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An Interview with Ceri Matty

Ceri Matty – NASENCO

Ceri has always had an interest in SEND, since she started her teaching career 18 years ago. It became more profound when her son was born in 2008 and as he started his school journey, his SEND needs became clear. He has had an EHCP since Year 2 (now in Year 9) and a diagnosis of ASD. His journey, as well as Ceri’s own teaching, led her progressively into more depth in the study of SEND. This enabled her to better meet her students’ needs in class as well as ensure her son gets the very best support from his school.

What made you choose the Real Training course over other options?

As a full-time middle leader (not the named SENCO) and parent of 2, Real Training was the obvious choice for me. The delivery solely online meant that I could work flexibly around my work/life, whilst still achieving the same accreditation as a course that had face to face delivery. It came highly recommended on SEND teaching support groups I follow. The use of the online network, whereby you can share your thoughts, ask questions and offer support was fantastic and I actively encourage
anyone using Real Training to utilise it.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

When I initially started, the course felt overwhelming. However, after reading advice from other delegates I quickly found that the organisation of the course and units were incredibly well structured. This was because the structure allowed me to work at my own pace and equally provided lots of links to online resources, articles and relevant legislation etc. My tutor was fantastic, available for email or telephone support when required and checked in when I had not logged in for a couple of weeks to see if I needed support. The course, once you get through the initial introduction unit, is incredibly easy to navigate. Tasks are progressive and provide a great mix of theory and practical opportunity. Strand 2 and 3, take time as you have to plan, implement and review projects within your setting, so I actively encourage delegates to look at these relatively early to plan into your year of study. As I work full time, I found it easiest to keep the actual assignment write-ups to the school holidays and use my face to face time to enhance my practical skills within the workplace.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

Without hesitation, the support from the leadership team has been essential in the impact and outcomes. However, the knowledge that you develop enables you to motivate and enrich the learning of all staff within the school setting, which in turn enables them to support pupils with SEND. This ensures quality first teaching is at the forefront. SEND provision has and will continue to change based on the needs of those students in your setting – the course has made me realise that SEND is on an ongoing journey and I feel equipped with the tools and knowledge to ensure that the impact is not short term, rather sustained.

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?

It has helped me develop a much higher depth of knowledge and understanding of SEND and will allow me to continue to develop within the school setting and beyond, ensuring that we continue to meet the needs of all our SEND students.

 

An Interview with Anne Louise Davies

Anne Louise Davies – NASENCO

Anne is currently the Assistant Headteacher and SENCO at a mainstream 11-18 secondary school in Westbury, Wiltshire. When asked if she has any special interests in SEND, Anne explained “Dyslexia has become my most recent interest as I am interested in understanding more about phonological awareness and verbal memory”. Anne recently completed the NASENCO qualification with us at Real Training, read on to see how she found her time. 

What made you choose Real Training over other options? 

A colleague of mine had previously undertaken the NASENCO qualification through Real Training and had recommended it. It also appealed to me as it was online learning and the assignment completion dates had not been pre-set and therefore offered me a huge amount of flexibility.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

My experience of Real Training has been extremely positive and I have strangely really enjoyed the course and all the reading that was involved. It has been a long time since I have written an assignment but I found the whole process easier than I had imagined, due to the excellent structure and support from my amazing tutor Clare. When you first start the course it appears daunting but the ‘tick box’ approach to complete the different elements is very satisfying and the tracking tool that shows you how far through the course you are is also very motivational. 

Consequently, I have now signed up for the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET) course. Even though the course is all online and I have not met my tutor I feel that the level of interaction has resulted in a relationship being established, her feedback was not only extremely helpful but was also provided promptly enabling me to make the necessary alterations while my research was still fresh in my memory. 

