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The SEND Practitioner: one year and ten issues later

This month, The SEND Practitioner is 13 months old.

In a year of seismic education reforms, we’ve published ten issues, have thousands of subscribers, and have interviewed a host of experts in their fields.

From:

  • A leading lawyer to a top person-centred planning expert.
  • The stars of Channel Four’s Educating the East End to the chief executive of nasen.
  • An outstanding SEN author to a highly regarded SENCO.
  • The director of the Autism Education Trust to one of the DfE’s leading civil servants.
  • The former chief executive of nasen to one of our country’s most influential SEND experts and author of the highly regarded Lamb Report.

It’s been an utterly illuminating ride, one that has been made even greater by our genuinely engaged readership, who have asked us questions every step of the way.

To celebrate over a year of The SEND Practitioner, we were delighted to speak to Brian Lamb OBE for the second time yesterday. Brian took centre stage for our inaugural first issue and we thought that it would make perfect sense to talk to him a full nine months after the SEN reforms took place.

The 11th issue Q&A with Brian will publish before the month is out and will be followed closely by June’s 12th issue – featuring an interview with a world-class Cambridge University academic, psychologist and working memory expert.

If you already subscribe to The SEND Practitioner, thank you for reading. If you don’t and would like to, please sign up to our free-zine here.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a selection of quotes from some of our more recent contributors.

Gareth D Morewood on adapting and preparing for SEN reform

‘As with any change, a lot of potential issues may arise. However, with change comes great opportunity. There is an awful lot of information and support out there, so embrace it and you will find that being a SENCO doesn’t need to be a lonely job.’

Read the fifth issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Natalie Packer offers a few final words on preparing for SEN reform

‘Don’t panic! Remember, 1 September is the start of the process. To that end, schools, local authorities and the DfE are all anticipating at least a three-year transition period. It’s an organic process, so we aren’t expected to do everything at once. Develop an action plan to help you prioritise.’

Read the sixth issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Jane Friswell speaks about the post-SEN reform landscape

‘Keep calm and don’t panic. If you’re confident that you’re providing good quality provision for all children in your setting, then the new SEN requirements should not be a great challenge for you.’

Read the seventh issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Exploring Channel Four’s Educating the East End and the SEN landscape

‘[Our] inclusive approach, combined with effective classroom support (particularly in maths and English), means that we are able to meet the needs of our students.’

Read the eighth issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Mark Blois looks at the SEN legal landscape

‘If SEND practitioners get hung up on the pitfalls and negatives, rather than seizing the opportunity to try and push through cultural change, then we probably won’t see the level of change that most would acknowledge that we should.’

Read the ninth issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Colin Newton explores person-centred planning

‘Let’s use the person-centred planning way of working as tools to enable us to reach a truly inclusive society built around the needs of its most challenging and vulnerable young people.’

Read the tenth issue of The SEND Practitioner.

 

The SEND Practitioner is five months old

 

This month, The SEND Practitioner will be five months old. And if you said in response: ‘that’s not old’, well, you’d be absolutely right. It is, however, a milestone that we’re rather pleased to have reached. Why? Because in the deepest darkest depths of winter, when the germ of The SEND Practitioner was being discussed in our London office, we knew one thing – that we wanted to produce a monthly free-zine for SEND practitioners containing informative guidance from some of the best SEND practitioners and experts around.

To date, we think that we’ve done that. Just a few short weeks past the summer solstice – and many months from the winter one – we’ve produced four free-zines packed full of insights from some of the leading SEND experts in their fields. We’ve asked our experts the questions that our SENCOs want to ask and have looked at the prospective SEND reforms from a broad range of perspectives. Not only that, hundreds of SENCOs and SEND professionals have joined our list since we first published The SEND Practitioner – which we like to think is a pretty good ‘thumbs up’.

To mark The SEND Practitioner’s fifth month – equal to the lifespan of the dragonflies that flit around Greenwich Park just a stone’s throw from our London office – we are pleased to include a few choice quotes from the marvellous experts who have graced our pages. Thank you to our SENCOs, to Brian Lamb OBE, Lorraine Petersen OBE, Stephen Kingdom, Steve Huggett, and our loyal band of readers – we couldn’t have produced it without you.

From the author of the influential Lamb Inquiry 2009, to the former director of nasen; from the DfE’s most senior SEN civil servant, to the director of the Autism Education Trust, The SEND Practitioner has featured the voices of a host of SEND luminaries.

I’ve jotted down a few author grab quotes from each of our issues to give you a taste of their thoughts. If you want to find out more, simply click on the link that follows each quote to read the actual issue.

Brian Lamb OBE on preparing for the new Code of Practice (Issue one)

‘The Code of Practice is about a change in culture. It sees children with SEN as the school’s responsibility, delivering a personalised approach that recognises that they might need additional specialist support.’

