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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 5 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.

Laura Phillips – NASENCO

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

The Real Training NASENCO course was recommended to me by colleagues who had already completed the course. It also appealed to me as I didn’t have to have any days off of work to attend University Lectures.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

Anne has been fantastic. She has answered all my questions in a really clear and concise way. The feedback given to all the work submitted has been exceptionally prompt meaning that I can work on the improvements immediately and haven’t had to wait weeks to hear. The improvements suggested have been really helpful. Thank you very much.

An amazing course. I loved how accessible it was. I could work in the evenings/ weekends/ holidays etc. It fitted around my workload easily as there are no formal deadlines apart from the one a year on from when you start. As everyone’s workloads are different this is ideal. There were no university visits so no time off of work. The website was easy to use and navigate around. My Tutor was fantastic, and always available for support. I would really recommend booking a course with Real Training.

Really good tasks and assignments meaning everyone can relate them to their own setting and role that they are currently undertaking. This meant they were really accessible. All tasks and assignments helped me to gain a greater knowledge of the Role and Responsibilities of a SENCO.

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

I have formed a greater understanding for the SEN Code of Practice and how it is implemented in our school. With specific child centred focus – with an Assess/Plan/Do/Review approach to all decisions made.

Sharing knowledge and Skills through leading CPD sessions.

Implementing change for collection of data.

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?

A greater understanding of the bigger picture of SEND. A greater understanding of how our school supports SEND pupils I am currently not the SENCO so was able to work with her to form a greater understanding of a SENCO role at our school.

I have learnt about me and my personality to help me in this role.

I have learnt more about the structure of our school and how the SEND department operates.

I have been able to collaborate with other schools.

Sarah Johnson-Motyl – NASENCO, CCET, NPQSL, Enquiry-Based SEN Practice, Dyslexia – Leadership & Intervention

Why did you decide to study with us?

I discovered the Real Training courses when I was searching for an online course that could be flexible around my work and home commitments. When I started on my journey with Real Training I aspired to achieve the courses which could be combined to achieve a Masters qualification. At that time I was a single parent with 3 year old twins and a 5 year old, a full time job as a SENCO and so could not be away from home for childcare reasons. This ruled out most courses as weekend commitments were a pre-requisite which I was unable to do. Real Training allowed me to study at the times that suited me (evenings and early mornings) and having an online tutor meant I had flexibility to plan the tutorials and assessment work. I really liked the way the course was structured and it was easy to follow the pathway the from beginning through to final submission. The admin team and help desk always responded swiftly to any queries and so although the course used a remote model of studying, I never felt at a loss or unsupported. I liked the virtual community and the fact that we could all join groups and discussion threads from wherever we were in the world. This breadth of experience added the experience of being part of a group and we supported each other through this means.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I have studied several courses and I have had a consistent experience with all my Real Training tutors – all have been utterly fabulous. I can honestly say they have been available at short notice for my questions (no matter how small!) and when I have needed additional flexibility to complete coursework they have been 100% supportive.

I like the fact that we are respected as professionals and there is an understanding that juggling family, study, work and of course ‘life’ means that sometimes more flexibility is needed. The encouragement of tutors spurs on any lagging motivation and the online system gives more support than any other course I have done, including face to face courses.

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

I completed the NASENCO course and was able to apply this to both KS1 and KS2 cohorts. By achieving the assessor qualification, I complemented my practice as a SENCO to deepen understanding of complex needs as well as train staff to further enhance their own CPD within SEN. As an experienced SENCO, I mentored international students on their SEND doctorate and MA courses from Exeter University, as well as participated in their research into Lesson Study.

Sarah’s headteacher

‘Sarah created a whole school assessment plan which meant we identified and addressed SEN at the earliest opportunity. She has driven effective interventions for pupils with both specific learning difficulties as well improving outcomes for these pupils. Her ability to scrutinise assessment data assimilate test scores into necessary individualised programmes of study means nobody slips through the net’

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?

I am looking forward to achieving my Masters qualification and also my National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership. I love studying and am keen to further progress my practise next year.

Not sure which course I will enrol onto next… possibly NPQH! The world is your oyster with the REAL training programmes!

Catrin Brauner – NASENCO, CPT3A

Why did you decide to study with us?

I looked into Real Training as so many people across the UAE had recommended them to me as a good way to increase my knowledge and skills. I initially approached them as I needed to build my skills in understanding access arrangements and assessing learners but quickly realised how much more they had to offer. The range of courses is impressive and it’s easy to plan a CPD route that fits with your interests and other commitments. The ongoing tutor support is something that made real training a very desirable training provider. I was also very impressed that courses were accredited with Middlesex University which allows people to work towards a Masters Qualification in SEN. 

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

All of the courses I have enrolled on have exceeded my expectations. The first course was a mixture of face to face and online, both parts were delivered seamlessly. The detail and structure that goes into the planning of the courses allows for delegates to feel guided throughout the course, even when there is no face to face element. The course tutors are extremely knowledgeable, approachable and helpful; they respond quickly to any messages and are always willing to help.

I am currently completing the NASENCO course, despite being a UK qualification it is extremely applicable to anyone working in SEN or leadership. The course takes a true 360o approach to ensure delegates have a chance to develop all the skills required to be an inclusive leader of SEND. The course is arranged in a multi-faceted manner which increases engagement and allows people to work to their strengths.

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

The CPT3A course has had a huge impact on the children I work with and the provision we can offer in school, as well as helping me expand my understanding and skills significantly. The skills learnt allow us to understand our pupils in more depth in order to create the provision they deserve. This has been well received by all stakeholders including parents, governors, teachers and the children.

