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An Interview with Karen Goulden

Karen Goulden – CPT3A and DPRW

Karen 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 – CCET Intensive

Sadie 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 with Lauren Millar – CPT3A

Lauren 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 studying 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 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.  

David Griffiths – NASENCO & CPT3A

 

An Interview with David Griffiths  – NASENCO & CPT3A

David completed the Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements course (CPT3A) in 2019. He has since also completed our National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO). David is currently the SENCO of a secondary school in the Midlands, he has a keen interest in psychometric testing and SEND. Read below to see how David felt about his time studying both these courses with Real Training. 

What made you choose Real Training courses over other options? 

Real Training was recommended to me in a SENCO network meeting. I did some research on the course, assessment material and previous student experiences. Based on what I had read, it definitely sounded well organised and suitable for my learning style.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

Overall, it went above and beyond my expectations. I chose the intensive route to complete CPT3A. The face to face content was excellent and really useful. The tutors were supportive, knowledgable and friendly. Everything was explained clearly and I received excellent feedback. Whilst studying NASENCO I found my tutor was really helpful and encouraging throughout. I received clear and concise feedback, regarding how to approach each assignment and meeting the assignment criteria. I was undoubtedly impressed and have since recommended Real Training to all of my colleagues and friends. 

How have the courses helped make an impact at school? 

Completing the CPT3A qualification has allowed me to conduct psychometric testing for Examination Access Arrangements. Resulting in better support for the pupils and broadening my skill set within the school. 

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

Studying with Real Training has strengthened my knowledge of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. 

An Interview with Priya Shah – MEd SEND

What does graduating from this course mean to you on a personal and a professional level?

On both a personal level and a professional level, acquiring an M.Ed in SEND after 22 years as a teacher has really raised my confidence in general, whether it be listening for the sake of listening to gain all perspectives of an idea or argument, or responding after critically analysing the information (in oral or written form, or writing professional reports, or carrying out action research, etc.

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

I was looking to gain membership on Register for Qualified Test Users (RQTU) with the British Psychological Society (BPS). I found the CPT3A course online. As I work overseas, Real Training offered a user-friendly online platform and the turn-around time for replies to emails or queries was very quick. Also, I found that all the tutors I had were educational psychologists which have a lot to offer in terms of knowledge, experience and wisdom. The school that I work in then approached me and encouraged me to continue courses to achieve a Masters. And so I did!

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The online platform was easy to use and the readings and videos were relevant to my work, thus the experience of learning was pleasant and interesting yet very rigorous. The amount of work to be done was vast but manageable once one gets organized.

How have the courses helped make an impact at school?

I have used the skills of administering standardized tests and writing reports for external exam boards from the CPT3A course and the students have thus benefitted from exam access accommodations.

I have utilized the knowledge and skills from the NASENCO course for my role as the Learning Support Case Manager of grade 11 and 12 and as the untitled team leader of our Learning Support department in the high school and work very closely with the Student Support Services Coordinator of the school as well as the grade level leaders who manage the Response to Intervention framework.

The Social, Emotional Learning course was a great learning experience and the knowledge gained has enhanced my skills as a teacher and advisor. It has been particularly useful in these unusual times of COVID-19 when we went virtual.

The Enquiry-based research module was excellent as I got exposure to action research and got to investigate the efficacy of an online math intervention in terms of raising mathematical resilience of students with needs in an international setting using the RADIO framework. This has helped me as a co-teacher in math classes.

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

My personal goal next academic year is to develop Social Emotional Learning in all my work in school, especially as we return to the school building on September 1st after the virtual learning environment since March 23rd. I have already started a virtual Meditation course for students for our optional summer school. As a lifelong learner, I am learning more and more about meditation and how it helps both professionally as a teacher and in my personal life as well.

How has the experience changed your view on continued professional development for your own career?

This experience has made me see that I can step out of my comfort zone in terms of professionally developing my own career. As all my tutors have been educational psychologists, I feel like I am ready to take the next step and pursue a doctorate in educational psychology. I completed my BSc (Hons) Psychology in the UK in 1993 and wanted to become an educational psychologist after that. In those days one also had to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and a minimum of 2 years of teaching before applying for a Masters in Educational Psychology. I became a teacher and loved it so much that I stuck to it for 22 years. Now things have changed. One does not need to be a qualified teacher to pursue a career as an educational psychologist in the UK but one does need some experience with working with children or young people and then one pursues a 3-year Doctorate in Educational Psychology. As I do not live in the UK anymore and have responsibilities of taking care of a family overseas, I cannot go to the UK to train as an educational psychologist at the moment. I have yet to find a rigorous blended online course to fit my needs to pursue a course that will qualify me as an educational psychologist. My only wish now is that Real Training develops an online program that one can pursue to qualify as a working educational psychologist. If they do, I would have no hesitation in taking it up!