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

The course has resulted in a complete re-working of our SEND provision. This started with the visit to my placement school where I discovered how they developed their TAs and also the types of intervention they had to offer. I was also able to improve publications that we had on our website, including the SEND Information Report so that they met the requirements of the Code of Practice. My leadership approach has also been reflected upon and has resulted in a style that has now empowered the Teaching Assistants and given them a greater sense of responsibility. Basically, everything that is now in place is down to this course. 

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 has added substantially to the amount of educational research I have undertaken and has offered views and opinions that I would not previously have considered. The new knowledge has been applied to my setting to improve the quality of our SEND provision. It is also a reminder of the importance of keeping my SEN knowledge up to date through academic research. 

An Interview with Emma Sison

Emma Sison – CPT3A Intensive

Emma currently works as a Deputy Examination Manager within a mainstream secondary school and sixth form in Suffolk, which has 1500 students. She has recently completed the CCET intensively with us and is now starting the AAC component of the CPT3A qualification.  When asked what her specific interest areas are within SEND, Emma explained that she is fairly new to the role but passionate about working alongside the school SENCO to support their students. We had a chat with Emma to see how she found her time on CCET and what her plans are once she has obtained the full CPT3A.

What made you choose the Real Training course over other options?

I originally found out about Real Training once I had been asked to do the qualification and it was recommended by a few of my colleagues. It worked really well being able to complete it online and have it fit around my current work situation. The time they give you to complete the course is enough to give you the flexibility and work at your own speed.

I also found it was really useful to be able to do the online aspect and chat with others in the same or similar situations.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The whole experience with Real Training has been amazing! Angela was amazing at booking me onto both courses and answering all the questions that I had.

The online platform for the intensive course and the module page was also great – easy to navigate and the resources were well put together! The tasks following the day course put all the learning together in a great practical element, which tied everything together nicely. Being able to do the online training and be split into smaller groups for work was also useful to be able to almost have that face-to-face interaction.

Now I have attended the one intensive day for AAC (now doing my work on this) and the three days for CCET, both presenters and tutors are so great. Very responsive and the feedback given was clear, relevant and really useful for me going forward.

I honestly cannot thank the whole Real Training team enough for their support and commitment to everyone on the course. On top of this, it has given me a better understanding of SEND and what is involved in terms of AA.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

Despite not having completed the full CPT3A, I have already been able to push for more test kits to be purchased and streamline the process a little bit with our SENCO – who is already a qualified EAA assessor. Once I am also fully qualified, this will help a great deal.

Also as a non-teaching member of staff – I hope to be able to assess students as and when they are brought to my attention and ensure that support is in place early on in their studies.

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?

It has been great to be learning again. The course has taught me a lot but also given me the confidence to be able to conduct educational testing.

I look forward to putting my qualification to use and doing the Access Arrangement Assessments in school. They are already in talks for me to oversee AA in other secondary schools in our Trust too – which will be interesting for me to be able to do.

 

An Interview with Colette Davis

Colette Davis – MA LIE Programme

Colette is the Leader of Inclusion for Beacon Hill School in Hong Kong. Her school have 540 students on roll with 21 spaces for students with more moderate needs. Leading a team of 3 teachers and 7 assistants, Colette and her team aim to help support children and teachers to remove barriers to learning. She is working toward gaining her MA in Leading Inclusive Education (MA LIE) with Real Training. Having completed the Leading Inclusive Practice 60 credit module, she has gone on to begin the Gender and Sexuality and Social, Emotional and Mental Health modules. Colette explains her specialist interest areas of SEND are: mental health, wellbeing and Autism. Having recently completed a mental health first aid course and previous training in social thinking as a way to support. We caught up with Colette to see how her studies with Real Training have been going. 

What made you choose the Real Training course over other options?

The tutor support was excellent. I enjoyed the variety of coursework including readings, videos and practical work. It was great to be studying again and having a bit more rigour and ownership of my professional development. I enjoyed the interactions with some of the other students and was particularly interested in those who were also in international settings. 

How has the course helped make an impact at school? 

