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Sept • Oct 2017 Issue 90

The big decision How to choose a school for a child with SEN

Dyslexia tips for parents

A practical approach to use at home

Family ties

The rewards and challenges of adopting siblings with SEN

BESD • learning disabilities • SEN publishing • school trips • autism SENCOS • technology in the classroom • TES SEN Show • dyspraxia supported internships • recruitment • CPD and much more…

This issue in full 06

SEN news


What's new?


Point of view


SEN law


Learning disability and employment



awareness programmes (p.39) can help change pupils’ attitudes towards those with autism, and Alex Manners explains the impact of Asperger’s syndrome (p.45) on his life.


Supported internships


SEN publishing




Specific learning difficulties (SpLD)

In our feature on specific learning difficulties (p.48), Diana Hudson looks at how dyspraxia (p.49) affects students and what adults can do to help, while Theresa Sainsbury provides practical tips for parents to promote learning and development at home in their child with dyslexia (p.52).






Technology in the classroom


Book reviews


TES SEN Show preview



You will also find articles on SEN law (p.22), learning disability (p.26), BESD (p.28), supported internships (p.32), SEN publishing (p.34), technology in the classroom (p.58), adoption (p.67) and school leaders (p.90).


Schools and colleges


Schools trips


Choosing the right school or college




About SEN Magazine




CPD, events and training


SEN resources directory


SEN subscriptions

Sept • Oct 2017 • Issue 90

Welcome When it comes to big decisions for parents/ carers, there are few more important than the choice of school for their child. All families want their sons and daughters to flourish at school, but finding the setting that will bring out the best in them can be a tough task, particularly if the child has special needs. In this issue of SEN Magazine, Bernadette John provides a useful guide to choosing a school or college for a child with SEN (p.74) and outlines some of the key issues for parents to consider. Also in our schools section, Eleanor Bond offers up useful advice on planning an educational school trip (p.71), and Jane Thomas looks at the changing role of the school SENCO (p.87). Helping others to understand autistic spectrum disorders is the key theme of our autism feature (p.38). Joy Beaney reveals how peer

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Peter Sutcliffe Editor

CONTRIBUTORS Joy Beaney Eleanor Bond Stephen Bradshaw

Contacts DIRECTOR Jeremy Nicholls EDITOR Peter Sutcliffe 01200 409 810 ADVERTISING SALES Denise Williamson Sales Manager 01200 409 808 MARKETING & ADMINISTRATION Anita Crossley 01200 409 802

SUBSCRIPTION ADMINISTRATOR Amanda Harrison 01200 409 801 DESIGN Rob Parry Next issue deadline: Advertising and news deadline: 4 October 2017 Disclaimer The opinions expressed in SEN Magazine are not necessarily those

Pippa Bruckland Chris Burton Samantha Hale Joanne Harper Diana Hudson Bernadette John Alex Manners Mary Mountstephen Hilary Nunns Laura Rutherford Theresa Sainsbury

of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held liable for incorrect

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information, omissions or the opinions of third parties.

Ranjit Singh

SEN Magazine Ltd. Chapel House, 5 Shawbridge Street, Clitheroe, BB7 1LY T: 01200 409800 F: 01200 409809 W: E:

Jane Thomas

SEN Magazine ISSN: 1755-4845



In this issue






The price of equal pay




Understanding BESD

70 71

38 39

A place to learn Useful tips to help you make the most of an educational visit


The big decision Key things to consider when choosing a school for a child with SEN

Turning a page 87

The best job in the school The changing role of the SENCO

Autism feature Transforming attitudes towards ASD Shifting perceptions of autism with peer awareness programmes


Schools and colleges feature

Real world opportunities

The latest developments in the world of SEN publishing

Living life in colour

Regulars 6

The highs and the lows of life with Asperger’s


48 Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) feature



Supporting adolescents with dyspraxia How dyspraxia affects students and what adults can do to help




What's new?

The latest products and ideas from the world of SEN

Point of view

Have your say on any issue relating to SEN!

SEN law

The general SEN obligations on schools and local authorities


A practical approach to promoting learning and development in dyslexic children

90 Recruitment

TES SEN Show preview

Book reviews

What does it take to make a good school leader?

Touch sensitive

A look ahead to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the UK’s biggest SEN Show



SEN news

Dyslexia tips for parents

How technology is making learning more responsive to pupils’ needs


The rewards and challenges of adopting siblings with SEN

The causes of behavioural, emotional and social difficulties at school

How supported internships are making a difference for young people with SEN


Family ties

Is the minimum wage damaging the employment prospects of people with learning disabilities?


Sept • Oct 2017 • Issue 90


CPD, training and events

Your essential guide to SEN courses, seminars and events

104 SEN resources directory


28 BESD 52 Dyslexia

70 Schools and colleges feature

90 Recruitment

In the next issue of SEN:

PMLD • safeguarding • spina bifida • creative arts • parents’ rights • attachment complementary therapy • autism • dyslexia • professional support for teachers Kidz to Adultz North • epilepsy • specialist seating • recruitment • and much more…

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80 per cent of young people with autism have mental health issues Communicating how they feel is a problem for many on the autistic spectrum Young people have negative view of what their normal life is like Four out of five young people with autism have experienced mental health issues, says a report commissioned by Ambitious about Autism’s youth patrons. The research asked young people with autism how they felt normally and what their experiences of mental health were. More than three quarters said that when they are not experiencing mental health issues they believed they felt more under strain than their non-autistic peers. Only four per cent are extremely confident in knowing who to ask for help if they are experiencing a mental health issue. Two-thirds of young people said that if they did ask for help, they had little or no confidence they would get what they need. In addition, 90 per cent felt uncomfortable disclosing mental health issues to education professionals. The youth patrons, young people with autism from across the UK, worked with the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) to find out about the mental health experiences of young autistic people and make recommendations on how best to meet their needs.

Recognising the signs The research forms part of a project undertaken by the young people to promote an understanding of what wellbeing looks like for children and young people with autism. In particular, the project focuses on how a “normal day” for someone with autism might be very different from that of a neuro-typical person. The project promotes the idea that when anyone’s behaviour changes from their own “normal”, that could be a sign that something is wrong and an indication that they should seek help. The report outlines three key points young autistic people believe will make the biggest difference to their experience of mental health: they must have support identifying and communicating how they feel; there needs to be a reduction in the stigma, and an increase in knowledge, around mental health and autism; they must be able to find and access suitable support when they need it. In an attempt to help address these issues, a number of resources have been created by the charity’s youth patrons, including a toolkit, a stigma-busting animation and training for education, social care and health professionals. The resources are intended to help everyone working with young people with autism to feel more confident intervening early, and understand that it is not inevitable that young people with autism should be unhappy.

Early intervention “Our research shows that young people like us are struggling with their mental health, but we don’t know where to go for help, or feel SENISSUE90

Depression can be seen as “normal” for young autistic people.

confident that the right help is out there. This is not acceptable”, says Georgia Harper, 23, one of the youth patrons who worked on the report. “Providing the right services for autistic young people who are experiencing mental health issues is the right thing to do. Early intervention maximises the chance of being able to help, and in the long-term, will often cost less than waiting until we need crisis care.” Dr Laura Crane, one of the authors of the research, noted that young people with autism tended to have a strikingly negative view of what their “normal” life was like; they generally felt unhappy and depressed, worthless, under strain, unable to overcome their difficulties, unable to face up to problems and lacking confidence. “It is not acceptable for unhappiness and depression to be seen as the ‘normal’ state for young autistic people”, says Dr Crane. “Indicators of the presence of a mental health problem can be subtle – this may make it difficult for the young autistic people, and other people who know them, to identify that they are experiencing mental health problems. This is a particular issue since young autistic people often reported finding it hard to express their needs.” The report, Know your normal: young people with autism’s experience of mental health, can be found at: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Families affected by ME are being falsely accused Parents face safeguarding and child protection referrals GPs and teachers find understanding ME “challenging” A new survey of families with children affected by the neurological condition myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) shows that one in five who responded have faced accusations of fabricated or induced illness, abuse or neglect, leading to child protection referrals. This disproportionately high referral rate is the result of a persistent lack of understanding about ME and its impact, says UK charity Action for ME, who carried out the survey.   “A staggering 96 per cent of families we surveyed also said that a lack of understanding of ME has negatively impacted on the support that they receive”, says Sonya Chowdhury, Chief Executive of Action for ME.   Talking anonymously about their experience on BBC Radio 4’s File on 4, one mother and her teenage daughter highlighted the need for better understanding of the impact of ME: “[We did it] to get away from the local services that didn’t trust us, didn’t believe us, that made I don’t know how many safeguarding referrals against us abusing, neglecting, emotionally abusing our daughter, for doing all the things that our specialist told us we should be doing. It’s devastating”.

Parents are not believed Of the 270 families that responded to the charity’s survey, 22 per cent said they had had a safeguarding or child protection referral made against them; the majority of these referrals were made by education (53 per cent) and medical professionals (29 per cent). Around 90 per cent said they were concerned that professionals involved with their child did not believe them.

Families of children with ME are being accused of fabricating their illness.


Nearly half of the claims were of fabricated or induced illness or FII (previously known as Munchausen’s by Proxy), which occurs when a parent or carer exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in the child. This heightened frequency of FII claims sits widely outside the national prevalence rate.   A smaller number of the unsubstantiated accusations were of neglect (17 per cent) or emotional (ten per cent) or physical (two per cent) abuse.   “Cases of fabricated/induced illness are a serious form of child abuse, and not to be taken lightly. However, they are rare”, says Sonya Chowdhury. “The news that so many families are being subjected to FII claims is deeply alarming, adding as it does to the already considerable pressures faced by these very sick children, their parents and their siblings as a result of this challenging condition.”  

Professionals struggling

While Ms Chowdhury recognises the importance of a system which picks up on potential safeguarding and child protection risks, she questions why the proportion of FII is so high when it comes to ME. “It is clear that some professionals still do not understand the uniquely complex impact of ME”, she says. Mary-Jane Willows, Head of Children’s Services at the charity, believes that ME in children and young people is often misinterpreted by teachers and peers, resulting in children being accused of being lazy, anxious or depressed. “However, it’s not only teachers and education professionals that need support to better understand ME”, she says. “GPs themselves have said that they find ME one of the most challenging conditions to refer, and it’s alarming to see that nearly a third of families facing safeguarding/child protection referrals have had these made by a medical professional. In some cases, this is occurring despite the child having a confirmed diagnosis of ME by a specialist.”   The survey did find that some families of children with ME receive excellent support from the professionals they come into contact with, but Sonia Chowdhury warns that when it comes to understanding of the condition “there are many whose experiences prove we still have a long way to go.”

For the latest news, articles, SEN resources, CPD and events listings, visit: SENISSUE90




Councils face cuts to core funding of 75p in every £1 by 2020 Funding for vital services “is running out fast” Child protection and support for those with disabilities and SEN under threat Securing the financial sustainability of councils and vital local services must be the top priority for the Government, the leader of local government in England said in a recent speech. Lord Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Association, used his keynote address to more than 1,200 local government leaders, councillors and ministers at the LGA’s Annual Conference in Birmingham to demand that councils are at the “front of the queue” for new funding if “austerity is coming to an end”.   Local councils are facing growing financial pressures and uncertainty. By 2020, local government in England will have lost 75 pence out of every £1 of core central government funding that it had to spend in 2015, says the LGA; this is money used to pay for services like protecting children, collecting bins, filling potholes and caring for elderly and disabled people. Almost half of all councils (168 councils) will no longer receive any of this core central government funding by 2019/20. Councils will face an overall £5.8 billion funding gap by 2020; even if councils stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks and open spaces, closed all children’s centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres, turned off every street light and shut all discretionary bus routes, they still would not have saved enough money to plug this gap by the end of the decade, the LGA says.

Protecting services Lord Porter, a Conservative peer, said the need for adequate funding for local government is urgent. To maximise the potential of local government and protect local services from further cuts, councils must also be made financially sustainable and fiscally independent by being able to keep every penny they raise locally in taxation to spend on local services. “The money local government has to provide vital day-today local services is running out fast. There is also now huge uncertainty about how local services are going to be funded beyond 2020”, said Lord Porter. “Councils can no longer be expected to run our vital local services on a shoestring. We must shout from the roof tops for local government to be put back on a sustainable financial footing.” The LGA is calling for local government to be allowed to keep all of the £26 billion in business rates it collects locally each year; government plans for this to happen are in doubt after the Local Government Finance Bill, which was passing through Parliament before the election, was not reintroduced in the Queen’s Speech. A fairer system of distributing funding between councils is also needed. SENISSUE90

Councils fear that children’s services may suffer as a result of cuts.

Greater independence The Association has launched a new report, Growing Places, which sets out how it believes councils can – with fairer funding and freedom from central government – build desperately needed affordable homes, create jobs and school places, provide the dignified care for our elderly and disabled and boost economic growth.   “Every penny in local taxation collected locally must be kept by local government and spent on our public services”, said Lord Porter. “The cap on council tax also needs to be lifted to ensure new money can be raised locally and spent locally.” Lord Porter argued that local government is the fabric of our country, particularly at time of great uncertainty for the nation. “Councils are the ones who can be trusted to make a difference to people’s lives. To build desperately needed homes, create jobs and school places, provide the dignified care for our elderly and disabled and boost economic growth”, he said.

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Having a premature baby does not affect long-term parental happiness Parents of premature and very low birth weight babies have the same life satisfaction as parents of full-term babies, when their children reach adulthood, according to new research out of the University of Warwick. The study traced the lives of children born very preterm (VP), or with a very low birth weight (VLBW), and full-term children – and their parents – over a 27 year period. Parents of 446 children born in Germany in 1985 and 1986 were assessed in terms of life satisfaction and quality of life and the researchers found that they had the same levels as parents of healthy kids, despite preterm children more often having issues with disability and schooling problems. The parents were asked to fill in the World Health Organisation’s Quality of Life Assessment, which measures physical health (such as energy and fatigue), psychological health (such as positive feelings), social relationships and environment (including financial resources and home environment). They also completed the 5-item Satisfaction with Life Scale, and rated their agreement with statements such as: “In most ways my life is close to my ideal”, “The conditions of my life are excellent”, and “I am satisfied with my life”. By the time their children had reached the age of twenty-seven, their life satisfaction was equal in scores to that of parents of healthy term babies. The study showed that parents of VP and VLBW babies were confronted with more challenging situations during their children’s life. These factors included their children having a different start to life in neonatal intensive care and a much higher rate of disability; 38.8 per of VP/VLBW had a disability in childhood compared to 5.7 per cent of term-born children. Challenges also included poorer schooling, mental health problems and peer relationship problems.   “This is a testament to resilience, adaptability, and coping of parents of children of very preterm children, and really good news that life can be bright after a very difficult start”, says Professor Dieter Wolke who led the research.   The study concluded that the key determinant of parent satisfaction was not disability, academic performance, or how good the parent-child relationship was; rather, the crucial factor was whether the children had good mental health and good peer relationships in childhood.   The research, Very Preterm Birth and Parents’ Quality of Life 27 Years Later, is published in the journal Pediatrics. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Are parents setting a bad example for kids on social media? New research by Parent Zone for Channel 4 News reveals that 99 per cent of parents who use social media upload an image of their child every week. It also finds that 56 per cent of parents admit that likes on a photo make them feel good about their child. Researchers spoke to UK parents who use social media about sharing images of their children online. The practice, also known as “sharenting”, has become increasingly popular using platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. The survey found that 71 per cent of parents took ten or more photos of their child a week, with 32 per cent saying they never ask their child’s permission before posting an image of them online. When asked why they post images of their children, 71 per cent of parents said they do so to keep friends and family who aren’t close by updated on their children’s lives, while 13 per cent said they did it to help build up their own social media following, with the same number admitting it was to generate commercial sponsorship (advertising and product placement). Despite their general willingness to share online, 77 per cent of parents do have concerns about uploading images of their children. The most popular concern was that parents would be negative role models for their children and encourage them to use social media themselves (12 per cent), with a further 12 per cent worried that uploading the image or video would make their child unhappy. Four per cent of parents said they were worried someone else would get a hold of the images and use them inappropriately. “Sharenting is one of the many new issues that parents have to navigate and we can see that figuring out what's OK and what isn’t is proving tricky”, says Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parent Zone. “Our advice is to think about your child's privacy now and in the future – and if you're not sure, don't share.”

For the latest news, articles, SEN resources, CPD and events listings, visit: SENISSUE90




Radio aids have a big impact on deaf toddlers Research published by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) illustrates that radio aids technology can have a significant impact on hearing and communication for deaf children.   Government data shows that around half of deaf children (48 per cent) start school having failed to reach the expected level in communication and language. This new research, undertaken by The Ear Foundation, demonstrates that being able to hear their parents’ voice clearly and directly by using radio aids promotes markedly better parent-child communication.   The research shows that radio aid use led to a 144 per cent increase in conversations between parent and child when in the car, and an 88 per cent increase in conversations between parent and child when outdoors. It also showed an increase of 72 per cent in speech sounds and words at nursery.   According to the latest figures, almost one in two local authorities (46 per cent) do not make radio aids available to pre-school deaf children. Of those that did make them available, some included additional eligibility criteria like requiring families to take out insurance, leaving many with vastly reduced options.  

Sarah Norton, who took part in this research with her three-yearold daughter Chloe, explained: “The radio aid really helps her understand and communicate; there’s a noticeable difference if we don’t use it, especially at nursery or going out and about.” The NDCS is urging all local authorities and the Department for Education to ensure every deaf child gets access to a radio aid as early as possible. “With the right support right from the start, deaf children can do anything their hearing friends can – but if this isn’t provided, they can face a real struggle”, says Ian Noon, the charity’s Head of Policy and Research. “The early years are critical in developing language and communication skills, and we know that interaction between parents and children is an essential part of this. However, everyday situations like being in a buggy or car can be a noisy minefield for deaf children, making it impossible for them to hear their parents.”    The charity’s Right from the Start campaign is proposing a range of measures to improve early years support for deaf children, including giving children access to radio aids. More information is available at:

Disabled children are not happy taking part in sport Half of UK parents with a child with disabilities aged four to 18 say their child doesn’t feel comfortable taking part in sports with other children, according to a report by Variety. The children’s charity studied data from 137 parents of children with a disability and 97 school staff. It found that children with disabilities have fewer opportunities to participate in sports, both in social and school environments. Only one in five parents surveyed said their child plays sports with their friends. Fewer than one in ten said their child takes part in sport through a specialist club. The report identified two major barriers to children with disabilities taking part in sport: social stigma and the financial cost. Over a third of parents reported that their child had experienced negative social attitudes to their health problem or disability in relation to sport. Four out of five special schools surveyed said facilities or equipment were a barrier to children participating in sports, whilst two-thirds of mainstream schools said transportation was a barrier. 

The charity says that these barriers are having a profound impact on children with disabilities in the UK. A lack of participation in sport contributed to social isolation, lack of confidence and reduced life experiences among children with disabilities, according to 72 per cent of schools and children’s groups surveyed. Teachers also reported that this lack of participation in sports lessons has a knock-on effect on a child’s confidence and their wider educational attainment. Sarah Nancollas, Chief Executive of Variety, believes that all children deserve the opportunity to take part in sports, although this isn’t the case for many children with disabilities. “Whilst we were aware that many of these children faced barriers accessing sports, I am disappointed at how extensive this issue is”, she says. The charity is calling on politicians and all interested parties to join together to address the issue. The report, Sporting opportunities for children with disabilities: Is there a level playing field?, can be found on the charity’s website:

For the latest news, articles, SEN resources, CPD and events listings, visit: SENISSUE90



Headteachers fear budget cuts are damaging education London’s headteachers are grappling with a funding crisis that will adversely affect the quality of education schools can provide, research commissioned by London Councils has revealed.

Schools call for help on sex and relationships education Primary schools say they want more support to teach sex and relationship education, particularly in relation to issues of puberty, reproduction and feelings, staying safe and consent. In new research undertaken by the charity Coram Life Education (CLE) and specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, two-thirds of schools say they need more guidance on statutory requirements. One in three primary schools need more help with identifying children’s needs in relation to sex and relationships education (SRE). Three quarters say they need more advice on consulting parents about SRE. The research comprised a survey and focus groups conducted amongst 85 headteachers, PSHE coordinators and teachers responsible for teaching SRE throughout the UK.   One teacher commented: “I’d like an easy and fun way of teaching this sensitive area. SRE is embarrassing for the children. I’d like plans and resources that are easily accessible and easy to follow and teach.”   The research findings will inform a new Relationships Education programme being developed by CLE and funded by Ecclesiastical. This will aim to help schools prepare for when SRE becomes statutory in all primary and secondary schools from 2019 and address the issues they identify.   “Only four years ago, Ofsted stated that primary schools were ‘leaving pupils ill-prepared for physical and emotional changes during puberty often experienced before children reach secondary school’”, says Harriet Gill, Managing Director of Coram’s education programmes.

Talking Heads, a survey of nearly 400 London headteachers and senior school leaders conducted for London Councils by TES, The Education Company and Shift Learning, shows that increased costs due to a range of new and escalating pressures, such as growing pupil numbers, additional pensions and national insurance contributions and the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, are forcing headteachers to make tough decisions to balance school budgets. The report highlights the negative impact of insufficient funding on teacher and teaching assistant numbers, curriculum options, learning resources such as IT equipment and textbooks, and the upkeep of school buildings. Of those who responded to the survey, 70 per cent of London school leaders have already experienced budget cuts, ten per cent more than those in the rest of England. In addition, 90 per cent are expecting their school budget to decrease over the next two years. More than 80 per cent believe that the quality of their school’s environment will be harmed by further cuts and more than 70 per cent feel that pupil outcomes will be negatively affected. “Our research paints a bleak picture of the financial challenges threatening the future of London’s education system”, says Councillor Peter John, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member with responsibility for schools. “The UK is on course to leave the European Union in 2019 and ensuring young people have the skills to succeed and contribute to the growth of the economy has never been more important.” London Councils is calling on the Government to recognise that schools are facing significant additional cost pressures, and to protect school funding in real terms to address these pressures. Councillor John argues that “this would give headteachers the freedom to focus on helping children to realise their potential at school so they respond positively to the challenges and opportunities that spring from Brexit.”

Chris Pitt, corporate responsibility manager at specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, says: “Our own research with educational establishments showed that 69 per cent are concerned about the mental health of pupils, with 80 per cent saying issues are becoming more prevalent and three quarters saying that these issues hinder future success.”

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What’s new?

