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An Interview with Catherine Burton

                                                             Catherine Burton – CPT3A, AAC

Catherine BurtonCatherine has worked in education for over twenty years. She currently works in a Catholic Secondary School in West Yorkshire. Catherine has a keen interest in SEND, especially in Autism and Dyslexia.

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

After doing extensive Google research I chose Real Training. I was impressed with how clear and easy to navigate it was. There was lots of background information about the group and also clear information for each training course they had to offer.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Real Training. My course tutors were incredibly helpful and patient. Even though they worked part-time, I always received replies to any queries I had on the same day I sent them. Talk about going above and beyond! It has been a while since I have done any training but at no point did I ever feel unsupported. The customer care team were also excellent, I had a technical issue which was entirely my fault and it was dealt with quickly and efficiently.

How has the courses helped make an impact at school? 

The SEN department had gone through a complete staff change prior to me starting my role, the previous two qualified assessors had retired. The school had to ‘buy in’ an assessor for the class of 2022 students as their Access Arrangement Applications had not been processed. My qualification has had a significant impact on the school. The knowledge I have gained has allowed me to audit the current documentation which has resulted in four students now having Access Arrangements in place. We also have had several students whose parents have been challenging the school about what support their child should get, the knowledge which I have obtained has allowed me to advise the SENCO on what is and isn’t allowed. We now have two other staff members undertaking the course.

How has the courses helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

Having worked in education for over twenty years I thought I had a fairly good understanding of the evidence needed for Access Arrangements and how applications are made. The course allowed me to increase my prior knowledge bank and ‘fill in’ the blanks, meaning I now have a comprehensive understanding of the process from beginning to end.

An Interview with Katie Lohan

Katie Lohan – CPT3A

Katie has been working in SEND for ten years and is currently based at an international School in Oman. Since joining her current school as a SENDCo, working for students in early primary, she has done lots of work in literacy difficulties, speech and language, speech delay and engaging the children in picture communication. Since September 2020, with a history as a Primary teacher, she has now become SENDCO with responsibility of all students within the school. Katie also has interest in parent engagement. She spends a lot of time working with parents of children experiencing SEND, helping them navigate the systems and empowering them with knowledge which is not readily available in the Middle East.

What made you choose the Real Training course(s) over other options?

When researching a course to undertake to gain qualifications for assessing, Real Training came highly recommended from many sources. As I am in Oman, a face-to-face course would not have been an option for me. The flexible nature of the Real Training course was a huge advantage for me as a lot of courses available have live classes at times that don’t line up with our time differences. The option to complete at my own pace was a huge positive also due to a busy workload and online school delaying some of the sections for me. It was easily accessible at all times.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

From the very start, Real Training were great to deal with. I received my training manual in very quick time by the courier and was able to get started right away. The material in the manual was very well laid out and using it along with the online resources was great. The videos in particular I found very useful. The sample submissions and other downloadable documents were of great help also. The personal aspect to the course in terms of tutor feedback was excellent and one of the highlights for me. The feedback given was always constructive and supportive and well placed to guide and support. The forums where you could communicate with other participants was good also. It was comforting to read other’s thoughts and questions as often they were similar to mine. Campus Online was a very user-friendly platform and was always functional with no technical issues. This was reassuring when studying fully online. It was easy to navigate and well laid out section by section. Across the board, the Real Training team must be commended for their commitment to its participants and the quality of courses.

How has the course helped make an impact at school? 

Since completing the course I have successfully undertaken a schedule of different assessments to include the YARC, CTOPP2 and DASH. This was only possible through the experience gained in the CCET course. I have also put through a number of online applications for Access Arrangements for our GCSE students. The AAC section of the CPT3A was excellent in guiding me through the process. 

How has the course helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

As the only trained assessor in my school, it has been a great opportunity for me to develop in many skills particularly in assessing students of all ages. It has given me a lot more confidence in my assessing across the school. I hope to develop a coherent system of record keeping and assessment pathways for the school. Due to the school having no SENDCo up to now, this is something I will endeavour to achieve with the new qualifications to support me.

