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Issue 18: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner

Issue 18
The SEND reforms, the new curriculum and the Rochford Review

January/February 2017
With Edward Timpson MP, Dr Adam Boddison and Brian Lamb OBE

In this issue

  • A Q&A with Edward Timpson MP (DfE): We asked the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families your questions about the SEND reforms and more. We discussed the Code of Practice, early identification, nominal budgets, the new national curriculum, the Rochford Review, SEND and teacher training courses, and 2017 and beyond. Read more…
  • A Q&A with Dr Adam Boddison (nasen): In January 2016, Adam was appointed nasen’s CEO. Since then, he has embarked on a vigorous expansion of the country’s leading SEND membership organisation for education professionals. With this in mind, we were keen to ask Adam many of the same questions that we posed to Edward Timpson. Read more…
  • The SEND reforms: Where are we now? By Brian Lamb OBE: In 2009, Brian wrote the widely respected Lamb Inquiry: Special educational needs and parental confidence. In this piece, Brian casts his expert eye over the state of the nation’s SEND reforms. His progress analysis of education, health and care plans (EHCPs), outcomes, the local offer and strategic engagement is food for thought. Read more…

Plus

  • What do our CPT3A graduates think of our course?                                   
    A research summary. Read more…

  • What do our CPT3A graduates say about our course?                                  Two Q&As. Read more…

Editorial

Even from a neutral perspective, 2016 was one of the most extraordinary years in living memory. As we begin 2017, the political status quo is in such a state of flux globally and domestically, that many ‘givens’ and established norms have been swept away by a tide of populism. In the wake of such a year, when the only certainty is the undertow of uncertainty, it is tempting to look at our education and health systems as safety-nets of stability. But even here, in the great public institutions that sustain and nurture our humanity, there is uncertainty.

Navigating this turbulence would be tricky enough at the best of times. But, combine this post-Brexit world with the pre-Brexit education reforms and one realises that the sheer external and internal forces at sea are daunting. And yet, despite this, SEND practitioners and the education system have shown remarkable resilience in a stormy time that is as far from the doldrums as Cape Horn is from the English Channel.

So, with all of this playing out – and at the beginning of a new year – it’s important to seek guidance from those in the know: those who make the decisions in government; those who support our practitioners; and those who are experts in the art of policy. With this squarely in view, I drew together a dream-team wish-list of experts for my readers to pose their questions to: three of them duly obliged and I commend their invaluable insights to you.

You sent in a flood of questions, I pared them and posed them to the country’s most influential SEND figure (the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson) and the chief executive of one of the most high-profile charities for SEND practitioners (the CEO of nasen, Dr Adam Boddison). Their responses to many similar questions set out their views on such things as the Code of Practice, early identification, nominal budgets, the new national curriculum, the Rochford Review, teacher training and other SEND questions. Most importantly, their answers reveal similarities and differences that not only reflect their positions, but also shed light on the SEND landscape and education more generally.

To complement the Q&As, I thought that it would also be useful to commission a thought-leadership piece on the SEND reforms from one of the country’s most respected SEND policy experts and academics. I was thrilled when Brian Lamb accepted my proposal and his progress analysis of education, health and care plans (EHCPs), outcomes, the local offer and strategic engagement is elucidating.

Finally, as you may well have noticed, the initial email that links to this issue has been redesigned, so that it is cleaner, easier to navigate, and links to the pieces on our website. This means that we’re not clogging up your inbox with 1,000s of words, but giving you a summary of each piece, which you can click-through-to on our website should you wish. This allows us to provide you with even more useful content. To this end, you’ll not only find a summary of a research survey that we carried out with hundreds of our successful CPT3A delegates; but you can also read a separate Q&A with two of our most recent CPT3A graduates.

Thank you so much for subscribing to The SEND Practitioner. I hope that you find it useful and that you have a fine start to 2017.

Best wishes,

Edward Farrow
Editor
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Issue 17: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner

Issue 17
Children and young people’s
mental health

September/October 2016
With Anne Longfield OBE
and Sarah Norris

In this issue

  • Anne Longfield OBE (Children’s Commissioner for England) discusses the state of the nation’s child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) via: CAMHS cuts, SEN general annual grant (GAG) funding, demographics, exclusions, legal aid, and the post-Brexit landscape. Read more…
  • Sarah Norris (senior educational psychologist (EP)) explores the particular challenges facing professionals who support children and young people with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties. Read more…

Editorial

In 1954, Pearl S. Buck, author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote that “the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members”. Her moving words echoed similar sentiments expressed by Samuel Johnson and Mahatma Gandhi many decades earlier. Sentiments that, at their very heart, frame the state of a nation’s health, not in terms of its financial or cultural wealth, but in respect of the welfare of its most vulnerable citizens.