AccessAbilities Expo 2017

AccessAbilities Expo (7 to 9 November) is the MENASA region’s dedicated event aiming to bring the world’s latest robotic and assistive technology products under one roof in order to enhance the lives of more than 50 million people in the region with disabilities. The three-day event gathers together government and private organisations from industries like infrastructure, aviation, tourism, hospitality, facilities management, technology, consumer electronics, transportation, education, healthcare and other sectors committed to providing accessible communities to people with disabilities. Activities include panel discussions by experts, sporting and creative arts competitions, and knowledge transfers through seminars and workshops. To register, visit:

Struggling to understand complex behaviour? The Fagus educational resource provides schools with a toolkit to measure, support and track pupils’ social and emotional development. It was created at Beech Lodge School, an attachmentfocused school for children with social and emotional difficulties, and is now being used across the country in many mainstream and special schools to understand their pupils' social and emotional functioning and improve academic outcomes. The Fagus resource comprises 13 printed Developmental Guides and an online tool to create Developmental Profiles. It enables teachers to interpret complex pupil behaviour and set developmentally appropriate goals, clarify interventions areas and provide quantifiable data about social and emotional progress. Email: Call 0845 5651758

Launch of the National Education Union

New schemes of work for those with SLD/MLD

The National Education Union launched on 1 September, bringing together more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders across the UK to form the largest education union in Europe.

EQUALS has published four new revised schemes of work (English, maths, science and PSHE, and citizenship) for the National Curriculum for pupils working below age related expectations.

Blending the expertise and experience of both the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Union of Teachers, the National Education Union provides members with the support of a combined team of workplace reps, local officers and legal experts. The wider range of CPD, unrivalled publications and digital resources will also empower professionals to inspire generations of learners. Find out more and join at:

Angela Kent joins Beechwood College Angela Kent has joined Beechwood College as the Director of Education Services and Care. Angela is an experienced senior leader in education who has worked for nearly 30 years in schools, education consortia and local authorities. Prior to joining Beechwood College, Angela was Head of Achievement and Inclusion for Cardiff Local Education Authority, where she was accountable for the leadership and management of all services related to school improvement and the quality of provision for young people with additional learning needs. Angela will be working with the team at Beechwood College to continue its development as a recognised Centre of Excellence. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

EQUALS has also published a brand new semi-formal curriculum, specifically designed and written for learners of all ages with SLD/MLD. The first six schemes cover My Communication, My Play and Leisure, My Independence, My Thinking and Problem Solving, The World About Me and My Creativity (art, drama, dance and music). For information and free sample downloads, visit: or call: 0191 272 1222 or email:

52-week care and a home rich in British Sign Language Progress House in Exeter is a registered children’s home specialising in caring for deaf or hearing impaired young people aged up to 17 years who have additional needs such as behavioural, emotional or social challenges or learning disabilities, autism or physical disabilities. Ofsted rated Good, the three-bed home provides specialist 52-week residential care, 24 hours a day in a homely environment. All care staff are qualified British Sign Language users up to BSL Level 6. Visit: or contact Registered Manager James Heaver via: 01392 267068 or SENISSUE90




SEN resources website from LDA LDA specialise in educational resources to help support teachers and parents of children with SEN. With resources for all ages, from early years to secondary, and covering many conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia, products are designed to meet a wide spectrum of needs. LDA have announced the launch of their newly designed website. Built with users in mind, it offers many new and improved features to make it easier for you to find what you're looking for, shop online and manage your account.

Helping families resolve education disputes Education Lawyers specialise in helping families with children who have SEN through the EHC needs assessment process and with appeals to the SEND Tribunal. Education Lawyers is an experienced and skilled team, providing legal advice and practical solutions in relation to SEN cases. Their lawyers have been providing legal help to families throughout England and Wales for over 25 years. If you would like to speak to someone from their team about your child’s SEN, email: or telephone: 01452 555166. For more information, visit:

To try it for yourself and view the full range of products, visit:

Free autism events in York Hesley Group have released details of their upcoming free autism events and are now taking booking requests. People with Complex Needs – Better Understanding, Better Support will be taking place at York Racecourse on 18 and 19 October. Speakers Professor Barry Carpenter and Angela Stanton-Greenwood will provide workshops and presentations that will enable parents and professionals to gain valuable knowledge during the respective oneday events, and are sure to keep attendees engaged and focussed throughout. More details can be found at:

Calman Colaiste Specialist College Kisimul School’s new provision Calman Colaiste is an independent specialist college providing further education for young adults with autism, learning difficulties and complex needs. The aim of Kisimul’s Learning for Life programme is to offer a broad, balanced and structured programme of vocational and learning opportunities to young adults who are resident in their registered adult homes and supported living services. Offering a range of bespoke programmes for learners, the provision is designed to help learners develop core functional, vocational and life skills. Calman Colaiste: Wisbech Road, Peterborough, PE6 OTD. 01733 271326 SENISSUE90

Unravel and The Blinks supporting young people’s mental health Unravel is an organisation that provides prompt, bespoke mental health support for schools and families across the country. The Blinks novels offer the same psychological approaches subtly entwined into a novel for children to enjoy. This new model helps children and young people gain insight into what they are feeling and offers specialised action to drive positive changes in wellbeing. If you are interested in Unravel therapists for your school and or training in this area, contact: or visit: and:

Learning and Teaching Expo (LTE) Learning and Teaching Expo (LTE) is Asia’s leading education expo and Hong Kong’s annual signature education event. LTE is an ideal platform for SEN coordinators, teachers and schools to discover the latest development and explore educational resources and technology in SEN education. At LTE 2017, the SEN Theatre will continue to invite scholars and experts to share their insights and best practices in supporting students with SEN. Themes include: Innovative Strategies for Learning Diversity, Educational Technology in SEN, and Life Planning. Admission is free and educational and trade professionals are welcome to take part For more information, visit: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Masterclass on autism, self-harm and self-injury This masterclass with Dr Khalid Karim and Sarah Baines will explore selfharm and self-injury in autistic individuals. The afternoon-course will look at the underlying reasons why these behaviours may be occurring and how these actions can affect those around the autistic person. It will also look at strategies that may be useful in helping with self-harming and self-injury. The content of the session will be applicable to those working with autistic children or adults.

New Medpage seizure detection alarm Microchip technology is advancing so quickly that engineers now have opportunities to produce technology that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Taking advantage of the latest technology, Medpage Limited has launched their new Medpage MP5-UT seizure detection alarm. The ULTRA sensitive bed sensor accurately detects typical seizure movements to provide an alarm to parents and carers, via the radio pagers supplied, of an ongoing epilepsy episode. Adjustable digital controls for movement intensity, simply adjusted, ensure optimum performance is achieved. Priced at £170, the UT provides reliable seizure detection with minimal false positives. Visit: and search “MP5-UT”.

A busy summer for Douglas Over the summer, specialist SEN solicitor Douglas Silas has improved his acclaimed website at www.SpecialEducationalNeeds. to provide even more daily information about what is happening in the world of SEN. He has also provided more useful information/resources about SEN/disability and SEN/education. In addition, Douglas has updated his free eBook, A Guide To The SEND Code of Practice, and his free App: Douglas says: “I am always looking to find more ways of helping children and young people with SEN, whether through parents or professionals.” For more information, visit:

Asia-Pacific International Schools Conference (AISC) Asia-Pacific International Schools Conference (AISC), the annual event for international school leaders and educators, will be held on 14 and 15 December at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. AISC brings together the international schools community to explore topical education issues for educators within international schools. Professor Michael Fullan and Dr David Gleason have already been confirmed as keynote speakers. Themes will include: Mental Health and Wellbeing, Early Years Pedagogy, and Transforming Learning A special offer (50 per cent off standard rate per person) is available if you sign up before 27 Oct 2017 using online registration code “aisc17off50”.

The Harpur Trust and Mencap boost employment in Bedford Thanks to the assistance of The Harpur Trust, Mencap, through their Employ Me programme, are supporting people with a learning disability in Bedford to get closer to paid employment. Rory Hicks (pictured), who is completing Employ Me, said: “With Mencap we have been looking for jobs…. We have spoken about communication, health and safety, and how to treat others in the work place.” To find out more about Employ Me, visit: For more information on the work of The Harpur Trust, go to: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Oaka releases special value package for visual learners Oaka Books has launched a special bundle package to help schools and parents with their budgets for the coming year. It includes a paper-based topic pack for each of its 47 KS3/CE topics plus a free 12-month subscription to Oaka Digital, the online SEN resource library, containing over 250 resources for pupils with SEN (for use by up to 300 pupils on any one site). The package costs £337.00 (saving £223) and is available until 30 November 2017. To order, visit: or email: SENISSUE90




SEND Inclusion Award Optimus Education’s SEND Inclusion Award provides a framework for recognising outstanding SEND provision in schools. It helps schools establish their strengths and weaknesses in terms of SEND provision and prioritise areas for further improvement and development. The award also helps schools determine where current provision is having high or little impact on the progress and outcomes of pupils with SEND. Following a process of self-evaluation, action planning for improvement and evidence collection, schools achieving the award can demonstrate to Ofsted and key stakeholders that they have achieved an outstanding level of SEND provision.

Scotland’s residential school for visually impaired pupils The Royal Blind School is Scotland’s only residential school specialising in the care and education of visually impaired pupils, including those with complex needs. It offers day places as well as a range of residential options including, weekly, termly and 52-week a year placements. The School enrols pupils from P1 to P6 and has a weekly pre-school playgroup. As well as offering a full curriculum, the School delivers independent living skills, mobility and orientation to ensure that pupils become as independent as possible.

For more information, visit:

Newly updated WRAT5™

New SensoryPlus catalogue

Brought to you by Pearson Assessment, the updated WRAT5™ provides an accurate and easy-to-administer way to assess and monitor the reading, spelling, and maths skills in people aged 5–85+ and helps to identify possible learning disabilities.

From handheld sensory tools to full bespoke rooms, their new catalogue has something to fit every budget and requirement. It features their new bubble tube range, exciting new portable sensory systems and much more.

With its efficient completion time, you can screen individuals or small groups (with some subtests) to help identify those requiring a more comprehensive academic achievement evaluation in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.

SensoryPlus owner Stephen Cragg says: “we have simplified and expanded our range this year to provide the most appropriate and effective equipment for users of all ages and abilities.”

You can find the new catalogue at: where you can also browse the full range of products. You can also email the SensoryPlus team at:

Latest Easy News for people with learning disabilities

Inspiring SEN professionals for 25 years

National disability charity United Response has produced the latest edition of the award winning Easy News – the first ever magazine designed specifically for people with learning disabilities.

Organisers of the TES SEN Show, the UK’s largest special educational needs event, say it will bring together the entire sector for two days of ideas, inspiration, networking and innovation – bringing learning to life for pupils with SEN and empowering the SEN community.

Using simple language and visual cues, this edition gives readers a news roundup which includes an update on the Grenfell tower fire, a political update, Brexit negotiations, acid attacks, the first ever female Dr Who, and much more. To download a copy and sign up for future editions, visit:

The Show is also celebrating its twenty-fifth birthday this year. Whether you are responsible for one or many pupils with SEN, the TES SEN Show aims to provide you with the support and resources you require. You can join the conversation on social media using: @SENShowUK




Celebrating 25 years of interaction Multi-sensory products company SpaceKraft is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. Since its founding in 1992, SpaceKraft has been committed to providing effective sensory environments and resources for those with special needs. Interaction has always been at the heart of SpaceKraft’s philosophy, as they believe it is the best way to unlock the potential of clients and pupils, and empower them in their education and development. The SpaceKraft catalogue features the full range of innovative and exclusive products. To receive a copy, call: 01274 581007 or visit their website:

UK-wide trampoline maintenance service Sunken Trampolines have announced the expansion of their trampoline maintenance service. With years of experience working with many different trampolines across the UK, they are now offering their knowledge and expertise of looking after this specialised piece of equipment so that any school or home with a trampoline can have a trained professional to look after it. If you have a trampoline either above or in the ground and would like on-going safety and performance servicing, Sunken Trampolines are keen to hear from you. For more information, visit:

New online shop for special seating provider Specialised Orthotic Services (SOS) is launching an online shop on the 11 September 2017 to provide customers with a more straight forward way to order standard products. SOS modular and standard products will be available direct from the store, including the popular P Pod, Nessie positioning aid, and toilet, shower and bath seating systems. Customers will also be able to buy spare parts and harnesses online for the first time. Special promotions will be available from 11 September 2017 at: For more information, contact SOS. Tel: 01283 520400 or email:

Sporting excellence at St John’s St John’s pupil Finn has won the Panathlon Challenge Outstanding Achievement Award for overcoming severe difficulties to excel in multisport competitions. At seven months old he contracted pneumococcal meningitis which resulted in profound sensory neural hearing loss, complex epilepsy and left-side hemiplegia. His regular seizures also resulted in delayed language and communication, particularly speech. Due to his disabilities, particularly his deafness, Finn finds academic life a challenge, but sport – Panathlon in particular – has allowed him to compete alongside his peers, flourish and excel. For information about St John’s Catholic School for the Deaf, contact Mandy Dowson: 01937 842144 WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Inclusive Roundabout from Sutcliffe Play Sutcliffe Play’s new Inclusive Roundabout has been designed to offer functionality and durability without compromising on fun. Children and carers, whether they have a disability or not, can enjoy the experience of spinning. This roundabout can accommodate a wheelchair, four users in the seated position, as well as a similar number standing. It has a large anti-slip floor surface and a large, central, designated wheelchair space with rubber backstops. A “roll on, roll off” design enables users to exit in a forward position. Disabled and able bodied children can enjoy the sensation of spinning, all together, at the same time.

Change lives with VSO VSO is the world’s leading international development organisation that fights poverty through the lasting power of volunteers. They run life-changing programmes in some of the world’s poorest communities to ensure every child has access to a quality education. The communities they work in need experienced educators with the ideas, energy and enthusiasm to make a difference. You could be designing learning resources, developing the next generation of teachers, or creating new school management policies – all to create long lasting change for those who need it most. Find out more about volunteering for VSO at: SENISSUE90





Rhino UK Edition 6 Multi-Sensory Catalogue The team at Rhino UK have announced the imminent arrival of their new MultiSensory Catalogue. Available in September, the Catalogue will include a wide range of sensory solutions, featuring the latest in technology and innovation. The Catalogue will include more than 950 sensory resources, a multi-sensory room guide, sensory icons and recommended products for those with autism or dementia. To request a free catalogue, send your name, postal address, email address and a contact telephone number to: or call: 01270 766660. The Rhino UK team offer free consultations to guide you through your buying decisions and help you invest in the best solution to meet your needs, from a fully-equipped multisensory room to a portable Sensory Voyager or individual sensory toys. For more information, visit: SENISSUE90

Online Down syndrome training New online training is available for staff working with children with Down syndrome. It provides convenient and costeffective access to up-to-date information and practical guidance for parents, teachers and therapists supporting children with Down syndrome aged from four to 16 years. The training offers an ideal introduction to Down syndrome and wide-ranging advice for teachers and teaching assistants working in both mainstream and special primary and secondary schools. The training is provided by Down Syndrome Education International, a recognised leader in research and education for children with Down syndrome: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Free consultation and inspiration guide on inclusive, sensory outdoor play The outdoor sensory space in any setting should be fully inclusive and provide the same opportunity for everyone to explore regardless of their ability or special need. It should be a place where diversity is respected and valued, enabling children of all abilities to explore their surrounding in a safe child-centred inclusive environment. Timotay Playscapes have a free inspiration guide to outdoor sensory play spaces and outdoor sensory play equipment. For your copy, email: or call: 01933 665151.

Free online searches for special schools isbi schools helps parents and educational professionals find schools. is the only website that offers a free facility to carry out a comprehensive search on special needs schools based on detailed search criteria. The site lists information on local authority special needs schools offering boarding facilities, as well as all independent special needs schools. The website also contains a wealth of advice for parents choosing a school. For more information, or to search for a school, go to:

Specialist SEN and disability law SEN Legal is a specialist education and disability law firm with a national client base. They act solely on behalf of parents/young persons in SEND Tribunal appeals, disability discrimination claims, deputyships, powers of attorney, Court of Protection, Judicial Review, social care, personal budgets, exclusions and admissions appeals. They also advise schools on Ofsted, funding, contract terms and annual reviews. The second version of their book, Special Needs and Legal Entitlement, is available from Amazon now. It is a parent-friendly guide, updated to include the most recent developments and key issues. 01284 723952 WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK





Point of view: mother

What price dignity? The UK’s lack of fully accessible toilets is denying the human rights of many disabled people, writes Laura Rutherford


y beautiful son Brody is five years old. His disabilities mean that he is doubly incontinent

and he needs to wear nappies all day,

Accessibility should be standard. Inclusion should mean everybody

cost, but for big businesses this is a drop in the ocean. And they shouldn’t forget that accessibility means that families can visit more places and spend more money. The so-called purple pound, which is the collective spending power

every day. Brody’s worth as a human being of

of disabled people, is worth £249 billion.

course isn’t measured by these facts. He





is worth far more to me and our family

can leave where we are and travel home

intervenes and makes changing places

than you could possibly know. He is

with him in a dirty nappy. We can change

toilets mandatory in building standards,

happy and he is loved. He is a little boy

him in our cold and uncomfortable car

families like mine are relying on either

who deserves the same opportunities as

boot, in front of passers-by (which

the good morals of business owners or

all other children but he doesn't get them.

we won’t be able to do when he gets

ones savvy enough to realise the true

As Brody has grown older, we have

even bigger). We can change him on

value of the purple pound.

found that there is a real shortage of truly

a dirty toilet floor, something we have

Until then, what we are teaching

accessible toilets in the UK.

fortunately managed to avoid so far

society is that children like Brody who

When Brody was a baby and toddler

thanks to our car boot, although many

require an adult sized changing bench

his incontinence wasn’t really a big deal.

people do not have this option and are

or hoist in order to use a toilet are

Like all families, we took advantage of

left with no choice. You can imagine how

just not welcome. And that there is a

baby changing facilities when we went

all this make me feel as a mother: awful.

cost to dignity and the basic human

out, which thankfully we could rely on

How is this possible in 2017, when

right of going to the toilet for disabled

being at most places. And if there wasn’t

there is legislation in place like the

one available, because Brody was still

Equality Act (2010) that is meant to protect

small we could quickly change him on

disabled people? Isn’t going to the toilet

the car seat or on our lap if needed.

a basic human right? Isn’t access to a

Yes, that was far from ideal, but it was

toilet a reasonable adjustment?

manageable and not a regular problem.


You would think so, but the type of toilet we need, which has an adult

No good options

sized changing bench and hoist (known

I never once thought about what would

as a “changing places” toilet) is only

happen when Brody outgrew baby

a recommendation in the Building

changing facilities. It simply didn’t cross

Regulations and British Standards. And

my mind – even though I knew it was

so most businesses just don’t care.

likely that he would not be toilet trained

We do not live in an inclusive society.

at a typical age. Now I am all too aware

Accessibility should be standard.

of the options faced by parents and

Inclusion should mean everybody.

carers of incontinent children and adults.

You can’t put a price on dignity,

Our choices are extremely limited: strip

inclusion and accessibility. Yet when

Brody of his dignity and put his health

it comes to this matter, it seems that

and safety (and my back) at risk. Or we

businesses can. Yes, there is a financial


Further information

Laura Rutherford blogs about her family at:



Point of view: education solicitor

Prioritising children with SEN Local authority delays are causing hardship and distress for children with SEN and their families, writes Samantha Hale


ecently, my firm published the results of Freedom of Information Act requests to all local authorities in

England regarding children with SEN. They revealed that in 2017,

This can make the difference between a school placement being a success or a failure

have a profound impact on their mental and physical wellbeing.  It is absolutely crucial that local authorities are held to account, and that action has to be led by families. Anyone affected by these failings should,

Statements of SEN/education, health

at the very least, raise concerns with their

and care (EHC) plans designed to help

local authority. However, in cases where

children with special educational needs transition to secondary school, were delayed in more than 2,400 cases.  

a local authority is continuing to delay has, in fact, been set in stone for

the issuing of a transition statement of

some time. It even pre-existed the

SEN or EHC plan or it is going through

Some of the most alarming rates of

changes to the SEN system from the

an appeal to the specialist tribunal,

delay were found in the North West,

Children and Families Act 2014, and

parents should consider seeking legal

where 499 children didn't receive their

therefore local authorities should be well


Statement of SEN or EHCP on time. Local

versed in their legal duties in relation

authorities in London also failed to issue

to children with SEN transferring to

Statements or EHCPs to 458 children.

secondary school.

Local authorities have a legal duty

The failure of local authorities to

to issue transition EHC plans and

comply with this deadline impacts both the

statements of SEN to children with

children and their families in a number

SEN by 15 February in the year those

of ways. Firstly, it jeopardises the

children will be moving into secondary

ability of the family, school staff

school. This is meant to give parents

and the professionals supporting the

the time they need to help their

child to collaboratively design and

children make the move, or to appeal

implement a suitable transition plan.

against the contents of the plan to a

This can make the difference between

specialist tribunal.

a school placement being a success

or a failure. Secondly, for those families

Missing the legal deadline

where the local authority has failed

Uncertainty is a huge issue for these

to include suitable provision to meet

children and their families, who have

the child’s needs, and in some cases

to work extra hard to make any

name a suitable school placement, the

change a success. It is therefore very

failure to comply with the legal deadline

worrying that it was revealed that in

could mean that they are unable to appeal

England at least 2,400 children with

against the contents of it to a specialist

SEN were not given their final EHC

tribunal before secondary school starts. 

plans or statements of SEN by the legal deadline of 15 February.

The combined effect of these failings can be catastrophic for the child – with

This deadline is nothing new for

the uncertainty causing some children to

local authorities to comply with. It

suffer high levels of anxiety, which could


Further information Samantha Hale is Associate Solicitor in Education Law and Community Care at Simpson Millar LLP:

What’s your point of view?






General SEN duties Douglas Silas outlines the general SEN obligations on schools and local authorities Where do general SEN duties come from? The current general SEN duties on local authorities (LAs) and schools (in terms of law and practice) are governed by Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA). There are also other relevant things, such as: • Acts of Parliament, including the Education Act 1996 and the Equality Act 2010 – known as “primary legislation” • regulations and rules, such as the SEND Regulations 2014 and the SEND Tribunal procedure (First-tier Tribunal) – known as “secondary legislation” • caselaw, such as existing and developing cases decided in the courts • guidance, such as the SEND Code of Practice 2014 (CoP) and the Transitional and Savings Provisions relating to Part 3 of the CFA. Guidance includes statutory guidance, which has to be followed and only

deferred from “exceptionally”, and ordinary guidance, which does not have to always be followed.

