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National forum for neuroscience and special education

Chair: Dr Rona Tutt OBE 

"Education is concerned with enhancing learning, and neuroscience is concerned with understanding the mechanisms of learning. It seems only logical that one should inform the other." Dame Prof. Uta Frith, patron of the national forum for neuroscience and special education. 

This group brings together scientists, teachers and social care professionals to share knowledge, best practice and expertise on special education in the context of neuroscience. 

The forum aims to do the following: 

  • Encourage discourse around the changing pattern of childhood disability
  • Share insights from both fields that lead to innovative practice and better learning outcomes for children
  • Campaign on issues of interest to the forum (for example, better training for teachers, more support for students with mental health issues and greater flexibility in the school system over ages and class groups). 

The group works closely with the autism and girls forum and reports to our SEND sector council. And it is an independent group that we currently serve.


The group was founded in 2011 by Professor Barry Carpenter CBE, Professor Francesca Happé and Dr Rona Tutt OBE (a past president of NAHT). It emerged from discussions about how to facilitate closer working between neuroscientists and those working with children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Making a difference for autistic girls and women

Carrie Grant shares her hopes that the voices of autistic girls and women will become better heard and understood by the healthcare and education systems, and in the wider world.

The Big Shout was heard
Felicity Sedgewick was a speaker at The Big Shout - Girls on the Autistic Spectrum Conference. Here she shares her views on the power of social media to boost awareness of the need for better understanding of girls and women with autism.

SEND pupils deserve proper diagnostic support
Kim Johnson comments on why we must fight to ensure families continue to have access to the proper diagnostic and ongoing SEN support they need.

  • There is an excellent listing of online resources about neuroscience and the brain on the BNA website: 

  • Members of the Group are currently contributing to a forthcoming book with Routledge publishers on the theme of Girls and Autism. Details are below .