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Dr Sarah Alix – Autism Spectrum Conditions

An Interview with Dr Sarah Alix – Autism Spectrum Conditions

Dr Sarah Alix is the current Programme Director for North Essex Teacher Training. When asked about any special interests she has in SEND, Sarah highlights Autism. Explaining that her son has Autism and it is a focus for her when training the trainee teachers at work. Based in Essex, this module is not Sarahs first with Real Training. She has also completed our; National Award for SEN Coordination and is awaiting the start of her next module Evidence and Pedagogy for Inclusion. This will result in Sarah obtaining a PGCert SEND: Autism Spectrum Conditions. Sarah will also have 120 credits on our MEd SEND programme, requiring only the final Enquiry-based module to achieve the full MEd SEND. If you would like to know more about how Sarah has found her time with us, she has kindly shared her thoughts below.

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

After looking at courses to gain further knowledge on SEND I decided to train with Real Training as I could do this online. I thoroughly enjoyed the NASENCO course. I liked the structure of the modules, it was easy to follow the process through with the tasks and tutor feedback before building up to the main assignment. A very good range of materials were provided, reading was given and directed to so I knew what to focus on. When I was looking for a course on autism and realised Real Training had modules on this, I decided this would be a good way forward due to my previous experience. I am glad I chose Real Training for this! I have learnt a great deal about the history and development of autism, developing practice in schools and the tutor has challenged my thinking on the terminology used. A thoroughly enjoyable course!

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

I really like the structure of campus online, I can see what I have completed, what I need to do next, what to focus on. Tutor support has been excellent, detailed feedback on tasks and assignments. The Reading has been focused and provides a challenge to my existing knowledge.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

I am taking some of my learning and developing trainee teacher knowledge, in this area. I  am also applying my learning to consider how we support trainee teachers that have autistic spectrum conditions. 

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 developed my understanding further of SEND and ASD. I can now transfer this knowledge enabling me to better support trainee teachers, through my own better understanding. Whilst also supporting those with SEND or Autism Spectrum Conditions that join our course. I would like to continue to undertake the research module with a research focus on autism and trainee teachers next year, possibly writing this into a publication once the research is complete.

Kasia Suchocka – Speech, Language and Communication Needs

An Interview with Kasia Suchocka – Speech, Language and Communication Needs

Kasia works as a Primary EAL Teacher in a British International School in Poland. She has recently completed our Speech, Language and Communication Needs – Skills & Knowledge module. This module carries 30 credits on our MEd SEND programme and is a great starting block toward either a PGCert, PGDip or MEd in SEND. Kasia has special interests in Dyslexia and Dyscalculia, hoping to learn more about them in the future. We had a chat with Kasia about how she found her time studying with us, you can see what she had to say below.

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

I heard about Real Training from my line manager who also started out by completing the SLCN module. She enjoyed it so much, in fact, that she went on to complete the full MEd in SEND with Real Training. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

At first, I was a bit worried that as a postgraduate course, it would be too academic but it turned out to be the most practical training at level 7 that I have ever done. It was intellectually challenging but closely linked to practice, meaning I could apply my knowledge straight away. Communication with my tutor was very efficient, she would reply to my emails literally within hours! Campus Online was very interactive with lots of opportunities to share ideas and learn from one another. I truly recommend Real Training. 

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

The course has helped me to raise teachers awareness of SLCN. Alongside this, my profiling template has been adopted by our inclusion department. 

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 deepened my knowledge about SLCN and better understood how to differentiate between EAL and SLCN. Thanks to the collaboration with SLT and other SEN staff, I learnt how to support children with additional learning needs. I hope to make a positive impact on SEN assessment practice in my current school. 

Andy Kingdon – CCET Intensive (Campus Live)

An Interview with Andy Kingdon – CCET Intensive

Andy recently took part in our CCET Intensive, January 2021 event. These events are usually held in various locations across 3 intensive learning days. Under the current circumstances, they are taking place intensively online via Campus Live. Andy works as a Learning Support Teacher and SpLD literacy intervention teacher for an independent school in Devon. In regard to SEND he has special interests in Dyslexia and behaviour. Read on to see what Andy had to say about his time studying on our CCET Intensive course and his plans for the future.

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

I had colleagues at work who had also completed this course with Real Training. Thanks to their suggestion that this would be a good fit for what I needed, I went ahead and booked with Real Training as well.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

Firstly, the course was well run during the three-day intensive online learning. All three days were very intense but the delivery was brilliant and there was plenty of time built in to talk to other participants on the course and reflect upon the learning. Completing the three-day intensive course and completing the work set in the evenings helped to cement my understanding. Secondly, after the three-day part of the course, the support I was given from my tutor was brilliant. He replied to my emails very quickly and often marked my work within 24 hours, providing insightful feedback.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

Thanks to my completion of the CCET Intensive course, I am now able to test all the pupils I teach. I am now actively doing this and assisting in making helpful judgements on what support they require. 