The course has had a direct impact on the work we have been completing at school in terms of inclusion. In the last two years, we have redefined what inclusion means to us as a school and changed our model moving forward. This has involved whole school reflection, professional learning and intense professional development days.

The course has meant that our approach towards the leadership of this change project and the measurement of the impact has been much more intentional. The timing was perfect. The change project that I shared and unpacked for this module was just a small part of the larger change project that we were already leading.

The impact has gone a little beyond the school as we have also had an opportunity to share within our wider foundation and at two international conferences.

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 am looking forward to continuing my studies and deepening my understanding of a broad range of topics linked to inclusion. There is a big move in my organisation towards recognising and respecting Diversity, Equality and Inclusion and I look forward to Real Training helping me to dig deeper into this.

I have also been reflecting on my personal qualities as a leader and how I might become more intentional and inclusive in my approach.

 

An Interview with Rachel Trigg

Rachel TriggRachel Trigg – CCET

Rachel currently works as a Learning Support Tutor at a university in Newport, Shropshire. Her specialist interest area of SEND is Dyslexia. Rachel has recently completed our Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing course via the online route. We caught up with Rachel to ask her some questions about her time studying with us. 

What made you choose Real Training over other options? 

I selected the Real Training course as I was looking to become a Dyslexia Assessor and this seemed one of the quickest and most direct routes. It was convenient in terms of online learning which meant I could work on it alongside my current job and also study at my own pace. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I found the course excellent in terms of materials, assessment and support. The first thing I received was the folder of resources which was great to have as a source of reference that I could look back at if I was stuck on anything. There was a very comprehensive section on statistics that enabled me to understand and explain some of the statistical terminology used in testing. The videos were also helpful in explaining key areas and it was useful to be able to refer to previous students’ work for help with assignments. 

I also found methods of assessment on the course were relevant and practical, such as assessment reports and videos of testing or giving feedback. My tutor was really helpful throughout my time on the course. She responded quickly to any queries and also gave me constructive feedback on my assignments as well as motivating me to keep going even when I was finding things a bit hard!

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

It has been useful to share my updated knowledge of testing with my colleagues and for us to discuss the layout/requirements of assessment reports. I have also increased my confidence in administering tests to students and hope to continue building on this when undertaking my next course in Dyslexia Report Writing. 

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 have now enrolled on the Dyslexia Professional Report Writing module and hope to become a Dyslexia Assessor next year. I will then be able to undertake dyslexia assessments with students. Enabling them to access support at University and to apply for Disabled Students Allowance, having a positive impact on my professional role.

An Interview with Tina Thompson

Tina Thompson Tina Thompson – DPRW and CPT3A

Tina currently works as an Academic Support Teacher and Assessor for Access Arrangements. The role is within an Independent Senior School based in Bedford. She has a special interest in Dyslexia. Tina recently completed the Dyslexia Professional Report Writing module with us at Real Training. In previous years, Tina has also completed our Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements (CPT3A). We caught up to ask Tina about her time studying with us.

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

I initially discovered Real Training through a colleague who had completed a course. I was looking for a course I could study that would fit into my work pattern. Online learning seemed the way to go and then I investigated how rigorous and professional the courses were at Real Training. I found only excellent reviews and made my decision on that basis. I noticed there was a lot of support from tutors, a library with a vast selection of relevant resources and plenty of guidance with assignments.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I enjoyed studying the courses with Real Training, they were challenging academically but I saw this as a positive. If I needed additional support and guidance, it was easy to contact my tutor and the help was always constructive, clear and accessible. I found this gave me confidence in my own development. There was the opportunity for one to one contact either via Zoom or phone. I found this really valuable. Each course did meet my expectations in terms of challenge, professional development and new learning. I particularly enjoyed the library resources and reading academic articles and journals. These led to greater knowledge around subjects such as developments in Dyslexia. 

How has the course had an impact on you professionally and your school?

The impact at school is linked to two developments. I am now able to assess for Exam Access Arrangements and complete diagnostic reports for Dyslexia. Additionally, these skills assist in informing support plans for students following assessments. 

