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Apr 26, 2019

How to know when your students need extra support

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As a teacher, it’s your job to educate children as well as help to nurture them, both academically and emotionally. There are plenty of positive moments in the classroom but the negatives are just as important! Sometimes it can be easy to tell when your students are suffering or struggling without the support that they need, other times you may not even notice that one of your students needs a little extra help.

Whether they are experiencing difficulty academically, emotionally or in any other capacity, it is important to be able to identify the behaviours that indicate that they may need support as often it will go unmentioned or unnoticed.

Lack of Concentration and Motivation

We’ve all experienced a lack of motivation and concentration from time to time, so it’s no surprise that children can face these issues at school. There are several reasons for children to be distracted or lacking in concentration with external stimuli like their chatty classmates or a messy classroom, making it easier for those who need support to go unnoticed, especially when help is needed most.

There are also concentration or motivational issues that mean that a child requires more support such as struggling to understand the material, finding the material not challenging enough, having a different learning style to your teaching style, having undiagnosed learning difficulties, not getting enough sleep or nutrition. They could also be dealing with problems at home which have their attention over school.

Lack of Relationships

Schools are where most children socialise and form relationships with other children their own age as well as with members of staff, after all, a school should be a happy place of learning. So it’s understandable to be concerned when one of your students struggles to form relationships or even blatantly avoids forming relationships. This can be a big indicator that this child is experiencing problems and requires additional support from you.

Children can isolate themselves for a number of reasons such as low self-esteem, being a victim of bullying, struggling to relate to other children in a meaningful way, depression or anxiety.

General Withdrawal

Many children can shy away from participation in the classroom, but repeat offenders or a sudden dislike for participation may be hiding that a student requires additional support. Some students can experience school-based anxiety or may be introverted, making classroom participation scary and uninviting.

When experiencing a problem, whether it’s around their mental health or issues at home, children, even the most outgoing and sociable, can often begin to withdraw from participation or even general socialising within the classroom. This is a big indicator that you may need to have a discussion with the child to ensure that they are okay and should consider offering them additional support.


If a child in your classroom shows signs of these behaviours, it’s important to talk to them to make sure that they have support where they need it. Check out gov.uk for student support resources.

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