Gillian Holland is a music teacher and aspiring SENCO, currently working at an international school in Malaysia. Although she is interested in all aspects of SEND, most recently, Gillian has found herself studying Dyslexia in greater detail. Stating that her long term goal is to become an assessor, which she hopes will give her the ability to bring this skill ‘in house’ to the school in which she works. Having recently completed our NASENCO qualification, we caught up with Gillian to see how she got on.
What made you choose Real Training over other options?
Living in Malaysia, I was looking for a course that I could largely complete online. Having found Real Training through a google search, I felt that the online delivery of the content along with the accreditation of a UK university was the perfect match for me. When exploring the course content in more detail I was really impressed with the depth covered and the variety of activities involved in the qualification.
What was your experience of learning with Real Training?
I have really enjoyed studying with Real Training and found the whole process of Campus Online straightforward and easy to navigate. I liked that the tasks were varied, but that you didn’t have to complete them in a specific order. This really helped me to make progress as it allowed me to complete tasks based on the timeframe I had available and make use of this effectively. I thought there was a good balance of ‘work based’ tasks involving some level of interaction with an aspect of school life, and research focused tasks asking for an opinion on a given text or concept. I also felt thoroughly supported by my tutor, Rachel, and knew that she was always at the end of a message thread if there was something I needed help with. The course exceeded the expectations I had and I would definitely use Real training for further studies.
How has the course helped make an impact at school?
Two projects I thoroughly enjoyed were the final assignments for Strand 2 and 3. Both of these allowed me to explore something relevant to the setting I work in. As an aspiring SENCO, this was hugely important as it gave me valuable experience in the development of an aspect of school life. Helping me to consider ways in which I would approach this if I were a SENCO. In one of these tasks, I looked at the transition between KS2 and KS3 and found ways to develop a potential action plan to improve this for future learners. As an all-through school, I was able to look at both sides of the transition point and reflect on what is needed to ensure that SEND learners were able to move through to the next stage in their education with as much support and preparation as necessary.
The second area I explored was the movement of SEND learning and pedagogy to online platforms as a result of the pandemic. Being able to research something so relevant was interesting and it was a great way to explore best practice from many different settings and countries across the world. I was able to use this and bring together ideas to adapt to my current school.
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 was initially apprehensive when I began the course as my last period of high-level studying was 10 years prior when I completed my PGCE. However, the way the course is organised really helped me to ease back into this process and there was so much support available to ensure that my writing and work was to the level required for a Masters. My original plan was to just complete my NASENCO qualification, yet the course and the content have encouraged me to look beyond this to explore further options for my professional development. After much consideration, I have decided to work towards my Masters in SEND. I have just started my Level 7 Structured Intervention in Literacy and Dyslexia with Real Training’s sister company ‘Dyslexia Action’ and then I plan to return to Real Training to complete the ‘Enquiry-based SEN’ to complete my Masters. The decision on which route to take was difficult as there is so much choice available to you, but after emailing the team at Real training and discussing my options I am really happy with the decisions that I have made.