Aims of Fagus
What is Fagus?
It provides a framework for practitioners to develop a shared understanding and language about a child’s social and emotional functioning, moving a teacher’s thought process from ‘what is wrong with this child’ to ‘what has happened to this child’. By taking a developmental approach rather than seeing unwanted behaviour as a 'disorder', we can take a positive step forward by starting to explain what underpins a child’s social and emotional difficulties (often caused by ACEs) and support these children to develop the emotional and social skills underpinning learning so they will be able to function more effectively within the classroom, playground and beyond school.
With Fagus, a school now has a framework to assess a child’s strengths and weaknesses across the different emotional and social domains so they can then start to clarify individual needs and set developmentally appropriate goals in the weaker domains, and use these goals to target strategies and focus interventions. Fagus helps schools measure the impact of one to one interventions and communicate to all stakeholders ways to understand their behaviour, challenges and barriers to learning and quantify progress over time.
Why create a Framework for Social and Emotional Development?
Mental ill health in children can manifest itself in conduct problems and emotional issues and these behaviours are often displayed in the classroom, these SEMH difficulties often can lead to children being punished or excluded for exhibiting these behaviours. Behavioural terms are often used in school such as 'naughty', 'troublesome' or 'difficult' should now be reconsidered. At last more and more schools are now starting to look underneath presenting behaviours and identify actual prevailing social, emotional and/or mental health needs. Often these presentations indicate the existence of underlying problems whether it is environmental (e.g. parental conflict) or developmental (ASD). Negative behaviours should be a means of communicating needs and the way a child communicates will be heavily dependent on their early development and attachment styles. Understanding attachment theory and child development can enable us to understand why sometimes some children behave in certain ways.
At Beech Lodge all our children have social and emotional needs and this can have a direct impact on their learning and limit academic progress. Therefore social and emotional progress must play a central role in understanding our pupils. Fagus was originally created as a bespoke framework for Beech Lodge which paid attention to our pupils' progress in social and emotional functioning rather than in academic progress. Fagus could also quantify progress over time, identify our pupils' individual needs, measure the impact of one to one interventions and communicate to all stakeholders ways to understand their behaviour, challenges and barriers to learning. We found if social and emotional functioning can be improved then our pupils would be able to access more learning, more of the academic timetable and gain more academic progress.
Key aims of the Fagus Framework:
1. Improve knowledge and understanding in school relating to children’s emotional and social development and make clear judgements regarding children’s behaviour.
We have produced a comprehensive educational resource for teaching staff which maps children’s emotional and social development between birth and 19 years in 13 areas:
The resource is made up of 13 Developmental Guides – one guide per developmental area. The guides summarise the findings from an extensive search of academic, psychological literature. The authors have presented complex psychological information in a simple, clear format which is accessible to those who are new to psychology.
The developmental guides have been endorsed by a team of academics from the psychology department at Royal Holloway College, University of London.
The Fagus resource also includes Developmental Checklists. These are briefer versions of the Developmental Guides. Teaching staff can use each checklist as a quick reference tool to identify whether a child is demonstrating the key behaviours associated with a particular age range within an emotional/social domain. This information can be collated to create a Developmental Profile for the child.
2. Help teaching staff to apply this understanding to identify a pupil’s individual social and emotional needs are as well as their strengths, set developmentally appropriate goals for pupils in emotional and social domains and target strategies and focus interventions in the area of social and emotional functioning for pupils. [see Developmental Profiles and Goal Attainment Scaling]
Teaching staff can use the guides to approximate a child’s current level of development within a particular emotional/social domain and set targets and goals based on what would be expected to happen next in typical development.
3. Provide a framework to monitor emotional and social development and measure the impact of interventions and strategies over time. [see Developmental Profiles and Goal Attainment Scaling]
The developmental guides been summarised into a shorter format to create Developmental Checklists. These can be used to create a Developmental Profile of a child, approximating their development across each of the emotional and social domains. The checklists and profiles can be updated to track the child’s emotional and social progress and focus and evidence the impact of interventions.