Thursday, 16 December 2010

Parents/Carers are you struggling to communicate with your child or teenager?

Are you struggling to form an effective line of communication with your child or teenager? Worried about serious issues in his/her life but unable to find the way towards effective discussions? You are not alone! Communication is one of the most pressing concerns in the education of young people today. That is why EGAR is supporting The Communications Trust who serve speech language and communication needs and are running the 'Hello, Talk-Listen-Take part' campaign to make 2011 a national year of communication. Driving awareness of how important it is for children and young people to develop effective communications skills both with peers, parents/carers and society as a whole.

Here at EGAR we develop effective educational Let's Get Talking Choice Discussion card sets to develop communication with children and young people today. Our Director has four children, five grandchildren and a long commended career working at the Islington Education department for 25 years, specialising in PSHE Personal, Social and Health Education in schools, youth services and childrens care homes, working with children and young people.

The following is some insight into the ways in which the EGAR product may be able to help the development of effective communication on subjects of greatest concern to children and young people struggling to express their thoughts and emotions around social and challenging issues, from our Director Sue Scott-Horne.

I would say to anybody trying to communicate with a young person or group to set the scene, choose a place and environment that is good to talk and decide where and when for both or all of you.  Somewhere without interruptions, that means no phones or TV's on that will disturb you.  Another good starter is to have a snack, biscuits, drink ready as this will ease the tension that can often be present at the start of some conversations, especially if you are tackling bullying, drugs, bereavement, gang culture, relationships, school work or any other issue that could be ongoing or a new problem.

Do prepare yourself as a parent/carer with knowledge about the issue you are discussing or trying to communicate about.  EGAR's New Let's Get Talking Choice Discussion card sets and display posters will really help you to get the conversation going.  We are covering many subjects including Health, Crime and Personal development, issues that are tricky and challenging for parents/carers to open conversations about. The cards are good intervention and prevention tools that lead the way unpicking and driling down whilst tackling issues. The flow and movement of the choices your child will make as to the selection of the discussion cards, is paramount to the depth of the conversation that will open up for you to talk about and understand why and what the underlying  problems may be concerning the issues facing your child or teenager.  It is rather like planting a pea and as you talk that pea grows and grows and you begin to realise things you probably had not realised and the difficulties you and your child are going through.

Prepare yourself for any 'truths' to emerge, you may be surprised at just what is going to come out of their mouths, but with preparation and knowledge of the issue nothing will hit you as hard as it will if you are totally unprepared for the truth.

In each set there are many cards for your child to choose from.  As each card is picked you discuss as to why that card is chosen and do remember the cards are not your choice! You need to be non-judgemental and open minded otherwise your child will walk away and you will be back to square one.

So, patience really is a virtue whilst using the cards and you will soon realise the empowerment EGAR will give to your child, which in turn, will empower you to discuss all that is necessary to reach a satisfied solution together!

Do not feel guilty about your parenting skills, you I am sure are a good parent to even consider using these communication cards and all issues can be worked through.

The outcome for all concerned is better decision making and more healthy informed choices, which in turn provide opportunties for children and young people to imrpove their lives and well-being.

Social and challenging issues are something all parents and carers face with children reaching adolescent age and when you wake up that morning and you realise the sweet baby you gave birth to has now turned into a greasy, green spotted monster that just grunts at you, then you will reach out for support because as many of us know it is a hard and tough time for all.  EGAR can give you support quickly and easily and offers solutions.

Award-Winning EGAR have an expanding range of Let's Get Talking discussion cards covering: Depression, Alcohol, Drugs, Hygiene, Anger, Friends, Knives, Guns and Gangs, Life, Love, Money and Being Bullied.  All the sets are designed to help and support you with your child or young person and the learning thread will open up ideas as to how to work through issues together and support your child/teenager through these times. EGAR offers a reflective action plan that you may want to follow once you have had the best conversation you will ever have, as EGAR give you a solution!

Have a look at our website

email for further information.

To find out more about The Communications Trust 'Hello Talk-Listen-Take part' campaign please visit

We are here to help you turn your child around and give him/her the best start to develop and become a valued person that he/she is proud of as well as you.

Sue Scott-Horne

Director EGAR

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

An insight into the causes and solutions to bullying - Anti Bullying Week 15th-19th November

Everyday children, teenagers and young people are being bullied!  Why?

Probably because it was accepted childhood behaviour years ago; although today it is one of the most talked about topics of concern among adults, parents/carer’s, teachers, youth workers, mentors and counsellors. The serious social and emotional affect it has on children and young people is now thought about in-depth, especially as extremely serious consequences of being bullied has reached devastating affects with young people committing suicide because of the trauma of it.

As adults we know what it can feel like to be bossed around and bullied by our work colleagues, friends or family and we have had to adopt and learn life coping skills to help us deal with this; so to be a child or young person having to cope with bullying is a very challenging and confusing place to be.  Being bullied can make people feel very lonely, isolated with their self esteem at an all time low as they begin to feel the power of the bully. Up to half of all children are bullied at some point during school time.

The Children Act 2004 – This Act set out the framework for delivering children’s services that professionals must work towards.  The ‘Every Child Matters’ five outcomes are:
The support system needed, must be put in place for these positive outcomes to be supported throughout school life and Bullying or a Bully is not accepted within these outcomes. Schools now have to ‘co-operate to improve well-being’ and to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.  The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) for Children’s Services and Skills, inspect and evaluate how schools are contributing to meeting the ECM outcomes.