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?

Since completing CCET, I am now looking to continue my learning journey by enrolling on the AAC course. After this, I would like to look into becoming an Accredited Level 5 Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties Teacher.

Monique Van Zyl – iSENCO

iSEnCo delegateAn Interview with Monique Van Zyl – iSENCO delegate

Monique currently teaches English Literature and Studio Art at an IB International School in Beijing, China. She has a keen interest in SEND but more specifically in Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH). Completing her iSENCO qualification with us in 2021, Monique has now gone on to start our SEMH module as part of our MEd in SEND programme. iSENCo delegate Monique talks a little more about her learning experience with Real Training and why she has chosen to study further with us below.

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

Real Training was recommended by a friend who had completed the course a few years ago. This program suited me because of the variety of options available to make up the master’s degree. The timing of the course was also very flexible and I appreciated the option of finishing modules sooner than the scheduled submission dates.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

The support during the iSENCO module was incredible. Feedback happened much faster than I expected, and genuine efforts were made throughout to assist me during the tasks. As my teaching setting does not have a SEND department, I started this course with very little knowledge or experience in this area, but my tutor carefully guided me through my initial insecurities. The platform is intuitive and easy to use, which was quite different from what I had experienced before when studying with online universities.  

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

The insight provided by the iSENCO course has been invaluable, not just for my own practice, but for my entire school setting. I have been able to share new ideas and practices that have had a direct positive impact on our learners. They have also been able to guide teaching staff to implement these strategies in their own classrooms. Although we are still a long way off from implementing the most up-to-date SEND policies in our school, with the help of Real Training’s iSENCO course, I have been able to persuade management to start improvements.

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

As an educator, I have been able to grow in my understanding of SEND structures and the accompanying whole-school implementations thereof. Before the iSENCO course, I was unaware of the intricacies involved in running a SEND department, and I have a much more in-depth knowledge and understanding regarding the lack thereof in my setting. I am now, instead of finding fault and assigning blame to various departments, able to assist department heads in finding ways to support their pupils, usually by finding alternate and creative solutions to do so.

I believe, as a future iSENCO, the creative problem-solving skills gained through this course will help me assist and support both teachers and students better than any other program I previously considered. I look forward to stepping into a new career with Real Training as my guide.

 

Stephen Oswald – CPT3A

An Interview with Stephen Oswald – CPT3A

When Stephen moved to the UK he sought ways of expanding his experience in primary and secondary teaching. He found working with young people post 16 was a refreshing challenge. He is currently a Specialist Assessor and SENCo at a large multicultural sixth form college in south-east London and Kent. 

What made you choose Real Training over other options? 

When the college where I worked was taken over by a large collegiate early in 2013, more specialist assessors were needed as soon as possible. My senior colleague recommended Real Training for their efficiency, adding that I could qualify within a year. 

 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

My colleague’s advice was sound. As soon as funds were available, I applied for CPT3A and finished this course ahead of schedule. Not long after qualifying, JCQ stipulated that the assessor’s qualification must be at level 7 and should reflect 100 hours of practical input.  It was really helpful when Real Training re-issued my certificate in 2015 – with a supporting letter-  to confirm that these requirements indeed have been met.

Throughout all courses with Real Training, I really benefited from the prompt formative feedback on submitted work. The online programmes are easy to navigate, and progress can be self-monitored instantly. It is impossible to miss a component, which actually did happen when I followed another course with a different provider – luckily, they gave me some extension…

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

My CPT3A course has helped me to appreciate that a substantial number of young people in every cohort need an extra depth of understanding and guidance. For that reason, I continued studying ASD and Dyslexia at Post-Graduate Diploma level. This extension has helped greatly in finding ways of making ILP’s and EHCP’s work as secondary school pupils transfer through to sixth-form. Annually, I take care of around 45 EHCP reviews across sites.

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?

Real Training has better equipped me for my role as a Specialist Assessor and SENCo. Per year I have meetings and administer assessments with over 300 students across sites. It is very rewarding playing a small part in the students’ progress and assisting them in overcoming obstacles – always realising that ultimately it is their endeavour that sees them through in triumph. 

Real Training has also prepared me to lead insets and training – to new teaching staff in particular. About meeting the needs of students with disabilities, learning difficulties and EAL. I have also been able to specialise in writing and illustrating training material for in-house use, aiming for the greatest clarity possible, through brevity, logic and humour. 

At present, most work in Additional Learning Support is done via video-link. This has for me only been possible thanks to a solid basis of practice-based training and application of skills in real-life pre-Covid, and I look forward to a safe opening up of society and really see our students back again.  

