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Alison McHugh – NASENCO

What do you do?

‘I’m a SENCO at a primary school and also work with Key Stage 3 students as part of the British Dyslexia Association’s Children will Shine project.’

Why did you decide to study the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) with us?

‘The funding came out for the training and I needed to do a course that fitted perfectly into my busy family and work commitments. This was very good, because it fitted round me, as opposed to me having to fit round other people.’

What was your favourite part of the course?

‘All of it. Particularly, the clear impact that it has had on my professional life.’

What impact has it had on your professional life?

‘It’s really helped me prioritise things; it’s helped on the managerial side too: the paperwork, the organisation. It’s helped me to be proactive. I’ve carried out in-depth studies of TAs which have enabled me to go to the head and say: ‘We need to change the way in which we are working and here’s the evidence to back it up.’

How did you find distance learning?

‘It’s been perfect because it’s fitted in with my life.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘The ability to assess and understand a child’s learning in a way that is neither typical nor available in other forms of teacher training. It is a unique opportunity to develop a wealth of consultation skills.’

Why would you advise someone to do this course?

‘Because it will make you realise that there’s a lot more around the child than just the child as well. It will help you to work with the parents because the parents are just as vulnerable as the children.’

Allyson Pulleyn – CPT3A

What do you do?

‘I teach some groups in curriculum support. I also do some learning mentor work, but my main role is as the school’s specialist assessor.’

Why did you decide to study the Certificate in Psychometric Testing: Assessment and Access Arrangements (CPT3A) with us?

‘I’ve always been interested in testing. My background as a mental health nurse is something that we did use as part of our screening and profiling of patients and clients. So, when I moved over to work in a school setting, it wasn’t totally alien to me and I’m quite good at it really. I establish a rapport with students, I also do the initial interview before the assessment, so I can build up a very good picture of need by doing the interview and the testing, which helps us how to decide what access arrangements we need to use for those students who require them. In each instance, I try my best to ensure that all of my documentation is very comprehensive so that there is no doubt that this student needs what they should have.’

What was your favourite part of the course?

‘I really enjoyed the residential part of the course. Meeting people from different educational backgrounds and the face-to-face interaction with the tutors was really good… I got a good feel for what was needed and could ask questions. Any queries that I had, I was able to put to my tutors who I came into contact with on the AAC and the CCET.’

What impact has it had on your professional life?

‘It’s had a massive impact really. My salary’s increased, first and foremost. I’m the only person in the school who can do the testing. So, I’ve become the person who staff come to when they have general day-to-day classroom queries about students who aren’t doing very well. At first, the query has to come through the head of learning support – as I’m not the person who the referrals initially come to as I just receive the referrals. But I love my new role. It’s positive and I really enjoy it.

‘If I had to pare my job right back to just what I want to do, then the testing would be just it. Because I love how I can put the students at ease, which helps them to cope with the elements of pressure on them to obtain the result that they want. Obviously, we need them to be at ease first and foremost, but I really enjoy the testing.’

What can someone who has taken this course offer?

‘It’ll enhance your expertise. It’s quite a specialist role, so it’s really good for the school, as they won’t need to get someone in, they’ll have someone who knows the student, and it’s a truly holistic approach to testing. Obviously, we’re painting a picture and testing’s only one part of it. But it’s a really key part and I also get to know the students; which is good.’

Why would you advise someone to take the course?

‘I think that it enhances your profile within the workplace. It keeps you in touch with current methods of assessment and it’s really important CPD. We all need to be current in our practice. But, ultimately, if you’ve got this, it puts you in a very strong position in the workplace because, usually, you’re the only person in a school/setting who can carry out this work. Of course, schools can pay for an EP to come in (which we used to do before I did the training), but, ultimately, it will save schools money.’

Deborah Smith – CAP

What do you do?

‘I am a specialist teacher.’

Why did you decide to study the Cognitive Abilities Profile (CAP) course with us?

‘I decided to study CAP as part of my training as a thinking skills specialist.’

What was your favourite part of the course?

‘I would say that my favourite part of the CAP course was the task analysis side of things: being able to describe the relationships between the cognitive demands of tasks and the difficulties a learner may experience with that task.’

What impact has it had on your professional life?

‘The CAP course has really helped to develop my understanding of the thinking process and the cognitive demands of tasks. CAP provides a structure through which a profile can be generated so that interventions can be targeted specifically and progress can be evidence based.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘I think that after doing this course, the individual possesses the ability to analyse the cognitive profile of a learner. By this, I mean that they can identify areas of strength and areas that need development and the relationship of those areas to curriculum tasks and/or everyday functioning.’

Why would you advise someone to take this course?

‘The CAP course is interesting and engaging and provides meaningful insight into the needs of learners. It also offers dynamic, practical and evidence-based interventions.’

Louise White – NASENCO

What do you do?

‘I am a SENCO at a mainstream co-ed school with approximately 1,100 pupils.’

Why did you decide to study the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) with us?

‘I have to have this award to work in this area. I found Real Training on the Internet, rang them up and quite liked them. I then went to plead my case with the school and they helped me to pay for it.’

What was your favourite part of the course?

‘Funnily enough, I particularly enjoyed the bits on legislation and the reflective learning logs.’

What impact has it had on your professional life?

‘I’ve become a much more reflective practitioner. I was reflective before, but my thoughts were all over the place. Now, I can organise these thoughts and am proactive about changing and implementing things.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘It will really help them to develop the right skills and competence in their legislation, research, processes and good practice guidance.’