Children and young people with mental health difficulties are one of those vulnerable groups who face a range of challenges in a country grappling with funding constraints, legislative reforms and post-Brexit uncertainties. With so many big questions dominating the headlines it is, perhaps, easy to get preoccupied with their impact on us and forget that the most vulnerable members of our society tend to be most affected when times are tough.

With this in mind, I was really pleased to speak to the Children’s Commissioner for England, to get a better sense of the real and pressing problems facing children and young people with mental health difficulties. The fact that Anne works so closely with young people, in pursuit of her statutory duty to champion, safeguard and promote their rights, means that she is uniquely placed to comment. To get the practitioner’s viewpoint, I was also grateful for the opportunity to speak to our very own Sarah Norris. Sarah is a talented and respected senior educational psychologist and an expert in this important area.

I do hope that you find this issue useful and that, in some small way, it helps you in your practice. At this moment, children and young people face such a myriad of mental health challenges that SEND practitioners are in a powerful position to enable some of this country’s most vulnerable individuals to thrive.

Thank you for continuing to read and engage with this publication over the past two years. I very much appreciate your invaluable input and look forward to speaking to some more high-profile experts in subsequent issues. As ever, please do let me know your thoughts, comments or suggestions.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
edward@realgroup.co.uk
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Issue 16: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner

Issue 16
An autism special issue
for the Autism Show

June/July 2016
With Dr Temple Grandin, Steve Silberman & Dr Sue Sheppard

Editorial

To celebrate the Autism Show, I am pleased to present this autism special issue, featuring a selection of key pieces curated from previous issues of The SEND Practitioner.

In this issue:

  • Dr Temple Grandin answers the important autism questions on: her life and representation in HBO’s eponymous movie, sensory issues, transition, interventions, early diagnosis, labels, gender inequality, and breakthrough and motivational strategies. Read more…
  • Steve Silberman tackles the really big questions on: inclusion, causation research, gender personalisation in education, Lorna Wing’s legacy and the future of autism. Read more…
  • Dr Sue Sheppard (our resident specialist educational psychologist in autism) discusses: Lorna Wing, autism in the UK, the importance of good training, our modules on Autism Spectrum Conditions and our MEd SEND Programme, and the future of autism in our schools. Read more…

The expertise in this issue is just the tip of the iceberg of a raft of Q&As from globally recognised thought leaders across the SEND spectrum. So, if you enjoy reading this publication, sign up to receive it hot off the press straight to your inbox regularly throughout the year. And, if there is anything that you would like to see covered in future issues, please do email me directly.

As ever, please do let me know if you have any questions, queries or comments; it would be good to hear from you.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
edward@realgroup.co.uk
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Issue 15: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner

Issue 15
Examining autism and analysing the government’s education White Paper

April/May 2016
With Dr Temple Grandin, Dr Sue Sheppard and Brian Lamb OBE

Editorial

I am thrilled to be able to email you this comprehensive publication on autism and the implications of the government’s recent education White Paper for those with SEND.

In this issue:

  • Dr Temple Grandin answers your important autism questions on: her life and representation in HBO’s eponymous movie, sensory issues, transition, interventions, early diagnosis, labels, gender inequality, and breakthrough and motivational strategies. Read more.
  • Dr Sue Sheppard (our resident specialist educational psychologist in autism) discusses: Lorna Wing, autism in the UK, the importance of good training, our modules on Autism Spectrum Conditions and our MEd SEND Programme, and the future of autism in our schools. Read more.
  • Brian Lamb OBE takes a detailed look at: the implications of the government’s education White Paper for SEND. Opening with a strategic oversight, he moves on to examine funding, accountability, improving outcomes for SEND, curriculum and admissions. Read more.

As ever, please do let me know if you have any questions, queries or comments. It would be good to hear from you.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
edward@realgroup.co.uk
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Issue 14: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner
Issue 14
Autism with the winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction
January/February 2016
A Q&A with Steve Silberman – bestselling author of Neurotribes

Editorial

Towards the end of last year, it was nigh on impossible to miss the avalanche of rave reviews that greeted Steve Silberman’s tour de force: Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. On 2 November, these plaudits were closely followed by the announcement that Steve’s tome was the worthy winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2015. Shortly before Steve stepped up to receive his award, Anne Applebaum (chair of judges) praised his unique book for combining “history, journalism and science in order to describe how popular and scientific understanding of the human brain have evolved over time”.

When I finally managed to get my hands on a copy, it was a rare treat to discover a publication that more than exceeded its acclaim and my expectations. I had read the wonderful reviews, digested his brilliant book and was now set to speak to him armed with a host of readers’ questions and a Dictaphone. Almost one hour later, I emerged from this most edifying of interviews thoroughly enlightened by his outstanding replies to your questions.

I hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I relished putting it together and would like to thank Steve for finding the time to speak in the midst of a rather relentless schedule.

