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Shared experiences, from Real Training’s most recent graduates

 

Following our recent summer graduation ceremony at Middlesex University, we spoke with some of our graduates on their experiences of studying at Masters level, from their hopes and aspirations through to their advice to peers thinking about making the leap into the world of study once more.

 

Paula Smith

What made you take the leap into taking a masters course?

I was two-thirds of the way through and my head teacher persuaded me to go for it.

What did you hope to learn and achieve? And did the course meet those hopes?

Yes absolutely, I learnt such a lot, particularly about organisation and timekeeping. I gave up every weekend and holiday to work on my MEd which at the time was really challenging with a full-time job and family. However, when I got the first email to say it was likely I had gained a Merit, I was ecstatic, I really couldn’t believe it. Always thought because of my work commitments I would get a Pass. The feeling when I walked out with my blue gown on at graduation was an overwhelming sense of achievement. For someone, who left school with a few O’levels and have studied most of my adult life, this is the pinnacle.

Why did you opt to study with Real Training?

They were so flexible and accepted the credits from my PGCert and SENCo qualification. The website and portal are extremely user-friendly.

What is the most interesting thing you learned in your studies – about the subject or yourself?

As above, the subject I will take forward into my professional life. I love the fact that the letter after my name is on the school headed paper!

What would you say to a friend or colleague thinking of embarking on a Masters?

You can do it if you put your mind to it. You need the support of work or home, or both to get you through the tough times. Resilience, time management and organisation are key!

If you could sum up your experience studying with us in one word, what would it be?

Brilliant, timely support from my Tutor, who was so positive and boosted me when I felt I couldn’t do it. User-friendly portal, which in itself is so organised already for you.

 

Caroline Jones

What made you take the leap into taking a masters course?

I embarked upon my first master’s course in 2009 because my nine-year-old son was struggling in mainstream education as a result of a hearing impairment, dyspraxic and dyslexic tendencies. I wanted to be able to help him achieve his potential but realised more specialist help was needed. It was then I signed up for a PG Cert in Dyslexia and Literacy with Dyslexia Action and validated by York University.

What did you hope to learn and achieve? And did the course meet those hopes?

My intention was to assist him in improving his reading, writing and spelling skills by studying a specialist course which I could apply to the children I taught in my mainstream classes. At this time, the government was encouraging teachers to become specialists in response to the Rose Report, which found that there was a deficit in professionals with the required skills and advocated that all teachers should be trained to identify and teach dyslexic children. However, whilst completing this challenging programme, there was no additional time available to assist my son. However, I am now able to put the skills learnt into practice.

Why did you opt to study with Real Training?

I noticed that Real Training advertised the CCET course as a natural follow-on to the postgraduate dyslexia course I had just completed. I wanted to have some more in-depth knowledge of assessment procedures and report writing; I also noticed that by completing this course, I could port credits towards a master. Up until this point, I hadn’t really contemplated studying to such a degree, except that I recall my late father, saying to me, before he died in 2009, “I think you could do a master’s degree you know,” so with his words in my mind, I became determined to fulfil his wishes. I was very impressed with the way Real Training explained the various routes that could be taken. I then completed the CCET Skills and Knowledge course and partner Application and Reflection module, Educational Testing. I was extremely grateful for the support given and professionalism shown by Real Training which motivated me to complete the final Enquiry Module.

What is the most interesting thing you learned in your studies – about the subject or yourself?

Before I embarked on this journey, I would never have believed I would complete a master’s degree in Special Educational Needs and Disability. However, the more I researched the subject, the more interested I became and I developed an insatiable thirst to find out more. This, however, would not have been possible without Real Training, who made me believe in myself; thank you! I was also inspired by other delegates’ posts about their thoughts and experiences, especially on completion of the final Enquiry Module and photographs of them at their graduation.

What would you say to a friend or colleague thinking of embarking on a Masters?

I would have no hesitation in encouraging anyone thinking of embarking on a masters with Real Training to take that step of faith and do it! My experience has been extremely positive, as the website is crystal-clear to work through and all the resources are easily accessible. I was grateful for the swift response to queries, dedication and positive guidance from all the tutors and to have the opportunity to message other delegates on the website.

If you could sum up your experience studying with us in one word, what would it be?

Empowering.

 

Francis Garbutt

What made you take the leap into taking a masters course?