Why would you advise someone to do this course?

‘Because it’s made a real difference to my understanding and practice.’

Jacqui Wolff – CCET

What do you do?

‘I’m a dyslexia specialist and work in a mainstream college with 5,000 students and 400 staff.’

Why did you decide to study the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET) with us?

‘I wanted to enhance my existing testing skills and a psychologist at my college recommended Real.’

What was your favourite part of the course?

‘I liked the individual attention and the quick response actually. Whenever I had a question or something wasn’t clear, I would get an immediate response to help me progress. Most of this was online with a few days’ face-to-face.’

What impact has it had on your professional life?

‘It has clearly improved my report writing, the way of looking at different results when you’re assessing – all of that was very well explained and tweaked by the excellent teachers.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘They will really be able to write reports, assess and test.’

Why would you advise someone to take this course?

‘It’s essential if you want to get the best out of your assessments and testing.’

Annali Bell – NASENCO

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

I was keen to complete an online course as I have a toddler at home who keeps me very busy. I wanted something that would fit in with working part time and looking after my daughter so this seemed like the perfect option to me. I also liked the idea of being able to complete tasks in my own time and at my own rate, meaning I could make the most effective use of my time, including nap times and evenings! When researching possible courses, I was interested in the different modules and was encouraged by the fact I would not be required to attend a university campus as I thought this may be quite tying.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I have received brilliant tutoring from Joan. She always responds to emails quickly and in detail and is always happy to help and offer suggestions. I really appreciate all the support I have received! Thank you! I enjoyed taking part in a placement as that gave me strong links with other local SENCos. I also found the reviewing of provision within my setting to be extremely useful and beneficial.

I have been really happy with the quality of the programme. I have felt it all to be relevant to my role in school and I have enjoyed learning more about the various requirements of a SENCo. I have had a very positive experience with this course. I have been able to fit this around working part time and looking after my toddler. I have enjoyed developing my own understanding and feel very lucky to have been able to do so at my own pace and from the comfort of my own home.

Thank you!! It’s been a long journey and I’ve finally reached this end…I hope to take additional courses in the future as I have really enjoyed completing this one (more so than I anticipated), but for now…rest!.

How has the course(s) helped make an impact at school?

I have reviewed provision in detail as a result of the tasks in this course. I have also increased in confidence and feel more confident when speaking with staff about their roles which has resulted in more effective provision and outcomes for the children, especially those on passports (IEPs).

I increased the amount of support for children with SEMH needs following one of the assignments. I am keen to monitor and track the provision as the course has shown me that this is a key role in assessing the effectiveness of an intervention.

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?

Creating links with another local school (placement task)

Increased confidence with own abilities and knowledge

Increased understanding of leadership responsibilities which has in-turn increased confidence too

I have an increased awareness of the role of SENCo and am much more confident in delegating roles and ensuring staff are completing their roles effectively.

Melissa Skiles – CPT3A

Why did you decide to study with us?

As Head of Inclusion for an international British curriculum school in Dubai, the education and qualification provided by completing this course will help improve provision and support in the ever-changing and progressive private educational sector I work in.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The course has exceeded my expectations – both in person and the online modules.  Throughout the duration of the course, the instructors have consistently proven themselves as consummate professionals but warm in their approach. They have also consistently demonstrated expertise and extensive knowledge of the content and its importance in the realm of education; they do so in a manner that is thoughtful and supportive. They organised varied content with real-world application and taught us the intricacies of such ethical work and practices and how to maintain those high standards.

How has the course(s) helped make an impact at school?

In a sector that is continuously evolving, it is imperative to stay on the proverbial edge of new assessment and understanding of the unavoidable biases within it, which this course helps us to understand, analyse, breakdown, and ultimately for the better of our students, avoid.

My school’s headteacher was excited for me to pursue this course as she knew the benefits for our students would be long-lasting and imperative to their accessibility in GCSEs.

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?

This is the first course since achieving my professional special education licensure (degree) that has had such a far-reaching impact on my career.  It is the bridge between the information I have learned to access and sharing that information appropriately, responsibly, and in an ethical manner that meets high professional standards.

Claire Lenaghan – NASENCO

Why did you decide to study the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) with us?

Real Training was recommended to me by a colleague, I researched other providers but preferred the Real Training platform and I had previously studied with Middlesex University.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I love the campus online platform and my tutor was fantastic – he was very supportive and gave me lots of encouragement along the way.

Strands 1 and 2 were very useful, however, I enjoyed Strand 3 the most. I loved completing the Masters assignment in Strand 3 – the topic is something I feel passionately about and it was therefore a task I really enjoyed.

How has the course(s) helped make an impact at school?

Changes I have implemented in the department have already seen impact with student engagement and behaviour.

I also introduced a number of interventions during the course and we have some new assessment tools for next term. Over the course of Strand 2 I identified that SEMH was an area that the school that needed to provide more provision for and this year I have trained one of the SEND team to lead the department on supporting for our students with SEMH issues. Following discussions with other delegates from the National Award for SEN Coordination with Real Training, my department is now also running The Boxall Profile to assess our students with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

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?

I was very concerned at the start of the course as I had not completed any formal assignments for a number of years and had concerns I would struggle with the Masters level writing.

I now feel more confident regarding SEND but also in my ability to study and succeed in further Masters level modules/courses. I am now looking forward to starting my next Real Training course the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL).

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