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Managing the crisis in EP assessments in Scotland

Flexible learning from the UK’s biggest Professional Assessment training organisation

The challenges educators face in gaining assessments and support for children presenting with SEN are not new – or unique to Scotland. But, based on recent years, the pressures are growing with Scotland facing perhaps the greatest challenges within the UK.

As far back as 2016, The Herald was reporting on the crisis over Educational Psychologists in Scotland. The twin effects of an ever-growing increase in diagnosis, coupled with a drop in the number of qualified EPs has seen a burgeoning scramble to access qualified support for students.

Whilst the Scottish Government’s recent announcement of a £4M bursary to help train up to 90 EPs is certainly welcome, the training process is a long one – and students and schools do not have the luxury of time.

Whilst EPs do offer more than assessment and access arrangements services, at Real Training, we can offer schools a solution to these two challenges. As part of our University-accredited Professional Assessment Programme, we offer two courses for educators, both for assessing students and for carrying out exam access arrangements.

Which course can help your school?

We offer two courses that can carry out some of the functions offered by Educational Psychologists, depending on your intended aims and type of setting:

  • Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET). This course will help you to understand how assessments using psychometric tests are developed, how to use them effectively, and how to interpret the results. Additionally, the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing will 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.
  •  Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements (CPT3A). This course will teach you how to use psychometric testing instruments effectively (CCET) and give you the right to apply them in exam access arrangements (AAC) confidently and competently. As this course is partly formed by CCET, you will also be able to join the BPS’s register

As the UK’s largest professional assessment training provider, we’ve trained thousands of people to become qualified test users and access arrangements assessors, so you can be confident studying with Real Training.

Flexible learning, designed by and for educators

As an organisation owned and run by EPs and former educators, we know the pressures on teachers – and have built our courses around educators’ real lives. Real Training Professional Assessment Programme courses are:

  •  Delivered fully online. This means our courses are flexible, allowing you to study at times and places which suit you best, and cost-effective as there is no need to pay for classroom cover.
  •  Practise-led and informed by positive psychology. We know, from decades’ of experience, that people change their working practises best by embedding learning in their day-to-day working life.
  • Recognised. Not only are our courses recognised by the BPS and JCQ, they are also accredited by Middlesex University. Graduates from either course can join our Masters in SEND programme as if they have 30 credits.

What are the next steps?

If you have read enough, and want to register, you can sign up here. Registering takes just a couple of minutes, and no payment is taken at this stage.

How International Schools can benefit from the UK’s leading masters-level inclusive educational training

School leaders have been telling us about their frustrations in being unable to have their teachers without UK QTS access the new skills, confidence and abilities the UK’s National Award in SEN Coordination provides. As things stand, the absence of UK QTS or QTLS is an insurmountable barrier to joining this course. Additionally, even for those who have QTS, the foundation of the course is UK regulations, structures and societal make-up.

Based on that, we have taken the best of the UK award, augmented it and then changed the rest to make the course agnostic to location or geography, and also have a greater focus on issues that matter to leaders in international schools, like third culture kids, and the intersection of local and scholastic language in students with EAL. This isn’t simply a re-hash of the UK award – it’s a bespoke course, designed for – and in partnership with – international schools.

Our iSenco course is:

  • Delivered fully online, and without internal deadlines, so delegates can study at a time and pace which suits their real lives. This is also more cost-effective as it means teachers do not need to be away from their learning centre
  • Tutored one-to-one by highly experienced experts
  • Created bespoke for the international schools market
  • Based on the latest psychological insight and expertise
  • Founded on experience – Real Training is one of the UK’s largest SENCO trainers
  • Practice-led, as we believe we learn best by doing, in a real-world environment
  • Delivered on our bespoke virtual learning environment, Campus Online
  • University-validated. Graduates will exit with a 60-credit Postgraduate Certificate from Middlesex University. By completing the course you can continue on your masters journey, whether it is with us or another provider
  • Based on the highest standards. We are members of the National Award Provider Group in the UK, our courses are all assessed and monitored by Middlesex University and we are members of the British Accrediation Council
  • Created in partnership with international partners including school leaders based in international schools and informed by insights gained from our membership of groups including COBISBESA and ISCR.

If you are interested in reserving a place, all you need to do is register on our booking form. Registration takes two or three minutes, and no payment is taken at this stage. Additionally, if you want to change your start date further down the line, all you need to do is let us know and we can arrange this – and with no additional cost.

The deadline to register and enrol for the next cohort is January 15, and there are further cohorts in May and September.

Alongside our iSenco course, we also deliver NPQs, the UK National Award, our MEd SEND programme, our world-leading Professional Assessment Programme and more. All our courses are delivered online and suited to delegates based all over the world. In fact, we have current participants in 53 countries across the globe.

Effectively supporting young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs in schools

As you are probably aware, today is World Mental Health Day. Perhaps there are activities in your setting to discuss this and raise awareness of some of the issues – spoken and unspoken – which will affect at least some of the students in your care? According to a study by Green H et al in 2005, one in ten children has a diagnosable mental health disorder. And a more recent study by the Office for National Statistics in 2016 suggested that perhaps unsurprisingly for those on the frontline of education, close to one in four children and young people show some evidence of poor mental health.

