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Book on our upcoming June Cognitive Abilities Profile (CAP) course

 June Cognitive Abilities ProfileSince October 2020, we have been delivering our ever-popular Cognitive Abilities Profile (CAP) course as a series of weekly webinars, as meeting in person has not been possible. These webinars have had an amazing response from delegates, and we’re very pleased to be running another CAP course in June 2021.

The course webinar dates are as follows (dates and times are BST (GMT+1)):

  • 3 June l 10 am-12:30 pm 
  • 10 June l 10  am-12:30 pm
  • 17 June l 10 am – 12:30 pm 
  • 24 June l 10 am – 12:30 pm 

How you and  your setting will benefit by attending this June Cognitive Abilities Profile course 

The Cognitive Abilities Profile is a consultation framework to be used with teachers, parents, therapists, and the learner him/herself, to identify patterns of cognitive strengths and difficulties and then jointly plan, intervene and systematically monitor progress.

The course is open to anyone who works in the learning and development of children, adolescents, and adults, and is particularly relevant for psychologists, therapists, teachers, and SENCOs.

What material will be covered

  • The principles, key questions, and concepts of dynamic assessment and how they apply to CAP.
  • The different models of cognitive processes and the seven functional domains of cognitive abilities.
  • The contents of the CAP toolkit and how to use this to develop informed and effective interventions.

People undertaking the forthcoming CAP online course will be able to:

  • Join from anywhere in the world, without encountering the costs 
  • Take the course at a more measured pace, with a blend of pre-recorded videos that can be viewed and reviewed at times convenient to you.
  • Each pre-recorded video will be followed by a live session, giving you time to reflect, digest, and prepare your questions ahead of the next live session.
  • Even more flexibility. Missed a live session? You can go over it yourself. Want to watch a case study again?  All live sessions will be recorded and made available for participants to view and review for a limited period of time following the course.  
  • Network more effectively with other participants, to share experiences and ideas without the worry of catching the train at the end of the day.
  • Benefit from one-to-one Q&A time with Dr Ruth Deutsch who developed CAP in 2009 and will deliver the course.

Hear what our past delegates have said about our CAP course 

It was a superb course providing amazing opportunities for deep reflection as well as excellent practical information and resources.” – Julie Chase, Educational Psychologist

[CAP] is the most successful program I have ever used – bar none. I have used it for 6 sets of parents and teachers – success, success, success at every level.  At the moment, I can’t put a foot wrong when I use it – so I am absolutely delighted. It is my weapon of choice! THANK YOU!” – Helen M, Specialist Support Teacher/SENCO

The course has enabled me to administer a detailed cognitive assessment in a significantly shorter amount of time than I perhaps could with traditional and regular DA tests. Being able to compare the profile of parents and teachers is also very helpful, as it tells me firstly whether they are seeing the same things and secondly, if not, then it enables me to generate some hypotheses about why this may be the case.” – Dr. Yahuda Marshall, Clinical Psychologist

“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.” Deborah Smith, Specialist Teacher

Book our June Cognitive Abilities Profile course 

Book now to attend our June 2021 course. If you are unable to attend this time but would be interested in arranging a bespoke course for you and your colleagues, please contact Dana Kennedy via email – dana.kennedy@realgroup.co.uk.

Living with Aspergers – an interview with SEN professional Beverley Williams

Beverley Williams

Beverley Williams is one of our delegates here at Real Training. She has had an expansive career, influencing the lives of many young people with SEN. Not only has Beverley completed multiple courses with Real Training and gained a vast amount of professional knowledge through SEN and safeguarding roles, but she was also diagnosed with Aspergers at around 50 years old. We thought it would be useful to share Beverley’s story, not only for those delegates looking to have an impact but also for those with Aspergers who may be looking for some advice. 

Discussing Beverley’s early life, there was a common challenge that she faced almost every day – being able to build meaningful friendships and understanding how to behave in certain social situations. During her time at primary and secondary school, Beverley found herself feeling exhausted by social politics. Something she also experienced in some of her job roles in later life. She acknowledges her personal daily struggle with this and now understands this to be part of her Aspergers. Explaining how she felt after her diagnosis regarding those social challenges, Beverley said “it has been really releasing on a personal level… I don’t feel I need to explain things to other people but it explains to me why I find situations hard”. Since her diagnosis, Beverley has felt a lot more confident in building relationships, explaining that now she knows what she is going to find tricky, she can prepare herself and put certain strategies in place to help her deal with different situations. 

