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Our MA with MU: New modules in the pipeline as delegates learn to lead

Two new 30-credit modules are in the pipeline for our jointly developed Leading Inclusive Education MA with Middlesex University (MU). Learning Differences and Communities and Culture will launch in 2017, and will complement the 60-credit Leading Inclusive Practice module that delegates started in October 2016.

These two modules are aimed at teachers who are, or aspire to be, leaders of inclusive practice in educational settings. As such, they will be of interest to senior leaders, inclusion managers, heads of year and pastoral leads, and will build on the core learning that delegates encounter in Leading Inclusive Practice. Each module contains thematic strands, each strand contains learning experiences, and each learning experience is made up of a range of activities.

NB: While both modules are aimed at teachers who work in SEND, Learning Differences may not be appropriate for fully-qualified SENCOs – as they may encounter content that they have previously covered.

Learning Differences

This module will enable delegates to get to grips with a broad range of learning needs – including SEND, EAL, gifted and talented, and pupils with literacy difficulties. It will allow them to focus on needs that are useful to their practice and setting. Delegates will understand how contemporary thought, guidance, legislation and research in this area apply in their setting. They will evaluate, understand and apply their learning, and will think about how best to lead staff to make a difference to children and young people with learning differences.

In the first strand, delegates will understand learning differences and inclusion. The second strand will encourage them to review their provision for a particular area of learning difference. While the third and final strand will enable them to apply their learning to lead change in their setting.

Find out more about Learning Differences.

Communities and Culture

This module will allow delegates to develop their understanding of the impact of culture and community on pupils and their families, and the implications of these for education settings. They will encounter a range of cultures and communities that are relevant to them and will get to grips with vital issues around community, culture, identity and multiculturalism. They will learn about the community-based resources that can support their practice and will think about how best to lead staff and evolve a cohesive approach for a diverse pupil population.

In the first strand, delegates will examine community and culture. In the second strand, they will look at understanding practice. In the third strand, they will be able to apply their learning by developing an action plan for change in their setting.

Find out more about Communities and Culture.

A look at the two new MA in Leading Inclusive Education modules

Following the successful launch of the Leading Inclusive Education MA, Maddie Ralph explores the forthcoming Learning Differences and Communities and Culture modules.

Learning Differences

This module will enable delegates to get to grips with a broad range of learning needs – including SEND, EAL, gifted and talented, and pupils with literacy difficulties. It enables them to focus on needs that are useful to their practice and setting. Delegates will understand how contemporary thought, guidance, legislation and research in this area apply in their setting. They will evaluate, understand and apply their learning, and will think about how best to lead staff to make a difference to children and young people with learning differences.

Strand one of this module concentrates on understanding learning differences and inclusion. As well as refreshing their understanding of learning theories and typical cognitive development, delegates will explore different perceptions of learning differences and inclusion, and models of disability, and consider some controversial issues around difference. This will enable them to build a picture of various learning differences and the provision currently made for them in their setting. They will also be able to learn about the national picture, (re learning differences and inclusion) and reflect on responsibility, accountability and leadership.

Strand two will enable delegates to review provision for an area of learning difference, by first revisiting the waves of intervention model of support for children and young people with learning differences. They will go on to learn about the graduated approach to SEN support, how this is applied to other groups, and consider how well their setting implements this. Delegates will work with their colleagues to select an area of learning difference where practice could be improved. They will research it, make provision for it in their setting, share their findings and obtain feedback.

In the third and final strand, delegates will build on their learning by developing an action plan for change in their setting. They will reflect on their learning and progress as a leader of inclusive practice, and will look at the next professional development steps that they need to take.

Communities and Culture

This module will allow delegates to develop their understanding of the impact of culture and community on pupils and their families, and the implications of these for education settings. They will encounter a range of cultures and communities that are relevant to them and will get to grips with vital issues around community, culture, identity and multiculturalism. They will learn about the community-based resources that can support their practice, and will think about how best to lead staff and evolve a cohesive approach for a diverse pupil population.

Strand one is based around delegates’ understanding of communities and culture. They will explore their own culture and that of their setting, they will consider a range of perceptions of the concept of community and will reflect on education settings as communities. They will not only consider how identity is defined and shaped, but will also explore issues surrounding community cohesion, examine culture and cultural diversity, and investigate the relationship between diversity and inclusion in communities.