What are these general SEN principles? The current general SEN duties mandate a new child/young personcentred approach, which calls for more participation by children and their parents and young people in decision making to ensure an integrated approach is used. Section 19 of the CFA covers things like: • the views, wishes and feelings of the child or young person and their parents • the importance of the child or young person and their parents participating as fully as possible in decisions • the importance of the child, young person or their parents being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions

The overall aim is preparing the child or young person for adulthood • the need to support the child or young person and their parents in order to facilitate the development of the child or young person and to help them achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes.

Are there any other general duties? The CFA places a duty on local authorities to identify all children and young people in their area who have or may have SEN. This is a positive duty; it means that local authorities will actively need to put systems in place for obtaining relevant information from other agencies, such as schools and healthcare bodies. The CoP notes that LAs do not have an obligation to assess all home-educated children for SEN.

What is the local offer?

Young people with SEN must now be consulted on decisions about their support.


The CFA also introduced the concept of a “local offer”, where LAs must publish and maintain a local offer that sets out the education, health and social care provision that it expects to be available for children and YP with SEN and disabilities in its area, including not only education and training, but other things like finding employment, accommodation and helping generally with participation in society. It must also specify provision available outside its area for those it is responsible for. This is intended to increase transparency and accessibility, as well as make WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


provision more responsive to local needs through consultation and feedback. LAs also have a duty to annually publish comments on their local offer and any actions they intend to take in response. The local offer must be kept under review.

What does this all mean in practice? The overall aim is preparing the child or young person for adulthood. The CoP states that all children and young people are entitled to an education that is appropriate to their needs, promotes high standards, allows them to fulfil their potential and allows them to successfully transition into adulthood, whether into employment, further or higher education or training. However, the courts have already said that the Section 19 duty regarding “best possible outcomes” is limited to supporting children, young people and their parents to achieve these outcomes and that the likelihood of actually achieving these outcomes is not itself a mandatory consideration, so the courts have already indicated that they do not want to place an increased burden on LAs.

Are schools included? Although the duties relate mainly to LAs, schools are also required to cooperate with them. For example, schools have an obligation to consider if children have SEN and to inform parents when they believe that they do. However, although the CoP expects class teachers, in collaboration with the SENCO, to assess if a child whose progress is slower than expected may have SEN, the school only has a “best endeavours” duty to provide for it.

Do these SEN principles only apply to LAs and schools? No, the CFA also applies to healthcare providers and others. For example, there are corresponding obligations on clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and NHS trusts to bring children who WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

they believe have SEN or a disability to the attention of LAs, after they have informed children’s parents and given them an opportunity to discuss their opinion. Other local partners include maintained schools and nurseries, academies, non-maintained special schools, further education institutions and youth offending teams. Other local partners must also cooperate with requests from the LA, unless it would be incompatible with their duties, or otherwise have an adverse effect on their functions.

Do the different agencies have to work together? Yes, the CFA refers to “working together” and there needing to be a duty of integration and cooperation, as it aims to promote integrated working across education, healthcare and social care. It also places a duty on LAs and “partner commissioning bodies” to have joint commissioning arrangements, whose purpose is to plan and jointly commission education, health and care provision for disabled children or young people and those with SEN. The CoP says that joint commissioning should allow agencies to make the best use of all the resources available in an area, to improve outcomes for children and young people. The integration of education, health and social care is also part of a broader government aim of strategic collaboration.

What does joint commissioning cover? Joint commissioning should deal with the following issues: • education, health and social care provision needed • how provision will be secured and by whom • how complaints about education, health and social care provision are dealt with • procedures for ensuring that disputes between LAs and CCGs are resolved as quickly as possible • how education, health and care assessments should be secured.

Joint commissioning should allow agencies to make the best use of all the resources available

The CoP provides examples of support, such as, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, equipment (including assistive technology), clinical treatment and medication, and personal care.

Are there any things to watch out for? Yes, whilst these general principles translate into specific duties upon LAs to ensure that children and young people are actively involved in the SEN process, such as the obligation to consult a child’s parent or a young person about the content of an EHC plan, it is important to note that some of these general principles are only “target duties”. A target duty does not generally create legal rights for individuals and it can be difficult for a person to bring a legal challenge, solely on the basis of failure to satisfy a target duty.

Further information

Douglas Silas is the Principal of Douglas Silas Solicitors and runs the website: www. He is also the author of A Guide To The SEND Code of Practice (updated for 2017/18), which is available for all eBook readers: www.AGuideToTheSENDCode The advice provided here is of a general nature and Douglas Silas Solicitors cannot be held responsible for any loss caused by reliance placed upon it.






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JANICE JOHNSON Looking to the future of autism support Charity Autism Together is asking families affected by autism to think about what life could be like fifty years into the future for people on the spectrum. In an online questionnaire, people with autism and their families or carers are being asked what changes they feel should be made to improve lives, how they feel people with autism will be supported in the future and what they could be contributing to a future society.

• Legal Advice on Special Educational Needs for children and young people aged 0-25 years • Assessment advice for Education, Health and Care Plans • Reviewing and amending Education, Health and Care Plans • Drafting Grounds of Appeal for SEN Tribunal Appeals

One respondent, selected randomly, will win an overnight stay in a family room at the luxurious and autism-friendly Malmaison hotel on Liverpool's waterfront.

• Your advocate at SEN Tribunal Appeals

A report based on the research will be published in early 2018 as part of an awareness raising and fundraising campaign to mark the charity's fiftieth anniversary.

"You have done such a marvellous job and I really enjoyed working with you."

To complete the survey, visit:

Mrs RM - July 2017


• Competitive Fees

Where to start? For a personable, friendly approach and initial advice speak directly to Janice, who will personally handle your case throughout, on 01986 781372 or 07976 396972 or email her at: janicejohnson08@





The price of equal pay Stephen Bradshaw asks if the minimum wage is restricting employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities


f you’re an adult with a learning disability living in the UK today, it’s more than likely that you will be unemployed. Just six per cent of over 18s with a learning disability are in paid work – the vast majority are denied the opportunity of meaningful employment, and with it the dignity that that brings. It’s clear the present system isn’t working and the time for a radical rethink is now. Disability rights campaigner, and the mother of a daughter with Down’s syndrome, Rosa Monckton earlier this year called for people with learning disabilities to be allowed to work for below the minimum wage. In the past such suggestions have been labelled as controversial and criticised for being discriminatory, but does Rosa have a point?

Embracing diversity From an employer’s perspective, they will always be reluctant to take on any individuals who may not fit into the efficient employee model, who can deliver at the right pace while maintaining quality. But there are roles

These people are often disregarded in the employment stakes because they are different

of contributing to the financial wellbeing of a company. I have been pleasantly surprised, though, by the response from different employers. Now we need the positive data to demonstrate how this would benefit companies.

Barriers to employment that adults with learning disabilities can take, especially public facing roles where people would welcome diversity. The minimum wage was put in place to ensure that employers paid a reasonable rate and that employees were not exploited. But if the minimum wage becomes a blockage in allowing adults these opportunities, I believe we should consider dropping it for certain groups. That doesn’t mean we should have a two-tier systems but anything that would encourage employers to take a different view should be welcomed. Employers should be encouraged to take on adults with learning disabilities as interns. This allows the employer to offer some meaningful employment, not to have to pay the individual initially and if they prove their worth in the work place, to offer them a permanent position. It does take a mind shift from employers to see adults with learning disabilities as employable and capable

Many individuals with autism and different learning disabilities are capable of doing very repetitive jobs to a high skill level. These people are often disregarded in the employment stakes because they are different or lack the expected social skills. This certainly doesn’t mean they cannot contribute. Of course we do not want to dismantle the hard earned achievements of the unions through the minimum and living wages, which are excellent pieces of legislation, but we also do not want the undesired consequences of these becoming barriers to meaningful employment. To accelerate progress, it is imperative that we ensure employers who do offer internships and employment opportunities gain kudos from doing so and are not seen as just paying lip service to their corporate social responsibility. People with learning disabilities have so much to contribute to the wider society. It’s time to drop rigid rules and adopt a more flexible approach to employment. Work gives life purpose; why should we deny it to the people who already lead challenging lives?

Further information

Stephen Bradshaw is CEO of The Aurora Group, which runs a range of facilities and services for children, young people and adults with special needs:





Understanding BESD Hilary Nunns examines some of the main causes of behavioural, emotional and social difficulties at school


he 2001 SEN Code of Practice recognised that there is a connection between the social difficulties encountered by children and young people who have “emotional and behavioural difficulties”. During years of working with young people in schools and colleges, I’ve noticed that there is a definite traceable pattern which would be consistent with reduced levels of attainment and/or dropping out of the education system. The Equality Act 2010 states that BESD stands for “behavioural,

They over-respond to scenarios and situations, cannot filter out their anger and react without thinking emotional and social difficulties”. However, there are many other acronyms used, for example: SEBD (social, emotional and behavioural difficulties); ESBD (emotional, social and behavioural difficulties); EBD (emotional and behavioural difficulties) and SEMH (social, emotional and mental health). A child with behaviour issues may have a condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), autism, or deficient emotional and social

regulation (DESR), which causes their behaviour to be unpredictable, or oppositional. It can be argued that the behaviour stems from the fact that people with these conditions process information and communication in a different way, due to variances in the brain. DESR, a less well known condition, could explain why some people, for example, fly off the handle easily, have road rage, or engage in arguments over their place in the queue; they over-respond to scenarios and situations, cannot filter out their anger and react without thinking. Emotional difficulties can be a mixture of things such as anxietydriven behaviours, depression, mental ill-health and addiction. They interlink with some conditions classed as behavioural, as some of them are driven by extreme anxiety. Social issues might relate to poverty, neglect, being a carer of parents/ siblings or living in a difficult and unsafe home or neighbourhood, which influence how a person will think and feel – not just about themselves but about the world in general. Again, there are a lot of cross-overs between this and anxiety.

Causes of behaviour issues An iceberg analogy provides an easy way to consider how the underlying causes of behaviour drive the individual. The iceberg has its greatest mass below the waterline – it’s invisible. The causes, or drivers, of the behaviour described as BESD are invisible, but they are strong and powerful, just like the biggest part of the iceberg. It’s wrong to suggest that everyone who has any of these conditions or operates in this environment will display poor behaviour, but the risks SENISSUE90



are heightened when these factors are at play. Many schools and colleges create tick lists which outline some of the potential danger signs in a young person’s life which may help to pre-empt the barriers to learning which a young person would face if they scored highly. In an educational context, the outward signs of BESD are easily detected, especially when other factors are taken into consideration. They may include: absences; anger; frustration; social isolation; unpredictable outbursts; poor relationships with teachers/ students; having few friends or unlikely partnerings; being unusually quiet and withdrawn and not being a good mixer; spitefulness and aggression; dirty clothes; and being malnourished. On the face of it, you might argue that these factors alone do not signpost particular problems, but when the behaviour stops the child or young person from learning, they are faced with even more barriers to success.

Absences People who suffer with mental ill-health or long-term illness, would naturally need more time away from the learning environment. Unfortunately this means they will miss a lot of learning and many may feel unable, or may not want, to catch up. One easy way to support a student who is absent regularly is to save worksheets and handouts, send emails or letters explaining what has been covered, and encourage them to return the work for checking. I’d even go so far as to suggest that they telephone the school or college for a tutorial; it shows that you are concerned about them and that you are a partner in their education.

Anger and frustration In teenagers, anger and frustration are a common part of the growth into adulthood, but if these behaviours are frequent in class, this disrupts not only their own learning, but also that of those around them. In the absence of an understanding of the underlying causes of their behaviour by school WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

staff, many young people are regularly removed from class or school. Anger and frustration are often born out of feelings of impotence around personal circumstances or a sense of injustice. Some young people, though, use their anger and frustration as a means to avoid work. Adults often reinforce this behaviour by providing exactly the response the learner is looking for, for example, being removed from class. There’s no easy balance in this scenario and in many cases the removal from class can benefit the others who are trying to learn. However, a pattern is being set in the young person’s mind: I create a behaviour episode and you remove me from class. The resultant isolation from the learning environment often means that the young people with the greatest need (for learning) are working with people who are less well qualified – support staff. I have a great deal of admiration for teaching assistants (TAs) but their skills around managing difficult behaviour can be challenged by such pupils. If students are removed from the main class, care ought to be taken to ensure that the work set is meaningful and that the member of staff responsible for them is skilled in providing behavioural support. It is relatively easy to learn mentoring, anger management and calming strategies. This personal development work, alongside curriculum study, can have the most positive effect on the child. The main aim will be to reintegrate the student back into class.

Social isolation and friendship Signs of issues with social isolation, consistent with autism, may be that the child or young person is frequently upset if working in groups, prefers their own company, and is most content with set routines and structure. In mainstream learning settings, it’s a frequent issue that a student’s classrooms and teachers change regularly and there may not be enough TAs available to help with unstructured time.

Anger and frustration are often born out of feelings of impotence around personal circumstances One of my students with an education, health and care plan took us by surprise when he resisted all attempts to give him a named person for individual support in class and around college, in the mistaken belief that he would be able to better “reinvent himself” if he had only a minimum of support. It was soon apparent that the support was not needed for learning but that it was essential for “adapting”. With the vagaries of college life adding to the distress of an already anxious young learner, it was necessary for mentors and buddies to be found, along with a safe place for the student to return to in times of stress. Other forms of social isolation may be driven by the low self-worth of the individual, or by them living in an unsafe environment. While schools and colleges will have safeguarding measures in place, the outward signs of neglect, abuse, radicalisation and bullying can be mistaken for something else, such as being quiet or shy. This may also show as an extreme lack of focus on tasks, and poor work output in spite of good attendance and seemingly good engagement. It’s easy to make assumptions, but in order to provide the best support for all learners we need to ensure they are not disadvantaged by their behaviour, whether it’s large and lively or silent and still.

Further information

Hilary Nunns is an SEN consultant and the founder of Can Do Behaviour:





Half of expelled pupils suffer mental health issues New figures from the IPPR think-tank suggest there is a “broken system” facing excluded pupils. Researchers found that one in two excluded pupils experience recognised mental health problems, compared with one in 50 pupils in the wider population. Estimates suggest this might be as high as 100 per cent once undiagnosed problems are taken into account. Government data has also shown that only one in a hundred children who have been permanently excluded from mainstream schools go on to receive five good GCSE grades. Since 2013/14 the number of pupils permanently excluded from schools has risen by 24 per cent. The politically left-of-centre think tank says that under the current system, excluded pupils are four times more likely to grow up in poverty, twice as likely to be living in care, and seven times more likely to have a special educational need than other children. This lack of specialised support then leads to a downward spiral of under-achievement, the study says, as 99 per cent of excluded children will finish school without five good GCSEs required by most employers. These marginalised young people are often then in a “pipeline to prison”, the report says. Of the 85,975 people in UK prisons, the IPPR estimates 54,164 were excluded when at school. “Theresa May says she is committed to improving mental health of young people. Addressing the most vulnerable children being thrown out of England’s schools is a good place to start. Because unequal treatment of mental health may be an injustice, but the discrimination of school exclusions is a crime”, says Kiran Gill, IPPR Associate Fellow. “If the Government is serious about real action on mental health, there needs to be dedicated funding and thought-through solutions rather than sticking plasters on the symptoms of the problem.” SENISSUE90



breaking through the barriers to children accessing mental health support Unravel was founded in 2014 by Andrea Chatten, an experienced teacher of children with Emotional and Behavioural difficulties who is pioneering a new psychological model to support children’s positive mental health and well-being. Since its creation, it has quickly moved beyond the Sheffield area and is now working with schools and families nationally and internationally. Unravel isn’t a clinical approach. It is human, emotional and offered with warmth. This is fundamental to children and young people not feeling judged. We can only do the work if the kids want to work with us and we only provide bespoke sessions so each child gets exactly what they need to improve their unique situation. The results speak for themselves. In a recent audit, 100% of

pupils felt that their well-being improved during and after interventions. One young person moved from a suicidal attempt in Y9 to most outstanding student in Y11 guided by the insight and action that Unravel offered. It is this formula that drives the positive change that young people crave. If children don’t feel like they are coping mentally and emotionally then they are not learning as their intelligence and logical reasoning is reduced by roughly a third. For some, the impact of these difficulties can have severe outcomes. No child experiencing mental or emotional distress should have to wait to be helped. It is social child abuse. If we don’t help them make positive changes to improve wellbeing, then the impact worsens and can become a cross generational issue too.

Unravel’s team of psychologists and therapists is constantly growing to meet increasing demand for on hand 1:1 psychological support. Training is also offered. Our most important asset is that we will adapt to you and your needs ensuring that outcomes are always the best possible.

For further information on Unravel contact:






Real world opportunities Supported internships are having a positive impact on young adults with SEN, writes Pippa Bruckland


he future prospects of a child are important to any parent or carer, but for young people with SEN or disabilities this can be of particular concern. In twenty-first Century Britain, there should be no barrier to the workplace for individuals with SEN. However, according to the Labour Force Survey, disabled people remain significantly less likely to be in employment. In 2012, there was a 30.1 per cent employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people, representing over two million people. So what is it that’s holding young people with disabilities back?

Despite the Government introducing plans to get many more people with disabilities into work, there remains a lack of understanding amongst employers around the skills and capabilities of people with SEN. However, with increasing exposure to initiatives, such as the Supported Internships programme, the Government hopes to work with employers to address and change these perceptions. A productive working life is central to a young person’s progress and future. Oversight of special education for young people aged 16-25, a

The main aim of the programme is for the young person, where possible, to end up in paid employment report published by the National Audit Office in November 2011, estimates that supporting one person with a learning disability into employment could, in addition to improving their independence and self-esteem, increase that person’s income by between 55 and 95 per cent.

Gaining experience

Interns get invaluable experience by operating in real working environments.


Supported internships aim to increase opportunities for young adults with SEN and/or disabilities and unlock their potential, helping to prepare them for work. Interns undertake a sixteen hour per week placement over nine months with their chosen organisation. The work is unpaid and they are effectively providing a nine month job interview to the employer, with a high likelihood of permanent employment upon completion. Interns on the programme comply with real job conditions, such as time keeping and dress code. Where appropriate, training for interns uses systematic instruction, a method specifically designed to help people with complex learning difficulties learn new skills. For the young person, the job must fit with their vocational profile, contribute to their long-term career goals and be flexible enough WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Supported internships help employers understand just what young people with SEN can do.

to address any potential barriers. The intern must also complete academic qualifications including English, maths and employability. For the employer, the interns must fill a genuine business need. The main aim of the programme is for the young person, where possible, to end up in paid employment.

Once placed into work, he showed greater flexibility than he had in any academic or social situation

Support in the workplace Each intern is assigned a job coach, who completes a task analysis for each new skill the intern learns. The task analysis is broken down into smaller, easy to follow steps so that interns complete the same process each time. This enables them to learn through repetition and gives them confidence that they are doing the work correctly. The job coach provides one-to-one support until the intern is able to complete the tasks to the expectations of the employer. They also act as a bridge between the intern and employer, providing advice to both parties on how to handle situations that arise in the workplace. Once the student can complete tasks independently, the job coach scales back their support in the work place, while continuing to observe and regularly review, to ensure the ongoing success of the placement. In addition to supporting students through their internships, employers are offered disability training, as many have little or no experience of working with people with SEN and disabilities. This enables employers and their staff to understand the advantages of working with the interns and appreciate WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

the skills and attributes that they can contribute to the team. Supported internships essentially offer a stepping stone, with a safety net, to a young person’s future, while at the same time educating and familiarising employers on the benefits of employing people with a range of conditions and disabilities.

Transforming lives For me, one young man’s story highlights the relevance and importance of supported internships to young students with SEN. Intern “M” is a driven young man with autism who finds it hard to try new things and cope with change. He would often state in response to requests for appropriate behaviour: “I can’t; I’m autistic”. The first six weeks of M’s course work at college were intense and centred on working with all the students to overcome things they find challenging. Soft skills such as teamwork, communication and personal presentation were taught regularly. The interns also worked on their written qualifications in career planning, English and maths.

M wanted to work in a bakery and his vocational profile was a match for this role. He showed little interest in learning in the classroom and there were initial concerns about whether he could modify his behaviour for the working environment. Despite this, M was selected for a job working in a large, well-known bakery. Once placed into work, he showed greater flexibility than he had in any academic or social situation. He initially worked packing the breads and putting the stock out. Within days, he progressed to labelling stock, and within a month, he was baking bread in the ovens. Working enabled M to understand that he had the ability to modify his responses and model behaviours that he saw around him on a daily basis. As a result, he accepted wearing a uniform, which he was initially despondent about, and dealt with change in a mature manner, even when it came without warning.

Closing the gap The Government says it is working closely with employers to support future generations of students with SEN and disabilities into work, and close the gap between disabled and non-disabled people in permanent employment. With positive results for the programme so far, I hope that more employers will embrace the supported internships scheme, so that more young people and their parents/carers can rely on a system that will provide increased opportunities for a fulfilling future and career.

Further information Pippa Bruckland is Supported Internships Specialist at Milton Keynes College:





Turning a page Mary Mountstephen examines current trends in SEN publishing and asks how print is faring in the digital age


ver the last ten years of writing book reviews for SEN Magazine, I have been fortunate to come into contact with some excellent companies and organisations who are passionate about producing top quality publications for schools, parents and clinics. In addition, the larger publishing houses offer many academic texts that specialise in more rarefied information that is of value when studying or working within a research field. The world of SEN publishing is vast, spanning international borders and reflecting many different approaches to subjects from autism and play therapy to self-esteem and dyslexia. Each country interprets its attitudes to SEN through legal, cultural and institutional lenses and one of my roles is to ensure the books I review are relevant to the Magazine’s readers, who are predominantly UK based. For example, the US produces many books that contain elements that are applicable in the UK, but some readers may find the contextual information irrelevant. When selecting books for SEN Magazine, I keep in mind the broad spectrum of readers, that includes school leaders, teachers, clinicians and parents. The world of publishing remains a vibrant and dynamic place

despite the proliferation of digital technology; although some books are available in digital format, many people, including myself, like to have books in our hands. For me at least, this is partly because I like to mark up interesting points in the text that I can refer back to later.

Best of both worlds Currently, there seems to be a trend towards books that provide structured programmes for the reader to implement, with links to further resources on-line. This offers the best of both worlds, as the physical book can be shorter, with more illustrations, for example, and appeal to both those who favour print and those who like digital formats. Another advantage of this approach is that the digital information can be updated, so the book is less likely to lose relevance over time. I have also noted a trend towards engaging the reader in reflective activities: a more interactive approach that links the development of knowledge to current practice. Many of the best books I come across are written by authors who have strong practical and professional profiles, combined with the ability to write in a format that is inspiring and accessible.

