Tooled Up Events
Guidance for Educational Settings
Following a Suicide or Sudden Death
To mark World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday 10th September, we are proud to be publishing a new resource for schools, written in collaboration with suicide prevention charity, The OLLIE Foundation. This comprehensive guide will provide leadership teams in schools and other educational settings with the detailed guidance needed to coordinate an appropriate, helpful and safe response following the tragic event of a suicide or sudden death in their community.
This invaluable resource is available for free. Simply click button below to view and download the PDF.
The home of evidence-based resources on all aspects of parenting, education and family life
Schools that are part of our Tooled Up Education community can provide their parents and teachers with access to Dr Weston’s exclusive resources, covering areas such as aspiration, resilience, mental health and behaviour.
As a member of the Tooled Up community you will have access to a whole host of evidence-based resources, which will enable you to support your children or students in a way that makes their lives and educational journeys both easier and more enjoyable.
Dr Weston's Wednesday Wisdom
In an ever increasingly busy and demanding world, Wednesday Wisdom provides a reflective 2 minute read every week that readers constantly tell us they look forward to. Full of topical and relatable experiences that help provide reflection, motivation and support in achieving a balanced family life.
Over the years, thousands of people have benefitted from, and continue to enjoy, the parenting and educational talks from Dr Kathy Weston at Tooled Up Education and have subscribed to Wednesday Wisdom. Join now for free to get your own weekly digest of motivating, interesting, and thoughtful parenting advice from Dr Weston herself.
“I just wanted to say how grateful I am to read your Wednesday Wisdom email. Perfect size for the time I have to engage and reflect and think about the topics you touch on. It helps me to evaluate my parenting and take a step back to look at scenarios that play out.”
Parent – October 2020
Last week, I delivered a talk about how we can usefully minimise children’s anxiety and stress in the run up to tests, assessments and exams. Years ago, if I had been writing that talk from scratch, I would have likely focused on the range of evidence-based strategies available to optimise children’s learning and attainment, and perhaps have neglected one of the most important aspects of children’s ability to thrive academically; their emotional state. Now, I wouldn’t dream of giving a talk about children’s academic success without first addressing how they feel about themselves, their learning, and their lives in general.
Parenting Question of the Week
Our Promise: We will answer all questions, and, whilst we may share your question and answer to help others, we will never declare who asked it.
Researcher of the Month
Dr Éadaoin Slattery, Post-doctoral Researcher in the Centre for Assessment Research, Policy and Practice in Education, Dublin City University
Dr Slattery is broadly interested in the measurement and enhancement of cognition and behaviour, with a particular emphasis on attention and memory.
This month, we are highlighting a recent paper by Dr Éadaoin Slattery and co-authors, which systematically reviews the evidence behind three popular sustained attention training approaches widely used in schools with children and teens between the ages of three and 18. These are cognitive attention training (commonly known as brain training), physical activity, and meditation training. Sustained attention refers to the ability to continuously maintain focus on goal-directed activity over time, particularly in conditions of monotony and repetition. In everyday life, we’d commonly refer to ‘sustained attention’ as concentration or focus. Dr Slattery’s paper seeks to establish whether any of these interventions actually improve performance on both sustained attention tasks and other cognitive tasks, as well as their impact on behavioural measures (such as ADHD symptoms).
In the last few years, studies of interventions promoting activities designed to enhance sustained attention and other cognitive functions in children have rapidly increased. Two broad approaches for improving attention have been identified: cognitive attention training (brain training) and state training, which is designed to develop a brain state that is thought to positively influence attention.
Contrary to what we might see in the media, the systematic review showed that, in general, cognitive attention training does not reliably improve performance. Physical activity and meditation interventions (both forms of state training) demonstrated greater potential in enhancing sustained attention, but results were not conclusive.
The potential benefits of physical activity and meditation interventions need to be investigated in further, more rigorous, research.
“We found limited evidence that it is possible to train children’s ability to sustain attention”.
Implications for schools – Given the current evidence, any programme which claims to benefit sustained attention should be treated with caution and educators should be aware that claims of efficacy may not be evidence-based. The findings of this review indicate that school staff should not assume that these three intervention types will reliably improve children’s sustained attention and, in particular, should be wary of cognitive attention training programmes. More research is also required to assess potential benefits of mindfulness and physical activity.
Dr Slattery stresses the importance of being research informed. When evaluating the claims of any intervention, try to establish if there was a control group in the study and check the sample size – generally, the larger, the better. Schools should carefully monitor and evaluate the impact of any intervention they choose to use.
Implications for parents – Remember that all children are different and paying attention to what works for your child is important. More research also needs to be carried out to find out what can improve sustained attention at home. However, there is some evidence that ‘self-alert’ training can have a positive impact on boosting attention in the moment. Listen to our interview with Dr Slattery to find out more!
Tooled Up News
Did you tune in to hear Tooled Up founder, Dr Kathy Weston, providing expert advice and tips on the Teachers Talk Radio show earlier in September? Don’t worry if you missed the live broadcast as you can listen back now. Before you click, here is some insight into what Dr Weston and host, Tom Rogers, chatted about when they took to the airwaves to discuss evidence-informed approaches to mental health and wellbeing.
Our important new resource, co-written with suicide prevention charity, The OLLIE Foundation, is available for free download now on the Tooled Up website homepage.
"I thought the talk last night was absolutely fantastic. It really helped us to have a vision and how we can support [Child] to develop his resilience."Parent
"So informative - lots of food for thought as a teacher and a parent of two girls. Thank you."Parent
Merchant Taylor's School
"So informative, thought-provoking, practical, awesome!"Parent
South Hill School
"Thank you so much for such a wonderful Q&A, it was so informative and rich with information. I am certain our parent community will use all these resources!"School Welfare Counsellor
St. Catherine's British School
"Expert and engaging, Kathy gives rich, evidence-based guidance. You will come away inspired and empowered"
Dr Johnny Noakes
"It is no exaggeration to say that Dr Weston’s input into our pastoral programme has been transformational. Her presentation to more than two hundred staff was the most inspirational – and practical – training we have received on how to support adolescents through the changes of the teenage years."
Francis Holland School
"Kathy’s talk was engaging, interesting and highly informative throughout. She balanced factual information with personal advice and practical tips to ensure that the talk was relevant and accessible from the outset."
Sarum Hall School
"Just to say you are amazing at what you do.. really really informative and helpful to parents and can’t recommend tooled up highly enough!"
"I just wanted to say that it was great to meet you yesterday. Thank you so much for giving such an impressive and insightful talk. We have had lots of positive comments today about it. You struck just the right tone, and I know that the advice will have been invaluable to so many of our parents. It’s such a vital and important message and we are very grateful to you for sharing your knowledge and insights."
"Thought provoking, deeply engaging and totally relevant to every aspect of my work. Thanks so much for your passion and drive."
Stopsley Community Primary School
Join our community of "Tooled Up" Members
Have a Question?
If you are interested in learning more about Tooled Up Education, have a technical question, press enquiry or any other query, please follow the link below or get in touch with Dr Weston’s team on email: email@example.com