I wanted to understand a little more about how Beverley thinks her experiences in early life influenced her approach whilst working with SEN children. She explained that she has always resisted stereotyping young people and children by their diagnosis. She explains that not everybody with the same diagnosis has the same limitations, behaviours and challenges. Her focus remains on the individual and she is highly conscious of the social isolation of SEN children, constantly working to combat this. Through her work, Beverley has noticed her ability to acknowledge each individual, recognising those who are on the edge of the social group and understanding that they may be happy there. Highlighting that this approach is strongly influenced by her experiences.

Following her own diagnosis, I wanted to know if Beverley felt her approach was influenced or changed in any way. Beverley explained the biggest alteration was a new awareness of females, acknowledging the likelihood of masking – not just Aspergers but all kinds of challenges. She feels this made her look more deeply into triggers and behaviours and spending more time getting to know each individual. 

Beverley’s learning journey with Real Training has seen her complete CCET and NASENCO. She is also currently working on the Autism Spectrum Conditions module. After gaining knowledge through her lived experiences with Autism and her varying professional pathway, Beverley continues to expand her knowledge. When asked about her time studying with us Beverley said My NASENCO tutor was fantastic. I explained about my Aspergers and she was really supportive. That gave me quite a lot of confidence to go onto the next course. I acknowledge that her support helped me to keep going and gave me the encouragement I needed. I never felt that she was making allowances nor do I think she was, but I did feel my tutor had an understanding of how I work best.”

I asked Beverley to provide us with some of her top tips, not only for other delegates working with SEN children but also for young people with Autism, highlighting the kinds of things she wishes she knew in her younger years. Although Beverley had not yet been diagnosed while she herself was at school she now understands, through her diagnosis, why she found school hard. You can see her top tips below.

Beverley’s Top Tips for working with SEN children

  1. Don’t stereotype people on the Autistic Spectrum, they are as individual as everyone else.
  2. Provide a range of strategies to mirror the range of people.
  3. Give students the opportunity to work in a calm area, avoiding sensory overload. Always tailor these strategies to their individual needs and preferences.
  4. Look for those on the edge of the group who don’t feel they fit into any specific group.
  5. Focus on an individual’s interests and strengths and then build these into your learning strategies for them. In my experience, people on the Autistic Spectrum are more likely to be engaged in their learning if you encourage them to go deeper with specific interests instead of broadening their general knowledge.
  6. Understand, if you can, that what is important to you may be totally irrelevant to someone on the Autism Spectrum and they, therefore, may not see the point in learning about some things, which may seem trivial and pointless to them.
  7. It is often exhausting for children on the Autism Spectrum to comply with expectations. If they comply at home, they might not have the energy to comply at school and vice versa. Provide opportunities for the individual to restore and refresh using whatever strategies work for them- don’t make assumptions about what these are.

Beverley’s Top Tips for young people in education with Autism

  1. It’s ok to be different, everyone is!
  2. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. It’s exhausting.
  3. Find a teacher or other member of staff you can talk to.
  4. Ask for a quiet area you can go to if you need to take a break from the noise or light, etc. If you feel embarrassed to ask for this perhaps you could find a ‘job’ you need to do.
  5. Don’t let people ‘pigeon-hole’ you or put you ‘in-a-box’ to fit their expectations.
  6. It’s ok to make a mistake because it’s all part of learning. Getting something wrong isn’t a failure, it simply means you have learned something new.

How TAs can best support pupils’ SEMH needs

The implementation of evidence-based SEMH interventions by teaching assistants

In a recent webinar for the Federation of British Schools in Asia (FOBISIA), Real Training Educational Psychologist Dr. Hannah Fairall discussed the implementation of evidence-based Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH) interventions by Teaching Assistants (TAs). The topics covered included how the rise of teaching assistants can be leveraged to deliver crucial support to pupils with SEMH needs, how universal targeted and specialist evidence-based approaches can be used to deliver targeted interventions in the classroom on a 1:1 or small group basis, and the importance of effective implementation.