Thank you to all those of you who took the time to send me your questions. As ever, I would welcome any comments, queries or suggestions that you might have.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
editor@realgroup.co.uk
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Issue 13: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner
Issue 13
Channel 4’s Educating Cardiff through the eyes of a teacher
October/November 2015
A Q&A with Ian Whittaker – assistant head teacher and SEN line manager

Editorial

Just under one year ago, I was privileged to interview two members of staff from Channel 4’s Educating the East End. It was fascinating to delve behind the scenes of such a slickly edited BAFTA award-winning series and to find that so much of it had been fairly and truly represented. I am in awe of a school that placed itself under the unforgiving microscopic glare of the camera lens for 37 consecutive days and emerged completely validated and entirely unscathed. So, when the first episode of Educating Cardiff aired in the late summer I was delighted when Ian Whittaker – one of the stars of the show – agreed to speak to me.

In Educating Cardiff, Willows High School, in the economically deprived Tremorfa area of Cardiff, is a medium-sized secondary school that caters for pupils aged 11–16 years of age. In the last few years, its inspirational head (Mrs Joy Ballard) and members of staff have turned the school around. Since the programme aired, however, Joy has moved on and a new head has taken the helm.

This Q&A with Ian explores how the school has adjusted and continues to thrive under new leadership; the impact of national fame on the students and the school; and the disconnect between editorial representation and the school as it really is. Ian also sheds light on examination concessions; the school’s state of readiness for the Welsh reforms; and the pressure that the future funding squeeze will have on the school’s staffing levels and pastoral care.

Throughout the Q&A, Ian illuminates the school’s truly person-centred approach through conversations about four pupils who make huge strides in the show:

  • Sean (who has cerebral palsy) performs admirably in the school’s cabaret show.
  • Daniel is brought back into the fold by their refusal to exclude him.
  • Jessica becomes the editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper to better socially integrate with her classmates.
  • George’s detentions and challenging behaviour are tempered by the school’s drama production and a certain teenage crush on Year 8 student Erin.

This complex and brilliantly conceived programme clearly shows the vital impact that whole-school person-centred planning has on individual pupils. It reflects a school that, as in Educating the East End, really does place its pupils at the heart of everything. That it is still succeeding is testament to teachers like Ian – whose commitment and dedication to the school and its unique ethos (the school’s motto: “Belong, Believe, Achieve”) have a huge impact on each and every pupil.

I hope that you enjoy this Q&A and, as ever, would welcome any questions or comments that you might have.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
editor@realgroup.co.uk
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Issue 12: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner
Issue 12
The hearing impairment landscape in a time of seismic change
July/August 2015
A Q&A with
Susan Daniels OBE

Editorial

I hope that you have had a lovely summer so far and that you are enjoying a well-earned break. Moreover, if you teach GCSE students I really hope that, today of all days, they attain the results that both you and they deserve. It’s a difficult time for pupil, parent and teacher alike, so my best wishes go out to you.

With the GCSE results in mind, and in light of this issue’s interview with the longstanding and highly regarded chief executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, my thoughts remain with deaf children. For, as Susan points out in her opening answer: “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.” Clearly, at a time of real change in the education sector, these figures are particularly troubling. And it is perhaps this uncertainty that drove a record number of you to get in touch with me when you heard that I would be speaking with Susan.

Susan has been kind enough to answer as many questions as possible and I really appreciate the time that she has put into this issue and the time that you have taken to send in your questions. I hope that you find it as useful as I have and would welcome any comments, queries or suggestions.

Finally, before I go, I would very much like to feature your views in our autumn issue. You can find out more about what I am looking for in the pull-out box below and you will be entered into a prize draw too. So, if you have the time and/or inclination to send me 100 words on your most pressing concern/s as a SEND practitioner, please do, it would be good to hear from you.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
editor@realgroup.co.uk
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Issue 11: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner
Issue 11
The SEN reforms
May/June 2015
A health check and Q&A with
Brian Lamb OBE

Editorial

Nine months ago, to the day, the SEN reforms kicked-off. During this time, the sheer scale of the cultural change demanded by the legislation means that a lot of dust has still to settle. The fact that this is the case has worried some practitioners and parents. More particularly, issues around the content of the Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and personal budgets continue to be raised.

As it stands, the Act and the regulations pose more questions than answers and, in the wake of this uncertainty, we thought that Brian Lamb would be the best Q&A port of call to help steady our readers’ anxieties. Brian, author of the widely respected Lamb Inquiry: Special educational needs and parental confidence, is an eminent expert in this field and took part in the inaugural issue of The SEND Practitioner. It’s wonderful to have him back and to take comfort in the certain cogency of his analysis.

I do hope that you find this issue useful and want to thank those of you who contacted me directly with questions for Brian.

