Gemma has been part of the Skybound Team for a considerable time as a Behaviour Technician, now Gemma has increased her role to include Occupational Therapy Assistant and now she is going back to her roots as a teacher! Gemma is assisting with tribunal cases, scoring P-Levels and developing appropriate literacy and maths programmes using her knowledge of teaching and ABA. Read Gemma’s story here:
I began my BA(HONS) Primary Education with QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) degree in 2000 at the University of the West of England. During my time here I gained experience in a number of schools around Bristol. This included planning, preparing and delivering lessons, and also assessment of pupils within the class. I gained experience of all age ranges in the Primary setting from Reception, Key Stage 1 and through to Key Stage 2. During the second year of my 4 year degree I decided to move Universities and joined Trinity College, Carmarthen, to complete my final two years. I made this decision because I wanted to gain experience of the National Curriculum of Wales as it differs to England, and the Curriculum Cymreig. I was also extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to have a placement in a Behaviour Unit for two weeks. That is where my passion for behaviour based practice was ignited. In 2004 I graduated from University with a 2:1 and was ready to find my first teaching post!
My first teaching post was in a KS2 class. All newly qualified teachers need to pass an induction year. I had fantastic support from my mentor and staff members and passed this. A couple of years later I moved over to a school in Leicestershire. Here I continued teaching a KS2 class. During this time I had a beautiful daughter who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Because of my daughter, I decided to have a break from teaching to be able to give my full attention to her. I moved back to Wales, and, when she started School, I found my next job!
In 2010 I became a behaviour therapist and this is where I met Risca and was introduced to Skybound Therapies. From here I completed my training for my Registered Behaviour Technician and became the first RBT in Wales. I went on to become lead therapist and worked closely with Skybound’s BCBAs, SALT and OT to deliver programmes to clients. I completed my Talk Tools Level 1, my TAGteach level 2, and have recently just completed my Occupational Therapy Assistant Level 3 diploma. As you can imagine, having all of these skills when working on ABA programmes is really useful! I was absolutely thrilled when Risca asked me to complete a Return to Teaching programme.
In October of this year I completed a 5 day placement in a Special Needs School! I familiarised myself with the children’s IEPs, had discussions with the class teaching about assessment, the layout of a lesson and the planning of lessons! I was able to use and research the new frameworks which are now used in Wales. These are:
The Foundation Phase. This covers nursery, reception, year 1 and year 2. Foundation Phase is a statutory curriculum for all 3 – 7 year olds in Wales, and was brought in in Sept 2010. It focuses very much through play, and concentrates on the children’s creativeness and imagination.
Key Stage 2 curriculum includes the programmes of study and the attainment targets and level descriptors for each subject in the National Curriculum for Wales.
There are 3 cross-curriculum responsibilities (CCRs). These are literacy and numeracy, set out through the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework. These also included the Routes to Literacy and Routes to Numeracy. The third is digital competency through the Digital Competency Framework.
There are 6 Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs). These are: Expressive Arts; Health and Wellbeing; Humanities; Language, literacy and communication; mathematics and number; and science and technology. I was also directed to the work of Professor Donaldson’s review and the 4 purposes of Education.
Assessment for special needs pupils consists of the Performance or P Scales, these are attainment targets for pupils with Special Educational Needs which can be used alongside the Welsh Curriculum. These P scales are for the children who will be working below the standards of the National Curriculum tests and assessments.
The National Curriculum of England consists of the Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
The SEN code of practice for Wales, and the SEND code of practice: 0-25 years are in place to provide practitioners with advise on how to carry out statutory duties to assess, identify and make provision for children with SEN, which I am looking forward to looking into in more detail
Having now completed my return to teaching programme I am fully registered on the Education Workforce Council as a registered school teacher with Qualified Teaching Status. I look forward to combining my teaching skills with all that I have already achieved within Skybound.