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National Forum for Neuroscience and Special Education

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"Education is concerned with enhancing learning and neuroscience is concerned with understanding the mechanisms of learning. It seems only logical that the one should inform the other."
Dame Professor Uta Frith, patron of the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education, 2011

The National Forum for Neuroscience and Special Education (NFNSE) 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).


The aims of the national forum for Neuroscience in Education are to:   
  • provide a platform for neuroscientists and teachers in special education to engage in dialogue,  
  • encourage discourse around the changing pattern of childhood disability,     
  • and share insights from both fields which lead to innovative practice, leading to improved learning outcomes for children.  

Future Plans

During 2016/17, further developments are planned to bring the work of neuroscientists and  teachers closer together, including:  

  • Taking forward the outcomes of the Girls on the Autism Spectrum - the ‘Big Shout’ conference  
  • Encouraging more researchers in the field to link with schools and more teachers to have an opportunity to work with scientists
  • Providing briefing papers of current research to keep teachers abreast of developments in the field
  • Linking with other individuals and organisations with similar aims

"This is a pathway to a better understanding of the most complex children in our schools and ensuring they receive a quality of education that is second to none." - Kim Johnson, National President NAHT, Annual conference 2016.

For more information on relevant resources from the British Neuroscience Association, please click here.  
Girls on the Autism Spectrum Conference - The Big Shout
January 2017

Below are the materials from the conference that we have been given permission to publish online.

Page updated: 07/08/2017

An RSS feed
The Call for Action - a major outcome of the Girls on the Autism Spectrum - the Big Shout conference, was written in February 2017 and can be found here.


  • Opinion icon Making a difference for autistic girls and womenOn 27 January 2017 in central London, Carrie Grant spoke at 'The Big Shout Conference – Girls on the Autism Spectrum'. 31/01/2017
  • Opinion icon The Big Shout was heard Autism in girls is under-diagnosed and under-recognised, leaving girls on the autism spectrum without support in school and as they become adults. 03/02/2017
  • Opinion icon SEND pupils deserve proper diagnostic support Kim Johnson comments on why we must fight to ensure families continue to have access to proper diagnostic support and ongoing services, if SEND pupils are to live happy and fulfilling lives 07/07/2017


Forthcoming conferences

Special schools, specialist and alternative provision conference 2018

Friday 9 March 2018