An Interview with Emma Sison

Emma Sison – CPT3A Intensive

Emma currently works as a Deputy Examination Manager within a mainstream secondary school and sixth form in Suffolk, which has 1500 students. She has recently completed the CCET intensively with us and is now starting the AAC component of the CPT3A qualification.  When asked what her specific interest areas are within SEND, Emma explained that she is fairly new to the role but passionate about working alongside the school SENCO to support their students. We had a chat with Emma to see how she found her time on CCET and what her plans are once she has obtained the full CPT3A.

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

I originally found out about Real Training once I had been asked to do the qualification and it was recommended by a few of my colleagues. It worked really well being able to complete it online and have it fit around my current work situation. The time they give you to complete the course is enough to give you the flexibility and work at your own speed.

I also found it was really useful to be able to do the online aspect and chat with others in the same or similar situations.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The whole experience with Real Training has been amazing! Angela was amazing at booking me onto both courses and answering all the questions that I had.

The online platform for the intensive course and the module page was also great – easy to navigate and the resources were well put together! The tasks following the day course put all the learning together in a great practical element, which tied everything together nicely. Being able to do the online training and be split into smaller groups for work was also useful to be able to almost have that face-to-face interaction.

Now I have attended the one intensive day for AAC (now doing my work on this) and the three days for CCET, both presenters and tutors are so great. Very responsive and the feedback given was clear, relevant and really useful for me going forward.

I honestly cannot thank the whole Real Training team enough for their support and commitment to everyone on the course. On top of this, it has given me a better understanding of SEND and what is involved in terms of AA.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

Despite not having completed the full CPT3A, I have already been able to push for more test kits to be purchased and streamline the process a little bit with our SENCO – who is already a qualified EAA assessor. Once I am also fully qualified, this will help a great deal.

Also as a non-teaching member of staff – I hope to be able to assess students as and when they are brought to my attention and ensure that support is in place early on in their studies.

How has the course helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

It has been great to be learning again. The course has taught me a lot but also given me the confidence to be able to conduct educational testing.

I look forward to putting my qualification to use and doing the Access Arrangement Assessments in school. They are already in talks for me to oversee AA in other secondary schools in our Trust too – which will be interesting for me to be able to do.

 

An Interview with Tina Thompson

Tina Thompson Tina Thompson – DPRW and CPT3A

Tina currently works as an Academic Support Teacher and Assessor for Access Arrangements. The role is within an Independent Senior School based in Bedford. She has a special interest in Dyslexia. Tina recently completed the Dyslexia Professional Report Writing module with us at Real Training. In previous years, Tina has also completed our Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements (CPT3A). We caught up to ask Tina about her time studying with us.

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

I initially discovered Real Training through a colleague who had completed a course. I was looking for a course I could study that would fit into my work pattern. Online learning seemed the way to go and then I investigated how rigorous and professional the courses were at Real Training. I found only excellent reviews and made my decision on that basis. I noticed there was a lot of support from tutors, a library with a vast selection of relevant resources and plenty of guidance with assignments.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I enjoyed studying the courses with Real Training, they were challenging academically but I saw this as a positive. If I needed additional support and guidance, it was easy to contact my tutor and the help was always constructive, clear and accessible. I found this gave me confidence in my own development. There was the opportunity for one to one contact either via Zoom or phone. I found this really valuable. Each course did meet my expectations in terms of challenge, professional development and new learning. I particularly enjoyed the library resources and reading academic articles and journals. These led to greater knowledge around subjects such as developments in Dyslexia. 

How has the course had an impact on you professionally and your school?

The impact at school is linked to two developments. I am now able to assess for Exam Access Arrangements and complete diagnostic reports for Dyslexia. Additionally, these skills assist in informing support plans for students following assessments. 

 

 

An Interview with Karen Goulden

Karen GouldenKaren Goulden – CPT3A and DPRW

Karen Goulden currently works as a Specialist Teacher for the Dyslexia Outreach Service, her main area of interest is Dyslexia. Currently based at a secondary school, Karen’s role entails devising support plans for pupils aged 5 to 18 from across Norfolk. Karen has completed CPT3A and DPRW with us, so we caught up with her to see what she had to say about both courses.

