An Interview with Heather Blackburn – NASENCO
Heather is a busy lady at her current school working as; Associate Assistant Principal, Head of Performing Arts, PE and Health and SENCO on the inclusion team. Heather states that as she has been learning she is gaining specific interests in; autism, attachment, dyslexia and ADHD. Working in a mainstream secondary school in North Yorkshire, Heather recently completed her NASENCO qualification with Real Training.
What made you choose the Real Training course over other options?
Real Training has been recommended to me by others. However, the fact that it was online and could be completed at times to suit me was also an appealing feature of Real Training’s course delivery.
What was your experience of learning with Real Training?
It was very hard starting academic essays after 20 years. However, my tutor was very supportive and gave me lots of pointers. I enjoyed the course as it gave me enough background into SEN, alongside looking at local and national data. I also enjoyed the fact that I could produce PowerPoint presentations for assignments.
How has the course helped make an impact at school?
The course has allowed me to make an impact at school as my understanding of specific areas surrounding SEN has improved greatly. For example, how to use the code of practice and the legal side of SEN along with the inclusion of parents and students at all stages. I have also been able to implement improved CPD for teaching assistants. Lastly, I now have a much greater knowledge of how to set up and develop sensory circuits which are having a positive impact on those children with additional needs.
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?
The course gave a great deal of background detail into SEN and the changes that have occurred over time. It gave me much better insight into parents’ feelings and how important it is to ensure the needs of a child are met in mainstream schools. Schools have a legal responsibility to consider the equality and disability act and to ensure they don’t cause unnecessary distress to children with SEN. I feel my understanding of the impact of reasonable adjustments and how necessary they are for some children has developed. The course also gave a greater understanding of the graduated approach and how this should be shared with all teachers. Alongside, how SEN is the responsibility of all staff and not just the SENDCO.