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See what our tutors say about our courses…

Our tutors and module leaders have one overarching focus that informs all that they do – to make a real difference to the lives of those with SEND.

Find out what they think of our courses below.

To see what our delegates say about us, visit our Delegate Feedback page.

What our directors say

Our company directors are highly experienced educational psychologists, working very much at the forefront of SEN education. They are passionately committed to inclusive education and its ability to transform lives.

Dr Mark Turner - Co-founder & Director of Real Group, Enquiry-Based SEND Practice, Leadership of Inclusive Practice, Enquiry-Based Inclusive Practice

Biography

Mark is an educational psychologist and co-founder of the Nurture Group Network. He has a broad range of experience in SEND practice as a teacher, SENCO, lecturer, and mentor to students undertaking professional development training. Mark has lectured and tutored at the University of East London and is also a director and founder of Real Training.

Why study Enquiry-based SEND Practice?

‘You will develop your own practice-based evidence in your setting. This will build confidence around your work in schools and will help you transform your work in education. This module tends to be one of the final modules of the MEd qualification. As such, it rounds off your programme of study by embedding professional practice into your professional skills.’

Why are these modules different?

‘This module – in fact all of our modules – are about helping professionals to feel more confident and competent in their work. As educational psychologists, we’ve all worked in schools with teachers and education professionals who want to know how to work best with children. We have all completed research to MA and PhD level and believe that practice makes a huge difference to the quality of education and life of children and young people.’

What are the typical backgrounds of those who take the course?

‘Generally, education professionals with an undergraduate degree.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘They can offer their colleagues a way of working in which they can reflect and bring about change. They will have knowledge of a particular way, a structure and a process of working so that they can continue to develop new knowledge.’

What are you proudest of?

‘We’re building on each delegate’s practice, using the knowledge and skills that they have already attained, and bringing about real change in their practice.’

Siobhan Mellor - Director, Real Group

Biography

Siobhan is a director of Real Group and has been leading the highly successful National Award for SEN Coordination (NASCO) course since 2010. As a respected and experienced educational psychologist, she has worked with children and young people in mainstream and special schools for 15 years. Throughout this time, Siobhan has worked collaboratively with SENCOs and teachers in mainstream and special schools across different local authorities to support whole-school systems and interventions for pupils with SEND. Siobhan passionately believes in the National Award for SEN Coordination, because of its ability to support SENCOs across the UK and overseas in meeting the fundamental needs of children with SEND in schools.

Why study for the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO)?

‘It’s a guided, supported way of reviewing the current good practice, research and guidance documentation that are currently informing SEND practice across mainstream and special schools in the UK. It enables aspiring SENCOs, new-to-role SENCOs and experienced SENCOs to have structured opportunities to read the latest literature, apply it to current practice in their schools, and evaluate the impact of their practice within a supportive network of professionals.’

Why are these modules different?

‘They offer distinct opportunities for SENCOs to spend as much time as possible located in their schools doing their job. It’s constantly evolving and developing in response to the latest research, guidance and feedback that we get from those on the course. As a practice-led online model, it also has some distinct advantages. We believe that it is not sufficient for our delegates to finish simply knowing more; indeed we feel that it has to feed into their practice and have a direct impact on the children that they work with. Without exception, our activities have been designed around giving each and every delegate access to new content, opportunities for implementation and then reflection on the impact of their practice within their setting. This approach has the best impact on both the learning of the children they support and also their learning as a SENCO.’

What are the typical backgrounds of those who take the course?

‘Typically, they are new-to-role SENCOs. As the course has become increasingly established, well-known and respected, we have an increasing number of experienced SENCOs who want to take it for their own professional knowledge and development. We also welcome aspiring SENCOs – those who are keen to do the study and be supported in their school as they are planning and preparing to take on the role of a SENCO.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘Our course equips people with an understanding of the need for their knowledge, skills and practice to have a direct impact on learners progress and for these outcomes to be evaluated. It also gives them the leading edge in an interview situation.’

What are you proudest of?

‘We are continually asking delegates for feedback. One delegate submitted an evaluation yesterday and it was wonderful to read. As a direct result of our course, she felt that her knowledge of interventions and her ability to evaluate the impact and fine tune them had seen children with SEN at her school making accelerated progress and outperforming other pupils in the school who didn’t have SEN. It is particularly humbling to see that the skills and training that we offer are having a direct impact on the most vulnerable children.’

What our module leaders say

Our module leaders are experts in their field. They drive our modules, lead our tutors and guide our students. They are high-profile practising individuals and know their subjects inside out.

Dr Julie Cozens - Dyslexia - Leadership & Intervention

Biography

Julie is an educational psychologist and a qualified teacher specialising in literacy and interventions for dyslexia. She has delivered dyslexia training to teachers and trainee EPs at Exeter University and has made key contributions to the development of dyslexia policy and practice in a number of local authorities.