With the current pandemic, SEMH needs amongst school-aged children have become a central concern, addressing issues such as anxiety, depression, isolation, and grief management. Even prior to this, 1 in 10 pupils aged 5-16 suffer from a clinically significant mental health illness, and 1 in 7 have less severe problems that nonetheless interfere with their development and learning.

The rise of Teaching Assistants, and how to maximise their impact

The rise of Teaching Assistants in classrooms has been meteoric since 2000, with 35% of staff in primary schools and 15% of staff in secondary schools being TAs in 2015. This rise, coupled with the governmental efforts to raise educational standards and reduce teacher workloads, leads naturally to the question of how to effectively leverage this workforce, particularly in the field of SEN. Blatchford et al (2015) found lower levels of progress amongst pupils receiving most support from TAs. The proposed explanation was that TA resource was not being effectively utilised, possibly because TAs were used as an alternative to ‘teacher time’, and that those with greatest need were often taught by the least qualified to do so.

Interventions for supporting SEMH and the three-tiered structure

According to Carroll & Hurry (2018), there are three ‘tiers’ of approach when it comes to SEMH support within schools:

Carroll & Hurry, (2018)

  1. Universal – whole-school initiatives which foster an environment of emotional wellbeing; for all students
  2. Targeted – small group or one-to-one support inside or outside of the classroom; for some students
  3. Specialist – intensive one-to-one which can involve contact with professionals from different agencies; for few students

Universal Interventions

Universal initiatives are those such as the PACE model, developed by Dr Daniel Hughes. This aims to enable staff to engage with children who have experienced neglect, abuse and trauma. Although there is little research of its use in isolation, there is considerable practice-based evidence from parents, staff and professionals of its use as part of a wider intervention.

The PACE model contains four elements:

The PACE Model (Dr. Daniel Hughes)

Another possible universal-level intervention is mindfulness. The aim of this is to learn to be aware of thoughts and bodily sensations in order to be able to better cope with daily emotions and challenges. This has shown promising impacts on wellbeing, aspects of cognition, physical health, and academic grades.

Targeted Interventions

Targeted, one-on-one or small group interventions, delivered by TAs, have the potential to deliver tangible positive effects on the mental health of children in the classroom. Six evidence-based interventions are discussed:

Emotional Literacy Support Assistant Training (ELSA) – This training enables TAs to deliver 1:1 or small group interventions in several areas of need, including managing emotions, social skills, and bereavement. This covers all age groups.

The Homunculi Approach – this flexible cognitive behavioural therapy is a 10-week programme and seeks to identify emotions and social situations to build social and emotional resilience. This can be especially appropriate for children who have high-functioning ASD.

LEGO-based Therapy – here, children work collaboratively to create models. This approach works well with ASD or other social communication difficulties at primary and secondary levels.

Nurture Groups – supported by two members of staff, groups of between 6 and 12 spend part of the school day in a nurture group setting. This has been seen to have a positive impact on emotional, behaviour, and learning.

Circle of friends – a support network developed around individuals in the school community that helps with social skills and friendships. There is evidence this approach has positive benefits, which are likely impacted by teacher attitudes, classroom climate and school ethos.

CBT Programme approaches – Books such as ‘Starving the Anger’, ‘Gremlin’ and ‘Think Good Feel Good’ are widely available, and help children to understand emotions and physical responses. The efficacy of CBT is supported by a strong evidence base.

The importance of implementation

Dr Fairall points out that understanding the implementation of these approaches is key. Implementation is the process by which an intervention is put into practice, and concerns what an intervention consists of when delivered and thus the enactment by school staff. This highlights the importance of proper training for educational staff involved in this implementation. Implementation is linked strongly to the intervention’s outcomes, thus the chances of success.

SEMH needs

Educational Endowment Foundation (2019)

The process is four-fold. It begins with identifying the priority and exploring the available practices to best address this within the school setting. After this adoption decision, a clear, logical plan is outlined and the readiness of the school to deliver is considered and staff and infrastructure prepared. Once delivery has begun, implementation data is used to drive adoption and adaptation, reinforcing initial training with follow-on support to solve problems that might arise. Finally, the stable use of the intervention is established, scaling up begins, and good implementation practices are rewarded.