Strand two will lead delegates to a deeper understanding of practice in relation to communities and culture. Through researching diversity, social capital and what it means to be British, they will develop their knowledge of how education settings (particularly their own), can support individual identities and promote a universal sense of belonging. By understanding the role of supplementary schools, and the kind of education that will equip children to participate and achieve (both in school and beyond), delegates will be in a good position to apply their knowledge in the final strand.

In the third and final strand, delegates will focus on leading change in their setting. To conclude their learning, they will work with colleagues to develop an action plan for change in their setting. In common with the previous module, they will reflect on their learning and progress as a leader of inclusive practice and will look at the next professional development steps that they need to take.

 

To find out more about this programme, take a look at Middlesex University’s website.

A Q&A with Jalak Patel – our new senior educational psychologist

We recently welcomed Jalak Patel to Real Group. As an educational psychologist (EP), she has wide-ranging experience of working with young people in both the UK and Hong Kong. We spoke with Jalak about her time in Hong Kong, what led her to her new role and how SEND challenges differ between the two landscapes.

As an EP, what are your areas of interest?

‘Recently I’ve spent a lot of time working with children and young people who experience social cognition challenges (which might be known as social thinking challenges). These individuals find it difficult to understand that other people’s perspectives may differ from their own, and this disparity can have a huge impact on their social lives, their academic lives and their academic work. I am interested in helping this group achieve their individual social goals. These goals may include the ability to share space, work effectively with others and be more effective in reading the social environment around them, learning how to work as a member of a team, or developing and maintaining relationships with others.’

You have broad international experience as an EP (having worked in both Hong Kong and the UK). Can you tell me about your recent time in Hong Kong? What took you there and what did you do there?

‘I worked in Hong Kong for four-and-a-half years and in Coventry for eight years before that – so two very different places. Throughout my career, I’ve always been interested in how different cultural backgrounds and experiences impact on how we think, feel or behave, and how that might then influence a student’s emotional well-being or their academic progress. So, for me, the opportunity to live and work in a completely different culture was just thrilling really.

‘In Hong Kong, I worked as an EP for the English School Foundation, which is a foundation of 22 settings covering pre-school children up to secondary level. During this time, I was also the foundation’s advisor for SEN training and development. In this role, I worked with schools to find out what their development needs were, wrote and delivered training based on these needs, supported others to do the same, and then worked with different settings to embed their new learning and skills. What was particularly interesting about the position was that my work was not just limited to the English School Foundation’s pool of international schools. We were keen to broaden our remit to support and influence the practice of other schools within South East Asia. In this way, through inter-school discussions and conferences, we shared good practice.

‘Of course, living in Hong Kong was such an amazing experience: the food is delicious and I’ve developed quite a taste for dim sum. And at the weekend, there’s so much to do too: you can go hiking or you can go to the beach – so life was really good fun there. I had so many opportunities to travel and feel really lucky to have travelled to every South East Asian country on my list.’

Before this, you were in the UK. In the world of SEND, what are the similarities and differences between the two landscapes?

‘I think both the UK and Hong Kong have an increasing understanding of the importance of ensuring that the needs of all students are met (whether they have SEND or not). In the UK, we have a long-held understanding that we have a part to play in this, and I did wonder before I went whether it would be the same. I’d say that in Hong Kong, there is also an understanding that we need to meet the needs of all students, and educators are becoming even more interested in how this can be done, especially when thinking about meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND.

‘In Hong Kong, there is often a high expectation for children and young people to succeed academically.  However, there is also a growing awareness of the links between these expectations and increased levels of stress, (or decreased levels of emotional well-being). This is in line with the UK’s recognition of the importance of mental health challenges and how these can impact on students. The raft of new legislation that’s come out and the kind of discussions that are taking place, are illustrative of how much the UK has developed in this area in just the few years that I worked abroad.

‘Differences: I suppose that the main difference would be in terms of behaviour. In the international school context, we saw a lot less of what might be termed in the UK as challenging behaviour. People in South East Asia tend to have a real respect for education and they very much expect their children to do well – sometimes to their detriment. They can be a little bit pushy or work their children very hard. In general, however, children and young people have a healthy respect for education and want to do well. So, if they are exhibiting challenging behaviour, it’s not from a desire to get out of the classroom, or to cause problems. More so, it’s because they are genuinely experiencing difficulties stemming from other challenge areas – such as, say, social cognition challenges, or mental health issues.

