The changes to the special educational needs system in England are over two years old but many parents have seen no difference in their experience. For some, it's even got worse.
As well as the legal changes not being understood or complied with, one of the biggest stumbling blocks is a deep understanding of the cultural change the reforms required. It's one of the things we have talked about endlessly, in that laws alone won't change the way families are treated. The changes were intended put the family at the centre and for schools, LAs, health and care staff to work collaboratively with parents. Only, far too few people seem to have read that bit.
on 23rd February, the Whole School SEND Consortium are running their first Summit on 23rd February 2017 at The Crystal, hosted by The London Leadership Strategy. They hope to change the current poor state of understanding by bringing together new and established voices to discuss SEND in an innovative and discursive format. Their aim is to harness the experience and expertise of everyone in the room - from school leaders, teachers and SENDCos to parents, young people and third sector organisations - in creating a lasting, collaborative community that is dedicated to improving our children's outcomes.
Those attending will be able to hear from the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson, MP
As I'm writing this, you might expect that I'm involved and you'd be right, along with our columnist Barney Angliss. We'll be talking about creating productive and collaborative parent-teacher relationships. I won't be the only parent. Also participating is our columnist Nancy Gedge, who is a teacher and parent of a son with Down's syndrome. Nancy is now also a consultant for the Driver Youth Trust. Another parent, Bethlyn Killey, will use her personal experience to help illustrate what good practice looks like from a parent perspective.
Malcolm Reeve, another of our columnsits, who is Director of Education for SEND at Academies Enterprise Trust will also be on hand to talk about SEND leadership and he is joined by other leading SEND practitioners who will be giving practical examples of improving both classroom working and outcomes for children with disabilities.
What else is on the agenda?
If meeting me, Barney and Ed T isn't exciting enough 😉 , the Summit is an exciting chance to have some real input:
- Contribute to and learn from a series of quickfire table discussions on key issues in SEND provision, led by practitioners including Principal of Swiss Cottage School Development and Research Centre, Vijita Patel, Director of SEND at the London Leadership Strategy, David Bartram OBE, and Director of Education at National Education Trust, Simon Knight
- Access a showcase of educational tools and services from some of the leading SEND organisations in the UK, all of whom will be offering part or all of their service for free
- Input to significant SEND projects in the later stages of their development, including the MITA project led by Rob Webster and UCL and the SEND Review tool for classroom teachers developed by Simon Knight and National Education Trust
- Have the opportunity to troubleshoot questions and dilemmas during our lunchtime surgeries - one on one, confidential chats with experienced SEND practitioners
- Join a trusted network of SEND experts, supported by a lasting online platform which members can use to share expertise and best practice, ask for support, access resources and contribute to the development of ongoing SEND projects and practice.
The event isn't far away, on 23rd February, at The Crystal, London, which is close to Excel. If you are a SEND professional and would like to purchase tickets, you can do so at this link.
Together we will strive to unlock solutions and cascade good practice in SEND provision.
Individuals and organisations who were members of Whole School SEND Consortium on 1st December 2016 are each eligible for one free ticket. We are keen to maximise access to as wide a group as possible so are subsidising event to keep ticket prices at £100. We also have a small bursary budget to support individuals who may need to financial support to attend (including travel costs/care costs). If cost is a barrier to attending, please contact Charlotte Rains at firstname.lastname@example.org.