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Gillian Holland – NASENCO

An Interview with Gillian Holland – NASENCO

Gillian is a music teacher and aspiring SENCO, currently working at an international school in Malaysia. Although she is interested in all aspects of SEND, most recently, Gillian has found herself studying Dyslexia in greater detail. Stating that her long term goal is to become an assessor, which she hopes will give her the ability to bring this skill ‘in house’ to the school in which she works. Having recently completed our NASENCO qualification, we caught up with Gillian to see how she got on. 

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

Living in Malaysia, I was looking for a course that I could largely complete online. Having found Real Training through a google search, I felt that the online delivery of the content along with the accreditation of a UK university was the perfect match for me. When exploring the course content in more detail I was really impressed with the depth covered and the variety of activities involved in the qualification. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I have really enjoyed studying with Real Training and found the whole process of Campus Online straightforward and easy to navigate. I liked that the tasks were varied, but that you didn’t have to complete them in a specific order. This really helped me to make progress as it allowed me to complete tasks based on the timeframe I had available and make use of this effectively. I thought there was a good balance of ‘work based’ tasks involving some level of interaction with an aspect of school life, and research focused tasks asking for an opinion on a given text or concept. I also felt thoroughly supported by my tutor, Rachel, and knew that she was always at the end of a message thread if there was something I needed help with. The course exceeded the expectations I had and I would definitely use Real training for further studies.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

Two projects I thoroughly enjoyed were the final assignments for Strand 2 and 3. Both of these allowed me to explore something relevant to the setting I work in. As an aspiring SENCO, this was hugely important as it gave me valuable experience in the development of an aspect of school life. Helping me to consider ways in which I would approach this if I were a SENCO. In one of these tasks, I looked at the transition between KS2 and KS3 and found ways to develop a potential action plan to improve this for future learners. As an all-through school, I was able to look at both sides of the transition point and reflect on what is needed to ensure that SEND learners were able to move through to the next stage in their education with as much support and preparation as necessary.

The second area I explored was the movement of SEND learning and pedagogy to online platforms as a result of the pandemic. Being able to research something so relevant was interesting and it was a great way to explore best practice from many different settings and countries across the world. I was able to use this and bring together ideas to adapt to my current school.

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?

I was initially apprehensive when I began the course as my last period of high-level studying was 10 years prior when I completed my PGCE. However, the way the course is organised really helped me to ease back into this process and there was so much support available to ensure that my writing and work was to the level required for a Masters. My original plan was to just complete my NASENCO qualification, yet the course and the content have encouraged me to look beyond this to explore further options for my professional development. After much consideration, I have decided to work towards my Masters in SEND. I have just started my Level 7 Structured Intervention in Literacy and Dyslexia with Real Training’s sister company ‘Dyslexia Action’ and then I plan to return to Real Training to complete the ‘Enquiry-based SEN’ to complete my Masters. The decision on which route to take was difficult as there is so much choice available to you, but after emailing the team at Real training and discussing my options I am really happy with the decisions that I have made. 

Nick Wilding – MEd SEND

An Interview with Nick Wilding – MEd SEND

Nick is the Head of Student Support Services at an international school in Vietnam. Beginning his studies with Real Training in 2017, Nick embarked on our National Award for SEN Coordination course. A couple of years later this was followed by the Enquiry-based SEND module. Since then Nick has completed some of our free to access courses as well. Nick says that his special interests in SEN are; awareness, assessment and knowing the whole child, partnerships with specialist teams and development of staff. To see what Nick made of his time studying with Real Training please see below.

 

What made you choose Real Training over other options?

Initially, I chose Real Training because of its links with Middlesex University. I had studied previously at this university and therefore knew that the qualifications would be both recognised and credible. At the time I was working internationally and therefore required a course delivered 100% online. The costs were very competitive and the responses to my questions in the decision phase helped me decide that I should register and sign up because all of my questions and queries were answered clearly, quickly and sincerely.

The NASENCO award through Real Training became the obvious choice compared to other providers as they met my fundamental requirements. Due to the advice and support of the course leaders and tutors, the decision to study further with Real Training was made easy due to their expertise and the range of subject-specific courses. The Courses and Qualifications page on their website is like a ‘one-stop shop’ for a career in SEND provision.

Subsequently, my experiences have led me to recommend Real Training to many colleagues both in the UK and internationally.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

The first tutor feedback I received was both supportive and demanding. This set the tone for the academic standards. I was delighted that this was going to be a ‘real’ Post Graduate course and not a ‘pay your money, get your certificate’ style course.

