, but the other person must also ‘lose’!
However, logically, we don’t like it if they do the same to us - so we can’t have it both ways! And you don’t have to necessarily agree with someone to have a peaceable relationship with them. We should be aiming for ‘win/win’, where both people genuinely feel they have won something, as now it is more like ‘lose’/‘lose’, because people cannot respectfully just agree to disagree.
You may also find that some people say or do things that are often conflicting, but that they do not seem to realise that they are acting in a contradictory or hypocritical manner. In fact, I have found that people who do this are also usually the quite clever people, who always seem to have an answer for everything and will try to cleverly rationalise what they have said or done.
In order to resolve conflict peaceably and positively, you also need to show the other person that you are working hard to understand them, or to see their point of view and, in this way, are trying to resolve a conflict. You do this by saying things like: ‘Please help me understand you’ and then fully listening to them explain their view, no matter how hard it is to hear, or how wrong you think they are.
You do not have to agree with someone, but you do need to listen to them. Also, you cannot change what has happened in the past, you can only do things differently for the future. Of course, all of the above also works the other way around and, if you do listen to them, then you will also be able to point out to them later if they try to not hear you, that they should also listen to you!
We also need to, metaphorically, press the ‘pause’ button before we respond to them or do anything. A lot of the time, what they say just makes us angry, but as Thomas Jefferson once said, if you are angry you should count to 10 before you say anything or respond to something, but if you are very angry, you should first count to 100 !
So, this week, as strange as it may seem for me to say, try to look on your conflicts with other people as opportunities for you to positively resolve them. You may actually then find that doing things this way helps make you a better person, or reach a better place!
A New Year and it's time for more Government guidance!
Again, it's in three parts (there may be more which I'm unaware of), as follows:
- Schools COVID-19 operational guidance (January 2022)
- SEND and specialist settings: additional COVID-19 operational guidance (January 2022)
- Evidence Summary: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the use of face coverings in education settings (January 2022)
In terms of news, here are the articles that I found of interest this week:
Pupils return to Covid testing and masks in class
Schools in England may suspend certain subjects to cope with Covid
Covid: Face mask refusals in some of England's secondary schools spark parents' concern
Again, aside from clicking on the relevant links for more information, I would also remind you of the very useful resources and information provided on the following websites:
- Council for Disabled Children
- Special Needs Jungle
I would also highlight again the magazines: SEN Magazine and Autism Eye which are both very helpful to any parents or professionals involved with children/young people with SEN.
With best wishes
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