Jennifer Root is currently working in a school in East Sussex for children and young people aged 7-19. She completed the National Award for SEN Coordination with us here at Real Training this year! With a particular interest in Autism, she is currently engaged in a project to get the school re-accredited with Autism Accreditation from the National Autistic Society. We asked Jennifer about her experience studying with Real Training, read what she had to say below.
What made you choose the Real Training courses over other options?
I discovered Real Training through word of mouth. One of the other teachers working at my school was just about to start studying through Real Training and recommended them as a training provider. When looking over the course content I felt that it would strongly enhance my knowledge and understanding of the SENCo role, which I had been appointed to post with not much of a robust handover. I found the enrolment process easy and the support from both my appointed tutor and the Real Training team helpful and readily available at each stage of my learning journey. The benefit of distance learning with Real Training was that I was able to be in post whilst simultaneously putting my learning into practice. I was able to liaise with other course members to share experiences, successes and possible strategies to implement in the future. In this way, I still had access to a real learning community, even though our experiences were diverse and roles were across a range of geographic locations.
What was your experience of learning with Real Training?
The course was engaging and vital to my development as a SENCo within my school. At times I felt lost in the course content, not knowing where to start, but the online forums through Campus Online and discussion pages were a wonderful source of support and helped me to refocus my thinking and rationalize my ideas. My tutor was a real help, clear and concise in his feedback and supportive in his guidance. This meant that despite my initial fears of writing at Masters Level again (it has been quite a few years!) I was able to reframe my ideas and redraft to ensure that I met the course criteria. I really enjoyed the opportunity to complete the Action Research project. I completed a two-day visit to an outstanding school in Surrey and have maintained links that I made. I have been able to not only return to my setting to implement change, but it has highlighted the real positives already within my school which should be celebrated. I found that the EBSCO library had a wealth of information to delve through and again, whilst initially overwhelming, provided me with a huge amount of academic journals and research papers on which to either support or challenge my own perspectives.
How has the course helped make an impact at school?
My headteacher Fran Pass commented: ‘The course has enabled Jenny to fine-tune her understanding of SEN and the complexities of ensuring that no child or young person is disadvantaged due to a diagnosis. The course enabled Jenny to route what she already does to a high standard within a theoretical framework.’ I feel that the course has enabled me to create an action plan in order to develop the role and has ensured greater and more knowledgeable support of the children and young people in our school. I look forward to further developing in the role of SENCo and aspire to make links with other SENCos and aspiring SENCos in the local area to share experiences and strategies.
How has the course helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?
I feel that now, being a qualified SENCo, I have a greater knowledge and understanding of the role and the ways in which I can lead the staff team to implement change for the benefit of our children and young people. I am now conversant in the theoretical framework and am able to use my learning to underpin my experiences. I found the course hugely valuable and am now more able to perform the role of SENCo within my SEN setting. I encourage any aspiring SENCos to go ahead and enrol on this program, its engaging, varied and informative. Real Training and the tutors invest time and effort into people so that they can really make the most of this learning opportunity.