 

 

An Interview with Karen Goulden

Karen GouldenKaren Goulden – CPT3A and DPRW

Karen Goulden currently works as a Specialist Teacher for the Dyslexia Outreach Service, her main area of interest is Dyslexia. Currently based at a secondary school, Karen’s role entails devising support plans for pupils aged 5 to 18 from across Norfolk. Karen has completed CPT3A and DPRW with us, so we caught up with her to see what she had to say about both courses.

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

I have completed a range of courses over the last five years but I find the Real Training courses the most practical and accessible. The layout of their online platform, Campus Online, is easy to navigate. Relevant support materials were available at every stage and the information was always up to date. I also found it easy to monitor my own progress throughout the course, seeing what work had been completed and what was left to finish. This kept me focused and motivated.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

The courses have been very practical and completely related to my line of work. All tasks and assignments were relevant. My tutor was very responsive and I loved the access to the library and chat forums. It was also helpful to be able to refer to the work of previous delegates for guidance.

How do you think the course will impact your school?

Obtaining my APC will give schools and parents confidence in the reports that they receive. Thanks to my time on both courses I will also feel more confident about those reports. Furthermore, I have been able to share lots of information from the course with my colleagues, for example; the most relevant tests to use, the length of time we should spend on an assessment and creating our own assessment framework.

How has the course helped developed you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

Completing the course has improved my confidence in the work I do. Secondly being able to share information with colleagues has led to greater consistency in the team’s report writing. It has certainly made me a more reflective practitioner. I look forward to obtaining my APC but irrespective of this, my overall understanding in putting together all the elements involved in diagnosing Dyslexia has been improved.

An Interview with Samantha Blackwood

SamanthSamantha Blackwooda Blackwood – NASENCO

Samantha works at a primary school in South Shields as the SENCO. Her special interest area of SEND is Autism. This is due to a noticeable increase in the number of students being diagnosed. Samantha is also interested in Dyslexia and Social, Emotional and Mental Health. Having completed the National Award for SEN Coordination with us earlier this year, you can see what Sarah had to say below. 

What made you choose the Real Training course over other options?

I chose this course because I was really keen on being able to do work in my own time. I needed something flexible that could fit in with my busy work and home life. Real Training really appealed to me as it offered exactly this. I had also seen lots of recommendations on Facebook SEND groups, explaining how easy it was to follow and that support was great.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The course fully met my expectations. I felt supported throughout and really loved the flexibility element. I found the way the course was structured very good. The layout of the module page was also easy to follow and use. I was supported throughout by the tutor and found the messaging tool very useful. The support from other students was great and I really liked the tasks where we were encouraged to comment on each other’s discussions. I really loved the bar at the top of the page, a great visual tool to allow me to ‘see’ how I was progressing. 

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

The course has helped me to better understand SEND and the role of the SENCO. The modules have allowed me to identify the strengths of SEND in my setting and the areas of development. Creating an action plan was the best activity for me as it allowed me to prioritise areas to work on over the next year in the most effective way. I have already delivered some training to all staff on the Graduated Approach. I had a much better understanding of this after working through the modules. Meaning I felt very confident to deliver the training. Prior to the course, I would not have felt so confident with the topic. Clearly, I have learned a lot through the reading and research tasks that were set.

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?

It has helped me enormously. The leadership module strengthened my leadership skills. I feel the course has also led me to be successful in gaining the Deputy Head Role – which I will be starting this September. 

 

An Interview with Sadie Wilkinson

Sadie Wilkinson

Sadie Wilkinson – CCET Intensive

Sadie Wilkinson currently works as a Science Teacher and is on secondment in the SENCo role. Earlier this year, she completed our CCET qualification and is now completing AAC. Working in a selective secondary school in Lincolnshire, Sadie has always had an interest in SEND. Her sister attended a special needs school and Sadie has worked in one since completing her Human Biology Degree.