Kirsty Ann Gibson – Speech, Language and Communication Needs

                            

An Interview with Kirsty Ann Gibson – Speech, Language and Communication Needs

Kirsty is currently working in an International School (IB) in Hong Kong. She is a primary classroom teacher for Year 3 pupils. Kirsty has a special interest in Speech, Language and Autism. She studied Speech, Language and Communication Needs with us at Real Training, one of our MEd in SEND programme modules. You can read a little more on Kirstys time with us below.

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

I like the manner in which the course is run. As a teacher, my schedule is very busy and unpredictable. With Real Training, you can work at your own pace. I also like the diverse range of modules that they offer. Most online Masters courses I looked at only offered training in Autism and Dyslexia. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

I found the tutor support to be exceptional. Janet always provided timely, constructive feedback. I have only been working with Sue for a few months, but she has been great too. The only stressful part of the course was trying to do the observations during COVID. I think that perhaps we could have been given videos to watch and analyse instead of trying to do everything over Zoom.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

After I complete the module in Speech, Language and Communication Needs, I met with a few colleagues to discuss my findings. Due to Coid, the groups were small, however, I did receive some positive feedback. From the teachers that attended, we were able to discuss and define the difference between EAL and SLCN. Often, many of our students are misdiagnosed. We also spoke about Wave 1 interventions, identifying what we were doing well and how we can improve. We also spoke about how we can train new teachers and what kind of support they might need in order to best support students with SLCN. During the presentation, teachers and learning enhancement staff discussed ways in which we can make our joint working environment better. 

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 more confident to identify and support students with SLCN and share my knowledge with other teachers. I hope to move into a learning enhancement teacher role when my masters is complete. 

Celia Mascher – iSENCO

 

An Interview with Celia Mascher – iSENCO

Celia is the Lead Special Needs Coordinator (SENCO) as a private school in Kenya and has recently completed our iSENCO qualification. Most of the children she works with are Kenyan nationals and come from within the local catchment area. The school’s primary section goes from grades 1-8 and they have around 200 pupils with about 20% of them on the Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) register. Celia has a particular interest in supporting children who are struggling with reading, read below to see what she thought of our iSENCO qualification.

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

A friend recommended Real Training to me. I was interested in doing an MEd in SEND and had already checked out a number of universities. I chose Real Training because I liked the practical aspects of the courses offered. I wanted to be able to apply my learning directly within a teaching context. When I first looked at the courses available, I must admit that I was interested in doing almost all of them! However, I had to narrow down my options. I started with the iSENCO course because I felt it would give me a solid foundation in the different areas to do with SEND. Going forward, I am still trying to decide which courses would be most beneficial. We have children in our school with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy as well as those with speech, language and communication needs and learning disabilities. I am trying to decide which course would help me best support these children. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

Overall, I found learning with Real Training positive and helpful. The iSENCO course gave me the chance to assess the procedures in my school through the lens of research-based evidence. As a result, I ended the course with many ideas on how to improve and develop SEND provision within my school. I really valued the practical aspects of the course. The placement in a different school was eye-opening. The school I visited was very different from the one I work in both in terms of the student body as well as the level and type of learning support offered. I gained helpful new insights on how to deliver SEND provision. Campus Online provides the forum where you can interact with other students as well as delve into the research library to find articles and books needed for the various assignments. I learned new ideas and different perspectives from others on the course. In general, I found it very beneficial to set aside time to do some research on areas to do with SEND. The various tasks and assignments broadened my thinking considerably. The tutor gave helpful feedback on the assignments and was willing to have a chat via Zoom when I needed extra clarification. It is important to remember that the tutor is there to give support where needed. However, as this is an online course students may need to be more proactive in asking for help than perhaps would be the case with an in-person university situation. It is true that working online can be a challenge and requires a high level of self-discipline to get through the course material. There is also a lot to cover within the course itself so it can feel overwhelming at times especially with the many other responsibilities in school. Despite the challenges, I learned a huge amount from the course and I am very glad I did it. 

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

Following the completion of iSENCO course, we decided as a SEND team to carry out a thorough audit of our school’s data management systems. We realised that there was a communication breakdown in some areas, which meant that the progress of children with SEND was not being tracked effectively. We are now in the process of setting up procedures to ensure that all aspects of SEND provision are better documented. This includes setting up a detailed provision map and establishing a clearer referral procedure than the one we had before. In addition, I have updated the schools SEND policy to reflect a graduated Assess, Plan, Do, Review approach to SEND provision. I have carried out a series of training sessions with all the teaching staff to ensure that everyone is aware of the changes. The overall goal is to improve the communication and sense of partnership between the SEND team and class teachers. So far, the new procedures have been positively received. 