The regulations for the role of a SENCO require that one completes the National Award for SEN Coordination, thus my employer offered to pay the tuition fees if I would complete the course as part of my CPD. Yet, I also enjoy CPD and learning and thus was thrilled when this opportunity arose. I successfully completed a Masters in Education in 2013 and thus this was another great opportunity to extend my skills and knowledge within the field of Education and Special Educational Needs provision.

What did you hope to learn and achieve? And did the course meet those hopes?

I hoped to learn more about the legislations and law behind SEN provision and how this applies in my context (an international school in Germany which offers GCSE and International Baccalaureate to pupils) and what this would mean for my role as SENCO for Secondary pupils. Furthermore, I wished to know more about the leadership aspect of the role and how this can be combined with working closely with so many diverse staff. 

The course allowed me to learn a great deal about my own expectations, realities of the role and how to compromise between the both to achieve the best possible outcome for pupils. Furthermore, I learnt more about frameworks and methods on how to run a SEN Department and which steps needed to be taken to make inclusion a whole school matter and to have as many staff on board with the provision we offer. I have a long way to go but the course allowed me to build a solid foundation and know where to find answers to questions, if they arise.

Why did you opt to study with Real Training?

I had completed another course in London with Real Training and was impressed with the support, professionalism and thoroughness of the course. Thus, I suggested to my employer to go through Real Training to complete the NASENCO course.

What is the most interesting thing you learned in your studies – about the subject or yourself?

Resilience and support from others are fundamental qualities which I have taken from the course. I was not just provided with knowledge, resources and ideas on how to successfully become and be a SENCO who achieves the best possible outcome for pupils; but it reminded me why I chose the role in the first place and that research, collaboration and resilience pay off and are needed in this role.

What would you say to a friend or colleague thinking of embarking on a Masters?

I would strongly recommend a Masters or any other postgraduate study because it enriches your work and allows you to grow as a professional whilst learning to root your work in research and not just intuition or “old, tested methods”. Furthermore, it allows you to become more critical of established mechanisms and look at your job from different angles to be able to improve your work and skills.

If you could sum up your experience studying with us in one word, what would it be?

Worthwhile (commitment).

 

Sharon Simpson

What made you take the leap into taking a masters course?

My reasons for taking the leap into taking a masters course were three-fold.  Firstly, I had come to the place where I wanted to reflect more deeply and systematically on my work as a SEN teacher, in order to improve my practice.

Secondly, five years had passed since completing a Post Graduate Diploma. I needed another 60 credits to gain a Masters Degree, so it was now or never!

Thirdly, having recently taken on a part-time role as a specialist study support tutor in higher education, I believed that by studying at this level again, I would have a current and personal appreciation of all that is involved, enabling me to offer more effective support.

 What did you hope to learn and achieve? And did the course meet those hopes?

I undertook an Enquiry-based module in SEND Practice, hoping to learn more about the challenges faced by learners with adequate decoding skills but who nevertheless experience significant reading comprehension difficulties. I also wanted my studies to benefit my (school) work setting and this was achieved through the action research framework employed for my enquiry project. Additionally, the skills I gained have been useful in my HE role, particularly when supporting third-year students with their dissertations and final projects.

Why did you opt to study with Real Training?

Firstly, I opted to study with Real Training because they offered an affordable distance learning course and accepted my previous post-graduate training as accredited prior learning (APL). This meant that I did not have to start again in order to gain a full Masters degree. Secondly, training in research skills was part of the course so I did not need to take a bridging module. Last but not least, I had heard from a colleague that studying with Real Training was “very good!”

What is the most interesting thing you learned in your studies – about the subject or yourself?

I have learned so much through my studies. For me, the most interesting thing is that I now appreciate the meaning of research in an academic sense and have discovered a systematic and accessible way of becoming a reflective practitioner. Looking back on my research design checklist and all that needed to be accomplished alongside work and family commitments, I am also reminded of how a determination to succeed can strengthen resilience when challenges arise.

What would you say to a friend or colleague thinking of embarking on a Masters?

For someone considering a Masters, I would say:

  • Be very clear in your own mind about why you want to do this
  • Get good advice so you choose a pathway which is right for you
  • Be realistic about how and when you will make time for your studies
  • Be organised and self-disciplined – you’ll have to make some sacrifices
  • Go for it!

