Helping schools meet the needs of SEN pupils

At a time when continuing professional development is at a premium, nasen Live 2016 brings experts, SENCOs, teachers and senior leadership teams together to refresh and update their knowledge and learn from evidence-based practice.

Nasen Live 2016 comes at a crucial time in education. Workforce development is not just about improving the quality of provision, but also supporting those professionals who need to extend their abilities to become the adaptive flexible thinkers that schools, and their pupils, need. The seminar programme for the two-day event has been developed with this in mind, covering a broad range of topics to meet the needs of all practitioners.

To start the event, delegates have the chance to catch up with the latest developments in SEND national policy and practice in a session on Wednesday at 9.30am from nasen’s chief executive, Dr Adam Boddison and Andre Imich, SEN and disability professional advisor from the Department for Education (DfE). They will discuss the latest legislation and what it means for education, providing a summary of the key issues arising from policy, along with the latest progress and developments in SEND.

The dynamic duo
The role of school governors has undergone considerable change, with more responsibility to provide both support and governance for their schools. Kate Browning of nasen will explore this topic in her seminar on the SENCO and SEN governor as a dynamic duo. Her session will explore in practical terms how the SENCO and SEN governor can work together to provide visible support, challenge and strong strategic leadership for SEN. It will also enable delegates to understand the responsibilities of the governing body in relation the SEN elements of the Common Inspection Framework.

The legal duties relevant to staff working in the SEND sector are manifold and can be a source of anxiety. As Mark Blois from Browne Jacobson LLP explains in his session, the key to being comfortable with legal duties is to have access to just the right level of information: a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but too much information can sometimes lead to paralysis. His seminar will reassure the SEND practitioner by providing the core, up-to-date information needed to manage their legal obligations practically and proportionately, including consideration of the duty of care, equality law and confidentiality and information sharing.

Life after levels is well underway now, with schools employing a number of different tactics and systems to track their pupils’ progress. Natalie Packer, from nasen, examines what makes a fully inclusive approach to assessment in her seminar, focusing on approaches to assessment for children and young people with SEN and how they work in the school setting. She will consider principles of inclusive assessment, as outlined in the DfE Commission report on Assessment Without Levels, and offer examples of how schools are effectively putting these principles into practice.

Assessing progress can often shine a light on barriers to learning for SEN pupils, and literacy difficulties remain the most common of these barriers. John Galloway from Tower Hamlets will outline how effective reading, writing, listening and speaking supports success in all other subjects. Visitors to his session will leave with a range of resources, links and strategies to support their students.

Meeting health needs
Health and well-being are an increasing focus for schools, and Pendlebury Centre Pupil Referral Unit has been recognised for its outstanding practice in this area. Janice E Cahill will outline Pendlebury’s approach to supporting emotional health and well-being in her session, looking at student mental health in school-based environments and how it can be aligned to the Ofsted Framework. The session will cover what is meant by social, emotional and mental health needs, the role of the school in supporting this, and practical strategies for school based interventions.

Improving life chances for young people with SEND was a core ambition of the SEND reforms. Young people should be able to move into adulthood with choice and control over their lives and have better life outcomes in terms of employment, independent living, community inclusion and health. A workshop from the National Development Team for Inclusion’s Linda Jordan explores the role of schools in delivering these outcomes and shares learning from the Preparing for Adulthood programme.

The challenges facing schools in light of the reforms, whether SEN-specific or general, are considerable, and the seminars outlined here are a selection of the CPD on offer at nasen Live. The process of change to the provisions and arrangements we make for children and young people with SEN is well underway; nasen Live’s seminar programme has been developed to support SENCOs, teachers, school leadership teams and all other educators in ensuring the best possible practice for SEN.

The event takes place from 29 to 30 April at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

Further Information