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

I have completed a range of courses over the last five years but I find the Real Training courses the most practical and accessible. The layout of their online platform, Campus Online, is easy to navigate. Relevant support materials were available at every stage and the information was always up to date. I also found it easy to monitor my own progress throughout the course, seeing what work had been completed and what was left to finish. This kept me focused and motivated.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

The courses have been very practical and completely related to my line of work. All tasks and assignments were relevant. My tutor was very responsive and I loved the access to the library and chat forums. It was also helpful to be able to refer to the work of previous delegates for guidance.

How do you think the course will impact your school?

Obtaining my APC will give schools and parents confidence in the reports that they receive. Thanks to my time on both courses I will also feel more confident about those reports. Furthermore, I have been able to share lots of information from the course with my colleagues, for example; the most relevant tests to use, the length of time we should spend on an assessment and creating our own assessment framework.

How has the course helped developed you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

Completing the course has improved my confidence in the work I do. Secondly being able to share information with colleagues has led to greater consistency in the team’s report writing. It has certainly made me a more reflective practitioner. I look forward to obtaining my APC but irrespective of this, my overall understanding in putting together all the elements involved in diagnosing Dyslexia has been improved.

An Interview with Sadie Wilkinson

Sadie Wilkinson

Sadie Wilkinson – CCET Intensive

Sadie Wilkinson currently works as a Science Teacher and is on secondment in the SENCo role. Earlier this year, she completed our CCET qualification and is now completing AAC. Working in a selective secondary school in Lincolnshire, Sadie has always had an interest in SEND. Her sister attended a special needs school and Sadie has worked in one since completing her Human Biology Degree.

Looking to the future, Sadie hopes to undertake the SENCo course, expanding her knowledge of SEN. Below, Sadie tells us a little bit about her time studying with Real Training, so far.

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

I had been looking at completing the CCET and AAC courses for a while and did my research into the costs and how to go about completing these courses. Real Training was a provider that came up a number of times during my research and I was intrigued as to what they had to offer. After reading up on how Real Training delivers the courses, what was included and the costs, I knew it would be the right choice for me.

Furthermore, recommendations from people on a forum I am part of also helped me decided to choose Real Training. It was important for me to know I could complete the work whilst in full-time employment – another factor in my decision.

In terms of course content, the ability to identify different tests and know which ones to use and when was vital. Everything I needed was available through Real Training.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The course exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed the 3-day intensive online option where I had a chance to meet other people who were just as new to this as me. We were split into smaller groups at times and asked to complete smaller tasks together and then re-joined the whole group to give feedback. It wasn’t 3 days of just listening to the presenters. We could ask questions at any point and the presenters were really helpful in providing us with the information.

Campus Online is so easy to use. The tasks are all laid out clearly and you can see what you need to do and how you need to do it. All work is uploaded onto here and you can contact your tutor at any time to ask for help. Feedback from your work is clearly given and you can see what you need to do to improve if needed.

My tutor was extremely supportive. My work was marked promptly, giving me time to make any amendments where necessary. I really enjoyed the course and feel I learned a lot from it. I will be looking to complete further courses with Real Training in the future and I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone else.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

This course, and my completion of AAC, will make a huge impact on our school. Being the only member of staff holding this qualification at present I will be able to promptly assess any students who require it without having to wait for the specialist assessor.

We currently pay for an external specialist assessor to come in and assess our students, having me in school able to do this will greatly reduce the wait time and cost, and give the SENCo relevant information on these students as quickly as needed.

How has the course helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

The course has given me a great deal of knowledge in educational testing. I feel confident in knowing which assessments to carry out and how to interpret the findings from these tests.

With my new knowledge and skills, I hope to be able to work alongside our SENCo department and support the school. Identifying students for assessment, assessing them, and then establishing how best to support these students through their years at our school is something I feel strongly about.