Finding the optimal conditions through which to deliver effective implementation is key. School staff must be aware and committed to the intervention. Those delivering the intervention must be properly supported through the process. Additionally, the wider ethos and climate of the setting must be conducive to the intervention being implemented effectively.

Furthermore, research from Humphrey (2013) suggests three elements that influence outcomes of SEMH interventions:

  • Participant reach is crucial for equality of access to interventions. Educational settings should consider how students are referred, and that the correct interventions are available to all those who could benefit from them.
  • Fidelity is the extent to which critical components of a programme are present. This may manifest itself in such ways as schools adapting interventions to suit their setting, which can lead to positive outcomes for students.
  • The number of sessions, much like a medicinal dosage, should be sufficient to encourage the intended positive outcomes. Those schools that deliver the required number of sessions achieve better outcomes than those who do not.

Implementation of Emotional Literacy Support Assistant Training (ELSA) (Fairall, 2020)

Finally, Dr. Fairall presented her own doctoral project on the implementation of the ELSA programme. It was found that schools can implement the programme in different ways, and there was a range of factors at different stages of implementation which supported effective implementation. 

An implementation resource has been created for schools, which draws on the findings of the present research in conjunction with implementation literature. This resource is aimed at Senior Leadership/SENCOs, and may also be discussed in conjunction with the ELSA. The resource aims to provide guidance and support specific to the stage of implementation the school are in. This resource can be adapted in light of further research into this area.


In summary, with the correct training, implementation, and support in the teaching space, TAs can be more than capable of delivering evidence-based SEMH-related interventions that have tangible positive effects on the pupils who take part. In line with the Educational Endowment Foundation guidance, TAs can be effectively used to deliver 1:1 targeted interventions, and are a largely untapped educational resource that can be better utilised for the betterment of the educational setting at large. It is possible to support student’s SEMH needs through the tiered approach, and TAs are a key part of the successful delivery of these interventions. In order to achieve the best results, it is important to school staff understand and are fully behind the interventions, and understand the practice behind effective implementation.

Find out more

You can find out more about this topic through our Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs SEND Programme module. Alternatively, our sister company Dyslexia Action has a short level 5 CPD course The Emotionally Connected Classroom. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@realgroup.co.uk or on +44 (0)1273 35 80 80 if you have any questions.

UK Children’s Mental Health Week & Leading Inclusivity

UK Children’s Mental Health Week UK Children’s Mental Health Week & Leading Inclusivity

This week is UK Children’s Mental Health Week. Set up by children’s mental health charity Place2Be, it aims to bring to national attention the importance of children and young people’s mental health. For 2021, the theme is ‘Express Yourself’’ and is all about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make you feel good. At a time of extreme mental and emotional stress for everybody, this can be an incredibly effective way to communicate difficult thoughts and feelings.


Understanding Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs within your educational setting

According to Place2Be, around one in three children in every primary school class has a mental health difficulty, and many others struggle with challenges including bullying and bereavement. In particular now in these unprecedented times, many will be dealing with issues they may not have faced before, such as isolation and loneliness, anxiety and depression. Having the theoretical understanding and practical skills to make a positive difference to young people with mental health challenges has become more vital than ever. Fortunately, these topics and more are covered in our module; Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH). This 30 masters-level credits module is available as part of our Masters in Leading Inclusive Education (MALIE) Programme, and our Master of Education in Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (MEd SEND) programme.



MALIE is an exciting, distance-learning pathway for education professionals from all phases and settings, who wish to progress into leadership roles or to develop their leadership skills, in the crucial area of inclusion. Developing inclusive education practice to support the needs of all learners is one of the most important challenges facing education professionals today. After completing your mandatory Leadership of Inclusive Practice module, you are free to choose two from six 30 masters-credit modules, of which Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH) is one. The MALIE Programme aims to develop your skills and confidence to enable you to lead inclusive practice in your setting, allowing you to create a safe, supportive learning environment for students with special mental health needs.

Our next MALIE cohort begins on 15 February, and we recommend registering as soon as possible to allow time to process your application and payment.



Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH) is also available as a skills & knowledge module in our SEND programme, recently shortlisted for the BETT 2021 Award in the Special Educational Needs Solutions Category. This module has been designed to develop your understanding of social, emotional and mental health needs, understand the skills that you need to use to make a positive difference to your setting, and develop the essential knowledge of the latest policies, theories and research. Completion of this module along with the Evidence and Pedagogy for Inclusion module leads to the Postgraduate Certificate in SEND: Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (60 credits), or you can take the 30 masters-level credits to work towards a the Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) or MEd SEND (180 credits).

Our next SEND Programme cohort starts on 15 May, but you can book today.


SEMH CPD Unit with Real Group’s Dyslexia Action – The Emotionally Connected Classroom

The Emotionally Connected Classroom is a Level 5 unit provides an understanding of the impact of emotions on the thinking brain and its implications for learning. It aims to provide an introduction to key elements of current research and practice in mentalisation theory (understanding the mental state of oneself and others) and emotional coaching. The importance of connectedness and relationships is emphasised throughout.

This unit is suitable for TAs or those without a degree, as well as educational professionals looking for a shorter course. Like the MEd and MALIE modules above, this unit is delivered through our online learning platform Campus Online.

Our next cohort starts on 17 March. For more information on this course or to book your place, please click here.

If you have any further questions or queries about any of these courses or qualifications, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on +44 (0)1273 35 80 80 or info@realgroup.co.uk and we will be happy to help.

Real Training Free Courses – Develop your SEN Skills


Real Training Free Courses

This year, Real Training has partnered with Whole School SEND to offer free, open-access courses for all educational professionals. These courses are part of a wider Department for Education initiative to ensure that every child and young person with SEND can maximise their potential.

Real Training free courses are all delivered via our online platform Campus Online, meaning material can be covered wherever there is internet access, and whenever time allows.


Effective SEN Support Provision – Middle Leaders Course

Launched in January 2020 in partnership with Whole School SEND, the Effective SEN Support Provision – Middle Leaders course is a free-to-access course, open to all educational professionals. It outlines the principles of creating effective SEN support provision for middle leaders in all educational settings.

This Effective SEN Support Provision – Middle Leaders course offers the following benefits:  

  • Understand how middle leaders can support strategic SEND provision while identifying opportunities to coordinate with other leaders in the school
  • Consider how effectively whole school approaches are implemented in your subject area
  • Reflect on how line management can support effective SEND provision: Identify strategies and resources to support colleagues, including early career teachers, within a department to develop their practice
  • Reflect on how subject specific content can be presented to pupils with SEND
  • Consider how assessment and tracking can support the identification of pupils with SEND
  • Assess the learning environment for pupils with different needs, then identify and implement key strategies and resources that will support them

Delivered fully online through our Campus Online platform, this CPD course will take 15 hours in total. Remember, though, you can take as long as you want. This course is free, and you will have access to its content for one year, following your enrolment.

Feedback from past delegates

“Because I work as a SEN middle leader, this course was great because it made me evaluate what I was doing and how I was doing it. I loved the additional documents which are made available through this course as well as the analytical look at SEN support.”

“As I am the SENCO at my school, I wanted to see how useful this would be to my staff. I feel there are lots of things that would benefit NQTs and some of my middle leaders that need further guidance on how to support SEND pupils. For myself, I particularly liked the section on TA deployment that I could use to support my discussion when training staff on how they could do this more effectively.”

“This course has given me a clear insight on the role of the middle leader and how to manage the expertise in the inclusive school.”

“It has allowed me to reflect on areas that can be further developed within my SEND faculty to continue to support students in the best possible way.”

Online SEND Reviewer Training course

Whole School SEND’s Online SEND Reviewer Training course provides a framework that enables educational professionals to evaluate the effectiveness of current SEND provision. This is through a structured self-evaluation and peer review with another educational setting. The aim is to identify areas of potential improvement, and create and review improvement plans.

It is the only fully-online version of the SEND Reviewer Training course. It will enable more people within your setting to conduct quality reviews of SEND provision, thus empowering them to improve their practices.

The theoretical content is delivered fully online, hosted on our bespoke virtual learning environment, Campus Online. Furthermore, the course is free, and you will have access to its content for one year, following your enrolment.

How will you and your setting benefit?

As mentioned, the goal of this course is to enable educational professionals within a setting to understand, review and improve their SEND provision through self and peer-to-peer assessment. This results in a strong and supportive community of SEN professionals, providing the support and encouragement to continually improve SEN provision.