Finding effective strategies, allied to empathy

Clearly, as both an educator and a public servant, your first inclination when working with students with social, emotional or mental health challenges is – quite rightly – to be empathetic.

However, what many educators have told us over the years is that, particularly in this area of need, knowing how to approach these issues is fraught with concern. The fear of inadvertently causing distress through well-intentioned actions is true of everyone in society when engaging with people who are suffering from these challenges, but particularly acute with teachers.

Improved insight giving better outcomes

Allied to working with mental health and medical professionals as part of the teacher’s duty of care, there are also training options available to empower educators with practical skills and knowledge to help make a positive difference to students’ scholastic and life outcomes.

Real Training offers a masters module in Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs as part of our MEd SEND programme. This 30-credit module (validated by Middlesex University) can be taken as either a standalone module, combined with our Evidence and Pedagogy for Inclusion module to confer upon graduates a postgraduate certificate in SEND: Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs, or give 30 credits towards a full masters for the module, or 60 when combined with Evidence and Pedagogy for Inclusion.

Whether participants simply want to gain the skills and knowledge from the module itself or make it part of their ongoing progression, our programme is entirely flexible.

What are the benefits of the module?

Full details of the module’s content, outcomes, costs, start dates and more can be found on the Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs webpage. But the core aspects which make our programmes different are that they’re:

  • Delivered and tutored by experts. Our Module Leader, Sarah Norris, is a senior Educational Psychologist who has worked extensively with schools and young people with SEND and specialises in the field of mental health. Sarah is supported by other expert tutors in delivering our module.
  • Flexibly delivered, fully online. We know that the life of the educator is extremely busy and unpredictable. So our fully-tutored, online courses have no internal deadlines, so you can work at a pace – and at times – to suit your real life.
  • Based on psychology. Real Training is founded and owned by Educational Psychologists, so all of our programmes are based on the latest, and most rigorous, psychological insight.

What are the next steps?

If you have seen enough and want to book your place for our next cohort in January, you can book your place today online. Booking online takes just a couple of minutes, and no payment is needed at this stage.

Does your school need more depth in your access arrangements team?

At Real Training, we speak to dozens of access arrangements assessors every day – after all, we train more than 500 educators to become qualified access arrangements professionals every year.

What they are telling us on a regular basis is how much they’d value having another member of the team qualified to complete access arrangements – and as we approach Form 8 time it’s a conversation we have ever-more often.

With that in mind, perhaps your school is considering getting an additional resource?

Our Access Arrangements Assessor course (CPT3A) is the most popular in the UK for a variety of reasons. Our CPT3A course is:

  • Delivered in a way which suits schools and teachers. Either fully online (saving on travel and arranging cover) or blended, with our acclaimed 3-day intensive CCET course to start, and accelerate the process.
  • A path to ongoing development. Our course lets graduates join either of our master’s courses, validated by Middlesex University as if they have 30 credits.
  • In line with the standards laid down by the British Psychological Society. Our graduates receive the BPS’s test user educational qualification. 
  •  Supported. All of our courses benefit from one-to-one expert tutoring meaning our participants always feel fully supported throughout their learning journey.

Our fully-online courses are available to start at any point, and we’ve upcoming 3-day intensive events for the CCET module in London, Bristol and Manchester.

Real Training’s Access Arrangements Update course is now live – and free to access

If you haven’t yet registered for our free-to-access Access Arrangements Update course, it is now live. 
Covering all the changes to the JCQ regulations this course comprises a series of videos, webinars, case studies, a forum and more, so you can make sure you are able to submit EAA forms this coming year with confidence. The content will be available to registrants for 12 months, so you can come back and double-check at any time, and post questions to peers and tutors on the forum. 
To register, simply contact us with your name and preferred email address and we’ll send you a login within 48 hours. 

Real Training’s free Access Arrangements Update Course coming next week

For those who registered for our free Access Arrangements Update Course, we wanted to update you on progress, so you can be assured that you will have all the information you need in good time to undertake access arrangements for the year ahead with complete confidence. Our programme leaders Sophia and Louise are currently putting the finishing touches to the course, which will be available for you to access next week. 
This course will be hosted on our virtual learning environment, Campus Online, for which you’ll be sent log-in details via email next week once the course is live. This course can be viewed as many times as you like for the coming year to allow you to remind yourself of the changes and their implementation on an ongoing basis. The course will comprise:
  • An introductory video
  • A film and slide presentation on gathering, presenting and submitting evidence
  • A detailed run-through of the changes to access arrangements for the coming year
  • Reminders and clarifications 
  • A step-by-step guide on completion of a Form 8 
Additionally, there will be multiple choice questionnaires you can complete to check you’ve correctly understood the changes and their interpretations, case studies, links and downloads for JCQ forms and the full JCQ changes and also a forum where you can start and contribute to discussions with your peers and colleagues across the country. 
If you have not registered yet for our free Access Arrangements Update Course, please contact us to do so. 

