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Mental Health Awareness Week – 18 – 24 May 2020

Celebrating kindness during Mental Health Awareness week

At this time, it is particularly meaningful to highlight and support Mental Health Awareness week. Never has it been more important to raise awareness and promote our conversations about well being.  The theme for this year has been chosen in response to the coronavirus outbreak and focuses on kindness.  It is often the simple acts of kindness that promote our connection with others.  We have collated a few resources below that we hope will be of some support considering the well being of the schools and communities in which we work.

Sharing the importance of kindness during transition

1  – Being kind to your students

Five ways to help children heal when schools reopen. With the recent information that the government hopes for schools to reopen in the near future, this article offers guidance and support with how to manage this transition with some of our most vulnerable young people.

Positive transitions. Many schools are thinking about how they manage transitions sensitively and kindly for their pupils and staff at the moment. This is a challenge with so much uncertainty. Northamptonshire Educational  Psychology Service have produced this helpful document (free to download) to support the thinking and planning process.

Helping children with loss

  • Schools reflecting on how best to support children and families through bereavement and loss may find the following recently released resource, produced by Dr Tina Rae and Nurture UK, to be a valuable reference.
  • In this video clip, Pooky Knightsmith (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Expert), outlines 3 activities that can be used to help children with managing their feelings around bereavement.
  • Another perspective on managing change in our communities comes from Stevan Hobfoll’s work on tragedy, disaster and loss. Professor Hobfoll lists here the following Five Essential Principles for caregivers to promote at times of disaster:
  1. Sense of safety
  2. Calming
  3. Self and community efficacy
  4. Social connectedness
  5. Hope

2 – Being kind to yourself and your colleague

Over the last few months, many teachers, teaching assistants, and other key education workers have been placed under huge pressure as they risk their own health to help children and young people in schools.  In such unprecedented times, being aware of, and positively managing our well-being is of utmost importance.

Teacher wellbeing. The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has produced a list of eight tips for boosting wellbeing during periods of disruption.

Free webinar. Sue Roffey (Educational Psychologist; Honorary Professor at Exeter University and Western Sydney University) is delivering a free 45-minute webinar on Teacher wellbeing in challenging times at 8.30 am (BST) Monday 25th May. You can register here.

Resilience. The British Psychological Society has also produced some advice about teacher resilience during coronavirus school closures which can be found here.

Sleep. A good night’s sleep is as important to our well-being as eating, breathing and movement.  Difficulties sleeping can mean that we spend our days less able to concentrate, problem solve or fully engage with what is taking place around us.  Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as weakened immune systems and it can also affect our mental health in terms of our ability to cope with stress and anxiety.  This handy guide describes the benefits of good quality sleep and tips for how to get it!

Counselling. Teachers and education staff who are feeling stressed or anxious during these uncertain times can get confidential emotional support from Education Support free and confidential helpline: 08000 562561.

3 – Encouraging kindness

Bring kindness. Education Support shares in this article five tips for ‘cultivating kindness’ in school settings:

  • Model kindness – lead by example and show your students what being kind looks like.
  • Encourage kindness – schools can get students and staff involved in supporting their local communities by organising collections for local food banks, continuing to make PPE, or creating art for local care homes.
  • Notice kindness – recognise and praise students when you notice them being kind and supportive to one another.
  • Cut some slack – understand that students and teachers will experience the effects of the pandemic differently. If students, parents or colleagues’ behaviour seems particularly ‘reactive’ cut them some slack and offer support and understanding.
  • Be kind to yourself – cut yourself (and others) some slack by not expecting perfection. Aim for ‘good enough’ and relax as it is.

Make a positive difference. The Place2Be Kindness Cups provide an opportunity to recognise the children, teachers, parents/carers, and other individuals who have made a positive difference through their kindness at this challenging time. You can read more about it here.

Gratitude has been identified as a well-being booster by research in the field of Positive Psychology. Have a look at this link here to find out more about Soul Pancake Happiness.

Training courses

If you are aspiring to create a positive impact and help support the most vulnerable children in your setting effectively, we offer a Postgraduate Certificate in Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs.

This PGCert is made up of two 30-credit modules and can be completed in one or two years. Based on our practice-led learning model, you will implement intervention strategies in school to make a difference for children with SEMH.

Our courses are designed from day one to be delivered fully online, with our unique practice-led model informed by evidence-based online pedagogy, positive psychology, and inclusive practice. Studying online with Real Training means you can develop your skills and expertise with confidence in the area of SEND, leadership, and inclusion. We train educators all around the world – in 86 countries so far. Here is a snapshot of what our delegates said about our SEMH course.