By completing this free course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the aims of the SEND Review Process
  • Engage in communities of practice – self-sustaining professional communities supporting each other to raise attainment for all
  • Use the Review to drive school improvement in SEN provision
  • Confidently and effectively execute all stages of the SEND Review Process

How to register your interest

If you are interested in having any of your staff enrol on these Real Training Free Courses, please visit the course pages linked above, where you will find a simple booking form to complete. If you have any further questions regarding either of these courses, please don’t hesitate to contact us on info@realgroup.co.uk, or call +44(0) 1273 35 80 80, and we’d be happy to help.

FREE Online SEND Reviewer Training course

Online SEND Reviewer TrainingReal Training and Whole School SEND’s FREE Online SEND Reviewer Training course

At the end of 2019, Real Training and Whole School SEND partnered to offer the enormously successful, free Effective SEN Support Provision – Middle Leaders course. We are delighted to announce the launch of a second free course, aimed at all educational professionals – the Online SEND Reviewer Training. This course is now available to access through Campus Online.

It is the only fully-online version of the SEND Reviewer Training course. It will enable more people within your setting to conduct quality reviews of SEND provision, thus empowering them to improve their practices.

About the Online SEND Reviewer Training course

The SEND Review course provides a framework that enables educational professionals to evaluate the effectiveness of current SEND provision. This is through a structured self-evaluation and peer review with another educational setting. The aim is to identify areas of potential improvement, and create and review improvement plans.

The theoretical content is delivered fully online, hosted on our bespoke virtual learning environment, Campus Online. Furthermore, the course is free, and you will have access to its content for one year, following your enrolment.

How will you and your setting benefit?

As mentioned, the goal of this course is to enable educational professionals within a setting to understand, review and improve their SEND provision through self and peer-to-peer assessment. This results in a strong and supportive community of SEN professionals, providing the support and encouragement to continually improve SEN provision.

By completing this free course, you will develop an understanding the aims of the SEND Review Process, use the review to drive school improvement and execute the six stages of the SEND Review Process.

The course structure

Delegates will be paired with another participant, known as ‘SEND Professional Partners’, to train together online, and subsequently to undertake the school reviews together. This enables peer-to-peer use of the SEND Review Tool across two (or more) settings, and facilitates development of professional practice between the ‘SEND Professional Partners’.

Using the Whole School SEND Review Tool and with the support of the course ‘Professional Partner’, delegates will undertake a review of their own school SEND. They will then reciprocate this process in the partner’s school. In addition, we ensure that you are allocated an appropriate partner where you will be able to share similar challenges, experiences and best practice.

Within this structure, SEND Professional Partners will work together as ‘critical friends’, reviewing each other’s provision, learning from good practice and supportively challenging areas for development.

‘SEND Professional Partners’ will arrange to visit each other’s provision to support each other undertaking the review in each school. Where geographical or other factors preclude travel, the review discussions can be undertaken remotely via video conferencing to discuss practice, gather evidence, share good practice from other settings and think through areas of the framework which are not yet demonstrated. Where possible, we aim to partner you with participants from a similar setting (e.g. primary, secondary, special and alternative provision) as well as geographical location.

Am I eligible?

This course is aimed at SENCOs and SEN leaders working in educational settings, looking for the necessary tools to work through the various stages of SEND reviews (preparatory, during and post-review). From there, they will consider and action the outcomes in an effective and meaningful way.

How to book

Simply visit the Online SEND Reviewer Training page on our website, where you can pre-register your interest. It takes a matter of seconds to do, with no complicated forms to complete. We will provide you with your login to Campus Online, and you will be able to access the course as soon as you have this.

Professional Tutoring Partnership appointed to deliver tutoring for the National Tutoring Programme

Professional Tutoring Partnership LogoThe Professional Tutoring Partnership (PTP) has been appointed to deliver dedicated tuition to over 4,500 disadvantaged children. This partnership brings together extensive experience in the education of pupils with special educational needs. The Professional Tutoring Partnership is run by Real Group Ltd in collaboration with Patoss, British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Action, The Dyslexia Guild and Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity. It will work alongside 31 other organisations to offer tutoring (subsidised by 75 per cent), as well as training, support and mentoring to tutors themselves, to schools across England.