It had been so long since I had written academic essays therefore the readily available access to advice on the Campus Online page, emails with tutors and online tutorials with the tutor were invaluable. The response time of tutors and support with Campus online helped with the momentum of my studies. I wasn’t able to study regularly each week so it was great that they were responsive when I most needed it.

I chose an online course to fit in and around my work and life. I must say the tutors and the design of the course allowed this flexibility. The setup of the course page allowed me to pick up where I had left off so I could clearly see what I had and hadn’t completed.

The links provided through all courses were essential to my success and to keep stress levels down. Living abroad limited my access to many texts and websites. Access to  EBSCO, the library and Campus Buzz were all sources that provided me with the range of knowledge required to pass the academic requirements of the course but to also feel that I had read extensively around the subject areas for personal growth also.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

Firstly, it has kept me motivated in my career during a phase of questioning where I should go next. The ability to build my course to include areas of interest in addition to fundamental courses for anyone involved at the front line of SEND provision and the push for inclusion.

The NASENCO course allowed me to go back to basics and ask myself ‘why do I do this’, ‘what is the purpose of my role in this setting’. Moving on from these starting points, the course also allowed me to use experience combined with ongoing research and legislation. I believe this gave me a platform on which to improve my own working practices and school policy and procedures.

The research project that forms the Enquiry-based SEND module, has allowed me to appreciate the correct procedure to carry out and implement change within a setting. My project evolved around the need to improve staff awareness, confidence and training when working with a growing range of SEND within the school. The final project focussed on TA staff. Subsequently, individuals and small teams have taken on extra training linked to the following: PE lessons, assessment, observations and working with parents. 

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 role of SENCO evolves it was essential to my career that I studied and passed the NASENCO course. The Access Arrangements and the Middle Leaders courses have allowed me to keep up to date and refreshed in these areas with the latter being the stimulus for the school to encourage a number of middle leaders to follow this course to bring more joined-up thinking in the school with regards to SEND and EAL students.

The research-based project has widened my appreciation of the purpose and importance of research to provide solid evidence which can be woven with experience and the needs of the setting with regards to training and change in a school. Therefore, the course has opened more opportunities for me when applying for roles in both academic and pastoral pathways

Finally, as the courses are validated by Middlesex University London and the Professional Assessment Programme courses and qualifications also adhere to the standards set by the British Psychological Society (BPS), I am convinced that future courses targeting Psychology and Social/Emotional pathways will play a part in my training to help me evolve, explore and create wellbeing projects in the future. 

Heather Blackburn – NASENCO

An Interview with Heather Blackburn – NASENCO

Heather is a busy lady at her current school working as; Associate Assistant Principal, Head of Performing Arts, PE and Health and SENCO on the inclusion team. Heather states that as she has been learning she is gaining specific interests in; autism, attachment, dyslexia and ADHD. Working in a mainstream secondary school in North Yorkshire, Heather recently completed her NASENCO qualification with Real Training. 

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

Real Training has been recommended to me by others. However, the fact that it was online and could be completed at times to suit me was also an appealing feature of Real Training’s course delivery. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

It was very hard starting academic essays after 20 years. However, my tutor was very supportive and gave me lots of pointers. I enjoyed the course as it gave me enough background into SEN, alongside looking at local and national data. I also enjoyed the fact that I could produce PowerPoint presentations for assignments.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

The course has allowed me to make an impact at school as my understanding of specific areas surrounding SEN has improved greatly. For example, how to use the code of practice and the legal side of SEN along with the inclusion of parents and students at all stages. I have also been able to implement improved CPD for teaching assistants. Lastly, I now have a much greater knowledge of how to set up and develop sensory circuits which are having a positive impact on those children with additional needs.

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 gave a great deal of background detail into SEN and the changes that have occurred over time. It gave me much better insight into parents’ feelings and how important it is to ensure the needs of a child are met in mainstream schools. Schools have a legal responsibility to consider the equality and disability act and to ensure they don’t cause unnecessary distress to children with SEN. I feel my understanding of the impact of reasonable adjustments and how necessary they are for some children has developed. The course also gave a greater understanding of the graduated approach and how this should be shared with all teachers. Alongside, how SEN is the responsibility of all staff and not just the SENDCO.

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!

Emma Gray – NASENCO

 

An Interview with Emma Gray – NASENCO

Emma is currently the Learning Support Teacher in an international private school in Singapore, working mainly across Key Stage One. She has special interests in social, emotional communication and profiles consistent with ASD traits. Emma completed the NASENCO qualification with us at Real Training in 2020. Here is what she had to say about her time studying with us.