I am currently about halfway through completing the NASENCO course. The course has helped me reflect more on specific areas of what I do and find out what other schools are doing which is hugely helpful. I now have a better understanding of the history of SEN as well as current policy. This has helped me update some school approaches and action plan for the future.

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?

The CPT3A allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the pedagogy behind a lot of teaching tools and assessments. This has helped me use data to better understand, and therefore support, children’s needs on an individual level.

On the other hand the NASENCO course has taught me more about leadership, strategy and bringing about positive change. I believe both courses have allowed me to be better at my job and allow me to be a better leader and teacher.

Poonam Ahir – NASENCO

What do you do?

‘I am a SENCO in a two-form-entry primary school in a very affluent area which also has a very high deprivation rate.’

Why did you decide to study the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) with us?

‘My MA tutor at a London university recommended Real Training. I told her that my new head teacher wanted to appoint me as a SENCO and she suggested Real Training.’

What was your favourite part of the course?

‘The course has helped me to set up the correct targets, create an action plan and put the right provision in place for the children in my school. It has also given me the right guidance to enable me to hold key meetings with staff, parents and external agencies.’

What impact has it had on your professional life?

‘It’s given me a clear understanding of exactly what I need to do to improve the outcomes of the children in my care. I could do it while I was either at work or at home. So, I could pull up my case studies and have them to hand at work to use and reflect on. Then, I could go back home and speak to people on Real’s Campus OnlineTM forum. I never felt lonely.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘A huge amount of structured expertise will work its way into their professional practice.’

Why would you advise someone to take this course?

‘Because you have to have it! However, more importantly, it will make a real difference to your professional life and the way in which you support children and liaise with parents and staff.’

Alison McHugh – NASENCO

What do you do?

‘I’m a SENCO at a primary school and also work with Key Stage 3 students as part of the British Dyslexia Association’s Children will Shine project.’

Why did you decide to study the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) with us?

‘The funding came out for the training and I needed to do a course that fitted perfectly into my busy family and work commitments. This was very good, because it fitted round me, as opposed to me having to fit round other people.’

What was your favourite part of the course?

‘All of it. Particularly, the clear impact that it has had on my professional life.’

What impact has it had on your professional life?

‘It’s really helped me prioritise things; it’s helped on the managerial side too: the paperwork, the organisation. It’s helped me to be proactive. I’ve carried out in-depth studies of TAs which have enabled me to go to the head and say: ‘We need to change the way in which we are working and here’s the evidence to back it up.’

How did you find distance learning?

‘It’s been perfect because it’s fitted in with my life.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

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

Why would you advise someone to do this course?

‘Because it will make you realise that there’s a lot more around the child than just the child as well. It will help you to work with the parents because the parents are just as vulnerable as the children.’

Louise White – NASENCO

What do you do?

‘I am a SENCO at a mainstream co-ed school with approximately 1,100 pupils.’

Why did you decide to study the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) with us?

‘I have to have this award to work in this area. I found Real Training on the Internet, rang them up and quite liked them. I then went to plead my case with the school and they helped me to pay for it.’

What was your favourite part of the course?

‘Funnily enough, I particularly enjoyed the bits on legislation and the reflective learning logs.’

What impact has it had on your professional life?

‘I’ve become a much more reflective practitioner. I was reflective before, but my thoughts were all over the place. Now, I can organise these thoughts and am proactive about changing and implementing things.’

What can someone who has taken these modules offer?

‘It will really help them to develop the right skills and competence in their legislation, research, processes and good practice guidance.’

Why would you advise someone to do this course?

‘Because it’s made a real difference to my understanding and practice.’

Annali Bell – NASENCO

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

I was keen to complete an online course as I have a toddler at home who keeps me very busy. I wanted something that would fit in with working part time and looking after my daughter so this seemed like the perfect option to me. I also liked the idea of being able to complete tasks in my own time and at my own rate, meaning I could make the most effective use of my time, including nap times and evenings! When researching possible courses, I was interested in the different modules and was encouraged by the fact I would not be required to attend a university campus as I thought this may be quite tying.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

I have received brilliant tutoring from Joan. She always responds to emails quickly and in detail and is always happy to help and offer suggestions. I really appreciate all the support I have received! Thank you! I enjoyed taking part in a placement as that gave me strong links with other local SENCos. I also found the reviewing of provision within my setting to be extremely useful and beneficial.

I have been really happy with the quality of the programme. I have felt it all to be relevant to my role in school and I have enjoyed learning more about the various requirements of a SENCo. I have had a very positive experience with this course. I have been able to fit this around working part time and looking after my toddler. I have enjoyed developing my own understanding and feel very lucky to have been able to do so at my own pace and from the comfort of my own home.

Thank you!! It’s been a long journey and I’ve finally reached this end…I hope to take additional courses in the future as I have really enjoyed completing this one (more so than I anticipated), but for now…rest!.

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

I have reviewed provision in detail as a result of the tasks in this course. I have also increased in confidence and feel more confident when speaking with staff about their roles which has resulted in more effective provision and outcomes for the children, especially those on passports (IEPs).

I increased the amount of support for children with SEMH needs following one of the assignments. I am keen to monitor and track the provision as the course has shown me that this is a key role in assessing the effectiveness of an intervention.

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?

Creating links with another local school (placement task)

Increased confidence with own abilities and knowledge

Increased understanding of leadership responsibilities which has in-turn increased confidence too

I have an increased awareness of the role of SENCo and am much more confident in delegating roles and ensuring staff are completing their roles effectively.