If you could sum up your experience studying with us in one word, what would it be?

Impressive!

Come and meet us at events in London, Kent, Glasgow and Abu Dhabi this October and November

 

We are excited to be attending several events across the UK and even further and we wanted to write about our events calendar for the Autumn/Winter term. We hope to see you at one of these events to answer any questions you may have on our new or established courses.

The TES SEN Show

Venue: The Business Design Centre, London

Date: 5-6 October 2018

Visit our Real Training stand and ask us about all our masters-level courses on inclusion, SEND, educational testing, access arrangements and leadership.

Other information:

• Attend our workshop on the Saturday at 11.45 to discover the benefits offered by our revised SEND programme.
• Visit the Dyslexia Action stand to ask our colleagues about their courses at levels 4, 5 and 7.

Dyslexia Scotland Education Conference

Venue: University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Date: 27 October 2018

Visit our Dyslexia Action stand and ask us about all our level 4, 5 and 7 courses in dyslexia and literacy, as well as the products available at our one-stop Dyslexia Action Shop.

Education Experts Conference

Venue: Dusit Thani, Abu Dhabi

Date: 30-31 October 2018

Visit our Real Group stand and ask us about all our Real Training and Dyslexia Action training courses including our new International Award in SEN Coordination qualification, resources available at our Dyslexia Action Shop and services available through Real Psychology.

The Education People Show

Venue: The Kent Event Centre, Detling

Date: 7 November 2018

Visit our Real Training stand and ask us about all our masters-level courses on inclusion, SEND, educational testing, access arrangements and leadership.

Independent Schools Council SEND Conference

Venue: Park Plaza Victoria, London

Date: 16 November 2018

Visit our Dyslexia Action stand and ask us about all our level 4, 5 and 7 courses in dyslexia and literacy, as well as the products available at our one-stop Dyslexia Action Shop.

Look out for more information from us on social media nearer the time. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for regular updates about events and courses as well as the latest industry news.

Save up to 75% on selected items in the Super Summer Sale!

 

Are you wondering what to do with your remaining budget before the end of the academic year? Visit Dyslexia Action Shop website until 27 July to take advantage of reduced prices for over 80 items in our Super Summer Sale!

Start the new year in September with new games and books, as well as literacy and numeracy resources, to help support and grow your students. There will also be a limited number of test materials and assessment forms available to purchase in the sale.

In addition to the amazing discounted products, if you spend over £100 you will receive a free copy of the insightful book Understanding Dyslexia by Janet Townsend.

The sale is only available for a limited time so don’t miss out.

The gaps and challenges in the SEND landscape

The gaps and challenges in the SEND Landscape

In our fourth issue of the newly-minted TSP briefing, Editor-at-Large Edward Farrow speaks with Daisy Christodoulou, Director of Education at No More Marking and former Head of Assessment at Ark Schools in a wide-ranging discussion about the gaps – and challenges – in assessment along with her view on the broader SEND landscape.

Read the full issue

Daring to make mistakes

Daring to make mistakes

As the long-awaited summer break approaches it’s natural to reflect on the academic year which has (almost) passed and contemplate the year ahead. With that in mind, Stuart Curry, Head of Marketing at Real Group, wanted to share some thoughts – partly prompted by a news story about what is possible, and also by a hazy recollection of a quote from a GCSE history class some (many) years ago. In challenging times, do we take a belt-and-braces, safety-first approach, or do we see the opportunity hidden in the myriad pressures?

Read the full issue

What’s new on the revised SEND programme?

 

As you may already be aware, from this September you will be able to study on our newly revised SEND programme.

During the past five years, since we first introduced our SEND programme, a whopping 789 students have been awarded their Postgraduate Certificates, 19 have gained the Postgraduate Diploma and a further 43 have gained their Masters through Real Training and Middlesex University.

We have loved working with all the education professionals completing our courses and we are very proud of what we have achieved together. This is why we have recently reviewed and revised the programme – we want to make sure it continues to meet the ever-changing demands of the education sector in the UK and also internationally.

With our new strengthened programme, you could graduate with one of ten Postgraduate Certificate awards (some of which are new), a Postgraduate Diploma in SEND or a Master of Education (MEd) in SEND. In partnership with Dyslexia Action, we are also pleased to be able to offer a MEd Professional Practice in Dyslexia and Literacy.