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

Real Training had a great reputation amongst colleagues for delivering high-quality and easily accessible online learning programmes. Being able to dip in and out of the course depending on my own schedule was a real selling point for me. Working in an international school in Asia, the course appealed to me as a way of keeping a handle on relevant policy, procedure and current best practice in the UK around SEND. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

My tutor was incredibly supportive when I requested extensions partway through the course. Feedback has been positive and constructive and this has motivated me to do better and develop further. My questions were always responded to in a timely manner, no matter how obtuse they seemed! I especially enjoyed being a part of the forums, collaborating and discussing issues linked to SEND globally, with a diverse group of delegates was a very worthwhile and enlightening experience.

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

Completing the NASENCO course has enabled me to feel confident about the provision that I am organising in my setting. I have acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to liaise between class teachers, parents and external specialists in order to better support pupils with SEND. The course involved Applied Practice tasks which gave me the opportunities to apply new learning to my setting and served as a platform on which to engage in professional dialogue around SEND. As our school’s curriculum is based on the British curriculum the course has enabled me to stay abreast with best practice in the UK. 

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 qualification required to carry out the SENCO role in the UK. As well as becoming well versed in the legal and practical components of SEND practice I have also become aware of the degree of emotional intelligence needed to carry out the role effectively and have a greater appreciation of the diversity that SEND encompasses. Studying at Masters level has been a challenge that has reignited my own love of learning and I now intend to continue to study further.

Jennifer Root – NASENCO

An Interview with Jennifer Root – NASENCO

Jennifer is currently working in a school in East Sussex for children and young people aged 7-19. She completed the National Award for SEN Coordination with us here at Real Training this year!  With a particular interest in Autism, she is currently engaged in a project to get the school re-accredited with Autism Accreditation from the National Autistic Society. We asked Jennifer about her experience studying with Real Training, read what she had to say below.

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

I discovered Real Training through word of mouth. One of the other teachers working at my school was just about to start studying through Real Training and recommended them as a training provider. When looking over the course content I felt that it would strongly enhance my knowledge and understanding of the SENCo role, which I had been appointed to post with not much of a robust handover. I found the enrolment process easy and the support from both my appointed tutor and the Real Training team helpful and readily available at each stage of my learning journey. The benefit of distance learning with Real Training was that I was able to be in post whilst simultaneously putting my learning into practice. I was able to liaise with other course members to share experiences, successes and possible strategies to implement in the future. In this way, I still had access to a real learning community, even though our experiences were diverse and roles were across a range of geographic locations. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

The course was engaging and vital to my development as a SENCo within my school. At times I felt lost in the course content, not knowing where to start, but the online forums through Campus Online and discussion pages were a wonderful source of support and helped me to refocus my thinking and rationalize my ideas. My tutor was a real help, clear and concise in his feedback and supportive in his guidance. This meant that despite my initial fears of writing at Masters Level again (it has been quite a few years!) I was able to reframe my ideas and redraft to ensure that I met the course criteria. I really enjoyed the opportunity to complete the Action Research project. I completed a two-day visit to an outstanding school in Surrey and have maintained links that I made. I have been able to not only return to my setting to implement change, but it has highlighted the real positives already within my school which should be celebrated. I found that the EBSCO library had a wealth of information to delve through and again, whilst initially overwhelming, provided me with a huge amount of academic journals and research papers on which to either support or challenge my own perspectives. 

How has the course helped make an impact at school?

My headteacher Fran Pass commented: ‘The course has enabled Jenny to fine-tune her understanding of SEN and the complexities of ensuring that no child or young person is disadvantaged due to a diagnosis. The course enabled Jenny to route what she already does to a high standard within a theoretical framework.’ I feel that the course has enabled me to create an action plan in order to develop the role and has ensured greater and more knowledgeable support of the children and young people in our school. I look forward to further developing in the role of SENCo and aspire to make links with other SENCos and aspiring SENCos in the local area to share experiences and strategies.

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?

I feel that now, being a qualified SENCo, I have a greater knowledge and understanding of the role and the ways in which I can lead the staff team to implement change for the benefit of our children and young people. I am now conversant in the theoretical framework and am able to use my learning to underpin my experiences. I found the course hugely valuable and am now more able to perform the role of SENCo within my SEN setting. I encourage any aspiring SENCos to go ahead and enrol on this program, its engaging, varied and informative. Real Training and the tutors invest time and effort into people so that they can really make the most of this learning opportunity.

 

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.