Each country interprets its attitudes to SEN through legal, cultural and institutional lenses They write with the reader in mind and avoid obscure vocabulary. Unfortunately, some of the most interesting books are also expensive, particularly the academic texts, and prices can reach over £100, making them inaccessible to most individuals. When selecting books, I aim to bear budgets in mind and select publications that represent good value. As a result, I often ask these questions: would this book be a useful addition to a setting’s CPD library? Will it date quickly or is the content too context specific? I am also conscious of selecting books that I judge to be appropriate in terms of the quality of the writing, content and background research/practice. I therefore prefer to avoid controversial therapies or interventions, as a short review cannot provide a balanced analysis of this type of publication. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to read a wide range of books from around the world and to share them with the readers of SEN Magazine. I am confident that the field of SEN publishing will continue to thrive.

Further information

Printed books are still popular with educators, despite the rise of digital media.


In addition to being SEN Magazine’s book reviewer, Mary Mountstephen is a former headteacher and SENCO, now working internationally in the field of specific learning differences as a trainer, consultant and conference presenter. She is the founder of KidsCanSucceed:




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Special feature


39 Educating pupils about ASD How to create an inclusive ethos at school 45

Living with autism A young man with Asperger’s on the highs and lows of being on the autistic spectrum



Changing attitudes towards autism Developing peer awareness in schools can go a long way in shifting perceptions of autism, writes Joy Beaney


hildren with autism have many strengths but they have a different way of thinking and making sense of the world. This can often lead to difficulties in communicating and interacting with peers, as well as inflexible or rigid thinking. They may also have unusual responses to sensory stimuli. The classroom and playground can be overwhelming places for all children, so with the added struggle of interacting with teachers and peers when you have autism, it is easy to see why this can be a barrier to academic, personal and social development. One issue identified by the National Autistic Society is that “Autistic children and young people can be more at risk of being bullied than their peers because of the different ways they communicate WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

We asked for volunteers who would like to find out about ways to support their peers and interact with others” (NAS website, 2017). Understanding the reasons why a pupil with autism reacts as they do in particular situations, can help prevent misunderstandings and reduce the likelihood of bullying. Increasing the awareness and understanding of autism with the child’s peers can help to change attitudes. Enabling the school mates to understand how they can be supportive and inclusive will help the child with autism to thrive

socially, emotionally and educationally alongside their fellow pupils.

Promoting acceptance A major focus of my work when advocating for children with autism in mainstream schools was to implement practical strategies and approaches to reduce barriers to learning. However, whilst these strategies undoubtedly helped children to cope with day-today problems, it became evident that when the children reached eight or nine years of age, new issues emerged surrounding the difficulties they had with social acceptance. Leading an outreach team supporting children with autism in mainstream schools gave me the opportunity to consider the social >> SENISSUE90



difficulties children with autism were having and the role played by the child’s peers in successful inclusion. School staff encouraged children to behave in an inclusive way, but awareness training for all children, that would promote acceptance and understanding of autism, was just not taking place. We aimed to tackle this situation head on by going into schools and giving whole school assemblies about autism. We used the letters of the word “autism” to deliver key messages and introduce some ways the children could help. We felt it was important to give a positive message about autism, describing the pupils’ strengths but also explaining the differences and possible challenges the pupils with autism might face. We asked for volunteers who would like to find out about ways to support their peers and become the “champions” of children with autism. We then worked with groups of these children aged between eight and 11 years and, meeting weekly, we delivered lessons to increase their autism awareness, concentrating on accepting and valuing difference. The lessons focused on the following topics: • everyone is different • communication • sensory differences • understanding our feelings • being a good friend • how to be an autism champion. During the final lesson, the volunteers were asked to suggest ideas to ensure school was a fun and positive place to be for a child with autism. Some of their ideas were innovative and compassionate and showed just how well the children had understood the course. The volunteers were awarded badges to wear at playtimes so other pupils could identify them. They helped at transition times, break times and lunchtimes and staff reported that this had helped to reduce the anxiety of pupils with autism during these stressful times in the school day. Many of the peer awareness materials and resources used in this SENISSUE90

Some children prefer not to be present, but would like staff to explain certain things about them kind of awareness training can also be used to fulfil an individual school’s particular needs. For example, an autism awareness assembly could stand alone and be delivered to the whole school to promote understanding of autism. Lessons can be delivered to all pupils in a class and form part of the school’s PSHE curriculum module focusing on “Accepting Difference”. Teaching peers about Autism could take place in a generalised way, when it does not relate to an individual, or it could be much more specific to the needs of a particular child.

Involving families It is essential to work in partnership with the child and their parent to let them know of the school’s plans to raise awareness of autism and the benefits this could bring for their child. School staff need to be sensitive to the fact that some parents may not have told their child about the diagnosis or may not wish for this information to be common knowledge. However, peer awareness assemblies can have a very positive effect on children and staff; children with autism who were reticent about disclosure often feel that these assemblies have helped to raise their self-esteem and confidence. The child’s views must be respected and it is vital to discuss if they wish to contribute to the assembly or lesson and what information about themselves they would like shared. Some children may prefer not to be present, but would like staff to explain certain things about them, for example, why they react in a particular way or what their sensory sensitivities are like. Parents have an invaluable insight into their child and may be able to provide useful

information and strategies that they would like to be shared. Sometimes the parents and the pupil have discussed what they would like others to know and have prepared a poster with drawings and written information that they wish to share. Schools that have taken part in this kind of peer awareness programme have noticed significant improvement; pupils with autism were observed to have more positive and confident interactions with their peers, as the volunteers who completed the peer awareness training created a support network for them. In addition, the volunteers were more empathetic towards the children with autism as they had gained a greater understanding of their individual strengths and weaknesses, both as children with autism and, more importantly, as their peers and friends Rather than putting the onus on those with autism to “fit in” with school and society, we owe it to them to ensure that future generations will recognise, and empathise with, their particular challenges, without losing sight of their individual personalities and talents. Only in this way will we be able to cultivate an inclusive and accepting society that truly embraces and celebrates difference.

Further information

A former SENCO, assistant headteacher and inclusion centre manager, Joy Beaney is the founder of Autism Train, which provides a range of training on autism. She is the author of Creating Autism Champions:
















Living life in colour Alex Manners reveals how Asperger’s affects his daily life and is now helping him to shape his future


was diagnosed with Asperger’s when I was ten years old and I look upon it as a positive – something that I feel lucky to have. I believe it is the reason why I have such a colourful, creative and quirky personality. My ambition is to be a TV presenter in sport or children’s television (my two main passions) and I am also on a quest to watch a match at all 92 Premiership and English Football League clubs (I’ve done 71 so far). I am 20 years old and have been able to overcome and find strategies to cope with many of the challenges that I have had to face over the years. However, back when I was in school, a lot of the issues that I have today were a lot worse. During my time at both primary and secondary schools, I used to struggle with wearing the school uniform. It was not that I did not like wearing a blazer and tie but the fact that I had to wear dark colours such as dark blues and greys. If I am wearing dark colours, I feel depressed, as if I am hiding my personality. If I am wearing colourful clothes, I feel as though I can conquer anything. Also if I see others wearing colourful clothes, like my Grandad, then this makes me really happy. Another struggle for me at school was the homework. The school day used to be very long and I always believed that school was for work and home was for play. I could not understand why we had to spend the little free time we had after school doing even more work. In my primary school, the teachers just did not understand my Asperger’s and it was not until I was statemented that they started to take any notice. Whilst I was at the school, I was able WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

to have time-outs where I would go to a quiet place and read one of my football programmes. My secondary school was quite different as it had a lot of pupils that had Asperger’s and so a lot of help and extra support was given to us. If ever I felt stressed, then I always had somebody who I could go and talk to. If they were not available then I knew that I could always call my dad. However, a lot of the issues and challenges that I had at school could very easily have been resolved.

Strung out I become stressed quite quickly and it can seem that it is just over a very small incident that most people would probably not even think twice

Alex loves to dress colourfully.

If I am wearing colourful clothes, I feel as though I can conquer anything

about. For me, this is not the case as a number of small incidents that will have happened over the day or even the week will start to mount up. Then it only takes that one little incident to make that last piece of string inside me snap. One of the ways in which I have learnt to calm myself down in these situations is by putting on a children’s TV show, as I have always found these types of programmes relaxing. As soon as they are put on I go straight in to a trance and instantly forget about my stresses. When I was younger, my mum always had to put them on for me, as I was just too stressed to do it myself, but now I have learnt how to do this on my own. Sometimes, everything around me just becomes too overwhelming and I feel as though I can’t complete the task that I am doing. I get flustered and my head becomes so jumbled that, after a while, I just run away to a quiet place (usually my bedroom) crying. When this happens, I am having a meltdown. I have meltdowns over different things but the common one is when I am in a messy environment. If I am in a tidy environment, my head feels clear and free but in messy environments my head is just too cluttered. Many people with Asperger’s struggle to filter out certain sounds >> SENISSUE90



Many people with Asperger’s have quite unusual interests; one of my friends has a specialist interest in bins

Becoming a TV presenter is one of Alex’s main ambitions.

and smells and can be over sensitive to a range of sensory issues. For me, it is the feel of certain items such as the seams in socks and the labels in shirts that really irritate me. I have to have all of my labels taken out of my shirts and my grandma even has to re-sew my socks so that I can’t feel the seams. Certain noises also affect me, like the ticking of a radiator. It may only be a small reoccurring sound but to me it is like somebody is banging a drum right next to me and at the time that is all I can think about. Other noises such

as the clicking of nails or tapping also really irritate me.

Calm and orderly I have a love of routine and when I was younger, I used to have to know exactly what we were doing, when and how long for, so I could feel relaxed and not become worried or anxious. Now I am an adult, I still have a love of routine, to the extent that everything in my bedroom has an exact place. I can tell if somebody has moved even the smallest of items such as a pencil

or has slightly ruffled my duvet. I can tell you where everything is down to the last paperclip. My wardrobe is arranged in colour order and everything in my drawers is positioned in the same direction. Most people with Asperger’s have a specialist subject, such as trains, motorways or certain television programmes, that they know virtually everything about. As I mentioned earlier, one of my great loves is football. I am so obsessed with it that I can name every ground, and its capacity, in the top five tiers of English football. I have around 100 football shirts, 190 football badges and 500 football programmes. My mum always says that she is glad that my specialist subject is something that a lot of people like, as many people with Asperger’s have quite unusual interests; one of my friends has a specialist interest in bins. I have, and will always have, struggles and challenges that are a result of my Asperger’s but if I did not have it, I would not be the person that I am today.

Further information

Alex Manners is 20, lives in Solihull and has Asperger’s syndrome. Alex makes promotional videos for local companies and sports clubs in the West Midlands. He also presents his own TV and radio shows for children, which he is currently pitching to programme commissioners in the media: Alex is on a mission to visit all 92 football grounds in England’s top five divisions.




Special feature

Specific learning difficulties (SpLD)

49 Dyspraxia at school The challenges facing students with dyspraxia 52

Dyslexia: a practical approach Useful tips for supporting your dyslexic child at home



Supporting adolescents with dyspraxia Diana Hudson explains what dyspraxia is, how it affects students and what adults can do to help


dolescence can often be a turbulent time but for many children with dyspraxia their school days are plagued by added difficulties and frustrations. This can lead to anxiety, anger or depression. Supportive adults can make a huge difference to their self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

What is dyspraxia? Dyspraxia affects around one in 20 young people to varying degrees. It is a recognised specific learning difficulty. These are conditions which affect certain areas of learning in people who are of normal or high intelligence and perform well in other ways. A child who is born with dyspraxia will not outgrow it but coping strategies can be learned. Many children also benefit from regular physiotherapy sessions and, in some cases, speech therapy. Dyspraxia varies in the severity of symptoms and every individual is different. Dyspraxia can also be referred to as “developmental coordination disorder� (DCD).

What are the symptoms of dyspraxia? Muscular coordination Problems with gross motor skills result in poor overall coordination, causing clumsiness and difficulty mastering skills such as riding a bicycle or catching a ball. Fine motor skills are usually affected as well, so tasks involving manipulation and finger control such as writing, dressing or using equipment can be extremely difficult. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Relying on intuition rather than a methodical approach can lead to exciting new ideas and developments Organisational problems Disorganisation is an integral part of dyspraxia but it often comes as a surprise to exasperated teachers and parents. Short-term memory problems, coupled with difficulties in forward planning, can result in a downward spiral of disorder and confusion. Social and communication difficulties Many people with dyspraxia find social communication difficult. They do not always pick up on inferred and implied meanings of speech or understand how to interpret body language, jokes, metaphors or sarcasm. They may also have very different interests and hobbies to their peer group and this can lead to friendship difficulties, especially in early adolescence.

Overlap with other specific learning difficulties Some students with dyspraxia also have additional specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyscalculia, or conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder >>




(ADHD) or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), but others may not. It is valuable, therefore, to get a full educational assessment to understand and address the student’s individual needs.

Upsides of dyspraxia These young people are often unconventional, outside-the-box thinkers, so they can add a different perspective to discussions or project work. Relying on intuition rather than a methodical approach can lead to exciting new ideas and developments. They tend to be visual thinkers, where thoughts are conveyed primarily as pictures rather than words, so they can be creative, with an aptitude for design and colour. Often, students with dyspraxia are eloquent and make good orators, actors or debaters. Generally, they are very honest and straightforward; they will have their own ideas and will not readily bend to follow the crowd.

How does dyspraxia impact on school life? Dyspraxia affects all parts of these children’s lives and can have a huge impact on their wellbeing and progress. Coordination Everyday activities can be more taxing due to poor coordination. Extra concentration is needed for tasks such as writing legibly, working with apparatus, carrying a tray of lunch, getting changed for games or participating in team sports. Mishaps are common and this can lead to extreme tiredness, embarrassment, teasing and low self-esteem. Organisation At secondary school, students tend to move between lessons and arrive with their books and equipment. Poor short-term memory means that they may forget instructions, fail to bring the correct equipment or books to lessons, arrive late, or get lost on the way. As a consequence, they are often in trouble with teachers for lateness, SENISSUE90

Some schools put homework instructions on an intranet site where it can be found if the pupil forgets coming ill-equipped to lessons or for forgetting to hand in homework. Planning larger pieces of work such as essays or coursework can also be very difficult for these students and they are likely to get behind and miss deadlines. Social Free unstructured time outside lessons can be very stressful for students with dyspraxia. Problems can arise with peers and friendships meaning that many young people with dyspraxia can feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster. A great deal of teenage kudos comes from body image and sporting prowess and so students can be laughed at, rebuffed or bullied. Feelings of depression and isolation are common.

How can adults help at school? Teachers and classroom assistants who are supportive and solution orientated, rather than critical and judgmental, will make a big difference. Many students feel that they are not valued and that others perceive them as being stupid. It is important for teachers to make it clear that they have faith in the students’ ability, appreciate their intellect and value their contributions. Having open discussions about how to make things easier in class is really valuable. The seating position in class can make a difference. Students with dyspraxia should ideally be at the end of a row, rather than in the middle, and near the front, where there is less distraction and the teacher can keep a subtle eye on progress.

Simple strategies such as having a more stable chair or the use of a writing slope may make recording easier. Adapted pen grips can help handwriting and modified equipment such as scissors or geometry sets are available. Non-spill containers can also be a bonus. Students may find concentration aided by having a stress ball in their pocket to fiddle with. Using a computer can transform the work of students with dyspraxia, enabling them to produce material more closely reflecting their intelligence and ability. Some pupils may be eligible to use voice-to-text software. They may qualify for extra time in exams, the use of IT or having a scribe. Teachers should be aware of this and make allowances in tests and timed tasks. Collaborative work can be challenging and it is generally better if teachers choose the group members and assign a specific role to each pupil. This helps to avoid or reduce conflict. Homework It is helpful if this is given early in the lesson, both in writing and verbally. Some schools put homework instructions on an intranet site where it can be found if the pupil forgets. Clear indications as to where and when it should be handed in are essential. Organisation As being disorganised is part of having dyspraxia, students may need help and support on a daily basis to follow timetables and find their way around if the school is large. Keeping lockers or desks tidy is very difficult, so items are regularly lost. An adult can help to organise a locker but this will have to be repeated at frequent intervals. Arranging notes in files also causes problems and should be checked regularly. Colour coding different subjects books and files with stickers can be helpful. If the doors of teaching rooms or shelves to hand in work are marked with the same colour, this makes it much easier as students link the subject to a colour. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Students may need help and support on a daily basis to follow timetables and find their way around Another easy way of averting problems is to have spare equipment in the teaching rooms, such as pens, pencils, rulers, calculators and text books. This also goes for games kit. Similarly, exam stress can be defused by having a spare, fully equipped regulation pencil case or two in the school office so that a student can borrow one if they forget their own. This is a safety net and, in my experience, is rarely used, but it does reduce anxiety. Games Fitness is important for keeping healthy and should be encouraged for all, but some students with dyspraxia really struggle and the whole PE experience can be miserable and humiliating. However, a few minor adjustments can ease the anguish. If these students can get changed for games slightly earlier, it reduces the crush and stress. The same is true at the end of the games lesson when they must change back. Some uniform adaptations could be considered, depending on the school’s policy, for example, allowing trainers and school shoes with Velcro rather than laces or skirts and trousers with elasticated waists. Games staff should choose the teams and playing positions to avoid the hurt of being the last to be picked. Sometimes physiotherapy appointments or an individual exercise session can be timetabled in place of team sports. As children get older it may be possible for them to do alternative sports such as swimming, running, keep fit, martial arts or dance. Additional roles can sometimes be found to enable less sporty students WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

to accompany the teams, perhaps as timekeepers, lines-people, scorers or the team photographer. The pupil’s kit should be clearly named so it can be returned or put in a known and accessible place if it has been lost. School lost property offices are often only open at restricted times, adding to the problems and worry about lost kit. Unstructured time at school Students could be encouraged to go to hobby sessions in lunchtimes or to have a responsibility such as helping with younger children, or in one of the departments, depending on their interests. In time, they may wish to run their own society.

teacher, year head or SENCO can make a huge difference. Potential problems can then be picked up early, worries can be shared and successes can be celebrated. It is really important to keep the students’ self-esteem high and to find the things that they are good at and enjoy. Both teachers and parents can work alongside adolescents to discover strategies to help them to learn and cope with their dyspraxia. It is important for all to maintain a sense of humour and perspective when things go wrong, which they will from time to time, and to focus on strengths and abilities. These young people can then begin to appreciate their own unique self-worth and have the opportunity to become confident and successful adults.

Positive feedback Above all, teachers should remember to be upbeat and positive and to reward success, originality of ideas, effort and progress.

How can adults help at home? Ideally, home should be a sanctuary, a place in which to relax, unwind and regain a sense of balance and humour. Adolescence is a confusing time and these students are likely to be tired after school and they may be cross, anxious or upset. A calm and supportive approach from parents can help greatly. Practical assistance with organisation is generally appreciated. A weekly timetable pinned near the door is useful. This enables students and parents to check what is needed each day and bags can be packed and ready the night before. Putting out school clothes for the morning also alleviates stress. Students should be encouraged to get up early, allowing time to eat breakfast before leaving for school. Parent should put name tags on all school uniform and equipment so that it can be returned when lost. It is best when parents work closely with the school as a partnership; having good communication with the form

Dyspraxia Awareness Week

In 2017, Dyspraxia Awareness Week runs from 8 to 14 October. Organised by the Dyspraxia Foundation, the aim of the event is to promote understanding of dyspraxia/DCD:

Further information

Diana Hudson runs inset training for teachers and mentors teenagers and adults with specific learning difficulties. She is the author of Specific Learning Difficulties: What Teachers Need to Know, published by Jessica Kingsley:





Dyslexia tips for parents Theresa Sainsbury outlines a practical approach to promoting learning and development in dyslexic children


yslexia is a word that has so many connotations. Type it into a search engine and a plethora of different explanations will ping back at you, possibly doing more to confuse than reassure. When talking to parents about their children, I always revert to one of the simplest definitions, provided by the NHS website: “Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling”. And whilst a diagnosis of dyslexia can sometimes feel like a relief, particularly if it is made around the ages of six to eight when your child is struggling to learn to read and write, there is, unfortunately, no magic formula to overcome this diverse condition. In fact, after diagnosis the confusion can continue, with a myriad of specialist books, websites and programmes all offering different kinds of help.

Keep it simple My advice is to leave the technical stuff to the schools and specialist teachers and adopt a practical, pragmatic approach at home, which has more to do with interacting closely with your child than anything else. After 12 years of working with the condition both at home and in a school, I have plenty of simple techniques you can employ and everything has been road tested on my own dyslexic son. Read to your child: there is never a cut off point for this. Just think how many adults listen to Book at Bedtime on Radio 4. If you’re too tired to read, listen to audio books together and embrace the storytelling rather than the SENISSUE90

Children gain confidence from spending time on their special interest with a parent.

On car journeys, unplug the technology for a while and describe what you see typeface. Use an e-reader for private reading and show your child how to use the instant dictionary and adjust the typeface and back lighting. Watch films and discuss them afterwards: my son extended his vocabulary and ability to construct a plot by watching films like Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. Play description games: on car journeys, unplug the technology for a while and describe what you see. Create interesting locations and backdrops for

essays. At home, help your child with creative writing by jotting down their ideas and shaping them into a plan with a beginning, middle and end. As they approach secondary school, invest in a speech-to-text package that allows them to talk their ideas into a laptop, tablet or phone. Invest in a whiteboard and mount it opposite your kitchen table. Use the whiteboard to learn spellings, quotes, facts or anything else. Write the information in different colour pens and leave it there for a few days. Observe which bit of information they learn first; can you link it to a certain colour or position on the board? Dyslexics are often visual learners, so help them find which colours and spaces work best for them. It’s important to nurture their development, though, don’t force them down a particular path. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Talk to search engines: search engines that you can talk to are a marvellous invention. Challenge your child to find out a new piece of information every day. It could be the longest river in Africa, the capital of Canada or anything that sparks their interest. Share in the thing they are best at: find out your child’s particular interest and throw yourself into it with them. They will gain confidence from being good at something. My son and I chose ice skating as he had elements of dyspraxia, meaning ball sports were tough. Saturday mornings at the ice rink created some fabulous memories.