We are delighted to be centrally involved in this exciting and important initiative.

The National Tutoring Programme is part of the government’s investment in schools to help underprivileged children to reduce the learning gap to their peers.  The school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated this gap. Distance learning has been particularly challenging for those with specific learning difficulties, and those without access to adequate learning tools.

The Partnership underwent a rigorous assessment and review process. It met and exceeded criteria including their ability to work with schools delivering curriculum relevant tutoring and scope to reach as many disadvantaged pupils as possible. It will work within primary, secondary and special schools across East England, London, North East, North West, South East, South West and the West Midlands.

Dr Mark Turner, Managing Director of Real Group*, and Project Director of the Professional Tutoring Partnership said:

“We’re so excited to join the national effort to widen access to high-quality tutoring for disadvantaged pupils who need it most. Our organisation underwent a rigorous criteria assessment and we’re now ready to deliver high-quality tutoring to complement the incredible work going on in classrooms up and down the country. We can’t wait to start making a difference to those who need it most.”

Alison Farmer, Educational Psychologist and part of the PTP Management Team adds “Effective tuition changes children’s perception of themselves as learners.  I have observed the change that this makes to the confidence and enthusiasm for learning in school that this brings for young people.”

For more information on the Professional Tutoring Partnership can be found on our website.

* Real Group is a group of companies which includes Real Training, Dyslexia Action, The Dyslexia Guild, as well as Real Psychology, Real e-Learning and Dyslexia Action Shop.

An Interview with Priya Shah – MEd SEND

Priya Shah

We caught with Priya Shah who completed her Master of Education in Special Education Needs and Disabilities with us.

What does graduating from this course mean to you on a personal and a professional level?

On both a personal level and a professional level, acquiring an M.Ed in SEND after 22 years as a teacher has really raised my confidence in general, whether it be listening for the sake of listening to gain all perspectives of an idea or argument, or responding after critically analysing the information (in oral or written form, or writing professional reports, or carrying out action research, etc.

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

I was looking to gain membership on Register for Qualified Test Users (RQTU) with the British Psychological Society (BPS). I found the CPT3A course online. As I work overseas, Real Training offered a user-friendly online platform and the turn-around time for replies to emails or queries was very quick. Also, I found that all the tutors I had were educational psychologists which have a lot to offer in terms of knowledge, experience and wisdom. The school that I work in then approached me and encouraged me to continue courses to achieve a Masters. And so I did!

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The online platform was easy to use and the readings and videos were relevant to my work, thus the experience of learning was pleasant and interesting yet very rigorous. The amount of work to be done was vast but manageable once one gets organized.

How have the courses helped make an impact at school?

I have used the skills of administering standardized tests and writing reports for external exam boards from the CPT3A course and the students have thus benefitted from exam access accommodations.

I have utilized the knowledge and skills from the NASENCO course for my role as the Learning Support Case Manager of grade 11 and 12 and as the untitled team leader of our Learning Support department in the high school and work very closely with the Student Support Services Coordinator of the school as well as the grade level leaders who manage the Response to Intervention framework.

The Social, Emotional Learning course was a great learning experience and the knowledge gained has enhanced my skills as a teacher and advisor. It has been particularly useful in these unusual times of COVID-19 when we went virtual.

The Enquiry-based research module was excellent as I got exposure to action research and got to investigate the efficacy of an online math intervention in terms of raising mathematical resilience of students with needs in an international setting using the RADIO framework. This has helped me as a co-teacher in math classes.

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?

My personal goal next academic year is to develop Social Emotional Learning in all my work in school, especially as we return to the school building on September 1st after the virtual learning environment since March 23rd. I have already started a virtual Meditation course for students for our optional summer school. As a lifelong learner, I am learning more and more about meditation and how it helps both professionally as a teacher and in my personal life as well.

How has the experience changed your view on continued professional development for your own career?