Read the first issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Lorraine Petersen OBE on the Children and Families Act 2014 (Issue two)

‘It’s a time of great opportunity and yet it’s a long journey that we’ve been on since 2011. It will probably be 2016-2017 before we start to see the fruits of this. However, in the long term, I really do feel that it will be better for our children.’

Read the second issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Stephen Kingdom on SEN reform (Issue three)

‘This isn’t a big bang, a lot has been going on over time to help the teaching profession increase its capacity and capability to support children with SEN.’

Read the third issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Steve Huggett on SEN reform (Issue four)

‘The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. It’s what we do about it – rather than what we say about it – that will be critical.’

Read the fourth issue of The SEND Practitioner.

We’ve got a couple of interesting summer issues lined up – and we’re also arranging discounts to a key SEND reform conference this autumn for all of our readers.

So, if you’ve stumbled across this blog and would like to receive it in your in box every month, you can sign-up here. Or, if you have any comments, queries or suggestions, do get in touch.

The final SEND Code of Practice was laid before Parliament on 11 June

We are pleased to announce that the final SEND Code of Practice and Regulations were placed before Parliament last week. The Code is rather a large document, but we’ve had a quick look through and we’re really pleased to know that we fully comply with the changes that are due to take place this September.

If you are interested in the particular detail of the Code and Regulations – and how they apply to us – please take a look at the excerpts that we have taken from the Code and the Regulations respectively.

Excerpt from the Code of Practice

6.85 The SENCO must be a qualified teacher working at the school. A newly appointed SENCO must be a qualified teacher and, where they have not previously been the SENCO at that or any other relevant school for a total period of more than twelve months, they must achieve a National Award in Special Educational Needs Co-ordination within three years of appointment.

6.86 A National Award must be a postgraduate course accredited by a recognised higher education provider. The National College for Teaching and Leadership has worked with providers to develop a set of learning outcomes (see the References section under Chapter 6 for a link). When appointing staff or arranging for them to study for a National Award schools should satisfy themselves that the chosen course will meet these outcomes and equip the SENCO to fulfil the duties outlined in this Code. Any selected course should be at least equivalent to 60 credits at postgraduate study.

Read the Code of Practice in full.

Regulations

Prescribed qualifications and experience of SENCOs

49. (1) The appropriate authority of a relevant school must ensure that the SENCO appointed under section 67(2) of the Act meets all of the requirements in either paragraph (2) or (3).

(2) The requirements in this paragraph are that the SENCO–

(a)is a qualified teacher;

(b)if required to complete an induction period under regulations made under section 135A of the Education Act 2002(1), has satisfactorily completed such an induction period; and

(c)is working as a teacher at the school.

(3) The requirement in this paragraph is that the SENCO is the head teacher or acting head teacher (or equivalent in the case of an Academy school) of the school.

(4) Where a person becomes the SENCO at a relevant school after 1st September 2009, and has not previously been the SENCO at that or any other relevant school for a total period of more than twelve months, the appropriate authority of the school must ensure that, if the person is the SENCO at the school at any time after the third anniversary of the date on which that person becomes a SENCO, that person holds the qualification, mentioned in paragraph (5).

(5) The qualification referred to in paragraph (4) is a postgraduate qualification in special educational needs co-ordination, for the time being known as “The National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination”, awarded by a recognised body.

(6) For the purposes of paragraph (5), a recognised body is a body designated by the Secretary of State by order made under section 216(1) of the Education Reform Act 1988(2);

Read the Regulations in full.

What is The SEND Practitioner?

Whilst it might not have escaped your attention, we launched our first issue of The SEND Practitioner a couple of months ago.

Our aim is to publish an illuminating free monthly publication disseminating the latest thinking from experts and practitioners across the SEND spectrum. To date, we’ve interviewed Brian Lamb OBE (author of the influential Lamb Report), Lorraine Petersen OBE (former CEO of nasen) and a group of SENCOs on many aspects of SEND education. In the next issue, we’re particularly excited to be speaking to the DfE’s Stephen Kingdom. Stephen is the DfE’s Deputy Director of SEND and will be answering a broad range of questions that we will source from educationalists who subscribe to The SEND Practitioner.

The Children and Families Act 2014 and the forthcoming Code of Practice mean that this year is set to be one of the more challenging years for educationalists. With this in mind, we hope that this blog, The SEND Practitioner and our Twitter feed will keep all of our students, delegates and experts in the loop – with the latest guidance, advice and expertise from those in the know to those on the go.

You will be able to access a copy of both published issues of The SEND Practitioner on our website very shortly.

In the meantime, you can sign-up to and read the first two issues of The SEND Practitioner here.

 

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