Professional support If the school hasn’t given you a proper diagnosis, you may want to pay for a private educational psychologist to produce one for you. It might be expensive, but should provide you with all you need to get the best from the education system. It is also important to keep in regular contact with the SENCO at your child’s school and make yourself aware of all the potential exam arrangements on offer for dyslexics. Extra time, a reader, a scribe and word processing are all available, depending on the severity of the diagnosis. Use all these methods to get homework done with the least amount of stress.

Different ways to learn I’ve worked with hundreds of dyslexics over the past 12 years, including my own son, and most of them teach me something new about the condition. It’s wonderful to observe them maturing, coming to terms with their condition and starting to discover learning methods that work particularly well for them. I’m currently tutoring a Year 10 boy who is studying Macbeth. Although he struggles to read Shakespeare’s prose, once he’d seen a film version, his knowledge and confidence soared. Now, when I read the play to him, he can picture exactly what is happening and WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

thread the story together. He’s begun to realise that his visual memory is supremely well developed. The school and I are currently trying to secure him a reader for the GCSE itself. With that in place, I think he will perform as well as anyone. Many dyslexic pupils will find it useful to adopt a three-stage approach to their English set books: read the book, listen to it in an audio format and then watch a film version. Absorbing the information three ways is critical to their success. Another pupil, who has just taken her GCSEs, uses six by four inch index cards for almost all her revision. Because the cards are relatively small, it forces her to revise in “bite size chunks”, which means she doesn’t get overawed by the volume of work in front of her. She also uses them to create question-andanswer quiz sessions to test herself. She is now teaching her younger brother to use the same method. Spider diagrams are also very useful for subjects like geography. There are many packages on the market to help you put these together, but the most successful pieces of work are often hand drawn, using colour to represent key bits of information.

Lessons for life Probably the best advice I was ever given about dyslexia relates back to my very first pupil with the condition. I was new to my job in a secondary school and keen to find out how all the dyslexic pupils under my care had coped so far in their school careers. “Miss, the main thing I have to do is work harder than anyone else” this solemn 14-year-old told me. It was such a simple statement, but so wise. Last year he got a first from Bristol University in Engineering. But what about my dyslexic son? Well, he’s now eighteen and we both recently went to see the Pink Floyd Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. The recommended browsing time is one and a half hours, so I bought timed

He’s begun to realise that his visual memory is supremely well developed

tickets for the last slot of the day which allowed us exactly that amount of time to walk through the rooms. I figured it would be less crowded at that point and allow us more space to look at everything. After one and three-quarter hours, my son and I were the last two customers being shepherded out of the museum, having been forced to skip the last two rooms. “Forgot about my 25 per cent extra time when you booked the tickets?”, quipped my son. He was right; I’d overlooked the fact that there would be a substantial amount of written information to consume, but isn’t it great that he can now deal with his condition with wit and humour? Dyslexia is for life, but there are plenty of coping mechanisms.

Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017

Dyslexia Awareness Week runs from 2 to 8 October 2017. The overall theme this year is “Positive about dyslexia”. The British Dyslexia Association will also be concentrating on a different daily topic on the subject of dyslexia throughout the week: World Dyslexia Awareness Day takes place on Thursday 5 October 2017.

Further information

Theresa Sainsbury is a private tutor and former SEN Assistant in a large boys school in South West London. Her son was diagnosed with multiple issues at ten years of age.





Look forward to the new school year with Most people would agree that for children in the education system, the most important and most stressful time at school is exam time. So get prepared for the year afresh with Scanning Pens, the world’s leading supplier of pen scanners.

In a nutshell, the C-Pen Exam Reader helps a school relieve the pressures of resourcing both exams and every day classroom support. But most importantly, a student equipped with a C-Pen is able to work and learn on their own. It increases independence and confidence and raises self-esteem, which ultimately sets them up for the real world where they’ll have to manage without the continual support of another human being.

What is key for students with dyslexia (and their teachers) is to remember that nearly all exams are not testing reading ability but knowledge of a subject. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial for struggling readers to be given the necessary support to read the questions. If you can’t read the question, how can you possibly answer it?

One student said that, “She thought the pen was excellent and said she would prefer to use this than having a person read to her.” Whilst Nicole Dempsey, individual needs co-ordinator from Dixons Trinity Academy, informed us that they “noticed a calmer and more positive attitude in exams and also increased grades/better results – sometimes drastically so – more in line with what we know the students are capable of”.

Suzanne Hunt, Examinations Manager from the Henry Box School and Sixth Form commented: “The Exam Reader has been used in the classroom and exam hall for one year, but is already having an enormous impact.”

Thousands of schools across the UK and worldwide now rely on the Exam and Reader pens to enable students with dyslexia to be independent learners. See the benefits the use of the pens provides by viewing our case studies at:

Scanning Pens Ltd offers schools a 30-day free trial so they can effectively try before they buy.

The Exam Reader is JCQ approved which means there are no Access Arrangements required, so any student or school can start using the Exam Reader with confidence to help improve independence and results. Students do not need to be isolated in a separate room, which can be rather costly, and can sit in the main hall with their peers. More than 50,000 children a year in the UK have help with reading the exam questions in their GCSE’s and A-Levels. Human readers are not allowed in the English Reading exam but Exam Readers are!

Help with exams and daily learning The advent of the C-Pen Exam Reader now means students who struggle with reading can be back in the main exam hall with headphones plugged in hearing any words or lines of text read aloud. The arrangement is “centre delegated”, so a school can allow anyone who struggles with reading to use the pen, as long as it is part of their normal way of working; they do not need to have dyslexia to use the pen. So, as well as helping people who have access arrangements, this pen can now be used by people who didn’t qualify for any access arrangements and for people who have English as an additional language.


For further information, please visit: To calculate the savings your school could make using the pens, just visit:



Unchain your brain Gill Woon is a therapist and learning coach specialising in helping people of all ages with dyslexia, dyspraxia and other related learning difficulties improve their lives and learning chances, through a combination of exercise-based therapy, NLP techniques and good old-fashioned coaching. With more than ten years' experience and fifty-plus clients under her belt, Gill is currently writing a book, Unchain your Brain, aimed at parents and carers of children and teens with dyslexia, giving them tips, hints and practical ways to help them improve their academic performance, have fun and achieve their goals. To find out more about Gill's practice and/or to pre-order the book, contact Gill at:, or email her at: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK





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Touch sensitive New technology is making learning more responsive to the needs of individual pupils, writes Ranjit Singh


hildren in the twenty-first century are tech-savvy and this can be a real benefit when it comes to social inclusion at school. With so many people using smartphones and tablets at home, on the go and in the classroom, the use of interactive technology is very familiar and engaging for most children, meaning they will find it easier to stay on track and complete their work. For students with SEN, this is even more important as it allows them to fully integrate with peers. Touch-screen technology allows pupils to focus on the task, rather than getting caught up in working out how to use the computer or device. Physical disabilities can be a barrier to using technology because of the fine motor skills required, but touch-screens are much larger and only require a broader range of movements to operate them, meaning more people can access them. SENISSUE90

Interactive boards allow for game-based learning, bringing light hearted competition to the classroom Using these kinds of technologies enables students with SEN to feel included in all activities, many of which they once might not have been able to take part in. So what kinds of touch-screen technology can be most effective in creating a more inclusive classroom?  

Interactive whiteboards For many years, audio visual (AV) technology has played a prominent role in the classroom and it is still just as effective in today’s classes. With

the introduction of equipment such as interactive whiteboards and more recently touch-screens and interactive tables, teachers are able to present information relating to the topic in hand in far more dynamic ways. They can also encourage students to interact with activities and tasks relating to the lesson – be that through fullcolour images, detailed diagrams or even video content, which helps stimulate engagement and motivation while all the while promoting a more inclusive environment. For those who struggle to read or focus on the screen, settings can be adjusted to provide higher contrast, larger fonts or different style fonts, or simply to change how information is relayed. For example, the internet can be used on the board to provide a multimedia presentation.  When it comes to teamwork, rather than having one student working WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


from a computer and the others sitting either side, not being able to participate wholly, the entire group can now interact with the board, giving them equal responsibility. Interactive boards allow for game-based learning, bringing light hearted competition to the classroom and allowing everyone to participate in some capacity; all pupils can therefore relate to the lesson and feel engaged in the topic.

Touch-tables Touch-screen tables engage students through the use of handson learning and educational gaming software, which can inspire learning and transform the classroom into a multi-touch, collaborative learning environment. Teachers can use these pieces of equipment in a normal table format by setting them up in a horizontal position, allowing more students to interact together around the table. Alternatively, a table can be tilted to enable students to use it more comfortably sitting down or if they are working on their own. With the additional benefits of having adjustable mounts and stands, teachers can alter the height of the table, providing opportunities for taller students or for those who require wheelchair access. It means that pupils who might not usually get up close to the board are still able to interact by bringing the screen to their own level.

Tablets With the fairly recent introduction of tablets and smart devices into schools, students are able to get hands-on with content and access an enhanced learning experience with a wealth of information available at their fingertips. Being able to incorporate this technology into lessons enables teachers to differentiate learning, or work with a range of materials to ensure every pupil is able to process and understand the topic in their own way. Content provided by teachers can be adapted to match students’ ability and understanding. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Working on a tablet allows students to work at their own pace without worrying about falling behind those who are working on a separate, but related activity. Using tablets in the classroom, or supporting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment, also means that work can be continued outside of the classroom to suit the needs of the individual students. For example, those with dyslexia, or those who need extra time to complete work, can more easily work at their own level and pace, without this necessarily affecting their overall grade for the task.  Teachers can use mirroring software on tablets (or laptops) to transfer information and content from their device onto a student’s device. This might mean that a student with a disability can interact with the classroom display from their seat by utilising a laptop or a tablet and wireless technology.  In addition, tablets can be used to access the internet, allowing visual learners to benefit from images and videos that explain the content in a more appealing format; for those struggling to read, audio voice software can be used, or students could listen to podcasts, videos or online streams; games and educational apps can help to encourage learning in those who find it easier to understand concepts through practical tasks.  For those with learning difficulties, tablets make it easier for teachers to tailor the interfaces children use, their styles of work and how they access information – providing every student with a more suitable way of learning that fits their own needs, whether that’s using accessibility functions or not.  

Differentiated learning Using tablets, interactive whiteboards and touch-tables can really help to motivate students; these devices are often very engaging for children and provide more opportunities for students working at all levels. Indeed, they are more likely to actively want to use and

Tablets make it easier for teachers to tailor the interfaces children use, styles of work and how they access information experience the technology, which can mean they are more available and prepared for work in the classroom. Rather than using traditional text books, technology means pupils can work individually or together at the screen and interact with each other, the technology and the task at hand, to stop them from becoming distracted or disengaged. These relatively new devices and ways of working are already making a big difference to inclusion at school. For many students with SEN, who may have or prefer different learning styles and different ways of interacting with those around them, this technology offers new opportunities for differentiated learning that are perhaps only just beginning to become apparent. Going forward, technology is undoubtedly going to be more and more important in our classrooms, so it’s vital to look at how we can incorporate it effectively for the benefit of all pupils.

Further information

Ranjit Singh is CEO of Genee World, a manufacturer and international distributor of touchscreen technology and AV equipment:





Book reviews by Mary Mountstephen

Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently B. Lotto

Early Childhood and Neuroscience: Theory, Research and Implications for Practice

Weidenfeld and Nicolson £20.00 ISBN: 978-1-474-60033-0

M. Conkbayir

The author of this book is Professor of Neuroscience at the University of London, specialising in the biology, philosophy and psychology of perception. He has a record of engaging the public with science, through, for example, the creation of a neuro-design studio at the Science Museum in London. Although he has an extensive academic background, in this text he has set out to explore the ways in which our brains perceive life and to explain this using stories and images that make the content user-friendly and accessible. Lotto also places this information into a number of contexts, explaining why it is important, for example, that children need to be exposed to risks (within reason) to develop resilience, and that the brain has an immense capacity for adaptability, given the opportunity. He explains what happens when the brain is given more and less challenging tasks to perform, how this impacts on its abilities overall, and the drastic effects that can occur when the brain is deprived of physical experiences, referencing the children in orphanages in Romania. Lotto is a powerful storyteller and he draws on notable people from history to illustrate points about how the brain has developed and to explain why our perceptions are not “reality”. This is a fascinating and challenging book, written in a style that makes it feel like the author is engaged in a conversation with the reader, exploring ideas about brainbased understanding of “why we are who we are”.

The author is a training


Bloomsbury Publishing Company £19.99 ISBN: 978-1-4742-3190-9

coordinator of the National Early Years Trainers and Consultants and an expert in early childhood education and care. She is interested in the development of services



children in stressful or neglectful relationships and poverty, and in the role that evidence based research from the field of neuroscience can play in informing early years’ practice. The book is written from a non-specialist perspective and is aimed at practitioners, as well as lecturers and students. The reader is encouraged to “pause for thought” at frequent intervals throughout the book and Conkbayir includes short quizzes for readers to check their understanding. In addition, she provides case studies, including one describing a situation where a five-year-old is diagnosed with autism. She asks the reader to consider practical ways in which the setting could support the child. Chapters in the book include: Emotional Wellbeing, Children’s Language and Communication, and Beyond Nature versus Nurture. This book is of relevance to those working in the field of learning differences; it encourages the reader to develop a reflective attitude towards understanding the challenges faced in terms of supporting children, and the development of positive educative relationships as a key element in enabling learning environments for young children.



High Functioning Autism and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Reducing Meltdowns B.S. Myles and R. Aspy AAPC Publishing £21.50 ISBN: 978-1-942197-24-9

5 Reasons Why Most Schools Fail Your Child With Special Needs S. Lazarus The Endless Bookcase Ltd £9.99 ISBN: 978-1-908941-89-3

This short and practical

The author is an inclusion

resource will be of value

specialist and assistant



SENCO who has taught for

and parents dealing with

30 years in London primary

poor emotional regulation

schools and is the parent

in individuals with high

of a son with ADHD. She


set up a consultancy to




provides an overview of


neurological research into

children who have special

the ways in which the autistic brain perceives sensory input and how it deals with sensory overload. There are many contributions that detail what it feels like to be overwhelmed and the extent to which this impacts on daily life. The book explains some of the common stressors that can lead to a cycle of meltdowns and provides information about the three stages of meltdowns that they have identified: rumbling – specific behavioural changes that may indicate discontent; rage – the individual carrying out of acts impulsively, emotionally and sometimes explosively; and recovery, where the individual may be physically exhausted, or if not given time to calm down, may enter the cycle again. The authors provide a guide to interventions at each



needs, providing coaching to advise families how to create a happy, calm home life, as well as a monthly support group. In this short book, she offers support and guidance for parents and carers of children with SEN and provides practical ideas for schools to implement. The book is written from the perspective of a parent who has faced frustrations in getting the needs of her child recognised and she provides examples of good practice and useful resources that she has found helpful, both in her own situation and in advising and supporting others. She has also created her own resources, such as a DVD

stage and ways to support the individual’s behaviour. The

with graphics to make visual timetables and a number of

emphasis is on the safety of everyone in the environment,

games to support basic literacy skills.

based on a previously formulated plan.

Lazarus writes with passion and draws on examples of

The authors provide a case study and further information

adults who have become successful in fields such as the

to illustrate the process of functional behaviour assessment

arts and politics, but who struggled in school. This book is

that helps in gaining understanding of these behaviours

intended to reassure parents and to promote diversity and

and developing effective strategies and interventions to

inclusion. It is critical of the ways in which she perceives

support the development of regulation, self-awareness

some schools meet SEN needs and reflects what has

and control.

clearly been a difficult personal journey.





TES SEN SHOW Advertisement feature

Leading in inclusivity Sutcliffe Play is passionate about inclusive play and has a wealth of experience developing it. Through innovative design of both play equipment and play spaces, children of all abilities are able to play side-by-side, allowing every child equal access to the best play opportunities. Sutcliffe Play’s depth of knowledge has come through consultation and close working relationships with experts in disability, to ensure that access and inclusion are at the forefront of any equipment design. Whilst inclusive features are designed into most of Sutcliffe Play’s equipment, there are no compromises on the challenge it presents. The company’s play equipment always features an element of risk, allowing children of widely differing abilities to develop and explore their playful boundaries in an exciting way. Andy Love from Sutcliffe Play says: “Sutcliffe Play’s inclusive equipment is all designed specifically to deliver challenges, stimulation of senses and most of all enjoyment, and to enable able-bodied children to play alongside those less able.” Manufactured here in the UK, at the company’s purpose built factory in Yorkshire, the company is proud to be a British manufacturer. With local manufacture comes real benefits: lead times are shorter because delivery from overseas doesn’t need to be factored in, and with UK based production the flexible team is ideally placed to meet surges in demand. Specialising in bespoke play area designs, Sutcliffe Play regularly invites customers to meet the design team and see production in action to help bring their ideas to life – another benefit of local design and manufacturing. The company recently worked with Huddersfield based Woodley School and College on a new Sensory and Physical Development Area. Take a look at this case study to find out more.

Client: Woodley School and College Date of installation: July 2017 Value: £150,000 Client Brief

play equipment is made and how much development goes in to manufacturing it. Pupils even had the opportunity to offer the builders a helping hand when work started!

Proposal Sutcliffe Play has created a unique, bespoke sensory and physical development area with zoned spaces of activities and routes of access with no physical boundary lines encouraging children to use different items at different times. The zones are designed to focus on five kinds of play: physical and locomotor; role play and imaginative; creative; object; and social. Within social we focus on sensory, parallel and solitary play when designing for SEN settings.

The Zones Music Zone: this sensory zone focusses around a Bluetooth music mast, featuring a child-powered music player allowing pupils to learn about kinetic power whilst playing music from Bluetooth enabled devices. Active Zone: this zone offers inclusive but dynamic play options including an inclusive dish roundabout, seesaw, a pole spin and stepping pods allowing pupils at the school to develop their social skills, balance, coordination and imagination. A Goal End has also been installed with large panels for target games.

The school has recently become a facility that caters purely for autistic children and wanted Sutcliffe Play to design not just an inclusive space but a space that specifically meets the needs of the school and its users. During the consultation process, teachers and pupils visited Sutcliffe Play to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the company works. By inviting the School Council to visit, it allowed designers to see how they played on the various items of equipment and importantly it highlighted what would be suitable. It also gave the children the opportunity to see how SENISSUE90



Climbing Zone: this zone is packed with some of Sutcliffe Play’s newest ranges and provides pupils at the school with opportunities for both solitary play and parallel play. The Daffodil Climber from the Toddlerzone Plus range reflects a natural theme with gentle waving panels. An ascending trio of platforms has access points at either end. Large decks make it easy for children to navigate around the unit and the soft rubber surfacing on the decks provides a safe play surface. Equipment from the environmentally friendly Orchard range creates an activity trail with a bespoke teepee unit acting as both a climbing opportunity and social setting to create dens and meeting places. Quiet Zone: forming a large part of the playground, this zone includes a story corner with seating and artificial grass flooring plus a wide range of water and sand play options allowing children to engage in natural play. Daydream Den: The Daydream Den is a safe visual barrier adding height to the area. It provides a safe place to relax with captivating visual features to help calm children.

Feedback “You can’t underestimate the importance of play to a child’s physical and emotional development and well-being. Woodley School is a local authority special school for 125 children aged four to 19 who all have complex needs. The introduction of the new sensory and physical development area is playing a major role in supporting children with autism to extend their learning in a fun environment.” Anne Lawton at Woodley School and College

For further information, call: 01977 653 200 WEB: EMAIL:










Family ties Chris Burton talks to an adoptive father about the rewards and challenges of adopting siblings with SEN


here are over 2000 children in England who need to be adopted. They come from a variety of different ethnic and religious backgrounds and some may have disabilities or other special needs. Most of these children have been removed from their birth families by the courts because their parents and wider families were unable to provide the care they need. They will have suffered loss and separation in their young lives, even when adopted shortly after birth. More than half of the children currently awaiting adoption are siblings. Depending on the circumstances, it is often in the best interests of the children that brothers and sisters find a family together rather than experience further trauma caused by being separated.

Preparing for adoption It takes a special kind of person and a giant leap of faith to adopt even one child. Wayne and his partner Joe, however, were keen from the start to adopt at least two. In 2012, the couple adopted two brothers, “M” aged nine months and “A” aged 22 months. Wayne takes up their story. “Our plan was always to adopt siblings, I come from a family of three brothers who are very close and Joe has a sister and brother that he’s close to. We felt it would be lovely for the children to have a sibling as we both feel life as part of a sibling group is very rewarding and fun. “We went into the adoption process with our eyes open as we understood that adopted children often have additional needs and can be very complex. We did lots of research before


It is often a good idea to keep siblings together through the adoption process.

The extent of our children’s needs became apparent when they started full-time education the boys came to us and we thought that we were well prepared. The reality was very different. “There were certain things we simply couldn’t prepare for. Although we had some sense of the boys’ life before us, we felt that a lot of information wasn’t shared with us by the birth family. Although we didn’t know as much as we’d like about the boys’ early negative experiences, the mechanisms they’d developed to cope with them began to manifest themselves very quickly. Initially, we felt under prepared and unsupported to deal with this.”

Starting school “The extent of our children’s needs became apparent when they started full-time education. When A started

school, things were very difficult. He wouldn’t want to leave the house. When he eventually got to school he didn’t speak to anyone and hid under the table all day. He would refuse to join in any activities and this went on for two terms. Eventually, he made one friend and then built a relationship with one teacher. “We’re lucky that staff at the boys’ school listen to and meet with us all the time. We have a really good working relationship with the teachers and the SENCO. We’ve also put a group together of adoptive parents at school. This meets once a term to discuss our children, compare notes and suggest ways we can improve what the school is doing. “With both boys, routine is key to their wellbeing. We quickly realised that school holidays were tricky because they meant a change in routine. After doing everything we could to ease them into new habits for the break, we’d then struggle to get them back into school when term started again. >> SENISSUE90



“The school is now really supportive around this. The work they do for A and to help his transition into a new year is incredible. They really understand what’s needed and have put measures in place. They’ve even gone as far as to make a video featuring A and two friends. This explains all about Year 3, the new class, teacher and lessons. He now has this on his [tablet computer] so that he can watch it any time.”

The right support “We’ve done a lot of research to find the kind of help we needed. Fortunately we found a really good restorative parenting course (a pioneering model of child care that seeks to help children to recover from abuse or neglect). This gave us a much clearer understanding of A’s needs. He’s also been responding very well to play therapy, which has made a huge positive difference. “Our younger son M has a developmental delay of around one year. This was heightened when he started school. There were major meltdowns on school days and he also took a full term to build a relationship with his teacher. “Working with the school, we realised that he needed to be taught in a different way to the other children.