Looking to the future, Sadie hopes to undertake the SENCo course, expanding her knowledge of SEN. Below, Sadie tells us a little bit about her time studying with Real Training, so far.

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

I had been looking at completing the CCET and AAC courses for a while and did my research into the costs and how to go about completing these courses. Real Training was a provider that came up a number of times during my research and I was intrigued as to what they had to offer. After reading up on how Real Training delivers the courses, what was included and the costs, I knew it would be the right choice for me.

Furthermore, recommendations from people on a forum I am part of also helped me decided to choose Real Training. It was important for me to know I could complete the work whilst in full-time employment – another factor in my decision.

In terms of course content, the ability to identify different tests and know which ones to use and when was vital. Everything I needed was available through Real Training.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The course exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed the 3-day intensive online option where I had a chance to meet other people who were just as new to this as me. We were split into smaller groups at times and asked to complete smaller tasks together and then re-joined the whole group to give feedback. It wasn’t 3 days of just listening to the presenters. We could ask questions at any point and the presenters were really helpful in providing us with the information.

Campus Online is so easy to use. The tasks are all laid out clearly and you can see what you need to do and how you need to do it. All work is uploaded onto here and you can contact your tutor at any time to ask for help. Feedback from your work is clearly given and you can see what you need to do to improve if needed.

My tutor was extremely supportive. My work was marked promptly, giving me time to make any amendments where necessary. I really enjoyed the course and feel I learned a lot from it. I will be looking to complete further courses with Real Training in the future and I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone else.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

This course, and my completion of AAC, will make a huge impact on our school. Being the only member of staff holding this qualification at present I will be able to promptly assess any students who require it without having to wait for the specialist assessor.

We currently pay for an external specialist assessor to come in and assess our students, having me in school able to do this will greatly reduce the wait time and cost, and give the SENCo relevant information on these students as quickly as needed.

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 has given me a great deal of knowledge in educational testing. I feel confident in knowing which assessments to carry out and how to interpret the findings from these tests.

With my new knowledge and skills, I hope to be able to work alongside our SENCo department and support the school. Identifying students for assessment, assessing them, and then establishing how best to support these students through their years at our school is something I feel strongly about.

An Interview with Lisa Pongpiriyaporn

Lisa Pongpiriyaporn – SEND Programme

Lisa works as the K-12 ELL Coordinator at The KAUST IB School in Saudi Arabia. Explaining her special interests in SEND, Lisa said;

“Within a RtI framework, I’m interested in how schools create a robust tier 1 approach to differentiate and scaffold language and learning, reducing the need for tier 2 intervention. Current research around the science of reading and the impact of instruction on how children learn to read also interests me. Alongside, culturally responsive design for English Language Learners and developing intercultural competence within school faculty. Our school is currently using Universal Design for Learning as an approach and planning for learner variability is interesting to me”.

Having completed CPT3A, Cognition & Learning and Psychology for Education at Real Training, we wanted to catch up with Lisa to see how she found her time.

What made you choose Real Training courses over other options?

Real Training offers a range of courses that suited both my professional goals and my preference for flexible study. I like to determine my own study pathway, as I balance many professional and personal interests. Studying with Real Training has enabled me to do this, which means the study can be enjoyable rather than stressful.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The study platform is accessible and well-structured with excellent support and guidance from tutors. As courses are contextualised in my current professional setting, I am able to explore relevant areas in-depth. This has benefitted my study but also my understanding and knowledge of the current research connected with my role.

How have the courses helped make an impact at school?

The course has definitely supported my professional growth and enabled me to be a more informed instructional coach and leader of teams. As an ELL Coordinator, part of a multidisciplinary student support team, I have a deeper understanding of my context and feel up-to-date with current research and evidence-based practices, meaning I feel better skilled to impact others.

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 has increased and updated my knowledge and practice. I feel I can make better contributions and decisions at work. In the future, I aspire to lead a student support team.

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