An Interview with Lisa Pongpiriyaporn

Lisa Pongpiriyaporn – SEND Programme

Lisa works as the K-12 ELL Coordinator at The KAUST IB School in Saudi Arabia. Explaining her special interests in SEND, Lisa said;

“Within a RtI framework, I’m interested in how schools create a robust tier 1 approach to differentiate and scaffold language and learning, reducing the need for tier 2 intervention. Current research around the science of reading and the impact of instruction on how children learn to read also interests me. Alongside, culturally responsive design for English Language Learners and developing intercultural competence within school faculty. Our school is currently using Universal Design for Learning as an approach and planning for learner variability is interesting to me”.

Having completed CPT3A, Cognition & Learning and Psychology for Education at Real Training, we wanted to catch up with Lisa to see how she found her time.

What made you choose Real Training courses over other options?

Real Training offers a range of courses that suited both my professional goals and my preference for flexible study. I like to determine my own study pathway, as I balance many professional and personal interests. Studying with Real Training has enabled me to do this, which means the study can be enjoyable rather than stressful.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The study platform is accessible and well-structured with excellent support and guidance from tutors. As courses are contextualised in my current professional setting, I am able to explore relevant areas in-depth. This has benefitted my study but also my understanding and knowledge of the current research connected with my role.

How have the courses helped make an impact at school?

The course has definitely supported my professional growth and enabled me to be a more informed instructional coach and leader of teams. As an ELL Coordinator, part of a multidisciplinary student support team, I have a deeper understanding of my context and feel up-to-date with current research and evidence-based practices, meaning I feel better skilled to impact others.

How has the course helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

The course has increased and updated my knowledge and practice. I feel I can make better contributions and decisions at work. In the future, I aspire to lead a student support team.

An Interview with Caroline Dodsworth – CPT3A & DPRW

Caroline Dodsworth – CPT3A & DPRW

Caroline currently works as a freelance SEN consultant, assessor and tutor. Working across a variety of maintained and independent schools as well as working independently as a practitioner. Caroline works in multiple schools across London and Dubai. With a special interest in Dyslexia, Caroline completed her MA in 2014 entitling her dissertation “Teaching Strategies for Dyslexic Writers”. Having formerly completed CPT3A and more recently our Dyslexia Professional Report Writing (DPRW) module we wanted to find out what Caroline thought of her time studying with Real Training.

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

Real Training offers the best value for money courses, leading to recognised professional qualifications. A former colleague recommended Real Training to me when I was considering undertaking CCET a few years ago – CCET is the first component of the CPT3A qualification.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The online courses offered by Real Training allowed me to study anywhere in the world. This was especially important as I have dual UK and UAE residency. The assignments in the Real Training modules are broken down into a series of smaller tasks, which assist you with the larger assignments. I found this helpful as it prevents the feelings of becoming overwhelmed, which is particularly important when combining study with a busy working life.

Campus Online is structured in a way that allows you to monitor your progress throughout your chosen course. Showing you how much of the course you have completed and how much you have left. Again, this is helpful for planning your assignments around a busy workload. The library resources are excellent and it is helpful to be able to see the previous work of other delegates.

The tutors at Real Training are responsive and supportive. They always provide constructive feedback and recognise that their students are often long standing professionals.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

The CPT3A course (made up of both CCET and AAC), that I undertook several years ago, had a direct impact on the school where I was working as a SENCO. It meant that as a qualified access arrangement assessor, the access arrangements testing could be brought in-house. This saved the school time and money.

Having recently completed the DPRW course, in addition to my previous qualifications, I am now fully qualified to provide full diagnostic assessments. These provide a much more holistic and rounded view of a student. Additionally, this will assist in ensuring that they receive the most appropriate intervention. Working independently also means that these skills will be applied widely.

How has the course helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

The DPRW module has deepened my knowledge of assessment, when to seek the support of other professionals and the need for consistent format in report writing.

I hope to apply these skills for the benefit of students both in schools and independently in the future.