We realised that he needed to be taught in a different way to the other children

Now, all his lessons are as part of a small group. Sometimes he has one-toone teaching. He’s made great progress since we started this. “Life story work is one of the most crucial parts of parenting adopted children. This is an ongoing process where parents help adopted children to feel more secure in their new family. It involves helping them understand their personal history and develop their sense of identity, their early life experiences, why they were taken into care, and how they came to be adopted. Having both A and M in our family has proved a real advantage when it comes to this all important aspect of parenting.”  

Being realistic “There’s a downside to having siblings too. Jealously can be a real challenge, with each of them fighting for our

attention no matter how much we give them. They’re also pretty much inseparable and won’t do anything without the other being present. I’m happy to say that, after hundreds of hugs, lots of talking things through and explaining emotions, the boys have grown to trust us. Again, consistency seems to be the key. “A is now seven years old and M is six. Being their dads is still a challenge, but the love we get from our children makes every day special – not to mention the laughs, the fun and the knowledge that we’re becoming the kind of happy loving family we all dreamed of.”

National Adoption Week 16 to 22 October 2017 This year’s National Adoption Week runs from 16 to 22 October and will highlight the need to find the right adopters for sibling groups: nationaladoptionweek

Further information

Chris Burton is Communications and PR Manager at First4Adoption, the national information service for adoption in England: The children pictured are not those mentioned in the article.

Each sibling may have very different needs and requirements for support.




Advertisement feature

Bring your skills and experience to adoption Adoption Matters is an independent children’s charity and adoption agency specialising in adoption and adoption support. We believe all children deserve the chance of a loving, permanent home through adoption wherever possible and we have a proven track record of placing and supporting children with additional needs. There are over 2,000 children waiting for adoption right now and children with additional needs often wait longer. Adoption Matters Chief Executive Norman Goodwin, CBE (pictured below): explains: “We’re not looking for special people, it is very much everyday people who can bring a range of skills. Maybe you are a little bit resilient and have a good sense of humour; it is all about what you can offer the children to help them develop. We offer lifelong support and training tailored to each child and family's needs”. Call us for a free, no obligation information pack on: 0300 123 1066 or visit:





Special feature

Schools and colleges

71 School trips How to make the most of an educational visit 74

Finding a school Useful tips on choosing the right school for a child with SEN


SENCO or INCO? Should SENCOs be renamed to reflect the importance of inclusion?



A place to learn Eleanor Bond offers up some useful tips on planning an educational visit for your school group


chool trips and educational visits can impact positively upon children of all ages and abilities. Such valuable experiences should be viewed as an important part of a broad and balanced curriculum. Learning outside the classroom helps to enhance the personal, social and emotional development of all learners. Stimulating new environments provide an opportunity for creative kinaesthetic learning. This can be particularly beneficial to pupils with SEN and disabilities and can help consolidate classroom learning, teach life skills and build on social skills, whilst improving self-confidence, self-esteem and independence. A well-planned trip is an excellent opportunity to broaden horizons and improve understanding of different environments. It is generally recognised that educational visits are memorable and inspiring experiences for learners and can help to motivate and enthuse young people, which can ultimately enhance academic studies and achievement. According to an OFSTED report, Learning outside the classroom: How far should you go? (Ofsted 2008), learning outside the classroom contributes to improved development in all of the Every Child Matters outcomes, especially “enjoying and achieving”, and “achieving economic well-being”. Educational visits are therefore highly rewarding and enriching for both teachers and pupils alike.

Meeting SEN Many locations, such as museums, galleries and outdoor pursuit centres, have tailor-made programmes which have been created specifically to meet the learning needs of children with SEN. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Most children love a hands-on approach to learning.

Educational visits are highly rewarding and enriching for both teachers and pupils alike

If they don’t already have something specific devised, they may be able to recommend certain activities that can be adapted or they might even be looking for your input into planning and piloting targeted sessions. The multisensory learning approaches used by many learning outside the classroom providers have the potential to embed knowledge and develop skills. The visual and sensory kinaesthetic learning opportunities provided by school trips and visits encourage students to engage with different environments and different people in

new ways. Such hands-on, sensory-rich experiences are helpful in supporting in-depth experiential learning and understanding, particularly amongst pupils with SEN.

Planning an educational visit Set learning objectives and goals. What is the focus of your visit? Keep this in mind throughout the planning stages and when liaising with the host organisation so they can recommend or tailor workshops for you. All visits should demonstrate educational value. Plan in advance and discuss the activity or visit with your group; showing photographs or videos of the venue and talking through the activities on offer can help reduce anxiety. It might also be useful to discuss behavioural expectations. Many organisations offer free pre-visits for teachers which >>




provide the opportunity to assess the site and prepare in advance. Creating a countdown calendar is a great way to get students excited and ready for their experience. Communication is key to a successful trip. Let the education staff at the site/ venue know the needs of your group in advance so they can plan accordingly and support you. For example, would it be helpful for resources or signs to be printed in a certain format? Do you have a young person in the group who uses a wheelchair? Can you request a quiet breakout space for your group? Do you need breaks in the timetable for medication? Most destinations are able to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate all learners where possible, especially if you let them know your requirements in plenty of time.

A checklist for your visit Each school will have different needs, policies and requirements. However, there are a number of important points to remember when planning your visit: • gain approval from the appropriate management team • make contact with your LEA outdoor education adviser • research places and activities of interest and check costing and funding options • check the school insurance policy is suitable for the proposed visit

Most destinations are able to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate all learners

• provisionally book a date with the education site/centre and communicate clearly regarding the needs of your group • ensure you have enough staff/ volunteers to accompany the group off-site with appropriate cover on-site • double check the staff-to-pupil ratios with the site and with your headteacher • plan transport to the site, taking account of the individual needs of pupils • send a consent letter to parents/ carers highlighting dates and times, cost and any equipment needed • visit the location to familiarise yourself with the facilities and take photos to show your students ahead of the trip • complete a risk assessment. Many venues have ready-made risk assessments you can download. Some pupils may need specific risk assessment and care plans

• pay for the sessions/activities booked • brief the staff team who will be accompanying you on the trip • give relevant details such as relevant mobile phone numbers and arrival and departure times to office staff and senior management • call all the organisations involved (including travel/coach companies and the host site) to confirm final details and group numbers a good few days before the visit • prepare a list of medical information for each pupil and ensure on the day that you have all the medication required. You will also need a general first aid kit and details of emergency contacts for pupils • print, photocopy or prepare any resources or activities sent to you from the site you are visiting which may be needed during the visit. For example, some sites may require you to split students into groups ahead of the visit • create a Plan B. A contingency plan may be needed in case of any unforeseen circumstances such as extreme weather • enjoy the trip! While planning an educational visit can sometimes seem time-consuming and laborious, the visit itself is a fantastic, unique learning opportunity to be enjoyed by all involved. Refer back to your goals and hopefully you will have a great sense of achievement at the end of the day, with motivated and enthused learners to boot.

Further information

Eleanor Bond is Deputy Marketing Manager at the National Justice Museum, Nottingham: School trips can inspire and consolidate learning back in the classroom.



SCHOOL TRIPS Advertisement feature

Free* introductory weekends with the Lake District Calvert Trust Are you an SEN teacher or SENCO and want to see how a residential outdoor activity course could work for your school or college? Our free* multi-activity introductory weekend allows you to experience first-hand how our educational courses offer lifechanging experiences for those with physical, learning and sensory disabilities. We have some limited availability for our Autumn 2017 Intro Weekends, which will take place on Friday 10 to Sunday 12 and Friday 17 to Sunday 19 November 2017, but book early to avoid disappointment! • Experience a range of outdoor activities delivered by our dedicated and specialist instructors. • Stay in our specially adapted en-suite rooms** to see the full range of facilities available. • Enjoy delicious home cooked food with all meals from Friday evening through to lunch on the Sunday prepared on-site. • Take the opportunity to discuss your potential future requirements with Calvert Trust staff members, including bursaries and any specific requirements that your group may need.

If you would like to know more (including qualification criteria and all terms and conditions) please call the enquiries team on: 017687 72255 or go to: * A £50 per person holding deposit is required at point of booking. This is fully refundable following participation in the introductory weekend. ** Accommodation for the introductory weekend is in shared twin-bedded rooms. This is based on an expectation of 2 attendees per organisation. Single rooms are available at a non-refundable supplement of £44.00 per person.

New YHA accommodation for school groups in Northumberland Thousands of school children are expected to stay at a brand new £14.8 million youth hostel in Northumberland, which has been opened by youth charity YHA (England and Wales). Since the closure of YHA Once Brewed there has been a gap in the provision of accommodation for groups in the North East. YHA The Sill at Hadrian’s Wall now offers an affordable solution for school trips in Northumberland National Park.    The new build, 86-bed youth hostel is located within The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre – a partnership between YHA (England and Wales) and Northumberland National Park Authority. James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England and Wales) explains: “In both of our organisations we have a passion for learning outside the classroom, and the power of the outdoors to help young people of all backgrounds deal with the increasing challenges of modern society. In YHA we have a saying that where you stay changes who you become.”   The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre will act as the gateway to Northumberland National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall, which is just a short walk from the hostel.   Residential visits at YHA The Sill offer a new experience for young people and an opportunity to take learning out of the classroom. Located close to major visitor attractions, WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

including Vindolana Roman Museum, Housesteads Roman Fort and geographical features such as the Great Whin Sill on which the building is modelled, YHA The Sill is anticipated to be a popular destination for school geography and history field trips. Accommodation is in 26 rooms over two floors and includes two fully accessible bedrooms to ensure all members of a school party can be accommodated. The youth hostel has been designed with school groups in mind, featuring secure and zoned bedrooms, classrooms and large communal spaces and dining areas. SENISSUE90




The big decision Bernadette John outlines key things to consider when choosing a school for a child with SEN


rying to find a school for a child with SEN is an enormous project; information on provision can be hard to track down and you can’t rely on the same local word of mouth as you might when placing a child without any identified additional learning needs. Unfortunately, parents must expect to compromise; provision remains too scant, particularly for children with moderate learning difficulties and autism, so it’s often a case of finding the closest match to your wishes, rather than somewhere perfect.

Mainstream or specialist? This is usually the biggest question in parents’ minds and it’s an especially difficult one to answer when the child is academically able. Parents tend to assume that the school should


match the child’s academic ability – so if they’re bright, that means a high performing or selective school. However, this can be a disaster, for example for a high functioning autistic child who can’t cope with the sensory or social aspects of a mainstream setting; they can become terrified of school and start refusing to go, or react through fear in ways which are interpreted as bad behaviour. The golden rule is look at your child’s needs first and the academic side of things second. Don’t even contemplate a mainstream setting which doesn’t have a good understanding of, and clear measures to address, your child’s particular needs. And be prepared that you may need to change path along the way. Mainstream can be fine in the free

The golden rule is look at your child’s needs first and the academic side of things second and easy early years – when all the children are trying to master the basics of reading and writing, and find it hard to sit at a desk for long spells – but as the demands step up for Key Stage 2, things can start to fall apart. Older children may have the cognitive ability to sit GCSEs, but the rigid demands of the GCSE curriculum and the make-or-break single exam can be overwhelming for them. They may be better in a setting which has a broader




Quiz them on what they know about your child’s condition. The bad ones can be surprisingly ignorant You are entitled to name a school in another local authority, if you can’t find one suitable in your own. Be warned though that your local authority will try to resist this because it costs them more.

Parents often prefer to keep their child in a mainstream setting.

curriculum offer and qualifications they can sit through continuous assessment. Of course, school isn’t all about learning. When it comes to the playground, younger mainstream kids are happy to get along with anyone, but as they get older, when conformity is all, bullying of anyone different becomes a sad reality. Even when children have greater learning challenges, parents often prefer the idea of keeping the child in a mainstream world. However, sometimes inclusion means quite the opposite. Your child can end up being taught alone in a corner or separate room for large parts of the day by an unqualified classroom assistant. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, because it depends entirely on the quality of the mainstream options in your area, and what the special school alternatives are.

State or independent mainstream? Some parents of children with SEN are drawn to independent schools because of the smaller class sizes and a seemingly gentler atmosphere. However, most independent mainstreams are only prepared to consider children with the mildest needs and they are free to turn away your child. Some actively allocate a few places to children with SEN, or will look at each child to see whether WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

they can help. These places are usually snapped up quickly and can be hard to come by. Generally, independent schools are more willing to consider children with SEN in Key Stage 1, and less so when the curriculum becomes more demanding. In rare cases, parents have been able to get local authority funding for private school places, when they can prove the state option isn’t suitable. State mainstream schools have an obligation to take children with SEN and make appropriate adaptations for them. The only grounds on which they can refuse your child is where it would interfere with the efficient education of other children, or not be cost-effective. However you need to choose your mainstream carefully; some heads pay only lip service to their legal obligations, while others are genuinely interested in catering for children of all abilities. If your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan, you can take priority for a place at the state school of your choosing, ahead of people who otherwise have a higher stake through living nearer or other admissions criteria. If you are applying to schools for the peak Reception and Year 7 entries, you need to talk to your local authority’s SEN department several months ahead of the application deadlines to ensure your priority place.

Finding a good mainstream The quality of support on offer in mainstream schools can be extremely variable, and a school that doesn’t know what it’s doing, where you have to be constantly on top of them, is not a good option. There are two key people in a mainstream school who will almost entirely shape how good the SEN provision is: the headteacher and the SENCO (special educational needs coordinator). Book a private appointment with them; don’t be fobbed off with the open day. Quiz them on what they know about your child’s condition. The bad ones can be surprisingly ignorant. One parent reported that the SENCO had asked her what global development delay was. The parent was flabbergasted that someone in the business could know so little, especially when there’s a big clue in the name. Ask them about children with a similar profile that they have in the school (and be wary if yours would be the only one). Find out about the progress made by these children; if the school is doing a good job, those with SEN should be progressing at the same rate (that is in the same increments, if not at the same level) as the other children. A head who is zealous about raising the academics is generally one to steer clear of. You can tell where their >>




priorities lie, and they will be controlling where budgets are spent. Beware also the enthusiastic amateur. Parents are sometimes swayed by the school which responds with a breezy assurance that they can deal with anything you throw at them. However, a school that is cautious, that wants to read reports, that wants to consult internally or with outside professionals before they promise you anything, probably has more experience in special needs, and wants to make sure they can get things right. Be entirely upfront with them about your child’s issues. Parents frequently ask whether they should hold back an unflattering report, or avoid mentioning something which they think may put the school off their child. Don’t do this! You need to be clear about how your child presents on his worst day, as it’s no good if the school will only manage him on the better days. Everything will just come out further down the line and cause you greater problems, and if a school is going to baulk at something about your child, it’s not the right place.

Are they employed fulltime as SENCO? How available will they be if your child runs into problems? The SENCO The best SENCOs will make you feel like they can lift a weight from your shoulders. But if you leave a meeting with them feeling like they haven’t fully grasped your child’s issues, or displayed any clear ideas about how they will deal with these, it’s a sign to look elsewhere. Ask whether the SENCO is part of the senior leadership team. This tells you whether they have the head’s ear and are in a strong position to fight for additional resources for your child. Are they employed full-time as SENCO? How available will they be if your child runs into problems? Do

they have specialist qualifications and expertise or has the job been given to a teacher who has a few spare hours in their timetable? Check how long they have been in post; SENCOs are legally required to gain a masters level qualification within three years, but disinterested schools get around this by rotating the job every couple of years. Don’t be afraid to ask a teacher or two as you look around whether they feel sufficiently supported. If your child is autistic, it’s worth knowing that 60 per cent of teachers feel they do not have adequate training in autism; you don’t want your child at the mercy of a panicked teacher. Cover any specific things that are problematic for your child. Can they provide a place of refuge if your child gets overwhelmed? How flexible will they be about allowing packed lunches, or eating away from the dining room? Will they allow infringements to the school uniform if there are sensory issues? Are all areas of the school accessible and, if not, would

Special schools can often provide a more welcoming environment for anxious pupils.




they consider capital projects such as building a ground floor lab to accommodate your child? They have to legally, but check how enthusiastic the response is.

Choosing a special school Parents usually fear that a special school will squash their child’s potential. It won’t. But being in a school where your child is terrified every minute of the day will. You need to pick your special school carefully but you can find instead that they blossom when the anxieties drop away and when teaching is delivered in a way that is appropriate to them. Independent special schools will often have superior facilities and resources such as in-house therapists, and they will more often specialise in a condition. County special schools can be a jack-of-all-trades, dealing with a wide range of conditions, and therapy provision can be scant (relying on visiting NHS professionals who will be severely overstretched). You need to investigate each school’s pupil cohort. Are there some children of similar ability, even if they are different ages; special schools usually teach in ability groups rather than strict age groups? If your child is verbal, are a reasonable number of the other children verbal? Can they develop your child’s potential? For example, a child who is particularly good at maths could have lessons at a mainstream school accompanied by a teaching assistant. Is there a good range of extracurricular activities? Look at the photos on the wall and recent newsletters for reports of trips out and exciting visitors. The best schools let nothing stand in their way, rather than keeping the children stuck at school because it’s all too complicated to go out. Get to grips with the acronyms and investigate their approaches. For example, ABA (applied behaviour analysis) can be great for some autistic children, but not if yours is developmentally beyond the skills it teaches. WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Local authorities are likely to have pound signs rather than your child’s best interest front of mind Of course the price tag for the independent specialists is usually significantly higher, so choosing one can require you to prove that it is the only suitable provision through a stressful tribunal. And don’t be swayed by a local authority telling you your child should go to mainstream. It’s easy to see this as a signal that everything will work out, and your child’s needs are not as severe as you feared, but remember that mainstream is the default option for local authorities, and they are likely to have pound signs rather than your child’s best interest front of mind. They are not the best people to take guidance from.

Choosing a residential school Children who need this type of provision are going to be the most vulnerable, which makes it even harder for parents to hand their child over. However, some special schools are clearly places where the children are happy and very much at home, and there are huge benefits from the round-the-clock timetable which can also teach social and daily living skills, provide a social life for older children, and give the continuity some children crave. When school is also going to be the child’s home, the education side will be only half of the equation and you have to be sure that both parts are right. Ask to see the residential accommodation when the children are there; this can be difficult if the pupil cohort will react badly to strangers, but you need to get a proper sense of it, not just look at an empty building. Look at the relationships between staff and pupils. Are the staff locked in the office completing paperwork and doing the laundry, or are they playing creative

games with students and running a karaoke session? You want to see pupils coming first, chores second. Don’t rely on exciting looking timetables on pin boards showing out of school activities; they may not run in reality. Ask the students what they did last weekend, or what clubs they go to. If they have to think hard about this, it’s a red flag. Ask staff as you go around how long they’ve been there. Care work is poorly paid with unsocial hours, and it’s blighted by a high staff turnover. A few new members of staff will be par for the course, but if they’ve all been there a matter of weeks, there’s more cause for concern. Ask directly how much use they make of agency staff (which is never ideal). The location of the school can also be crucial. A school in the middle of nowhere might look lovely, but they will have more trouble recruiting care staff. In addition, a chocolate box village will not provide the same opportunities for community involvement as a gritty city with more leisure options and a more inclusive outlook.

