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Examining Channel 4’s Educating Cardiff through the eyes of Ian Whittaker

Just under one year ago, we were privileged to interview key members of staff from Channel 4’s Educating the East End. With this in mind, Educating Cardiff — the latest incarnation of the series — espouses a similarly pupil-centred approach to its predecessor. We were delighted, therefore, to be able to pose our readers’ questions to Ian Whittaker (assistant head teacher, SEN line manager and star of the show). The latest issue of The SEND Practitioner contains this interview and published earlier on this month.

‘We choose to work in this school because we choose to work for the underdog. It would be easy to go somewhere else, but our members of staff are profoundly committed to pupils as individuals — their life stories, their backgrounds and their families.’

Ian Whittaker

Read the 13th issue of The SEND Practitioner.

The DfE publishes its SEN statistics

on 29 September 2015, the DfE’s press office spoke to us and confirmed that ‘Children with special needs — an analysis 2015’ would still be published, but in a slightly different way: ‘to make it more user friendly and better organised’. On 4 November, the DfE remained true to their word by publishing ‘Special educational needs: an analysis and summary of data sources’.

Read their analysis.

Access the DfE’s full range of SEN statistics.

The DfE’s response to the cancellation of ‘Children with special needs: an analysis – 2015’

During the course of the day, we noticed that the DfE’s ‘Children with special needs: an analysis – 2015’ statistics release hadn’t been published. Indeed, the DfE’s message on its website contained the following message:

Statistics release cancelled

From 2015, we shall cease the publication of ‘Children with special educational needs: an analysis’ in its current format. This change will mean that SEN data and associated commentary will no longer be collated from other source data; however, we shall replace this with a document signposting users to all relevant releases, with a cover note on date of releases, to enable them to find existing data easily in a timely manner on gov.uk.’

For more detail, see http://bit.ly/1MYh3wY

As a result of this, we spoke to a DfE press officer a few moments ago. He provided us with the following statement:

‘Ultimately, the publication itself hasn’t been cancelled. We’re changing the way that it’s published to make it a bit more user friendly and better organised really. So, it will be published there in due course and it will be regularly updated rather than published annually. So, it was slightly misleading what was originally on there, so we hope that that clears it up a little bit.’

We asked for a ballpark publication date, but he was unable to provide us with a firm figure. He did, however, assure us that he will keep us posted. In turn, we will let you know as soon as we have an inkling.

Examining hearing impairment with Susan Daniels OBE

Hearing impairment with Susan Daniels

‘Deafness is not a learning disability and yet in England just 36% of deaf children achieved five good GCSEs last year, compared to 65% of hearing children.’ Susan Daniels OBE in the 12th issue of The SEND Practitioner

In line with Susan Daniel’s startling statistic, we published the 12th issue of The SEND Practitioner on the day of the GCSE results.

Read issue 12 of The SEND Practitioner.

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Our SEND Programme delegates graduate at Middlesex University

It was lovely and rewarding to witness a small proportion of our dedicated delegates receive their PGCerts and MEds at Middlesex University this morning. To see their months and years of hard work come to fruition on their day of graduation means a great deal to all of us at Real Training. Congratulations to all of our hard-working graduates today, it’s been a pleasure to have studied with you.

Find out more about our Master of Education (MEd) and the SEND Programme.

The SEN-reform health check with Brian Lamb OBE

‘If you stick with the values behind the Code of Practice – with its real focus on outcomes (not provision) and on parental and young people’s involvement – you will see real, improved outcomes. … Let these positive outcomes determine your path and your provision will follow.’ Brian Lamb in the 11th issue of The SEND Practitioner

We published the 11th issue of The SEND Practitioner with Brian Lamb yesterday – nine months to the day from when the SEN reforms kicked into play.

Read issue 11 of The SEND Practitioner.

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We’ve just had a great time at nasen Live

We had a super time exhibiting at nasen live on 20–21 May. It was great to meet so many people and to introduce them to the merits of our Professional Assessment Programme; National Award; CCET and MEd SEND. We also enjoyed attending excellent talks by leading education lawyer Mark Blois and nasen chief executive Jane Friswell – both of whom have featured in our online publication: The SEND Practitioner.

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Colin Newton sheds light on person-centred planning

‘Let’s make inclusion happen between us, nobody else is going to do it. Don’t wait for the government, and don’t wait for the DfE. We have got to do this together really. Let’s move forward and 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.’ (Colin Newton)

In our March/April issue of The SEND Practitioner, one of the UK’s leading inclusion pioneers highlights the importance of person-centred planning at a particularly prescient time – one where inclusion and person-centred planning have very much taken centre stage.

Read issue ten of The SEND Practitioner.

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Exploring the SEND legal landscape with leading education lawyer Mark Blois

‘As a lawyer it’s easy to highlight the weaknesses and vulnerable spots in the legislation and the risks and the legal pitfalls that we have discussed. However, 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 I think most would acknowledge that we should.’ (Mark Blois)

In this month’s issue of The SEND Practitioner, leading education lawyer Mark Blois answers your questions on the complexities of the legal landscape and SEND practice with clarity and verve.

Read the ninth issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Subscribe to The SEND Practitioner.

Exploring Channel 4’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.’ Francesca Richards (Frederick Bremer’s SENCO)

From senior management, to school staff; from pupils, to parents; Educating the East End is a singular triumph that champions the nurturing power of a school that really does place the pupil at the heart of everything. To bear witness to the school’s holistic approach and to see the joy that its staff and pupils gleaned from each other was a rare privilege. To see the progress that each pupil made – whatever their background, ability, or disability – was remarkable.

Against a landscape of ever-present change in education, it is genuinely inspiring to see what a pupil-centred approach really looks like. To speak to Frederick Bremer’s deputy head (Emma Hillman) and SENCO (Francesca Richards) and realise that this has also enabled them to navigate the SEN reforms relatively easily was instructive.

If you haven’t already done so, we hope that you might take a few minutes in which to read our latest issue of The SEND Practitioner. We also hope that, if you haven’t already seen the series, you might take some time to watch an episode or two. Believe us, it’s worth it.

Read the eighth issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Subscribe to The SEND Practitioner.

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