Posted by Site Administrator at 16/07/2012 10:53:02
My apologies for incorporating events in both June and part of July, but I wanted to do a round up before the term finishes, (except for colleagues in Northern Ireland, whose term will have ended some time ago).
Update on training
This has been an exciting time for the development of training materials, both those that are face-to-face and those that are online. As it may be difficult to keep in touch with what is being produced, here is a reminder and overview of the most recent resources:
Nasen has now completed the roll out of its training for secondary school SENCOs and, from next term, will be training Primary SENCOs, so that they can cascade the information to staff. A list of dates and venues can be found at: www.nasentraining.org.uk. Lorraine Petersen, the Chief Executive, is well aware of the many pressures on schools, but has asked me to encourage head teachers to allow their SENCOs to go on one of the training days, so that all their staff are able to benefit from the training and the resources that go with it.
The Autism Education Trust (AET) has rolled out Level 1 of their materials through 7 regional Training Hubs (see www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk/TrainingHubs). Already, over 1,500 people have been trained. Levels 2 & 3 are being piloted at present and will become available in the Autumn. At the same time, the DfE has funded the AET to develop a set of National Standards, which schools can use for self-evaluation, as well as a Competency Framework, which can be used alongside appraisal to identify staff training needs.
Similar Frameworks have been developed by the The Communication Trust (www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk) and the Dyslexia- SpLD Trust (www.dyslexia-SpLDtrust.org.uk) for those who want to move their schools forward in terms of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), or Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD).
Very recently, the online materials resulting from the Lamb Inquiry have become available. They take the 5 strands identified by Brian Lamb, but start with 8 units common to each strand. After that, there are: 20 units on autism; 13 units on MLD; 16 units on BESD; 16 units on SpLD; and 18 units on SLCN. These are aimed at teachers who want to extend their knowledge of these areas. The materials have been devised by the London Institute of Education and are available on the DfE website: www.education.gov.uk/lamb/.
Just before the Lamb materials emerged, the online modules covering SLD/PMLD/CLDD appeared. This is a very rich resource, which draws on both the Salt Review, as well as Barry Carpenter’s work on the Complex Learning Difficulties & Disabilities (CLDD) Research Project. Over 40 writers were involved in developing the 16 modules, each of which can be accessed at 4 levels. An interesting discussion that arose from a seminar I gave recently for the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education, was the flexible ways in which the modules might be used. They are also on the DfE website: www.education.gov.uk/complexneeds/. As the home page for both the Lamb and Salt materials look the same, do make sure you’re accessing the one you want! There is much debate about the value of online training as opposed to face-to-face, but sometimes it is a combination of the two that is most effective.
All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs)
The APPG for Education, which is sponsored by BESA (British Educational Suppliers Association) was held on Tuesday 3rd July, when the AGM was combined with inviting Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, to discuss their Inquiry into Overcoming Barriers to Literacy, one year on from the original report. After he had extolled the benefits of the Y1 Phonics Screening Check, Mr Gibb took questions and I queried the value of a check that assumed all children learn to read in the same way, at a similar age, and regardless of being profoundly deaf, having autism, Down’s syndrome or being on the autism spectrum. After engaging in some discussion on these points, Mr Gibb suggested that ‘we should agree to differ’.
On Wednesday 11th July, I was back in Parliament for the APPGA’s launch of their report, The right start: reforming the system for children with autism, to which both Paul Williams and myself had contributed. Held in one of the dining rooms, we were served afternoon tea, complete with dainty sandwiches and cakes, before being addressed by Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Education. She welcomed the report and said that increasing parental confidence by having more training available and the greater involvement of parents/carers and children, were two of the cornerstones of the government’s approach. Phil Snell from the DfE was also present, so I asked him if the next version of the SEN Code of Practice was likely to be the SEND Code of Practice. He said no decision had been made yet, but it was going to be much shorter than the previous versions. This must be a good thing, as the 2001 version, in particular, was unnecessarily repetitious.
NAHT’s Special Schools, Specialist & Alternative Provision Conference 2013
The plans for this conference are forging ahead and the SEND Committee is delighted that that this popular event stands a good chance of being reinstated. At a Planning Meeting on 10th July, the venue of a hotel in Nottingham was agreed and many top notch speakers suggested, who are now being approached. As well as speakers, workshops and an exhibition, there will be opportunities for members to join in discussions. These will pull out the key issues for those working with different needs or in different settings, and will help to direct the SEND committee’s work in the coming year. This 24 hour conference is planned to run from the afternoon of Thursday 28th February to Friday 1st March 2013, so please put the dates in your diary. Final confirmation that the conference will be going ahead, together with further details, will be available soon after the start of next term.
In the meantime, I wish you all a really refreshing break. Unless something truly startling occurs over the holiday period, the next SEND Blog will be towards the end of September.