Further information

Bernadette John is SEN director at The Good Schools Guide, which publishes independent reviews of schools, including special schools, and offers consultancy services to parents on finding the right school:




52-week autism care and education Fullerton House School is a well-established residential school with a highly respected reputation for providing 52-week care inclusive of education and clinical provision to young people aged eight to 19. Currently over 90 per cent of our learners are on the autistic spectrum and we provide specialist support and educational programs for students with a range of complex needs, including: communication difficulties, moderate to severe learning difficulties, behaviours which challenge and social development needs. For students with these needs Fullerton House prides itself in our capacity to offer wrap around solutions to students with these needs requiring a home, a school and trained professional support based alongside them. As a school, we believe strongly in the developmental power of our community setting. Once students are ready, they are taught to shop in everyday shops, work within a real community and participate alongside our community in a full range of social and practical situations. The opportunities this approach provides have been proven to greatly increase options and independence for students as they approach adult life. Education lies at the heart of our ethos and values as we want each child to leave our school having fulfilled their potential and being ready to access the correct combination of care, further education or vocational placements as is reflective of the needs of themselves and their families. We believe that all students should have regular access to strong teaching to support them in maximising their potential to understand English, develop their ability to communicate, use everyday maths skills and access moderate technology. Teachers are trained to deploy a range of specialist approaches including ABA and TEACHH to break down barriers to learning and make this curriculum approachable to all. Alongside this core to the curriculum, our timetables are personalised to enable students to develop the life skills, interests and vocational skills they will need in adulthood. Onsite we specialise in arts and crafts, rebound and practical sciences. Offsite we include students in learning experiences including swimming, exercise, horse riding, volunteering, farm work and overnight residential. Students’ achievements in all these levels are celebrated through nationally recognised qualifications from Entry Level and Level 1 qualification providers. Therapeutic support Our education provision is backed up by an onsite therapy team inclusive of a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, applied behaviour analyst and clinical psychologist. These professionals provide the support and guidance required to students and the staff who work alongside them to ensure their therapeutic needs with regard to communication, sensory input and behavioural development receive the specialist input students require. This is delivered through both individual input sessions and support given to those staff responsible for the everyday education and care provision. A team of 11 assistant psychologist support workers use their knowledge as psychology WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

graduates to support our students during times of challenge, such as during transitions to the school or times when behaviour that challenges may escalate. Our high standard of care facilities reflects our belief that each child should have access to a living arrangement which reflects the warm family environment in which we believe every child should spend their childhood. Environments can be adapted to both individual sensory needs and also personalised according to interests and hobbies. Care staff work through the day and night to ensure each young person is safe, comfortable and positively engaged with a rich and varied activity program. The care team work alongside education staff to promote learning opportunities throughout the day in all areas, but particularly focussing on life skills and communication development. Partnership with families and professionals is central to our belief in supporting and developing the network around a child. In addition to our six monthly formal reviews, parents have been invited to a range of events over the past year, including special assemblies, sports days, movie premiers, carol services, music festivals and celebration parties. In addition to this, we strive to support the routine and contact arrangements which best serve the interests of our families. When students leave our school, we work alongside professionals and families to ensure timely transition planning helps the student be set up to succeed in their adult placement. We have strong links with other Hesley Group providers of care and further education and are experienced in linking with other providers to ensure successful practice is transferred into their next placement. For more information on our services at Fullerton House School, please visit our website at: or call us on: 0800 055 6789. SENISSUE90




How to choose the right school By Sarah Sherwood, Director of SEN at LVS Oxford and LVS Hassocks One of the most difficult decisions for parents of a child with ASD is choosing which school best meets their needs. Mainstream options include local maintained schools, academies and units attached to schools. Beyond that are local special schools, independent and non-maintained special schools and schools which cater for a specific need such as ASD. Each will vary in their understanding of ASD and ability to effectively support a young person with an ASD diagnosis. At LVS Hassocks and LVS Oxford, both for young people with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, there are children thriving for whom mainstream education did not provide a personalised or supportive enough environment for them to progress – to the extent that some of our learners had been out of education for up to three years. Secondary school: the primary concern? Research indicates that many primary schools are better able to support young people with an ASD diagnosis, as children are with one teacher in one classroom for the majority of the time, allowing teachers to gain an in-depth knowledge of the children. More issues arise once the young person transitions to secondary school, where they move class for each lesson, encounter busy corridors and meet a range of different teachers with different teaching styles. The best starting point for parents is to visit the school they think would be right for their child. Many parents want to see the school in action and talk to staff to gain an informed view of the school’s autism knowledge and specific autism practices. For example, our monthly open days allow parents to have a tour of the schools’ facilities, such as the sensory room at LVS Hassocks and horticulture area at LVS Oxford, meet staff and see current learners engaging in lessons. Many parents report that it is the ethos of a school, the way staff interact with the young people, the autism specificity of the approaches used, the focus on wellbeing and the communication between school and home that they prioritise when looking at schools. SENISSUE90

Key questions to consider Decide what you want to ask the school before you visit. Some key considerations are: • how is the curriculum modified to meet the needs of the young people attending? • how are aspirational targets set for the young people at the school? • class sizes and the ratio of adults/young people in each • what autism specific approaches are used? • how does the school support the young people to manage anxiety and behaviour? • how do specialist staff (speech and language therapists/ occupational therapists) measure the impact of their interventions on the outcomes for young people? • what autism specific training do staff receive? • how does the school prepare the young person for independence/life after school? • how does the school communicate with parents? The school a parent chooses should have high expectations for pupils and support them to achieve these, using the young person’s strengths and interests as an integral part of their programme. The school should use a range of assessments to monitor academic progress and areas where young people with ASD experience difficulty, such as social interaction, flexibility of thinking and anxiety management. Staff should be trained, highly motivated and advocating for the young people that they work with. LVS Oxford and LVS Hassocks, specialising in providing education for young people with an ASD diagnosis, welcome parents to attend open days and discover how we support learners to achieve positive outcomes and prepare them for life beyond school. To find out more, go to: or WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK















New Reception and Key Stage 1 centre at Portfield Autism Wessex has announced that it will be opening a centre for Reception and Key Stage 1 aged children within the grounds of Portfield School near Bournemouth, Dorset from September 2018. During the academic year 2016/17, Portfield provided support for six early years pupils in a dedicated classroom within the main school. The charity is now creating a purpose built centre for early years students. The centre will be within its own designated teaching block on campus where the younger members of the school community can have their own space. Portfield School will be utilising the former Wessex Lodge building, which is on the existing school site but is away from the main campus with its own drop-off and pick-up point. The building is currently undergoing a complete refit, to ensure it offers a much more flexible space that is appropriate for early years teaching and learning. SENISSUE90




The best job in the school Jane Thomas makes a plea for inclusion to be at the heart of every school’s life


ith the continual changes taking place in our education system, the role of the SENCO has altered significantly. Mercifully, no longer is the post of SENCO generally allocated to the teacher who can’t cope with change or who can’t teach well, or the staff member who is waiting out the last few years until retirement. Thankfully, no longer are students routinely removed and placed into units, regardless of their individual needs, or put together so that the rest of the children can learn in the class without interruption or “difficulties” for the class teacher. The SEN Code of Practice (2014) says that every teacher is a teacher of all pupils. This statement ensures every staff member is accountable for the progress of the children within their WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

The INCO’s role would be to ensure that any barriers to learning are removed

class and ultimately, for making sure that every child actually makes progress.

A new role The job of the SENCO has never been more challenging. I believe that this role should now be redefined as the inclusion coordinator (INCO), because every child should be included in everything that the class does. Indeed, some settings are beginning to use the term. The INCO’s role, therefore, would be to ensure that any barriers to learning are removed.

The INCO should, when appropriate, work with the families of children with SEN and other issues as help and support are given to them. The Government has acknowledged the all-encompassing nature of the SENCO position with the introduction of the mandatory (for new SENCOs) National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (NASENCO), which recognises that this is a specialist role like no other in school. It is a Master’s level course that supports those new to the post and helps them understand the leadership responsibilities, and current legislation and guidance. It also stresses that inclusion should be central to any school. There is even recognition of the increased responsibility within the pay >> SENISSUE90



scale, where an SEN allowance must be paid to classroom teachers in any SEN post that requires this mandatory SEN qualification.

The bigger picture According to the Training and Development Agency, the SENCO/ INCO should be able to “work with senior colleagues and governors to advise on and influence the strategic development of inclusive ethos, policies, priorities and practices and take on a leadership role in promoting a whole school culture of best practice in teaching and learning in relation to pupils with SEND” (TDA, 2009). Due to the advisory nature of the role, the INCO ideally should be part of the leadership team. If possible, they should also be part of the safeguarding team as children with SEN can often be vulnerable and need additional support. Knowing the bigger picture and working with families gives the INCO a clearer insight into the difficulty of the child that needs additional support. When speaking about a child with additional needs, I will often refer back to Maslow’s hierarchy of need. If a family enters a crisis situation, the children may be adversely affected and cannot, in reality, be expected to concentrate on the educational issues before them. Not knowing what awaits them at home will often take precedence in their thoughts, and therefore distract them from their educational challenges.

Forging strong links At a time of cuts to local services, we have seen increasing demands placed on schools to deal with issues that might, in the past, have been covered by outside agencies. The INCO must be prepared to support families, not just pupils. This includes helping with a whole range of social, emotional and psychological issues, as well as difficulties in the family environment or liaising with other professionals in other disciplines, such as occupational therapy and speech therapy. This can SENISSUE90

These kinds of issues tend to show themselves on the Friday afternoon at the end of term

range from helping parents with their benefits and bailiffs to registering families with doctors and dentists. Where agencies are available, the INCO needs to forge strong links to help ensure children and families are wellsupported. Being incredibly determined to demand help and persevere without losing this support is a valuable skill for the role. These kinds of issues are not confined to term times either; they tend to show themselves on the Friday afternoon at the end of the school term. Sometimes, out of necessity, schools are choosing to cover areas of SEN by employing their own specialists. I have visited schools with their own ASD classroom, speech and language specialists and occupational therapists. Employing a full time emotional learning support assistant is often fundamental to dealing with behavioural and emotional issues within school. Identifying and actively supporting children who have emotional needs allows any potential outbursts or lack of focus to be addressed before bigger issue arises. This in turn allows other children to learn in a calm, safe and stable environment. The INCO needs to work with and help get the most out of all the various professionals involved in supporting pupils with SEN.

The bedrock of the school The effective inclusion of pupils will help to ensure the school is a happy as well as an efficient place to be – a place where staff enjoy their work and challenge the children in order to help them flourish. Children need to feel safe at school and know that their voice will be heard. If they have worries, they

should feel comfortable to express them. Where potential problems are discussed out in the open, any issues with bullying can also be tackled quickly, or even prevented. Visitors and parents can generally sense the atmosphere when they enter a school building; they can tell if staff and pupils are happy and if the bonds with the local community are strong. Families know if they have somewhere they can call in on for help. The school should be a place where nobody is afraid of trying anything, where mistakes can be made and rectified without judgement or difficulty. In this way, the school becomes a place of growth. The role of inclusion coordinator is a big one and only the very determined should do it. Unless inclusion is at the centre of your beliefs about education and society at large, and you are confident that you can engender this passion in others, placing inclusion at the heart of school life, then just don’t apply! If you are not phenomenally methodical, or if you struggle to work effectively with some potentially very challenging adults, then don’t attempt it! But if you feel you can do these things, you might just find that inclusion coordinator is simply the best job in a school to have.

Further information

Jane Thomas is the Inclusion Lead Teacher and Safeguarding Lead at Rudheath Primary Academy in Northwich, Cheshire, which is Focus Trust school and has received educational support from Focus Education:




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A nose for leadership Strong school leaders are like good wine, they mature with age and experience, writes Joanne Harper


t is no secret in the education sector that a number of key factors have contributed to a shortage of teachers in recent years, and in particular, teachers who can fill leadership roles. The hard-line pruning of our sector’s funding combined with increasing demand on teachers’ personal time has understandably pushed many in the industry to opt to leave teaching behind. The growing pressures placed on school leaders is yet another issue deterring capable candidates from applying for headship. During times of challenging reform, strong leaders will be required to ensure we can move ahead confidently. The current difficulties within the education sector

School leaders need to understand all the workings of the school.


Gone are the days when teaching was envied for its seemingly shorter working hours and long holidays demand leaders who are able to comprehend all the internal workings of the school system to overcome the challenges we face.

Changing times Gone are the days when teaching was the profession to be envied for its seemingly shorter working hours and long holidays. Many teachers now find themselves in a position where the pressure of succeeding in Ofsted inspections is compelling schools to enforce unrealistic workloads and unachievable targets. Yet, there is no let-up in other aspects of their responsibilities. The harsh reality is that many educators are expected to overhaul their life in the classroom at the cost of losing a large proportion of their free-time outside of it.   This situation has been further exacerbated by the funding cuts imposed across all areas of education. This makes any reform difficult to carry out when there are limited resources to work with. When we combine these concerns with the lack of any financial incentive to perform extra duties, we find that many are unmotivated to continue in their role and we have seen fewer teachers applying for roles, with many educators opting to take early retirement or leave the profession altogether.

That said, on the flip side, many young teachers entering the profession seem to be in a rush to get into leadership positions and almost can’t wait to move on to the next step of their career ladder. This has resulted in an inconsistent approach to recruiting for headship. Many capable leaders have simply been overlooked while newer recruits are considered. As a result, there is a new wave of “super heads” coming through who don’t have the same outlook as older or past headteachers. These young, exceptionally ambitious teachers often act with a business mind and focus on statistics and figures as a key measure of their success, which doesn’t always integrate well with the more moralistic measures that look at individual achievements.

The right stuff The quality of leadership is, and should remain, the most important factor that will help to determine the outcomes for children at school as the leader’s direction and strategy will greatly affect the performance of the pupils. It is therefore imperative that we have staff who are experienced in the education field and are equipped with a certain level of knowledge to carry out this role. One issue that has had an impact on the task of acquiring “good stock” for headship roles is that candidates no longer need a headship qualification. Without this qualification, adequate training for the role is not being undertaken, resulting in new heads being less well equipped than before, despite having to deal with an evergrowing mountain of challenges. The aspiration of early headship through the new model of the super head, that measures metrics rather WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Potential headteachers should have good experience of working with pupils in the classroom.

than wellbeing, combined with the abolition of the compulsory headship qualification, means that we are seeing some very young heads (in terms of experience) in schools who are simply ill-equipped to deal with the variety of problems that will undoubtedly come their way. This, in turn, will create stress and a certain disillusionment that may well see these heads either burnt out or following in the footsteps of their peers and leaving the profession altogether. I would encourage those who are on a fast-track career towards headship not to rush the process, but to spend time in the classroom, work with their peers learn more leadership skills, shadow existing heads and learn as much as possible about all aspects of running a school. Leading from the front and having confidence and authority develops over time.

Taking the lead So what can aspiring heads do? I would recommend that they take on extra responsibility, leading projects and initiatives, whilst seeking out varied management experience. Deliberately look for opportunities that take you outside of your comfort zone and take as much as you can from leaders around you. Ensure you have a plan for work-life balance. This will help individuals build up the skills necessary WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

I would encourage those who are on a fast-track career towards headship not to rush the process

for headship, without piling on too much pressure too soon. Prospective headteachers should also be thinking about alternative leadership models, particularly coleadership or being part of a multiacademy trust and working with an executive principal or CEO. Shared responsibility allows a less experienced leader to be eased into the duties and the role in partnership with another leader. This co-sharing of ideas, experience, thoughts and views will help the young head when it comes to taking the role on single-handedly.

It is very easy to become overwhelmed with tasks but it is important to share responsibilities amongst staff, to delegate, to be selfaware and to know your strengths and your weaknesses, and this unfortunately often comes with experience and confidence. Within my leadership team I encourage individuals to own initiatives and projects; this is for their benefit as much as for my own, but it does also mean that it takes some of the pressure off me. What’s more, I think this links in to a moral responsibility that heads should extend beyond their own school; they should look to mentor and work with heads and leadership teams in other schools. As school leaders we should be imparting our knowledge and providing training for staff, the idea being that they will ultimately be able to perform our role – whether they stay with our organisation or not. Strong leaders want to provide the best opportunities for their staff to perform well because, when staff perform effectively, this has a very positive impact on the children we are all there to teach – and isn't that why we all went into education in the first place? I take great pleasure in knowing that even if my staff move on, they take their experience with them. By making use of the great wealth of knowledge and know-how available to us all as professionals we can, collectively, start to patch together what is now something of a broken education system.

A responsible approach As the Executive Principal of two colleges, I find it is important to build balance into my day. For example, I ensure that I set aside time to talk to students, take my lunch in the cafe and sit in on lessons so that I don’t lose what I enjoy most about my profession – the love of teaching.

Further information Joanne Harper is Executive Principal of UTC Reading and UTC Swindon:









Want to turn your special needs experience into a career? Leading education recruitment company Supply Desk has put a call out for parents, friends and relatives with experience caring for children with special needs to consider turning their valuable skills into a career in education. Typical support roles that Supply Desk is recruiting for include (but are not limited to) working with pupils with ASD, behavioural needs, BSL and/or Makaton, speech and language and ADHD. Supply Desk have a wide range of roles which require working closely with children who need additional support with their physical, cognitive, emotional or social development. Group Strategic Development Director Clare Othman says that the support sector is the fastest growing staffing requirement for the schools across the UK that work with Supply Desk. “SEN support staff play a vital role in ensuring education is accessible and inclusive – for all children in the community”, Clare states. “We can always find rewarding work in great schools for people with an understanding of special educational needs as they already have developed many of the critical skills needed for this role, such as patience, kindness, a calm demeanour, and an empathy and respect for inclusive practice. “SEND support jobs are an incredibly rewarding employment choice for supportive and caring people who possess exceptional communication skills and a genuine ability to work as a positive team. “Because of the breadth of schools we work with”, Clare continues, “we are able to find people roles in schools that


fit their educational philosophies, working within the hours they choose. That ‘person matching’ is crucial. Our mission is to help raise education standards by ensuring the right fit between staff and schools. We know that happy, valued support staff inspire pupils, and play an integral role in helping those with special needs fulfil their potential.” Supply Desk supplies specialist training to all support staff, including ASD training, British Sign Language, manual handling, and Team Teach training. This ensures staff have a thorough understanding of child development and SEN. To register your interest in turning your special needs experience into an SEN career, visit


CPD, events and training Keep up to date with the latest developments in special educational needs, with SEN Magazine's essential guide to the best courses, workshops, conferences and exhibitions

We take every care when compiling the information on the following pages. However, details may change, and we recommend that you contact the event organisers before you make arrangements to attend.


CPD, TRAINING AND EVENTS Rebound Therapy training courses “” – the official UK body and international consultancy for Rebound Therapy. Responsible for the development and delivery of the genuine accredited and approved staff training courses. With founder Eddy Anderson MCSP Cert Ed.

01342 870543

BDA Training Programmes from Awareness to Accredited (ATS/APS Level 5) programmes, delivered at various locations and dates nationally or at your premises or via E-Learning.

SEN Specialist Therapy/ SEN Sports Courses Hadrian School offers Rebound Therapy, Elements Training – TACPAC Sherborne Development Movement and a range of first aid and health and welfare courses.

Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties MEd/ Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate University of Birmingham

This part-time, campus-based, blended learning programme has been developed for a range of professionals/practitioners who work with children and adults with learning difficulties in educational settings across the severe and profound range (SLD/PMLD) such as teachers and lecturers, nurses, therapists, psychologists and support staff.

Autism and Learning – PG Certificate/Diploma/MEd University of Aberdeen

The programme aims to give practitioners an in depth understanding of the condition and the working of the autistic mind. It will equip participants with a range of practical approaches and interventions that will enable children and young people on the spectrum to access learning, participate actively, experience success, gain independence, and fulfil their potential.

Online Education from New Skills Academy New Skills Academy pride themselves on providing the best online education courses to further your career. Their experienced tutors have meticulously created some incredibly well received diplomas. Their diverse portfolio includes courses in the following areas: Autism Awareness Diploma; ADHD Diploma; Asperger Syndrome Awareness Diploma.

Speech and Language Sciences MSc

MA in Education (Early Years) Centre for Research in Early Childhood

Accredited by Birmingham City University and recognised for their practice based approach, the modules are intended for practitioner researchers looking for a framework and academic recognition of their current research and work. Popular modules include: Learning Outdoors in Early Childhood, Early Years Music, Leadership and Management and others

Postgraduate Diploma in Dyslexia and Literacy

A clinical training programme as well as a challenging academic degree, the core subject is speech and language pathology and therapy. Students consider approaches to the investigation and management of clients with communication and swallowing problems.

This course is for those who have already completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Dyslexia/SpLD or equivalent at Level 7. The Postgraduate Diploma has a focus on assessment and leads to 120 credits with Middlesex University. The Diploma provides eligibility for an Assessment Practising Certificate (SASC accredited) as well as AMBDA (BDA) with Module C2.

University College London


Network Autism: free online discussion group on SEN reforms

Take part in the new policy group dedicated to SEN reforms, read the latest research and collaborate with others.

MA Leading Inclusive Education Middlesex University

The MA Leading Inclusive Education provides career development for teachers working in inclusive education, allowing them to explore the best ways of leading and managing children and teachers in an inclusive situation. The course provides an insight into the skills needed to deal with various conditions affecting children's learning, and allows teachers to gain a deeper knowledge of how good, effective leadership can impact children's learning and development.

Study Specific Learning Difficulties with Middlesex University

Study MA Inclusive Education online and part-time at Middlesex University. Learn best practice teaching children with Specific Learning Difficulties - see the impact on your own work and advance your teaching career.

Various dates

Teen Life Licensed User Training Barnsley, South Yorkshire

This training course offers autism experienced professionals an opportunity to train to deliver a six-session autism specific Teen Life programme locally.

Various dates

ADHD Course Designed for educators and/ or support staff to successfully include learners with ADHD/ ADD and related conditions and provide effective strategies for inclusion of learners with ADHD

September 2017 14 September

Kidz to Adultz Scotland Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh

This is one of the largest, FREE UK exhibitions dedicated to children and young adults (up to 25 years) with disabilities and additional needs, their families, carers and the professionals who support them. Visitors can boost their CPD portfolio and gain credits by attending one or more of the free CPD and topical seminars taking place alongside the exhibition. Seminars are presentations covering a wide range of issues and interests to families and carers of children with disabilities and additional needs, and the professionals who work with them.

26 September

Autism and complex needs conference London

This one-day conference will help you get up to date with the latest policy and practice around support for autistic children and adults with co-existing conditions.

Various dates

Visual Interventions and Social Stories

A visual and auditory social and behavioural strategy for teaching and support staff working with learners with autism, Asperger syndrome, ADHD and related conditions.

Various dates

Helping learners who are Able/Gifted/Talented

We take every care when compiling the information on these pages. However, details may change, and we recommend that you contact the event organisers for up-to-date information before you make arrangements to attend.

A day-course of strategies for teaching and support staff to engage, teach and include those who may be able/gifted/talented.




Westminster Education Forum Keynote Seminar

Key issues for children’s services in England: new service models, managing financial pressures and next steps for inspections with Lisa Pascoe, Deputy Director, Social Care Policy, Ofsted and Lucy Butler, Oxfordshire County Council; Pamela Dow, Catch 22; Dr Jo Finch, University of East London; Maria Godfrey, Oxfordshire County Council; Miranda Gittos, Westminster City Council; Peter Hay, Birmingham City Council; Robert Mack, Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust; Paul Moffat, Doncaster Children’s Services Trust; Tony Oakman, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council; Abbie Rumbold, Bates Wells Braithwaite; Wajid Shafiq, Xantura; Enver Solomon, National Children’s Bureau; Tom Symons, Nesta; Councillor Richard Watts, Islington Council and Local Government Association and Nicholas Yeates, Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

T.E.A.C.C.H. Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children

2 & 3 DAY TRAINING COURSE January 3 Day 22-24 2018 £395 June 2 Day TBA 2018 £TBA

Course led by: Prof Gary Mesibov Div. TEACCH

This induction training is most appropriate for educators, therapist, administrators, paraprofessionals & families AM/PM refreshments & light lunch

Chaired by: Lord Ramsbotham and Rt Rev the Lord Bishop of Durham Morning, Thursday 16 November 2017 Central London

199-203 Blandford Ave Kettering Northants NN16 9AT Tel/Fax: 01536 523274 Email: Book on-line:

11th B.D.A. International Conference & Expo! April 12-14, 2018 - Telford International Centre

The British Dyslexia Association’s International Conference & EXPO is the leading conference on Dyslexia/ Specific Learning Difficulties across the age ranges, for the latest in research and practice, exciting developments and inspiration. This conference will appeal to teachers and those who support learners with neuro-diverse needs. The conference theme of Evidence to Practice and Back Again will link research through to good practice with expert speakers from across the world of professional practitioners.

Conference: Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) and Literacy Learning

Web: Email:

Web: Email: Phone: 0333 405 4555


Thursday 23rd Nov, London

This conference will focus on literacy learning and encouraging access to the curriculum, identifying key issues and challenges around Reading, Writing, Spelling, Speech, Language and Communication for those with Dyslexia and other co-occurring learning differences. The conference will provide insights into good teaching practice.

B.D.A. Training The BDA are also able to offer a full range of training programmes from Awareness through to Accredited (ATS/APS Level 5) programmes, delivered at various locations and dates nationally or at your premises or via E-Learning. Web: bda-services-educators Email: Phone: 0333 405 4555




CPD, TRAINING AND EVENTS 27 to 28 September

DNEX 2017 Newcastle Racecourse

DNEX will be held in partnership with Moving and Handling People North and there will be a number of new developments for 2017. The show will include digital technology, aids and adaptations for independent living and accessible leisure facilities. This free exhibition provides information, advice and equipment for disabled people, older adults, carers and health and social care professionals on a range of disabilityrelated issues. The Disabled Living Foundation’s Moving and Handling People North conference, the two-day CPDaccredited even for healthcare professionals, will be colocated with DNEX.