The journey so far – our delegates on studying with Real Training

We are always eager to collect the thoughts of our delegates. The majority come after they have completed their course. However, given the current circumstances, we felt it would be insightful to reach out to some of our current delegates to get their views on their course experience so far, and how studying during a global pandemic has affected their progress.

An interview with Eugene McFadden – NASENCO, intensive CPT3A

Eugene completed his intensive CPT3A course in 2017, and two and a half years later, joined Real Training again to begin his NASENCO qualification in January 2020, just as the enormity of the global pandemic was beginning to make itself clear. Here is his story so far.

How did you find out about Real Training and the CPT3A course?

“I became an assistant SENCO 3 or 4 years ago maybe, and I needed to do the access arrangements course because no-one else in the school was trained. I was speaking to one of the other SENCOs who said “You’ve got to do the Real Training one – it’s a lot quicker when you do the intensive course.” Because work is very busy and I have kids, I thought I’d rather have one, intensive hit. It was a really, really good course. It just worked really well. It was really professionally done, really well tailored to what was realistic and what we needed to do.

You’re now studying NASENCO with us. Tell us about why you chose Real Training for this qualification.

“I was looking around at other NASENCO courses, which looked mind-numbing, and then I saw Real Training’s course. For one, it was cheaper than local council’s one, and the fact that it’s all online and flexible. Some [school] weeks are 60 hours, so fitting things in is a bit of a nightmare, but with a course like this, I can think “oh, I have an hour to myself, I’m just going to hit it hard and do something”. The access to the big database is really helpful as well. I really like the bar at the top1. It’s actually really, really positive when you’re really busy.”

How has your experience with the online NASENCO course been versus your expectations, and versus your intensive experience with CPT3A?

“The intensive works really well with CCET as you’re learning to do one specific skill in testing, so you really want that intensity. This (NASENCO) is a bigger-picture thing. You need to step back and digest more. I have a two-year old who doesn’t sleep through the night yet, so I’d find myself rocking her to sleep at 2am reading things I’d downloaded. It gives you a chance to just think, make the notes and everything. A lot of the bigger articles I ended up printing out, to put in a folder where I can take it home and read it at my leisure.”

What parts of the NASENCO course have you found particularly interesting so far?

“There’s the wider reading; you’ve got the Lamb report, you can see how one thing informs another, which is actually really important. It’s interesting to have a timeline of when things happened and why. We’re kids of the 80s and things were very different back then. It’s good to have that time to just think and take it apart.”

Have you been able to put anything in particular into practice already?

“Well, ironically, I’ve been interviewing people for HLTA jobs through Google Meets. It’s been interesting to be having discussions with them, and having interviewed successfully, I’ve got someone to train up. I thought about how my training on the NASENCO course has informed me  and have been giving them reading to do from that course, which is quite helpful. So yeah, it’s definitely been having an impact. It’s interesting because I’ve been reading about outreach work into primary schools, because we’re quite a big MAT, and we’re going to have some primary schools placed in our secondary school for a few weeks for summer term 2. I want to incorporate that as my primary placement.”

How has the current lockdown situation influenced your studies?

“It’s actually given me more time to do it! It’s difficult, because the first few weeks were just trying to set things up, and I’ve been into school a fair bit as well running things on certain days, especially for some of our higher-needs kids. But the days when I’m home… the first few weeks were difficult, trying to get my head-space around being at home and working while at home with kids running around. Once I got the hang of it, I thought I’d set aside a day here and there, turn the emails off, and crack on with the NASENCO course. There’s always someone knocking on the door with a problem [when you’re in school]. My quality of life has actually improved – I’m not working 60 hours a week and have time to spend with the kids.”

What are your hopes and expectations for the rest of the course?

“Definitely to get it done – that’s the first thing! Definitely start to use what I’m learning to move forward. I’ve already kind of moved forward. I’ve been on a journey with my TAs (I’ve got TAs and HLTAs), and I’ve been on a journey with everyone’s practice board [a reflective practice of how staff are working with SEN pupils], tweaking that practice, fine-tuning it more and more. It’s good, because a lot of the things I’ve come across I already believed or knew or learned about already, so it’s nice to have those things reinforced. My focus has been on wave 1 teaching, and I’ve brought the SEN team so far, and now it’s all about raising all teaching and learning – the best input for an SEN kid is going to be in the classroom, the teacher teaching them right – it’s now given me that confidence to start addressing the bigger picture. It’s like “that’s gone alright, now we need to start doing this…” A rising tide raises all ships!”

¹ Campus Online holds a comprehensive online library containing all of the reading necessary for completing the courses. Additionally, access to EBSCO online journal databases allows for further reading to expand knowledge and understanding of the course material.