What leaders can do to maintain motivation during lockdown

Real Group Senior Educational Psychologist, Dr Joanna Wood has been examining what educational leaders can be doing to maintain motivation and their own wellbeing in these very trying times. During conversations with senior school staff, she observed that despite the compassion and good sense they were demonstrating in reflecting on the needs of the vulnerable children they support, they found it more difficult to answer questions relating to their own wellbeing. Although not being a surprise given how accustomed they are to putting the needs of these children above their own, as Dr Wood points out, it is a concern given the excessive “emotional labour” they are currently experiencing.

Dr Wood identifies four kinds of challenges school leaders are currently facing; loss (through both personal loss and also anticipated professional losses), uncertainty and the challenges this brings to strategic planning, role confusion in the form of home/school and family/work contexts, and system failure, through unavailability of tools and personal relationships at this time.

Happily, she identifies three areas that psychology can provide tools to help senior leaders “understand and process our responses to the current crisis.”

Models of grief

To become aware of the stages of grief that can help “make sense of the impact of uncertainty and unplanned change. These stages include shock/denial, anger/guilt/blame, depression and acceptance.

Positive psychology

Drawing from the principles of positive psychology and Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, Dr Wood points out that it is important to focus on what works well, not on what is wrong. These can include such elements as positive emotions, engagement (getting ‘lost’ in an activity), relationships, meaning (a sense of purpose) and accomplishment.


According to Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory, concentration and motivation are hard to come by at present. In order to remain motivated, Dr Wood suggests we need to feel competent at what we do, related and connected to others, and autonomous, in that we have control over our lives. These are important touch-points for leaders to re-focus energy on in order to remain motivated.

To summarise, Dr Wood offers some useful tips to help leaders navigate the complex waters of the current lockdown:

  • Focus on what you can control
  • Remember you can’t look after everyone
  • Try to tune into your own emotions in a safe way (journal writing, for example)
  • Notice unhelpful negative thoughts and replace them with positive self-talk, such as “It will pass” or “this is outside of my control”
  • Don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek help if needed
  • Stay connected socially where possible
  • Consider distractions and new challenges, such as self-development, but don’t feel pressured to do so.

If you would like to find out more about our Educational Psychologists and they work they do under Real Psychology, please visit us our website.

The original article can be found on the TES website here.

Gain early access to our May MEd in SEND cohorts

MED SENDApplications for the 15 May cohort are now closed. To register for 15 September, please do get in touch with our course advisers here.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, some of our delegates who are booked onto our courses beginning in May have found themselves with an unexpected amount of time on their hands, and have expressed an interest in using this to gain early access to our May MEd in SEND cohorts.

Those who are enrolled onto the MEd in SEND programme will be able to start their learning journey with us as soon as they are fully registered. There is, however, one module currently not available for an early start – Dyslexia Professional Report Writing – and this is due to the fact that the module is heavily focused on in-setting assessment and testing, though we are currently working on creating a flexible solution to address this.

How can I gain early access to Real Training May MEd in SEND cohorts?

This early start offer also applies to new bookings so if you, or any of your colleagues, are interested in booking onto our May cohorts, as soon as you are fully registered, you will gain access to the complete course content in order to allow you to get ahead while you have the opportunity to do so. This extra time will not be deducted from the end of the course – it is intended as a free extension as a gesture of goodwill, bearing in mind the current global situation. To find out more about the modules currently available for early starts, the links to the web pages are below:

If you are interested in booking onto our May cohorts, you can book your place here. If you have any questions with regards to anything relating to any of our courses, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us. 

Join us for our CCET Campus Live Event – 29 April – 1 May

Campus Live Interactive Event After months of careful planning, Real Training are very excited to announce the launch of Campus Live, with the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET) Campus Live Event!

As an EdTech company, we have always placed flexible, online and blended professional development at the heart of everything we do. This CCET Campus Live Event offering is a valuable addition to our repertoire, allowing delegates to benefit from the advantages of the ‘intensive’ CCET programme, without the need to travel. Like our intensive courses, this takes place over the course of three days, and covers the vast majority of the theoretical work, along with some parts of the practical assignments. The only difference is it is brought to wherever you are, by expert trainers, through the Campus Live platform.

What is Campus Live?

Campus Live is a browser-based solution that requires nothing to download, no software installation, and is optimised to deliver excellent video quality regardless of internet speed. It is as fully interactive, as if you were in the room with the psychologists, with the ability to ask questions, work in groups, get one-to-one help and get access to all the course materials you need, live within the online classroom environment. There is also the ability to screen-share and collaborate with fellow delegates, interactive whiteboards and a live chat feature, ensuring your experience is fully immersive.