‘I suppose that one of the other big differences is that the curriculum that we worked towards in our particular schools was very concept-based, rather than skills-based. So, children and young people were really expected to think in an abstract way. In this context, some children with SEND faced challenges because they found flexible thinking difficult, or weren’t able to access a language-heavy curriculum. In contrast, the curriculum in the UK is a lot more skills-based, so it’s much easier to differentiate. But just to clarify, not all curricula in Hong Kong or South East Asia is concept-based, that was just the case in the foundation that I worked for.’

At the time of the interview, you have only recently touched down in London. What drew you to this role?

‘Well, Real actually came out to Hong Kong. Jen [Wills] flew over, and delivered the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET) to a number of staff within our foundation. We contacted Real because we’d heard about them and their reputation. During that time, I held a dual role, one part of which involved advising the foundation on SEN training and development. Following the course, I spoke to staff to find out what they thought about CCET: they were struck by the clarity and rigour of the training, and could clearly see how this was going to help them and how they could move forward. The knock-on effect was that I was very impressed with the quality of the course and Real’s reputation. After conversations with EP friends back in the UK, I became more aware of the organisation’s positive reputation, the forward-thinking nature of the company, and its willingness to embrace new ideas and thinking.

‘I felt that I’d learnt a lot from working in Hong Kong, and wanted to make sure that my wealth of international experience would benefit and complement any organisation that I worked with in the UK. I got the sense that Real would be willing to harness some of that, and bring that on board with what they were doing. So, all in all, it seemed like a good fit!’

As you start your role with us, what areas are you particularly looking forward to working in?

‘I’m keen to get involved in delivering some of Real Training’s courses, as training is something I really enjoy doing. I’m eager to share some of the ideas and approaches that I’ve come across whilst working in Hong Kong, some of which aren’t really being used in the UK. I’ve been quite heavily involved in the training, implementation, and evaluation of certain approaches, and have delivered good outcomes for students. I would like to develop that further here. And of course, I am looking forward to getting to know everybody at Real too!’

Finally, in the coming months, you will tutor on some of our courses (e.g.: the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing). With this in mind, why is assessment and educational testing training so important to education professionals and young people with SEND?

‘First and foremost, there are a lot of reports that are written and sent about different individuals, and it’s really important that we are able to fully understand them. There are many different tests available, and they are standardised in different ways, so it’s vital to be able to read a report, understand it, and know what that test was specifically focused on. This will allow us to know what those outcomes mean for a young person – in terms of next steps and how best to support them. To put that another way: you have to know where you are, to know where you need to go! Education professionals are willing to do the hard work and they want the right thing for their students, but aren’t always certain what information they need and/or how to use what they do know. So, coming on these kinds of training courses and gaining that knowledge, experience and understanding, is vital, because it provides certainty and enables us to be sure that everything we are doing is right for each individual student.’

 

Jalak will be working with both Real Psychology and Real Training in her role.

Middlesex University launches MA in Leading Inclusive Education with Real Training

In September of last year, we were delighted to launch a brand-new MA in Leading Inclusive Education, jointly developed by Real Training and Middlesex University.

One of the most significant challenges that education professionals encounter, is the long overdue need for developing and supporting inclusive education practice in order to meet the needs of all learners. To cover this broad and ever-changing subject, our multifaceted course consists of a selection of modules that delegates can choose from. Among these are modules focusing on subjects such as gender and sexuality, communities and culture, and migration and language acquisition.

The MA in Leading Inclusive Education is a distance-learning package that is delivered entirely online. Using our state-of-the-art online learning platform, Campus Online, delegates are able to access the course from anywhere in the world. We’ve combined our extensive knowledge and expertise in delivering online courses with the physical resources of a major London university to produce a truly unique learning experience.

Ron Sergejev is the course leader for the MA in Leading Inclusive Education. Ron’s years of experience in the education sector, have given him great insight into the difficulties caused by the lack of training in inclusive education.

When asked what he believes makes our course unique, Ron had the following to say:

‘The modules that comprise this MA, cater for many professional requirements within education. Whether a student is aiming to become a head of department, or even head teacher, or solely seeks to gain a greater understanding of learning, social, and emotional difficulties, they will find that the course is thorough, and covers a great many aspects of inclusive practice.

