School leaders and education experts gather today (Thursday 3 December) at a virtual conference on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. The conference, held by school leaders’ union NAHT, has the theme ‘looking behind, beneath and beyond the behaviour’.
Marijke Miles, chair of NAHT’s SEND council and head of a special school in Hampshire, said: “Behaviour is always about need. It's about communicating a need – usually an unmet one. Our jobs as educators is to try to understand that need.
“It is often too easy to be seduced by terms like ‘no excuses’ and ‘zero tolerance’. Instead, we need to look behind the behaviour at what might be its cause and what it is telling us to arrive at a resolution.
“At this time, more than ever, all educators need to sharpen their wits, brighten their intellectual torches, block out the din of zero tolerance agendas and cheap soundbites, and reaffirm their personal values around the right of every single child to be treated with optimism, curiosity and compassion. Regardless of their behaviour.”
The ‘Leading on SEND Across All Schools’ conference will offer a wide range of expert perspectives and experience to provide new ways in which to view and understand behaviour, alongside the opportunity to listen, reflect, debate and explore the issues.
Ms Miles continued: “We hope the day will give leaders the confidence, conviction and capacity to set the tone and guide the practice for all children in their setting – to be the best leaders for our learners.”
As well as workshops on a wide variety of practical topics, the conference will feature key note speeches from Marijke Miles; learning and behaviour consultant Fintan O’Regan; Professor Adam Boddison, chief executive of nasen (National Association for Special Educational Needs); and Joe Cook, a musician and poet with learning disabilities from Birmingham who works in schools, community centres and pupil referral units delivering music and creative writing lessons and workshops.
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