Lauren Millar – CPT3A

An Interview wiLauren Millarth Lauren Millar – CPT3A

Lauren Millar is the Education Support Co-ordinator for the Northern Regional College in Northern Ireland. They are a Further Education College offering a comprehensive range of qualifications for school leavers, full and part-time courses for adults, apprenticeships, professional qualifications and university accredited courses. We asked Lauren if she has any special interests surrounding SEND and she said “I am interested in Inclusive Education, particularly in identifying and reducing barriers to Education. I work with a cohort of students who have often disengaged in mainstream school. I do have a personal interest in Dyslexia and Autism as well.”

Completing the CPT3A qualification with Real Training this year, we spoke with Lauren to see what she made of the course and studied with us.

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

Real Training was the best option for me as it gave me the flexibility to study around my working commitments. I originally wanted to complete the course to become an assessor for Access Arrangements but I really enjoyed gaining in-depth knowledge about psychometric testing.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

Real Training provided excellent tutor support and gave me the tools and confidence to succeed in using this qualification to greatly advance the service we provide.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

This course has greatly benefitted the service we provide in Education Support as it has increased the range of services I am able to offer the students. I asked Stephen McCartney, our Head of Student Services, how he feels my completion of the course has had an impact. He said;

‘Apart from extending the knowledge of my staff, this course has allowed me to extend the services we provide to students who require Access Arrangements for exams. To have this capability on campus means that we can respond to student’s needs much more quickly and effectively. The quality of the provision we now offer is reflective of that provided by the course and we have been pleased to have been able to access such training’ 

How has the course helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

Having completed the course, I have been able to reflect back on my own professional practice. Not only in regard to Access Arrangements but how I work with and support students who have a range of needs. This has contributed to the service I provide within the College, not only with regard to Access Arrangements but in all I do.

 

 

Stephen Oswald – CPT3A

An Interview with Stephen Oswald – CPT3A

When Stephen Oswald moved to the UK he sought ways of expanding his experience in primary and secondary teaching. He found working with young people post 16 was a refreshing challenge. He is currently a Specialist Assessor and SENCo at a large multicultural sixth form college in south-east London and Kent. 

What made you choose Real Training over other options? 

When the college where I worked was taken over by a large collegiate early in 2013, more specialist assessors were needed as soon as possible. My senior colleague recommended Real Training for their efficiency, adding that I could qualify within a year. 

 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

My colleague’s advice was sound. As soon as funds were available, I applied for CPT3A and finished this course ahead of schedule. Not long after qualifying, JCQ stipulated that the assessor’s qualification must be at level 7 and should reflect 100 hours of practical input.  It was really helpful when Real Training re-issued my certificate in 2015 – with a supporting letter-  to confirm that these requirements indeed have been met.

Throughout all courses with Real Training, I really benefited from the prompt formative feedback on submitted work. The online programmes are easy to navigate, and progress can be self-monitored instantly. It is impossible to miss a component, which actually did happen when I followed another course with a different provider – luckily, they gave me some extension…

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

My CPT3A course has helped me to appreciate that a substantial number of young people in every cohort need an extra depth of understanding and guidance. For that reason, I continued studying ASD and Dyslexia at Post-Graduate Diploma level. This extension has helped greatly in finding ways of making ILP’s and EHCP’s work as secondary school pupils transfer through to sixth-form. Annually, I take care of around 45 EHCP reviews across sites.

How has the course helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with the new knowledge/skills in the future?

Real Training has better equipped me for my role as a Specialist Assessor and SENCo. Per year I have meetings and administer assessments with over 300 students across sites. It is very rewarding playing a small part in the students’ progress and assisting them in overcoming obstacles – always realising that ultimately it is their endeavour that sees them through in triumph. 

Real Training has also prepared me to lead insets and training – to new teaching staff in particular. About meeting the needs of students with disabilities, learning difficulties and EAL. I have also been able to specialise in writing and illustrating training material for in-house use, aiming for the greatest clarity possible, through brevity, logic and humour. 

At present, most work in Additional Learning Support is done via video-link. This has for me only been possible thanks to a solid basis of practice-based training and application of skills in real-life pre-Covid, and I look forward to a safe opening up of society and really see our students back again.