Deadline for DfE-funded NPQ places less than two weeks away

We’ve been informed by the DfE that a hiatus on funding is about to take effect. So if you want to benefit from a government-funded NPQ, you need to enrol by 12 September. Check here if your school is within a DfE opportunity area – and as such you should be eligible for a fully-funded NPQ course or contact us.



What NPQ courses do Real Training offer?

We offer NPQs at middlesenior and headship levels – to benefit everyone from aspiring leaders at the start of their teaching career, through to current or aspirant head teachers.

What makes our courses different?

As well as a deep-seated and long-standing commitment to inclusive learning and improving outcomes for all, Real Training have always been an expert, next-generation online learning provider. We believe that, in educators real lives, flexibility – coupled with support, are absolutely vital to effective development.

Our programmes have no internal deadlines, so the learning adapts to you and doesn’t force you to make compromises between in-school commitments and learning deadlines. And as the experts in fully-online masters-level training, we are the only provider in the UK accredited by the DfE to deliver NPQs entirely online.

There are many, many other benefits to studying for your NPQ with Real Training, all of which are detailed on the NPQ web site. But most of all, studying with Real Training means you can benefit from leading-edge inclusive leadership development, informed by educational psychology, without the added stress of internal deadlines or having to be away from your school.

What are the next steps to register and benefit from a funded place?

Registering is simplicity itself. All you have to do is go to our booking form, select the course for you and complete a few brief details – it takes no more than a couple of minutes. If you do want to take the next step in your leadership journey – and benefit from a funded place – make sure you register by 12 September. Once your form is submitted, our education support team will work with you on the next steps to get you enrolled and on the path to new skills and career opportunities.

iSenco – New course specifically created for International Schools


With the new school year getting fully underway, now is a time we often reflect on new challenges, aims and personal goals the year ahead brings. With that, many will be looking at developing their own skills and those within their team.

World class training for educators across the globe

We’ve always had a fully inclusive ethos, not just for the students under our graduates’ care, but also in how we create and deliver our training. Our globally-acclaimed training programmes have always been delivered largely online, and are all practice-led, meaning that participants across the world, in any type of setting, can use their real-world circumstances to inform their development. As a company created and owned by former educators, we understand the importance of new skills being actionable, practical and giving ongoing improvement. However, listening to our friends and colleagues in British International Schools, we knew we could do more. So we have.

Taking the best of the UK’s SEND training, creating new courses specifically for International Schools

Firstly, we’ve created a new international version of our hugely popular National Award in SEN Coordination tailored to the needs and circumstances of international schools, based in the UK and overseas. This new iSenco qualification differs in several ways, to make it ideal for those not based in UK mainstream state school settings. The iSenco qualification:

  • Does not require participants to have UK QTS or QTLS, removing the biggest barrier to access for many based in international schools
  • Takes a location-agnostic view on the legislative framework, whereas the UK award focuses entirely on the legislation and regulations in England and Wales
  • Gives participants detailed guidance on many areas most common in international schools including third-culture students, the intersection of SEN and EAL
  • Confers a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits at masters level) to all graduates
  • Gives a pathway to completing our fully-validated MEd SEND programme

The next cohort starts this September, so if you want to book your place you can do so now, or find out more on the course web page.

What is more, following a hugely successful and sold-out CCET (Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing) course we delivered in Dubai in April, we are now running another course from 18-20 September in Dubai. A few places still remain, so if you or one of your team want to join fellow delegates, please book soon to avoid disappointment.

If you have any questions at all, about our iSenco qualification, our acclaimed CCET course taking place in Dubai or anything else, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of advisors who are here to help. 

CCET – The UK’s leading qualification in Educational Testing

Access Arrangements Course (AAC)

In April, we delivered our market-leading Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET) qualification locally in Dubai. It was an overwhelming success with lots of great feedback from the course delegates. Here’s what some of the delegates have said:



‘One of the best courses I have attended. Informative, well delivered and organised.’

Javene from GEMS First Point School, U.A.E

‘Amazing and should be a part of the general teaching qualification.’  

Tracey from GEMS Metropole School, U.A.E

Fantastic course, it’s definitely a must!’  

Kirsha from Sunmarke School, U.A.E

‘Extremely informative and thought provoking!’  

Donna from King’s School Al Barsha, U.A.E

With the April course fully booked, we decided to hold another course in Dubai for those starting new roles or looking for new challenges in the new academic year, or simply for those who missed out on the course in April.

The new course will be held on 18-20 September at the Horizon International School in Dubai and there are still a few spaces left so book now to avoid disappointment.

During and after the course you will be working closely with our highly qualified and experienced senior educational psychologists.

Please take a look at our CCET page for more information. If you deal with access arrangements applications at your school, you may be interested in combining the CCET with our Access Arrangements Course (AAC) to gain the Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements (CPT3A) – a qualification which meets the JCQ criteria for access arrangements assessors.

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?



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?


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