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 iSENCO course has been a journey of discovery for me and has given me a lot more confidence in my role as a SENCO. I now feel able to assess the elements of SEND provision within my school and objectively review those areas that need to be developed or improved. I also feel more knowledgeable about how to build a team based on collaboration while focusing on each team members strengths. One of the key aspects of my role is to promote and deliver continued professional development (CPD) for teachers in the school. The teachers have asked for further training differentiation strategies in their lessons. This course has given me the tools and ideas to implement CPD with greater self-assurance. 

David Griffiths – NASENCO & CPT3A

 

An Interview with David Griffiths  – NASENCO & CPT3A

David completed the Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements course (CPT3A) in 2019. He has since also completed our National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO). David is currently the SENCO of a secondary school in the Midlands, he has a keen interest in psychometric testing and SEND. Read below to see how David felt about his time studying both these courses with Real Training. 

What made you choose Real Training courses over other options? 

Real Training was recommended to me in a SENCO network meeting. I did some research on the course, assessment material and previous student experiences. Based on what I had read, it definitely sounded well organised and suitable for my learning style.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

Overall, it went above and beyond my expectations. I chose the intensive route to complete CPT3A. The face to face content was excellent and really useful. The tutors were supportive, knowledgable and friendly. Everything was explained clearly and I received excellent feedback. Whilst studying NASENCO I found my tutor was really helpful and encouraging throughout. I received clear and concise feedback, regarding how to approach each assignment and meeting the assignment criteria. I was undoubtedly impressed and have since recommended Real Training to all of my colleagues and friends. 

How have the courses helped make an impact at school? 

Completing the CPT3A qualification has allowed me to conduct psychometric testing for Examination Access Arrangements. Resulting in better support for the pupils and broadening my skill set within the school. 

How have the courses helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

Studying with Real Training has strengthened my knowledge of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. 

Yassar Hussain – NPQH

 

An Interview with Yassar Hussain – NPQH

Yassar completed the NPQH with us at Real Training in August 2020. He is currently working as a Lower Key Stage Two Coordinator at a Prep School in Jeddah – Saudi Arabia. He has kindly provided his views on his time with Real Training and our delivery of the NPQH. Read on to see what Yassar had to say.

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

I discovered Real Training through a Google search and was delighted with the customer service I received. The form I had to fill out was simple and not as laborious as some of the others I had seen. The course was competitively priced for someone who was living and working abroad and the online portal suited my needs as there was a blended approach to learning with online material and webinars with one to one contact with your tutors. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

My experience with Real Training was fantastic. It certainly met my expectations and went beyond them. I was challenged and supported throughout. All three of my tutors were very experienced in their field, friendly and always at hand when I needed them. The pandemic was a worrying time for all candidates, however the tutors were always reassuring and if they did not know the answers to my questions, they would go out of their way to find out and get back to me as soon as possible.

The support I received from my Project Reviewer was very valuable and John made it look simple. The feedback was very constructive and important when making the relevant links to the course material and when writing up my assignment.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

The course allowed me to challenge myself, my colleagues and all stakeholders. My reading project had a huge impact on making all parties aware of the importance of reading and we raised attainment levels across the prep school.

The course material was relevant with many case studies that were current and relevant to what I was wanting to achieve from start to finish.

The second project allowed me to look at a different school’s budget and I really enjoyed working with different practitioners from all the different backgrounds who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. I also enjoyed looking at their accounts and helping them save money on resources and staff.

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 the theoretical knowledge needed to understand a school from a leaders perspective. I understood everything about a school not only from a classroom but from a holistic perspective. This meant that I was able to develop and take my colleagues with me on the journey I embarked on to develop as a leader.

In the future, I hope the knowledge, skills and experiences I was able to gain and have exposure to, whilst on the NPQH will allow me to be a suitable candidate as a headteacher of a primary school.

Almas Iqbal – NPQH

An Interview with Almas Iqbal – NPQH

Almas is currently the Head Teacher at a Primary School in Croydon. She embarked on our NPQH in 2019 and completed it in March 2020. You can read below how Almas found her time studying with us at Real Training and the impact the course had on her professionally and her school.

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

I was looking for a course which I could complete online with tutor support. After looking at a number of different options Real training suited me best.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I was impressed with the support that I received, my tutor was very helpful in alleviating any concerns and clarifying any queries that I had. It was easy to access and the process was straightforward. Overall, I had an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

How has the course helped make an impact at school? 

My project was to establish a middle tier of leadership. The course was able to help me by giving me the confidence in bringing my ideas to life in a practical setting. I was able to develop a system which worked well for the school and benefitted the children. The school had an Ofsted inspection soon after I had completed my project. Middle leadership was a huge aspect of the inspection. The inspector was very impressed with the middle leadership structure and how it had been thought out and implemented throughout the school. The school received a grading of Good with Outstanding so I was very pleased.

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 provided me with confidence, I have knowledge of educational models around the world, this assists me in making informed decisions and has an impact on my decision making.

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