‘This course is designed around sound learning principles, is practice-based, and can be done from anywhere in the world. The modules are designed to be part of the whole Masters programme, but they can also stand alone to enable education professionals to upskill in specific areas, without completing a full Masters.’

 

For more information, or to book a place, visit Middlesex University’s MA in Leading Inclusive Education web page.

Read every issue of The SEND Practitioner in our archive…

Earlier this month, issue 18 published. Our first 2017 issue features Edward Timpson MP, Dr Adam Boddison and Brian Lamb OBE.

In the past 18 issues, we’ve interviewed a host of nationally and internationally respected experts about the essential topics that matter to our readers.

If you’d like to read a particular e-zine, simply click on the blue text below:

Access the archive.

Sign up to receive The SEND Practitioner.

Corrections and clarifications

An article by Brian Lamb OBE in issue 18 of The SEND Practitioner has been amended.

One sentence of Brian Lamb’s piece (‘The SEND reforms: Where are we now?’) was changed and an additional sentence was added as follows.

From:

‘A survey carried out by the parent carer forums found that 84% of parents were fully or largely engaged in the strategic planning and co-production of SEND services…’

To:

‘A DfE survey of local authorities found that 84% of parents were fully or largely engaged in the strategic planning and co-production of SEND services and that 83% of parents were fully or largely engaged in making decisions about their own SEND provision. The DfE survey of parent carer forums found lower satisfaction: 64% felt that parents were fully or largely engaged in strategic planning, while 51% felt that parents were fully or largely engaged in decisions about their children – the latter an improvement on the previous survey.’

Read issue 18 of The SEND Practitioner.

If you have any questions about this amendment, please contact the editor.

The government confirms funding for SEN support

The government has recently announced a new multi-million pound fund to support children and families with SEN.

Edward Timpson announced this news on [Monday] 9 January at the Department for Education. The funding, totalling almost £60million, will be available from April of this year.

The government’s recent SEN support press release

‘The funding announced includes:

  • £15 million for the Independent Supporters programme in 2017 to 2018, run by the Council for Disabled Children, this has been a real driver of change for families navigating the SEND system and improving the experience for them
  • £2.3 million for Parent Carer Forums in 2017 to 2018, who bring parents together and provide a voice to influence local decision-making
  • £1.8 million to Contact a Family, to support individual Parent Carer Forums and their National Network, and to run a national helpline for families

The package also includes funding for councils worth £40 million, which the minister wrote to them about shortly before Christmas. This investment, an increase of £4.2 million from last year (2016 to 2017) will support them to make effective plans for this important final year of the transition to the new SEND system.

Minister Edward Timpson said:

“These reforms are the most significant we’ve made to the support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in a generation and we know that they are making a difference, thanks to the passion and dedication of all those involved.

“As we enter the final year of the transition, I know there are still challenges to overcome, to ensure that the inspiring work going on in many parts of the country is shared with areas where improvements still need to be made.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be able to confirm this additional funding for councils and for the groups playing such a vital role in supporting children with SEND. All children, no matter the obstacles they face, should have the same opportunities for success as any other.”‘

Editor’s note

Read the government’s press release in full.

In addition to this, our recent interview with Edward Timpson MP appeared in issue 18 of The SEND Practitioner.

Read the latest issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Issue 18 of The SEND Practitioner published recently

Issue 18 published on Sunday 8 January 2017 and features a cornucopia of expertise.

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. While Brian Lamb OBE looks at the SEND reforms and asks where are we now?

There’s a summary of  a recent research study that we carried out with hundreds of our Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements’ (CPT3A) delegates and a couple of Q&As with two of our most recent CPT3A graduates.

Read issue 18.

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
Read more

Real Group welcomes new head of marketing and sales

We are delighted that Stuart Curry has recently joined the company as Real Group’s head of marketing and sales.

Prior to this, Stuart worked across a variety of sectors, including not-for-profit, consumer and business publishing, membership bodies, and finance. He is based at our Greenwich office and will support the marketing and sales team, while working closely with all departments and directors to continue Real Group’s financial growth. He will also assist with the development of new business propositions and areas of activity.

Stuart emphasised how much he has relished working with the team and learning about the positive aspects of our work:

‘I am really enjoying working with an incredibly dedicated and committed small team and getting to learn about the fantastic, valuable work that the company does in the sector – helping to change lives.’

He looks forward to working with Real Group to expand and meet the many challenges facing education professionals and their pupils.

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