How is this CCET Campus Live Event delivered?

To reassure, the course content is no different from our normal intensive courses and requires nothing different from you as a delegate. All you need is a computer or tablet with either Chrome, Firefox or Opera browsers installed, an internet connection, a webcam, microphone and speakers or headphones. Of course, if you do happen to encounter any technical difficulties, our IT support team will be on hand throughout the course to swiftly get you back on track.

Campus Live has been designed to accommodate all delegates through a variety of different work environments, ensuring you will always feel supported. Equally the course has been designed with you in mind too, allowing for plenty of comfort breaks to ensure the smooth running of the course for the ultimate learning experience.

Our Certificate of Competency in Educational Testing (CCET) qualification

Our Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET) is an open-access course, meaning to be eligible to enrol, you only need to be working in or have access to an educational setting, and have access to the psychometric tests for the duration of study.

CCET allows schools to bring expertise in psychometric testing to assess children and determine their strengths and specific learning needs ‘in-school’, and in turn allows schools to work more effectively with their educational psychologists and make better use of their time.

With our CCET qualification, among other things, you will be able to identify, administer and analyse tests within an educational environment, understand how to write and interpret reports, understand the legislative and policy framework, as well as being able to identify and overcome barriers to learning. Other benefits to the school include:

  • Access to a wealth of practical resources, academic research, and interactive materials
  • Access to discounted educational tests and other resources
  • Development of effective support for the most vulnerable children in your school

If you do hold a qualification to teach, and would find it useful to be qualified to carry out access arrangements in your setting, you could enrol on the Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements (CPT3A). This course combines CCET and the Access Arrangements Course (AAC) to give you the opportunity to become your educational setting’s qualified exam access arrangements assessor.

If you are interested in booking on this ground-breaking course, you can book your place here. It is ‘training as usual’ here at Real Training, so if you have any further questions, either in relation to the course or the Campus Live platform, please don’t hesitate to contact us here

Gain early access to our May cohorts for you and your staff

gain early access to our May cohortsAs a result of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, some of our delegates who are booked onto our courses beginning in May have found themselves with an unexpected amount of time on their hands, and have expressed an interest in using this time to get ahead on their course before the official start date. In order to support delegates in these uncertain times, we are doing exactly that – those who are enrolled onto the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO), International Award for SEN Coordination (iSENCO), or National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) will gain early access to our May cohorts to start their learning journey with us as soon as they are fully registered so that they can make the best use of their time, while they have it.

Can anyone gain early access to our May cohorts?

This offer is not only available for existing bookings, but it is also available to anyone else who may be looking to start a course during this period of school closures. You may be finding that some of your teaching staff are looking to take advantage of this time for professional development. If they are interested in enrolling in our May cohorts, as soon as they are fully registered, they too will gain access to the complete course content straight away in order to allow them to get ahead while they have the opportunity to do so. This extra time will not be deducted from the end of the course – it is intended as a free extension as a gesture of goodwill, bearing in mind the current global situation.

If you or your staff are interested in booking onto our May NASENCO, iSENCO or NPQ  cohorts, you can book your places here . If you have any questions with regards to anything relating to any of our courses, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us, either by emailing us or by giving us a call on +44 (0) 1273 35 80 80.

Funded Places for all NPQ Courses with Real Training

Funded Places For All NPQ courses

We have heard from the Department for Education (DfE) that funded places will be available for all our NPQ courses from 1 April 2020 until the end of the current academic year.

Funded places for all NPQ courses are available for leaders and aspiring leaders in:

  • Maintained schools, academies, free schools and PRUs in category 5 and 6 areas
  • All schools in a MAT which includes at least one category 5 or 6 school
  • All schools in a Diocese which includes at least one category 5 or 6 school

Whether you’re thinking of taking the next step in your career or simply looking to develop your leadership skills in your current role, our online and inclusive National Professional Qualifications (NPQ’s) offer you a flexible route to achieve these high-quality qualifications approved by the Department for Education (DfE). Book now to secure your fully-funded place.

Please note: Places within a school, cluster, MAT or Diocese are not limited – so if you have colleagues who you think may also be interested, please don’t hesitate in forwarding this information to them.

Our NPQ courses are available at three school leadership levels – middle leaders (NPQML), senior leaders (NPQSL) and headship (NPQH) – please take a look at our dedicated pages online for more information on programme content, funding rules and what you can expect from our leading-edge, inclusive leadership programmes. If you have any questions, please call us on +44 (0)1273 35 80 80 to speak to one of our expert advisers or email us here.