Why study Dyslexia – Leadership and Intervention?

‘We have created an online academic community which is really user-friendly and interactive, to ensure that the experience of distance learning with us is not lonely. These modules will give each student an essential overview of a complex area. They will learn how to identify dyslexia and how to support each learner through programmes and interventions across the school. They will also know how to lead and manage the school’s dyslexic provision and harness the environment to increase support and change outcomes.’

Why are these modules different?

‘Some courses take a particular view of dyslexia. We don’t! We acknowledge the range of theories and views about dyslexia and believe that this approach is key to treating such a complex condition effectively.’

What are the typical backgrounds of those who take the course?

‘They are teachers working in a range of age groups both nationally and internationally. Many of them are in, or are about to take on, a management role.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘This module gives students a really full picture of the complexities and controversies that inform dyslexia. It gives you a brilliant overview and prepares you for complexity.’

What are you proudest of?

‘It grapples with some quite complex theories. However, because it’s grounded in people’s everyday practice, it hangs together in a way that is meaningful and relevant to people.’

Dr Ruth Deutsch - CAP

Biography

Ruth is one of the UK’s leading dynamic assessment and cognitive education trainers. As an educational and child psychologist, she combines clinical practice with training, consults to the Hope Centre in London and teaches on the Doctorate for Educational and Child Psychologists at the University of East London and Queen’s University, Belfast. She is also co-author of the Cognitive Abilities Profile.

Why study Dynamic Assessment and Mediation of Cognitive Functions?

‘Dynamic Assessment helps our students to understand their pupils’ thinking and the blocks in their thinking. It deepens each teacher’s awareness of the difficulties that may be lying in the way of their pupils becoming more effective and efficient learners.’

Why are these modules different?

‘It is the first distance learning module which touches on dynamic assessment. It gives them the beginnings of tools and an important classroom approach to the understanding of what dynamic assessment is and what it focuses on. It makes a very important contribution to the wider understanding of learning.’

What are the typical backgrounds of those who take the course?

‘Psychologists, SENCOs, specialist teachers and speech therapists – professions where assessment is very much within their framework of learning.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

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

What are you proudest of?

‘That we will reach a lot of teachers and students in the classroom. Ultimately, we want to get this specialist framework into the awareness and the practice of a much wider range of people. It is this aim that makes us proud.’

Kate Fieldhouse - CCET Online, ATU

Biography

Kate is an educational psychologist and has been the principal tutor on this course since its inception. She has helped develop the teaching and learning activities that have made it the industry standard for those wanting to understand testing and assessment in an educational context. Kate is particularly interested in access for, and assessment of, those with sensory impairment.

Why study for the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET)?

‘Our course enables busy teachers and SENCOs to study what they want when they want. From Egypt to South America, from India to Greece, our online course enables students from the across the globe to explore educational testing in their own time, setting and place.’

Why are these modules different?

‘We have been running this course for a long time now and are one of its leading providers. We have a unique focus on psychometrics and testing and this focus is driven by tutors who are psychologists and experts in testing.’

What are the typical backgrounds of those who take the course?

‘A typical background would be a secondary teacher or SEN coordinator who is studying it in conjunction with the Access Arrangements Course.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘These modules are as important to the school as the individual taking it. Our course supports schools in demonstrating their progress and effectiveness. It also allows them to spend their money wisely by training up teachers and doing assessments themselves in-house.’

What are you proudest of?

‘When I get fantastic feedback that says how much they have enjoyed it, or how much they have learned.’

Sarah Norris - Social, Emotional & Mental Health Needs & Difficulties, CCET Intensive

Sarah Norris

Biography

Sarah joined Real Training as a senior educational psychologist, having had over 13 years’ experience working within a local authority. She has worked extensively with schools and young people with a range of SEN needs and across all age ranges. Most recently, Sarah has specialised in the field of mental health and young people with social and emotional needs. She has a diploma in solution-focused practice, has worked therapeutically supporting young people, and developed, delivered and managed an early intervention-based approach with a mental health service in her previous local authority role.

Why study the Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties?

‘Current data on young people’s psychological well being is clearly indicating our need to focus on this subject area and there is something profoundly important about working with children and young people and trying to help them to change the course of their lives. It is an endlessly interesting area and the modules reflect that. You are dealing with a whole range of needs right through from children with serious social/environmental difficulties, through to children with defined psychiatric/psychological difficulties and everything in between. But, essentially, you are trying to work out (forensically) what the issues are and how best to help each child. Every child is unique and you have to try and work out a path through layers of complexity. It’s a great challenge but a worthy one and this module is designed to help you with that challenge.’

Why are these modules different?