This experience has made me see that I can step out of my comfort zone in terms of professionally developing my own career. As all my tutors have been educational psychologists, I feel like I am ready to take the next step and pursue a doctorate in educational psychology. I completed my BSc (Hons) Psychology in the UK in 1993 and wanted to become an educational psychologist after that. In those days one also had to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and a minimum of 2 years of teaching before applying for a Masters in Educational Psychology. I became a teacher and loved it so much that I stuck to it for 22 years. Now things have changed. One does not need to be a qualified teacher to pursue a career as an educational psychologist in the UK but one does need some experience with working with children or young people and then one pursues a 3-year Doctorate in Educational Psychology. As I do not live in the UK anymore and have responsibilities of taking care of a family overseas, I cannot go to the UK to train as an educational psychologist at the moment. I have yet to find a rigorous blended online course to fit my needs to pursue a course that will qualify me as an educational psychologist. My only wish now is that Real Training develops an online program that one can pursue to qualify as a working educational psychologist. If they do, I would have no hesitation in taking it up!

Real Group’s Dyslexia Action launches a NEW CPD Short Course – The Emotionally Connected Classroom!

The Emotionally Connected ClassroomMany schools have been thinking about how they manage transitions sensitively and kindly for their pupils and staff. Recent evidence provided by Optimus Education and the Education Endowment Foundation has revealed the importance of providing teachers and senior leaders opportunities to continue their professional development (CPD) to help support pupils with social, emotional, and mental health needs. Over the past months, the education support team at our sister company, Dyslexia Action, has been working on new CPD courses to allow professionals to develop and enhance their current skills and understanding of Social, Emotional, and Mental Health (SEMH).  This week, they launched their first CPD SEMH course, The Emotionally Connected Classroom, with the first cohort beginning on 18 November.

The Emotionally Connected Classroom

This Level 5 unit aims to provide an understanding of the impact of emotions on the thinking brain and its implications for learning. It aims to provide an introduction to key elements of current research and practice in mentalisation theory (understanding the mental state of oneself and others) and emotional coaching. The importance of connectedness and relationships is emphasised throughout. For more information on this course, please click here.

How is The Emotionally Connected Classroom online course delivered?

The Emotionally Connected Classroom online course will be delivered on Real Group’s Campus Online learning environment. Campus Online offers you the flexibility to organise your time to fit around your professional and personal commitments.  It also saves you the time and expense of travel and classroom attendance.

Although the course is fully online, you will be supported every step of the way by an experienced tutor and have opportunities to read and contribute to the discussion forum on the course site. The forums help participants to learn, test out, develop, and refine ideas.

Participants joining Campus Online will be given access to a wide range of e-learning resources. These include presentations, articles, exercises, videos, and follow-up activities and tasks for participants to carry out.


The Relating Classroom online unit has been submitted for accreditation which is due to be awarded by The CPD Standards Office in November 2020.


The Emotionally Connected Classroom is part of Dyslexia Action’s Level 5 SEMH CPD Programme. Eight further units focused on SEMH are currently under development.

How do I register for the November cohort?

The Emotionally Connected Classroom is available to book for the 18 November cohort. To register, please access the Dyslexia Action online booking form here. Alternatively, please feel free to email Dyslexia Action or call on +44(0) 1784 222304 if you have any questions.

Deadlines for NASENCO, iSENCO, MEd and NPQ September cohort dates extended to Friday 18 September

September Cohort Dates ExtendedWe have been listening carefully to what schools have been saying about how the beginning of the new academic year has been going, and we fully understand the additional challenges they are facing. As a result, our September cohort dates will be extended to Friday 18 September, in order to take the pressure off of educational settings and avoid as much as possible, delegates who wish to start this month from missing out. Please note, this booking extension does not affect the course submission deadlines.

This extension applies to the following courses and qualifications:

How are the courses delivered? 

The courses are delivered online through our interactive learning platform, Campus Online with the support of an online tutor. An overview of Campus Online’s main features can be found here.

I would like to register for your September cohort, how do I proceed?

You only have to have completed our online booking form by the cohort deadline date of Friday 18 September (17:00 BST), which takes just a couple of minutes to complete. Once submitted, you will have until the end of the month to complete your registration and make the first payment. If joining our September cohort is not possible, it is possible to register to start your next course in January or in May.

Already booked?

The course start date will still be 15 September, so access to course materials will be granted to all delegates who are fully registered with the first payment made, through Campus Online, from this date.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. To book your course, visit our booking page.

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