Education Policy Institute/Wellcome report demonstrates effects of CPD on teachers and students

CPDIn a newly released report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI), commissioned by the Wellcome Foundation, continuing professional development (CPD), which includes training courses, mentoring and seminars has been found to play a crucial role in improving teaching quality, and the learning outcomes of pupils.  The report also goes on to demonstrate the positive effects on teacher retention, as well as how access to professional development for teachers has improved.

The impact of professional development on pupils

According to the report, CPD programmes “have the potential to close the gap between beginner and more experienced teachers”; the impact of CPD for a newly-qualified teacher on pupil outcomes is comparable to the impact of a teacher with ten year’s experience. The effect of CPD was also found to have similar attainment improvements as large, structural reforms to the school system.

In addition, the evidence suggests that CPD has a greater effect on pupil attainment than other interventions that might be considered by schools, such as performance-related pay for teachers or lengthening the school day. CPD is also relatively cost-effective; although one-to-one tutoring was found to impact pupil attainment to a higher degree, these can be very expensive, both financially and in terms of time.

Perhaps most tellingly, though, was that CPD programmes were more positively received by teachers when compared to other interventions, such as large structural changes to the school system. These can be expensive and cause higher staff turnover and dissatisfaction.

The impact of professional development on teacher retention

With an increase in high-quality CPD, retention problems improve, particularly for newly-qualified and early-career teachers. While it is understood that access to CPD is only one of many factors behind the number of teachers leaving the profession, targeted CPD programmes for teachers in the early stages of their careers can increase retention rate and instil an atmosphere of positivity and future ambition within them. Induction training and mentoring programmes are particularly effective for improving retention rates early on.

Improving access to professional development for teachers

It doesn’t seem that simply throwing CPD opportunities at teachers is sufficient, however. “Teacher turnover is a major impediment to the effectiveness of a CPD programme” the report states, suggesting that courses that offer flexibility, in terms of cohort start dates, deadlines and so on are more likely to be successful.  Furthermore, when the CPD programme receives sustained support from school leaders, it is found to have a greater impact on pupil attainment. Finally, understanding the high workload of teachers can make them more effective – “interventions are likely to see success if they are both attractive and strive to minimise the demands placed on teachers.”

Real Training – high-quality, flexible and effective professional development

This report supports what we at Real Training have long-believed to be the case; that providing professional development courses of the highest-quality, delivered flexibly through Campus Online leads to significant positive effects on pupil’s learning outcomes, across the full range of special educational needs. We understand that teachers are under a vast amount of pressure and have wildly varying workloads, which is why we allow you to work at your own pace and in your own time, from anywhere you have access to the internet. Our courses start at multiple points throughout the year, giving you the option to begin your journey when it suits you best.

Our courses and qualifications cover a vast array of SEND and leadership topics and include our

You can download the full report here.

When you have decided which cohort works best for you or your colleagues, please complete our simple online booking form. If you have any questions regarding our NPQ courses, please get in touch with us here


Ready to step up to a Leadership role? Our NPQs can make it happen!

If you are looking to move into a leadership role, it is essential you stand out as an exceptional candidate in a very competitive field. One of the most effective ways to do so is to achieve a National Professional Qualification (NPQ).

These qualifications are designed to give delegates the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and leadership behaviours needed to lead an effective education setting, as well as moving ahead in their careers, through gaining a DfE-recognised qualification in leadership.

We offer two DfE-approved NPQs that can greatly increase your opportunities in these areas:

  • NPQSL – for current and aspiring senior leaders with responsibilities across an education setting.
  • NPQML – for current and aspiring middle leaders with responsibility for a team.

These qualifications are designed to develop your leadership skills, knowledge and confidence so that you can become highly effective leaders in your setting. With our flexible, online and practice-led learning model you will be able to set your own study schedule and work at your own pace, implementing improvement plans into your setting from the outset.

Book for the March cohort here to get started as soon as possible. Start your learning journey with us in the next couple of weeks and book by 15th March to join this cohort.

If March is too soon, please visit our NPQ web page for information on upcoming cohorts throughout 2020.

Why study with Real Training?