Despite growing awareness of the importance of children’s well being and psychological health, there is still paucity of information and training available. The SEMH module not only expands learning and knowledge, but it is truly practice led and links to real substantive changes in educational organisations. The online learning also signposts and supports delegates every step of the way, and is a really engaging way to learn’. 

What are the typical backgrounds of those who take the course?

‘We have a wide range of delegates from those working in mainstream provision to more specialist setting both within the UK and internationally.  Mental health is an issue for everyone working in education an this is reflected in the delegates who complete the course.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘It will improve their professional expertise and confidence and give them a real framework to work with – because it is essential to have a framework when you work with children and young people with SEMHD. Our delegates will also be provided with the latest research and will be able to use that research to inform their thinking when they are working with families, young people or other members of staff. This module will help them to make sense of particularly complex situations and respond appropriately in a positive way. In essence, it’s about understanding complexity and being able to work out what’s important and what’s not. To be able to focus on the things that you can change and succeed with, as opposed to attempting the impossible. It’s about having a practitioner framework around which you can build.’

What are you proudest of?

‘The difference that this approach can, ultimately, make to the lives of those children and young people with SEMHD.’

Dr Sue Sheppard - Autism Spectrum Conditions

Biography

Sue is a senior specialist educational psychologist working part time at the Lorna Wing Centre for Autism (part of the National Autistic Society). She has been a specialist ASD advisor/EP for a number of London boroughs for over 20 years and has also worked as a specialist teacher. Sue has been instrumental in setting up provision for children and young people with ASD across early years, primary and secondary and has an eclectic career portfolio covering lecturing, training, consultancy and diagnosis and assessment. She is a specialist speaker in autism for EPs in training at University College London and has worked in collaboration with other universities – her doctoral research focused on autism outreach services. Sue has significant experience of supporting learners online and has been a module leader on a number of ‘special needs’ programmes for various universities.

Why study Autism Spectrum Conditions?

‘It provides our students with the practical opportunities to reflect on their current work and to evaluate ways to take it forward. They will increase their knowledge and get up to date with the latest research – particularly in regard to the complexity of autism spectrum conditions. Moreover, there are a lot of programmes and training courses on autism that simply impart knowledge. This course is so practice-based that it grows and extends knowledge for each student in their setting.’

Why are these modules different?

‘It’s practice-based and the learning activities are very much about the things that you would hope teachers would be doing anyway. It caters for all kinds of students and is studied across the globe. With some students, you help them to recognise what’s good in their practice and take it forward. With others, they’re starting from scratch, so I give them a platform to instigate real change. We’re broad, not narrow. We structure the assessments in an open way so that people can make them fit their particular learning situation.’

What are the typical backgrounds of those who take the course?

‘It’s quite a mixture really. Some are very experienced and want to reinforce and extend their learning, while the younger ones are keen to develop a more specialist focus. Some international students get involved because they’re trying to get autism provision established in their own country. Sometimes we also work with parents who have a child with a diagnosis of autism.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘A reflective stance nurtured and developed in Real Group’s unique online community.’

What are you proudest of?

‘That it’s making a real difference to how learners with autism are being supported. This course enables delegates to think outside the box and adapt and change their practice. It also gives international students the knowledge, understanding and confidence to say: “You know, hang on a minute, there’s all this research, all this evidence, that we should be doing this and acting as advocates for the young people that we are working with.”‘

Dr Jane Yeomans - Cognition & Learning, Enquiry-Based SEND Practice, Enquiry-Based Inclusive Practice

Biography

Jane is a teaching fellow at the University of Birmingham and associate educational psychologist (EP) for Warwickshire County Council. She is a distinguished academic and teacher with over 30 years’ experience as a teacher and EP in nursery, primary and secondary schools. Throughout her career, her research and professional interests have focused on the effective application of psychology in the training and development of teachers and she has written a number of books and articles on psychology, critical reading and learning.

Why study Enquiry-based SEND Practice?

‘It’s a rare opportunity for learners to follow up on a topic and area that they are interested in which is related to their professional practice and can also be carried out in concentration with their colleagues.’ 

Why are these modules different?

‘It gives our students a structure for negotiating and narrowing down the focus of their research and keeps it rooted in the practitioner area.’ 

What are the typical backgrounds of those who take the course?

‘They are all working in some type of educational setting.’ 

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘A structured approach to undertaking an enquiry within their own setting.’ 

What are you proudest of?

The marrying together of practitioner needs with academic rigour. What Real Training does so well, is the distance learning element. It’s academic, rigorous, friendly, and the student is at the centre. The student experience on these modules is second to none. It shows that you can develop practical skills by distance learning. That it’s not just about book learning and doing exercises online… this is tremendously empowering for students.’

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Meet one of our delegates
Jo Miller

‘The activities, the assignments and the development of real practical skills enabled me to carry out a comprehensive school audit… and to think about and tackle the future of autism in my school.’
Read More