As ever, if you have any queries, thoughts or suggestions, please do get in touch.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
editor@realgroup.co.uk

Read the full issue

Issue ten: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner
Issue ten
Person-centred planning
March/April 2015
A Q&A with inclusion expert
Colin Newton

Editorial

To celebrate our one-year anniversary we are delighted to feature our recent conversation with Colin Newton – one of the UK’s leading inclusion pioneers. Colin’s interest in this area was sparked by a lecture tour that he helped to organise in the mid-90s. As part of that programme, he brushed shoulders with two of the world’s foremost inclusion gurus. Since then, he hasn’t looked back – writing and publishing many books on the subject and forming one of the country’s most respected inclusion companies.

More recently, the new Code of Practice and the inclusive approach that it espouses, has led to inclusion and person-centred planning taking centre stage. In light of this, there are few better people to talk about this subject and answer your questions.

We hope that you enjoy this issue and want to thank you for continuing to subscribe to The SEND Practitioner. In the last year, we have interviewed many respected SEND practitioners and are delighted to have increased our readership by more than 1,000 since our launch.

As ever, if you have any questions, queries, thoughts or suggestions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
editor@realgroup.co.uk
Read the full issue

Issue nine: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner
Issue nine
The SEN legal landscape
January/February 2015
A Q&A with leading education lawyer Mark Blois

Editorial

In issue five of The SEND Practitioner, Gareth Morewood emphasised the fact that SENCOs should prepare themselves for the raft of legislative changes by really getting to know the law. However, at the time of writing (July 2014) the legislative changes were yet to come into effect. As a result, much commentary of the time was, by its very nature, circumspect.

Since then, five challenging months have elapsed in which SEND practitioners have begun to adapt to the new framework. And whilst aspects of the new framework are short on detail and require case law decisions to clarify the legal guidance that can be given, there has been some progress as the dust has begun to settle. However, it’s a long journey ahead and will take years, not months, to embed this cultural change.

With this challenge and the words of previous contributors to The SEND Practitioner echoing in my mind, I was thrilled when Mark Blois said that he would be happy to talk to me. I had seen Mark speak at a key SEN framework conference towards the end of last year and had been particularly struck by his calm, cogent and rigorous analysis of the legal landscape and his rare ability to communicate legal complexities with clarity and verve.

Before you read on, I should warn you that this is a tome of an issue, containing a decent selection of the reader questions that some of you have sent to me. Mark was kind enough to give me over an hour of his time and this Q&A is the distilled fruit of a very large interview transcript. However, ultimately, one should not cut corners with the law and it is in this legal spirit that I am really pleased to offer you Mark’s illuminating analysis.

I hope that you find a few moments in which to read it and, ultimately, I hope that you find it useful. As ever, please do get in touch if you have any comments, queries or suggestions.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
editor@realgroup.co.uk
Read the full issue

The SEND Practitioner

  • Issue 18: The SEND Practitioner

    Edward Timpson MP (Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families) and Dr Adam Boddison (CEO of nasen) answer our readers’ questions on the Code of Practice, early identification, nominal budgets, the new national curriculum, the Rochford Review, SEND and teacher training courses, and 2017 and beyond, Brian Lamb OBE looks at the SEND reforms and asks where are we now?

  • Issue 17: The SEND Practitioner

    Anne Longfield OBE (Children’s Commissioner for England) discusses the state of the nation’s child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) via: CAMHS cuts, SEN general annual grant (GAG) funding, demographics, exclusions, legal aid, and the post-Brexit landscape.

    Sarah Norris (senior educational psychologist (EP)) explores the particular challenges facing professionals who support children and young people with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties.

  • Issue 16: The SEND Practitioner

    An autism special issue with Dr Temple Grandin, Steve Silberman and Dr Sue Sheppard; curated from previous issues especially for the Autism Show.

  • Issue 15: The SEND Practitioner

    Dr Temple Grandin answers the questions that you put to her. Dr Sue Sheppard speaks about Lorna Wing, autism in the UK, the importance of good training and the future for young people with autism. Brian Lamb OBE writes about the government’s latest education White Paper and its possible impact on the SEND reforms.

  • Issue 14: The SEND Practitioner

    Exploring autism with Steve Silberman – author of Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity and winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2015.

  • Issue 13: The SEND Practitioner

    Examining Channel 4’s Educating Cardiff with Ian Whittaker – key member of staff and SEN line manager at Willows High School.

  • Issue 12: The SEND Practitioner

    Looking at the hearing impairment landscape with Susan Daniels OBE.

  • Issue 11: The SEND Practitioner

    An SEN-reform health-check with Brian Lamb.

  • Issue ten: The SEND Practitioner

    Person-centred planning with expert Colin Newton.

  • Issue nine: The SEND Practitioner

    SEN and the law with lawyer Mark Blois.

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