  • Ease of application – we don’t have complicated application processes, no interviews to attend and there’s no application essay to write. So long as you have an undergraduate degree, are working in a UK or international education setting, full support of a sponsor and plan to move into a headship role within 18 months, all you need to do is book your place online.
  • Flexible learning – Our NPQ courses are delivered fully online through Campus Online, our very own virtual learning environment, featuring learning experiences and activities that will give you the practical edge in your setting at the click of a mouse.
  • Practice-led learning – Real Training’s practice-led learning model means you receive the content and theory you need, along with opportunities to make a difference to your setting through putting theory into practice and reflecting on the process.
  • Qualifications with credibility – Study with us and you will discover highly respected NPQ courses validated by Middlesex University and recognised by the DfE.

NPQH qualification also available

We also offer the NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) for those who aspire to rise to the position of Headteacher in the next 12-18 months. If you are already an experienced senior leader who is highly motivated to become a headteacher soon and have the full support and endorsement of a sponsor (usually, this will be your headteacher or line manager) then this could be the perfect qualification to fulfill your ambitions.

When you have decided which cohort works best for you or your colleagues to move in a leadership role, please complete our simple online booking form. If you have any questions regarding our NPQ courses, please get in touch with us – you can call us on +44 (0)1273 35 80 80 or contact us here.

Cognitive Abilities Profile (CAP) Course date announced – 23-24 June 2020 – Novotel London Bridge Hotel

The next Cognitive Abilities Profile (CAP) course has been announced. It will take place in London on 23-24 June 2020 at the Novotel London Bridge Hotel.

This course is designed to train professionals in the comprehensive use of CAP. As a detailed evidence-based tool for consultation and structured data collection, it can be used by a range of professionals, including:


  • Educational and clinical psychologists
  • Therapists
  • SENCOs and specialist teachers

Although the course will be highly relevant to psychologists, therapists, and teachers, those who do not work in one of these professions are also welcome – as long as they work in the learning and development of children, adolescents, and adults.

This Cognitive Abilities Profile (CAP) course will bring the unique benefits of dynamic assessment (DA) and cognitive education into the mainstream work of practitioner psychologists and specialist teachers. This will not only teach you how to use CAP to structure an in-depth individualised assessment but will also show you how to use CAP for systematic consultation and observation – which may mitigate the need to carry out individual direct work with a particular student.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Use CAP to help teachers, parents and others understand the learner’s needs.
  • Develop recommendations that lead to an intervention plan (IP).
  • Understand how to use the profile systemically to review progress.

This course isn’t formally assessed. However, clear staging posts over the two days will ensure that your learning and practice are embedded every step of the way.

For more details, and to book your place, please visit our CAP page.

2019 Delegate Feedback Review

Feedback from our delegates is very important to us. This is why we ask every delegate to complete a feedback form upon completion of their course. This provides us with extremely valuable data on what we’re doing right, and what we can improve upon. We’ve been carefully analysing the data from over 1,000 delegates in 2019, and below are highlights of the results.

  • 96% of delegates rated our course as good or very good.
  • 97% of delegates rated the extent to which their course met their developmental priorities as good or very good.
  • 93% of delegates rated the course tutors as good or very good.
  • 93% of delegates rated their experience of the course administration from Real Training as good or very good.
  • All metrics have improved year-on-year from 2018 to 2019, reflecting how we strive to improve, always.

Nearly 3/4 of our delegates report that they are considering studying further modules with us.

Some comments from our delegates

“An amazing course. I loved how accessible it was. I could work in the evenings/ weekends/ holidays etc. It fitted around my workload easily as there are no formal deadlines apart from the one a year on from when you start. As everyone’s workloads are different this is ideal. There were no university visits so no time off of work. The website was easy to use and navigate around. My Tutor was fantastic, and always available for support. I would really recommend booking a course with Real Training.” – Sarah Phillips, NASENCO

“It is an excellent organisation which will help you advance in terms of your personal development, knowledge and understanding whilst providing all the support you may require, want or need.” – Daniel Smith, AAC Online

“I have recommended Real training to several colleagues from the North east who are in the process of completing this accreditation.” – Dawn Ablewhite, CCET Intensive

“The tutoring I have received through Real Training has been far superior to that during my undergraduate degree or masters both of which were face to face not distance learning. My tutor has been encouraging and supportive throughout and offered really clear feedback. Overall it has been brilliant! With the support of my tutor I have had everything I needed to complete this course. I loved how easy everything was and how varied the online journals etc there were for you to access. It was also so lovely to have an online community. It’s a brilliant way to complete the task especially if you’re a parent. Very supportive tutors and community.” – Ella Browning, NASENCO

If you are thinking of enrolling on a course with us, either for the first time or a returning delegate, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on +44 (0)1273 35 80 80 or contact us here.

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