Recognising bullying behaviour and doing something about it can also be very confusing for a child. Especially if children know they are being bullied, they may actually think this is how life is and some people can and do behave in this way and that it is acceptable.  It is our responsibility as adults and staff to stop that confusion and be able to focus in to the changing behaviour of the child who is being bullied as well as the bully; especially if they are not prepared to tell or are frightened to tell someone it is happening.
Below is some of the tell-tale, spotting signs that a child is being bullied:-

Not wanting to go to school, starting to truant or not socialising.

They may become very quiet in their behaviour and shut themselves away in another room, feeling very unhappy.

They may complain of not feeling well, have stomach aches or headaches.

They may seem agitated and not sure of themselves.

They may start to feel sick and tremble.

They may not want to use the phone or computer as texts or email notes are sent to them telling them nasty things.

These are some of the signs and these are what we must look for and focus in on to support the child who is being bullied.  A gentle talk may help but sometimes if the child is extremely bullied the bully may have threatened them not to tell or something could happen to them.  A state of flux and anxiety ensues and the child will look quite unwell, so intervention has to be done appropriately for bullying to be prevented!  The first port of call as an educator would be to contact the parent, or vice versa, if the parent contacts the educator then they can talk through a support system as to how they will help the child being bullied, putting into place a coping skills system for them, hopefully during this support the bully’s name will emerge and a system to stop the bullying as in an Anti-Bullying Policy, that schools must legally have in place for immediate action to be taken.

The Anti-Bullying policy recommendations could involve:
  • Giving a member of staff, specific responsibility for Anti-Bullying work.
  • Auditing current practices and prioritising change to the policy.
  • Developing Anti-Bullying Policies as part of the School Behaviour Policy.
  • Making sure the policy covers all forms of bullying especially relating it to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities along with Cyber Bullying.
  • The policy should also refer to the bullying of staff as well as pupils.
  • The policy should explore all available support e.g. Behaviour and Attendance Consultant.
As bullying can be taking place for a few days, weeks or months it is important to try to establish what has caused it, it may be jealousy, wanting to take the attention away from a popular child, or a gifted child who is doing well academically as well as a child who is good at physical sports, dance or football. It may be a quiet child who does not mix or socialise well that could be a bully target. On reflection, staff must always be on the look out and focus into the group/groups social mix and not let a lonely child or special needs/disabled child be a target. It could also be race, religious or homophobic bullying taking place, whatever the reason it must be immediately sorted out and a vigil eye kept on the parties whilst working through the problems, along with professional guidance and support explored when necessary.

Bullying takes place in many places outside of school or youth club settings and in each place it is happening it must be acted on in the same way, immediately, with no time to waste in supporting, intervening and preventing bullying.  There are many leaflets, DVD’s and guidance documents that can be sought from the DirectGov or DCSF websites or from the Anti-Bullying Alliance website.

EGAR Educational Games And Resources launched their new ‘BEING BULLIED’ Let’s Get Talking ‘Choice’ Discussion Card game at the NEC Birmingham Education Show in March 2010. It is a structured, supervised card set, an alternative talking tool for educators, mentors, youth counsellors and parents/carer’s to use to communicate and educate children and young people about ‘Being Bullied’.  The game has been thought about in-depth and covers the outcomes of the ECM framework.  It explores many issues about bullying and gives children and young people a chance to talk openly and safely about it.

EGAR Educational Games And Resources are attempting to change the way young people communicate with parents/carers and teachers among others. Allowing for clear communication on difficult issues eg being bullied, crime, health and the environment to find out more about what EGAR can do for you head to

In conclusion please support anti bullying week Nov 15th-19th, however you can, as bullying is a serious issue for children in London, around the country and across the world.

Let us do what we can to prevent it.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

An Introduction to our World

Award winning EGAR (Educational Games and Resources) is dedicated to the art of comunication, conversation and the value of talking. We design structured education resources for intervention and prevention work, covering health, crime prevention, personal development, citizenship and the environment.

We have an expanding range of SEAL/PSHE Lets Get Talking 'Choice' Discussion card sets and Message Display Posters for youth workers, mentors, teachers, counsellors and parents to use to help them get children and young people talking about the issues that matter in their lives. Thus creating better decision making and healthy informed choices, leading to better lives and well being.

EGAR resources help children and young people to learn about themselves and the world around them. All resources have been tried and tested in Islington and Camden schools and youth clubs with positive testimonials on our website

The Chair of the London Assembly Darren Johnson has given EGAR this great endorsement and was highly impressed with the resources when he visited our offices:

'EGAR produce interactive educational games for young people, which are designed to stimulate structured discussion on vital topics for yound people, such as knives, climate change and drugs.This excellent project deserves much wider recognition and i would love to see it made available to all London based Youth Services'

We have also been nominated for a number of prestigious awards regarding the EGAR product.

To name but a few:

Special Recognition - British Female Inventions and Innovations awards
Nominated National Finalist - Blackberry Women and Technology awards
Nominated National Finalist - Womens Inspiration awards in association with Breakthrough Breast Cancer

We will delve deeper into the motives behind the EGAR products creation and provide insight into what the product can achieve in practice next blog.

But for now remember 'The strength of a country lies in its youth'