To see a full list of the awards and modules available in the revised programme, please take a look at our dedicated SEND programme web page and get in touch if you have any queries. In particular, make sure you have a look at our brand new modules:

Evidence and Pedagogy for Inclusion (available to start in September 2018)
International Award in SEN Coordination (available to start in September 2018)
Cognition & Learning (available to start in January 2019)
Psychology for Education (available to start in January 2019)

Keep up-to-date with the new JCQ regulations free of charge, with Real Training

Last year, like many organisations, we hosted some live, paid events to run through that year’s updates to the JCQ regulations. Following a great deal of thought and debate, this year we have decided to do something quite different. We are going to be offering a free-to-access update, available to all qualified access arrangements professionals.

This will take the form of a detailed webinar, hosted by our experts, giving you full details on the changes implemented this year and discussing potential challenges, interpretations and scenarios.

Why have we made this change?

There are two main reasons behind this change, one technical and the other a matter of principle. The technical reason is that we understand that the upcoming changes  are not particularly wide-ranging or challenging – certainly not sufficient to merit a full day of training. The fundamental reason, though, was one of principle. As an organisation committed to improving outcomes for all – and giving education professionals the confidence they need – we feel a professional duty to ensure that all access arrangements assessors have the information they require, regardless of their school’s financial circumstances.

How can you register?

A registration form for the webinar will be circulated in the coming weeks. If you want us to add your name to the list, however, simply email us and we can process your free registration from here.

When will you be able to access the Real Training Access Arrangements Update?

We’ll be working over the summer, to ensure that you can access this full, free update by the start of the autumn term – giving you the confidence you need ahead of the first wave of Form 8 submissions in the winter.

Can you pass this on to your colleagues?

The short answer to this is yes! Whilst this update is being created with our previous graduates foremost in mind, we want to support all assessors. So, if you have colleagues who might benefit, please forward this email to them so they can also benefit.

Can OFSTED be a SENCO’s Best Friend?

Can OFSTED be a SENCO’s Best Friend?

This issue is a piece by renowned SEND influencer, Brian Lamb OBE. Past experience may cause many educators to throw their hands up in horror at the sentiment, but read to see how – and why – Brian thinks SENCOs can use this framework to their – and most importantly their students’ benefit.

Read the full issue

Bringing the Gold Standard of UK educational testing to Dubai this September

CCET Psychometric TestingFollowing a hugely successful, fully-booked Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing course we delivered at the Horizon International School in April, we are pleased to announce a new event running from September 18-20.

The Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing will help you to understand how assessments using psychometric tests are developed, how to use them effectively, and how to interpret the results.

It will also enable you to apply for the BPS Test User Educational qualification and to join the BPS’s Register of Qualifications in Test Use – a publicly searchable database of competence that will bolster your professional reputation.

Whilst our course is designed around the BPS and government requirements, some key aspects make our course unique:

  • Unlike other courses, ours is independently accredited by a highly-respected university, Middlesex, and graduates can join our masters programme as if they have 30 academic credits
  • Our standards are audited and approved by the British Accreditation Council, so you can be assured that we deliver to the highest standards
  • We deliver more than 400 CCET courses every year, making us the most popular provider of this course
  • We have significant experience of training educators across the world – with current delegates in 37 different countries
  • Our course is written, delivered and tutored by Educational Psychologists and highly-experienced, specialist tutors

Please note that we are limited to 20 delegates and the last course in Dubai sold out very quickly, so book as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.

Free NPQs for schools in category 5 and 6 areas in England

Have you heard the fantastic news? The Department for Education (DfE) is supporting teachers and leaders with ten million pounds of funding for National Professional Qualifications (NPQs). The funding is available to schools in category 5 and 6 areas and our records show that your school may be in one of these category areas – you may, therefore, be entitled to a free place on one of the NPQ courses! To confirm this for sure please refer to the DfE website.

 

Easy to book and a flexible way to learn

If your school is entitled to a free place, then it’s time to celebrate! With three different levels of NPQ to choose from, our flexible, online and practice-led courses are suitable for a wide range of leadership roles from head of department to head teacher:

Don’t miss out!

To take advantage of this funding opportunity, make sure you secure the free training for yourself or one of your colleagues straight away.

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