29 September

North Wales 2nd Annual Autism Conference Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndwr University, Wrexham LL11 2AW

Keynote speaker Dr Luke Beardon. Special guests Derek Paravicini and Professor Adam Ockleford A full-day programme of speakers, workshops and trade stands for families, autistic individuals and professionals to network and access credible information from educators, researchers and specialists working in the field of autism. 8.30am to 5.00pm Conference Enquiries: 01978 293494. Email: Trade Stand Enquiries: 01352 703055 Email:

October 2017

4 October

Music and Drama Education Expo : Manchester Hilton Manchester Deansgate

Europe’s largest conference/ exhibition for music and drama teachers comes to Manchester. Sessions include "Differentiating With Music Technology". manchester/

4 to 5 October

Independent Living Scotland SEC, Glasgow

Independent Living Scotland is open to everyone and entry is free. It offers an opportunity to discover the new products and services that are available to the Scottish market today. Over 100 exhibitors will be showcasing their most innovative and inspirational products to aid independence.

6 and 7 October

TES SEN Show 2017 Business Design Centre, London

The TES SEN Show – celebrating the 25th anniversary of the UK’s largest special educational needs show, with two days of ideas, inspiration, networking and innovation, to bring learning alive for pupils with SEN.

9 October to 4 December

Online Autism Course ICEP Europe

This 20-hour course has been developed by ICEP Europe, in response to the need for flexible and accessible training for those who work with children and young people with autism spectrum disorders. Price: £135.

3 October

JCQ Access Arrangements: Assessment and Management 2017/2018: SASC Accredited Cardiff

An opportunity for those involved in assessing for access arrangements to gain or refresh their knowledge of the assessment and reporting procedures for access arrangements in GCSEs and GCEs for learners with SpLD.


9 October to 4 December

Online Dyslexia Course ICEP Europe

A comprehensive course of more than 20 hours duration, it offers a framework for understanding the nature of dyslexia and provides the practical skills and strategies essential for detecting and responding to the needs of students with learning difficulties arising from dyslexia Price: £135.

9 October to 4 December

Online Down Syndrome Course ICEP Europe

This course is designed for teachers, SENCOs, support staff and allied professionals and provides the latest research, detailed information and practical skills and strategies essential to delivering effective education and support to children and young people with Down syndrome. Price: £135.

9 October to 4 December

Online Course in Teaching Gifted and Talented Students ICEP Europe

A comprehensive course of more than 20 hours duration, it tackles the myths surrounding giftedness and offers very practical strategies and skills for identifying students with advanced capabilities and talents and responding to their diverse educational needs. Price: £135.

11 and 12 October

Future Accessibility and Assistive Technology Doha, Qatar

Future Accessibility and Assistive Technology is a specialised summit that will support the transition towards a more accessible urban environment by focusing on the principles of universal design that integrate adaptive and assistive technologies that make services, buildings, transportation and activities in Qatar more easily available to all, with a special focus on those with disabilities.

9 October to 4 December

Online Course in Applied Behaviour Analysis ICEP Europe

Applied Behaviour Analysis is a precise, systematic and measurable method for teaching children with developmental disabilities to learn. This course is 20 hours long and fully online. Price: £170.

12 October

Pathological demand avoidance syndrome conference Reading

This conference provides professionals and parents with clearer understanding and essential strategies of this profile of autism.

14 October

Prefixes, Suffixes and Roots: How English Words Really Work! Birmingham

Contrary to opinion, phonology comes a lowly third in mastering the written structure of English words. Morphemes are the most important building blocks, with the derivation of the word a close second. This course will introduce the importance of the explicit teaching of morphology in reading and spelling to learners of all ages and stages.

16 to 20 October

Five-Day TEACCH Course

Inspirational, intensive course combining active learning sessions with direct experience working with students with autism. Led by trainers from Division TEACCH, University of North Carolina and experienced practitioners and TEACCH trainers from Prior's Court. £1295 professional/parent Prior’s Court Training and Development Centre, Newbury, Berkshire

01635 245911

17 October

Supporting autistic people with challenging behaviour conference Birmingham

This conference discusses the latest research and best practice in understanding and responding to challenging behaviour in children and adults with autism.

17 October

Understanding autism and introduction to the SPELL framework London

This one-day course builds your knowledge of autism and how to support autistic children and adults using SPELL.



Stephen Hawking to present Memorial Lecture for Jack Ashley The 2017 Jack Ashley Memorial Lecture, will be given by Professor Stephen Hawking on Wednesday 11 October 2017. Lord Jack Ashley was MP for Stoke on Trent South for 26 years and a pioneer of disability rights and equality. He established and then chaired the influential All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability for over 40 years and was instrumental in securing the UK's first civil rights laws for disabled people. Professor Stephen Hawking is arguably the world's most famous scientist and author of the best-seller A Brief History of Time. Professor Hawking has had motor neurone disease for most of his adult life. The lecture is being sponsored by education services provider Wey Education Plc, the operators of online secondary schools InterHigh and Infinity Education. Disability Rights UK, which campaigns to protect the rights of disabled people and provides free information to people with disabilities, is organising the Lecture: WWW.SENMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Hadrian School, Newcastle upon Tyne ‘Together we make a difference’

Hadrian School is an ‘outstanding’ award winning provision for children with a range of learning disabilities and complex needs. We are a Local Authority funded school working in partnership with health professionals and the voluntary community to meet our children's’ needs. Hadrian School educates 170 pupils aged 2 -11 years in a specialist environment on an extensive site in the west end of Newcastle. Please visit our school website for further information. Facilities to Hire at Hadrian School Hadrian Education And Development Services (HEADS) work in partnership with Hadrian School to provide a range of excellent facilities which are available for hire to the local community and professional / educational organisations, these include: • • •

A Hydrotherapy Pool - used for children and adults with physical disabilities A 3/4 sized Sports Hall, appropriate for Football, Basketball, Trampolining etc. A Training Suite - able to host small training courses from 12-30 delegates but can be opened up to host conferences for up to 80 delegates

HEADS Rebound Therapy Centre In December 2017 Hadrian School will be opening a new Rebound Therapy Centre. The centre will cater for young people and adults who have additional needs. There will be the opportunity to hire the centre out of school hours from 4pm to 8pm week days, the centre will be available at weekend and also school holidays. The centre will offer training to parents/carers and professionals on how to deliver Rebound Therapy so they can manage their own individual sessions. The hire of the centre and access to training will be priced at very affordable rates as we are really keen for this sought after provision/service to be accessible for all. First Aid Training/Special Needs Training Courses As well as offering a range of facilities for hire Hadrian School in partnership with HEADS offer a wide range of training courses appropriate for schools/educational establishments/professionals organisations/ businesses and residential establishments. These courses include: Specialist Special Education Training on Rebound Therapy, Behaviour Support, Supporting Teaching and Learning, Disability Sport, Sensory Massage and many more First Aid Training for all Education and Business sectors Fire Safety and Fire Warden Training Health and Welfare Training on COSHH, Infection Control, Food Safety, Health and Safety Mainstream Education Training

For further information please visit our training website





2 November

7 and 8 November

University of East London Postgraduate Open Evening

A Creative Day with EQUALS University of Manchester

PECS Level 1 Training Workshop

University Square Stratford, London

Morning: music creativity


If you’re looking to advance your career, specialise or change direction, at UEL’s Postgraduate Open Evening event you can talk to expert lecturers and current students about postgraduate courses. To book a place, visit:

for students with PMLD and

19 October

complex needs using iPads and the ThumbJam app “The improvise Approach”, with Carrie Lennard. Afternoon: interactive storytelling with Keith Park, using a very simple call and response method, in which one person calls out a line of the story and

Understanding and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum with eating challenges

everyone else repeats it.


Jabadao and Developmental Movement Play – 0 to 6 years

This one-day course will focus on understanding and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum with eating challenges.

2 November

University of East London Undergraduate Open Day Stratford Campus, London

If you’re looking to advance your career, specialise or change direction, at UEL’s Undergraduate Open Day you can talk to expert lecturers and current students about undergraduate courses. To book a place, visit:

November 2017 1 November

Diagnostic Assessment at Secondary Level: Best Practice in Testing and Reporting: SASC Accredited London

Using real case studies, this course focuses on best practice in the diagnostic assessment of SpLD/Dyslexia at KS 3/4. The course covers how to write accessible, informative reports and analyse profiles in order to form confident conclusions and make appropriate recommendations.


01273 609 555

7 and 8 November

PECS Level 1 Training Workshop Cambridge

Physical Play.

PECS is an approach that teaches functional communication skills using pictures. This workshop will give you all the practical details you need to start implementing PECS immediately, including: demonstrations, videos and opportunities to practice.

01273 609 555

Hadrian School, Newcastle

A Jabadao training course facilitated by Penny Greenland from the National Centre for

21 October

PECS is an approach that teaches functional communication skills using pictures. This workshop will give you all the practical details you need to start implementing PECS immediately, including: demonstrations, videos and opportunities to practice.

3 November

Talk Boost Training for KS1 (supporting language delay) The course is aimed at educationalists working with children who have language delay. Delegates will be trained run a ten-week programme that will increase the child’s language and communication by 18 months.

3 November

SoSAFE! Social and Sexual Safety/ Safeguarding Workshop

7 to 9 November

AccessAbilities Expo 2017 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

A dedicated event that aims to bring the world’s latest robotic and assistive technology products under one roof with the goal of enhancing the lives of more than 50 million people in the region having disabilities.

9 November

NAHT Developing your school’s mental health provision course

14 November

Understanding stress and anxiety in autism and their impact on behaviour London

This course looks at how you can help autistic children and adults to reduce stress and anxiety, how to understand their behaviour, and how to support them during difficult times.

15 November

Confidence in your Tests, Statistics and Interpretation: SASC Accredited Manchester

An opportunity for assessors/ specialist teachers to gain confidence in the more subtle and complex areas of diagnostic assessment, refresh their knowledge of statistical concepts in psychometric testing and enhance their skills in the analysis of data and interpretation of standard score profiles.

14 and 15 November

PECS Level 2 Training Workshop Glasgow

Learn practical ideas for advanced lessons in expanding language and communication within functional activities, plus tools for identifying communication opportunities across the day. Successfully problem solve PECS implementation and take it to the next level.

01273 609 555

15 to 16 November

Best Asia Kuala Lumpur

This course seeks to reconcile the seemingly impossible demands of the National Curriculum with the early developmental levels of children and young people with severe learning difficulties.

Supported by Malaysia’s Ministry of Education, this event will bring together the region’s education community to discuss the transformation of education and to discover the innovation that will inspire change. 2,000 education policymakers, leaders, practitioners and innovators from over 35 countries will attend the twoday Leadership Summit and Expo, where the latest trends, challenges and advancements in education and technology will be addressed, with a distinct focus on Asia.

01273 609555


How safe are your students in their relationships? The need to educate children and young people about relationships and social safety is not being met at the moment. SoSAFE! is a visual teaching tool which enables learners to develop their abilities in managing and communicating about their relationships.

Birmingham https://nahtmentalhealthprovision.

10 November

Developing the SLD Curriculum for the 21st Century



Roadshow for children’s continence charity The UK children’s continence charity ERIC will be launching a new resource for children with SEN at a regional roadshow event in Buckinghamshire on 19 October. The leaflet, ERIC’s Guide for Children with Additional Needs, is aimed at parents and carers of children with physical or learning disabilities for whom toilet training is not so straight forward or may not be possible. In 2016, more than ten per cent of families who contacted ERIC’s Bowel and Bladder Helpline were caring for children with additional needs. ERIC’s advisors offer support and information for families with children who have learning disabilities, have behavioural problems, or conditions such as spina bifida, Hirschsprungs disease and inflammatory bowel disease. The roadshow will take place in High Wycombe and organisers hope it will become a regular annual event. For more information and to book a place, visit:


Introduction & Application to the



January 2 Day 25-26. 2018 £263 June 3 Day TBA 2018 £TBA Using the SCERTS curriculum & practice principles to design programming for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Course led by: Emily Rubin MS, CCC-SLP Director

This training is appropriate for: educators, therapists, administrators, paraprofessionals & families AM/PM refreshments & light lunch

199-203 Blandford Ave Kettering Northants NN16 9AT Tel/Fax: 01536 523274 Email: Book on-line:



102 16 November

Developing your Dyslexic Students’ Self-Esteem London

Research has demonstrated that 70 per cent of academic success depends upon the belief of the student that they can succeed. The dyslexic student’s constant failure with regard to literacy skills, has been shown to lower their self-esteem. These negative feelings are likely to have longlasting effects in the way they manifest themselves, which is likely to be complex, taking the form of vulnerability to stress, feelings of learned helplessness and depression.

16 November

Kidz to Adultz North EventCity, Manchester

180+ exhibitors offering advice and information on funding, mobility, seating, beds, communication, access, education, accessible vehicles, legal matters, style, sensory issues and sports activities. One of the largest free UK exhibitions dedicated to children and young adults up to 25 years with disabilities and additional needs, their families, carers and the professionals who support them.

17 November

Life after Levels – Ensuring Curriculum and Assessment Coherence Facilitated by Mick Walker – former acting Director of QCA and Executive Director of Education at the QCD – the course will look at the pivotal role of KS2 to KS3 transition. This course is offered at a time when teacher assessment has been greatly reduced in general qualifications and its place in National Curriculum assessments is under review.

18 November

University of East London Undergraduate Open Day Stratford Campus, London

If you’re looking to advance your career, specialise or change direction, at UEL’s Undergraduate Open Day you can talk to expert lecturers and current students about undergraduate courses. To book a place, visit:

21 November

Women and girls on the autism spectrum conference Manchester

17 November

SoSAFE! Social and Sexual Safety/ Safeguarding Workshop

Get up to date with the latest research and practice in diagnosis and support for autistic girls and women.


How safe are your students in their relationships? The need to educate children and young people about relationships and social safety is not being met at the moment. SoSAFE! is a visual teaching tool which enables learners to develop their abilities in managing and communicating about their relationships.

01273 609 555

22 November

Physical Education – An Introduction to Sherborne Developmental Movement – Certificate Level 1 Ivy House School, Derby

Delegates will gain knowledge and understanding of the Sherborne Developmental approach to physical education and relationship play for children with special educational needs.

23 November

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) and Literacy Learning: Reading, Writing and Spelling London

Conference from the British Dyslexia Association.


This course will explore the potential sensory differences experienced by children and adults on the autism spectrum, exploring potential strategies to support these differences.


An introduction and application and assessment using the SCERTS framework Led By Emily Rubin, MS, CCC-SLP Director, Communication Crossroads.

February 2018

Breaking down barriers to learning and the emotions

Webinar from the British Dyslexia Association, with Dr Lindsay Peer.

December 2017 13 to 15 December

Learning and Teaching Expo (LTE)

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

LTE is Asia’s Leading Education Expo in Hong Kong, which is an ideal platform for SENCO and schools to discover the latest development and explore educational resources.

14 to 15 December

Asia-Pacific International Schools Conference (AISC) Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

AISC is the annual event for international school leaders to explore topical education issues. Professor Michael Fullan and Dr David Gleason are going to be keynote speakers.

January 2018 22 to 24 January

3-Day TEACCH Training Course

TEACCH 3 DAY training course led by Professor Gary Mesibov, former Director of Div. TEACCH.

24 January

PDA – strategies for schools

2-Day SCERTS Training

28 November

23 November

25 to 26 January

University of East London Postgraduate Open Evening University Square Stratford, London

If you’re looking to advance your career, specialise or change direction, at UEL’s Postgraduate Open Evening event you can talk to expert lecturers and current students about postgraduate courses. To book a place, visit:

20 February

Sensory considerations training London

This course will help you understand more about, and learn practical ways of giving support to, autistic people living with sensory sensitivity and their families.

March 2018 8 to 9 March

NAHT Special Schools Conference – Celebrating success; succeeding against the odds Stoke-on-Trent

April 2018 11 April

University of East London Undergraduate Open Evening Stratford Campus, London

If you’re looking to advance your career, specialise or change direction, at UEL’s Undergraduate Open Evening you can talk to expert lecturers and current students about undergraduate courses. To book a place, visit:

12 to 14 April

11th BDA International Conference Telford International Centre

Conference from the British Dyslexia Association.



Support cancer care with the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, organised by Macmillan Cancer Support, will be returning to homes, workplaces, communities and schools across the country on Friday 29 September 2017. M&S are official partners for the event and throughout September customers will be able to pick up a selection of limited edition homeware products in store, with ten per cent of each sale going to Macmillan. M&S will also be donating ten per cent from sales of classic cakes, as well as from a large selection of biscuits, cupcakes and cookie mixes.   The first official World’s Biggest Coffee Morning took place in 1991. It has since become the biggest fundraising event of its kind, raising more than £194 million for people affected by cancer over the past 26 years.  In 2016, the event raised a total of £29.5 million. This year, organisers are hoping that, with the fundraising efforts for 2017 to be added into the equation, the total raised since the event started will top the £200 million mark. The charity Macmillan Cancer Support provides emotional, financial, medical and practical support to people affected by cancer.

for a free fundraising pack on the charity’s website. You can also use the site to find a Coffee Morning near you:

You can find more information on how to get involved in a Macmillan’s Coffee Morning at home or at work and register

If you want to join in the conversation on social media, you can do so by using: @Macmillancoffee and: #coffeemorning





SEN resources directory Information, advice and support for all things SEN... ADHD



Bullying UK

Epilepsy Action

Information and support forum for those

Support and advice on bullying:

Advice and information on epilepsy:

affected by ADD/ADHD:

Childline Advice and support for those suffering from bullying:

National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service (ADDISS) Cerebral palsy Resources and information for ADHD:

Autism/ASD Asperger Foundation UK (ASF) Support for people with Asperger’s syndrome:

Autism Awareness Forum for sharing experience/advice for those affected by ASD:

Autistica Charity raising funds for medical research into autism:

National Autistic Society (NAS)

Bullying Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) Charity dedicated to reforming attitudes and policy towards bullying:

Beat Bullying


Help, advice and support for children and adults affected by cerebral palsy:

Down syndrome Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) Information, support and training for those affected by Down syndrome:

The FASD Trust

The National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome UK Support for those affected by foetal alcohol spectrum disorder:

General SEN

The Down’s Syndrome Research Foundation UK (DSRF)

British Institute for Learning Disabilities

Charity focussing on medical research into Down syndrome:

Charity for learning disabilities:

Cerebra UK


Charity for children with brain related conditions:

Child Brain Injury Trust Supporting children, young people, families and professionals when a child has acquired a brain injury:

Charity focused on researching interventions in autism:

Support for children and young people with epilepsy plus training for professionals:

Scope UK

Help and information for those affected by ASD:

Research Autism

Young Epilepsy

British Dyslexia Association (BDA) Information and support for people affected by dyslexia:

Driver Youth Trust

Department for Education (DfE) The UK Government’s education department:

Charity offering free information and resources on dyslexia.


Dyspraxia Dyspraxia Foundation UK

Learning disabilities charity:

National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN)

UK bullying prevention charity:

Dyspraxia advice and support:

Organisation for the education, training, advancement of those with SEN:




General SEN (App) Everything You Wanted to Know About SEN – all in one place! Download this app free to your Smartphone or Tablet for iOS (on Apple App store) or Android (on Google Play store): senfyi-app.html


Visual impairment

PMLD Network

National Blind Children’s Society

Support and services for parents and carers of blind children:

Information and support for PMLD:

Rebound Therapy


Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

The UK governing body and international Support and advice to those affected by consultancy for Rebound Therapy: visual impairment:

SEN law Douglas Silas Solicitors

Hearing impairment

Douglas Silas Solicitors are the legal experts specialising exclusively in SEN, helping parents successfully throughout the SEN process:

Action on Hearing Loss

Hearing impairment charity:

Independent Parental Special Education Advice

Deafness Research UK

Legal advice and support for parents:

Charity promoting medical research into hearing impairment:

National Deaf Children’s Society Charity to help deaf children and young people:

Spina bifida Shine

Information and support relating to spina bifida and hydrocephalus:


Home education

ACE Centre

Advice on communication aids:

The Home Education Network UK

National organisation for home educators:


Learning outside the classroom Council for Learning Outside the classroom (CLOtC)

Help and advice on SLCN:

Communication Matters

Support for people with little or no clear speech:

Awarding body for the LOtC quality badge:

The Communication Trust

Literacy National Literacy Trust (NLT)

Raising awareness of SLCN:

Tourette’s syndrome Tourette's Action

Literacy charity for adults and children:

Information and advice on Tourette’s:


For the latest news, articles, resources, cpd and events listings, visit:



eazine for special SthuebUK'sslecadrinib g mag

to year (6 issues) educational needs £48.50 a+44 1200 409800) tions please call: (UK only. For international subscrip

Get every issue of SEN Magazine delivered direct to your home or work place. Simply fill in this form and send it to the address below. Contact details for delivery: Home q Work q Organisation ________________________________________________________________________________________ Title ___________ First name _____________________________ Surname ____________________________________ Address ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Town _____________________________________________ County __________________________________________ Postcode _________________________________ Tel. (inc. STD)______________________________________________ Email _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Signature ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Which of the following categories best describe your involvement with special educational needs? SENCO Headteacher Teacher TA/classroom assistant Student

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How to pay By cheque: make your cheque for £48.50 payable to SEN Magazine Ltd and post with this form to the address below. Bank or card payment: If you would like to pay by BACS or debit/credit card, please contact the office on: 01200 409800 or email:

Invoice required q Invoicing details (If different from above) Contact name ______________________________________________________________________________________ Organisation ________________________________________________________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Town _________________________________________ County ______________________________________________ Postcode ______________________________ Tel. (inc. STD) _______________________________________________ Order number _________________________________ Signature ____________________________________________ Accounts/contact email _______________________________________________________________________________ If you do not want to receive our monthly newsletter, tick here q Subscriptions, SEN Magazine Ltd, Chapel House, 5 Shawbridge Street, Clitheroe BB7 1LY Tel: 01200 409800 Email: SENISSUE90




SEN MAGAZINE - SEN90 - Sept/Oct 2017  

The UK’s leading special educational needs magazine and is essential reading for parents/carers and SEN professionals. Keep up to date, read...

SEN MAGAZINE - SEN90 - Sept/Oct 2017  

The UK’s leading special educational needs magazine and is essential reading for parents/carers and SEN professionals. Keep up to date, read...