Kerry Jordain – CPT3A & Free AAU

An Interview with Kerry Jordain – CPT3A & Free AAU

Kerry is the specialist assessor for SEND & EAA at Brixham College, she specialises in Autism and Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD). Kerry completed the CPT3A qualification with us at Real Training in 2015. Since then she has kept her knowledge up to date by enrolling on our free Access Arrangements Update course, she has highlighted some of her experiences with us and why she was happy she enrolled onto our free AAU Course in 2020!

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

Real Training was a recommendation via a colleague from a further education college.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I was initially concerned about going back to learning after some 25+ years; however, the way Real Training lays out the course, the materials supplied and the portal are all excellent and easy to follow once you get the hang of it. Additionally, tutors/course leaders are easy to get hold of via email if you do get stuck. In the past, after I completed my CPT3A with Real Training, I did other refresher courses. However, when I received an email stating ‘free’ refresher course I decided to try it and am so glad I did. It was concise and easy to follow, it only tells you what ‘you need’ to know and the ability to access discussion forums as well as revisit the refresher course whenever needed is exceptional.

How have the courses helped make an impact at school?

I now run the EAA aspect for exams and line manage TAs and invigilators during the course of mock and formal exams. I also carry out assessments on pupils who have been alerted to the SEND department as struggling – I can then write reports to the teaching staff on my findings and some strategies to use. I also carry out assessments prior to pupils seeing an Educational Psychologist. This is cost-effective to the school and also saves a lot of time, meaning we get Educational Psychologist recommendations very quickly and are able to implement strategies to assist the pupil.

How have the courses 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 not only the knowledge to carry out my ‘ever-growing’ role of specialist assessor and EAA office; it has also given me the confidence to attend and run meetings with senior members of staff to implement various ways of tracking a child which will produce the evidence required by JCQ. I have also run a number of TA and invigilator training sessions to ensure JCQ regulations are adhered to. The confidence I have gained by completing this course and achieving CPT3A has helped no end in my work life but has also had an impact on my private life, whereby I feel confident to tackle new or unfamiliar situations.

Taneisha Pascoe Matthews – Full MEd

An Interview with Taneisha Pascoe Matthews – Full MEd

Taneisha has a special interest in Autism, she is a mother of two boys who are both autistic and she uses her knowledge and social platforms to advocate for children with Autism whilst also working in a London Secondary school. Taneisha began her studies with us in May 2015. She completed her full Master of Education in SEND here at Real Training. Taneisha completed the National Award, Autism Spectrum Conditions module, CPT3A and Enquiry to achieve her full Masters. After 4 years of study over a variety of modules, here is her journey through our MEd SEND programme and her thoughts on studying with Real Training.

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

Real Training was the obvious choice for me based on recommendations from two teachers at my school who were completing the National Award for SEN Coordination. They spoke well of the course by highlighting both the practical aspects as well as theoretical areas. Within a year they had moved on to lead SEND Departments which created the opportunity for me to get on the course. The flexibility it afforded with 100% online was exactly what I needed. Once I completed the first course with Real Training and experienced first-hand the amazing culture of support and the readiness to confidently undertake the SENCO role, I decided that I was going to complete a full master’s degree.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The learning experience at Real Training exceeded my expectations. The courses I completed were well written and I was surprised by the skills gained with the courses being 100% online. I was supported throughout by my tutors and it was easy to navigate the Campus Online platform.

How have the courses helped make an impact at school?

I completed the NASENCO course in 2016 and by 2017 I was hired in my current school as Head of Learning Support. I have received some lovely comments from staff about the impact on their teaching based on CPDs I have led. While completing the Enquiry-based project I did an investigation into the ability of staff to make reasonable adjustments for autistic pupils. This has become part of my advocacy on social media platforms. I host a Facebook page called One of Many Autism Voices, providing strategies and UpToDate information for families and educators. As a school, we are known to be a school making reasonable adjustments to SEND learners.

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

The courses I have completed have developed my SEND knowledge to expert level and provided the skills to complete my job with the level of competence that is needed to make a difference for young people. I have been promoted to Assistant Headteacher in the past year and have spoken at several educational conferences both locally and internationally (via Zoom). I am now the specialist assessor for exam dispensations at my school.