 

Dawn Johnson – SENCO, North West Kent Alternative Provision Service – NASENCO Course

What drew you to study with Real Training

I have heard of Real training as a reliable provider from a number of colleagues. Your company has a good reputation, and my DH/SENCO at the time had already mentioned your course before we had a little reshuffle of roles and I began to transition out of the English classroom and into the SENCO role.

How your experience has been vs your expectations so far

I have completed online training, including a PAPAA one-year course in the past with other providers and am very impressed with Real Training’s approach to online learning. I have found the site incredibly easy to use, the resources are quite varied and the discussion boards are well organised and easy to use. I am still learning how to use EBSCO but am sure, once I am used to they process, it will become faster and easier to access exactly what I want (I have only been enrolled since the end of April, so have not used every element of the site fully yet). The online notebook is very useful as I can make notes as I read or access slideshows. Overall, I would say it is a surprisingly well-presented, flexible course with an intuitive design for users.

What elements have been of particular interest/use to you so far

I have engaged far more with the discussion activities than on any previous course and have found the notebook, library of previous essays and general range of resources very helpful.

How you are managing your time to complete the work

I am stuck at home shielding with my husband who is also working from home. I work on the course more in weeks where I am needed less for school-based work, as I also run whole-school CPD and, during lockdown, we have had to adapt this rather a lot! The flexibility to use the course from half an hour to a whole day at any point has made this possible.

How the current lockdown has affected your studies

I have had a lot of tasks to complete at home for school but have had a lot more time that I had anticipated for the course. I was taking on areas of SENCO work while still preparing all of my classes for GCSEs and only working 3 days a week prior to Covid-19 – in a way, the lockdown has helped a lot with my availability to train! Being able to continue to work and train on something useful and relevant while shielding has definitely helped me to maintain good mental health during this time.

Your hopes/expectations/ambitions for the remainder of the course and beyond

Well, if we are talking hopes and dreams, I dream of a world where nobody has to use Harvard referencing ever again! (I completed my PGCE in 2000, that’s a long time to forget how to do these things…) Ultimately, I hope to be able to furnish myself with the theory and knowledge to succeed on my return to school, when I assume more of the role and responsibilities of the SENCO post. I would like to know I am doing everything I possibly can to support our pupils and this course will help me to ensure this. I have considered possibly using the points from the NASENCO course and my PAPAA to go on and complete a Masters…we’ll see.

Navjot Sandhu – NASENCO, Speech, Language & Communication Needs

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

I discovered Real Training in 2013 when I was looking to complete a Post graduate qualification in Speech, Language and Communication Needs.  I needed to gain this qualification in as part of my promotion to Head of Resource Base at my setting.  The structure of the course, linking it to workplace practice and being able to work through the strands at my own pace were very appealing to me and suited both my work and home situations.  I successfully completed this qualification in 2016 and then came back to Real Training when asked by my Head Teacher to complete the NASENCO.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

As previously, my experience with Real Training has been fantastic.  

Campus Online and all the tools available within this (EBESCO, discussion boards, Assignment Libraries….) were really beneficial and useful.  The flexibility to complete strands and tasks at my own pace and order was convenient and allowed me to spend extra time on the strands and areas that I needed to focus on and develop further.  The variety pf tasks that needed to be completed were interesting and thought-provoking.  The learning logs and applied practice tasks were the most useful for me. However, completing the MA assignments were challenging at times but really interesting.

The support I received from my Tutor – Helene- was fantastic! She always provided me with really helpful and useful feedback. I am really grateful for the extra support she gave me when I was really struggling with one of my assignments. The support and reassurance she has provided throughout the course has been invaluable. Thank you so much Helene!!!!

To anyone unsure about completing courses online with Real Training – Don’t hesitate – do it. I have now completed 2 courses with Real Training and have found both of them absolutely great!

How has the course(s) helped make an impact at school?

I am more critical and analytical of the provision and support in place for students to ensure they have the best learning outcomes.

I have led staff training linked to my project and am able to more confidently support staff across the setting in ensuring that students needs are being catered for and met, as well as ensuring staff are meeting the requirements of SEND legislation and policy. 

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

Completing this qualification has been challenging, stimulating and inspiring.  Each strand and each assignment has developed my knowledge, understanding, practical application and confidence in the multi-faceted role of a SENCo I have developed a secure understanding about SEND and the role of a SENCo, and how it is always changing, shifting, developing – something which I know I will need to keep abreast of and ensure is implemented at ground level, when I take on the role of Acting SENCo at my setting.