Two weeks ago we battled the weather and joined 200 people in The Crystal for the first Whole School SEND Summit.
The Summit brought together new and established voices to discuss SEND in an innovative and discursive format. The aim was to utilise the experience and expertise of everyone in the room – school leaders, teachers, SENDCos, parents, young people and third sector organisations – in order to develop thinking and practice in SEND, and create a lasting, collaborative community dedicated to improving outcomes for children with SEND.
Follow a great summary of the day’s events via Storify.
Below we have rounded-up some of the blogs to have come from the Summit and other ways you can get involved with the next steps from the Summit.
Starlight McKenzie – Parent Campaigner
“Yesterday I attended a conference run by Whole School SEND which was attended by over 200 delegates from all over the UK, all with an interest in improving outcomes for children with SEND.
I was fortunate enough to host alongside Sarah Driver, Founder and Chair of Trustees of Driver Youth Trust ,a series of 6 roundtable discussions on the topic of ‘Working with Parents and Carers’. Delegates would come to our table and we would share good practice and ideas. What was extremely clear was the genuine desire of professionals to work collaboratively with parents but an apprehension with regards to how to make it manageable and beneficial.”
Nancy Gedge – DYT Consultant Teacher
“At first I felt despondent. There is so much talk around SEND (well, make that education generally), so much moaning and complaining (workload, marking, planning, Ofsted), so many arguments that circle around the same old same old (I’m not going to bother making a list; pick your own subject, I bet teachers, somewhere, have argued about it til the cows came home), and yet, despite the arguments, nothing ever changes. Or if it does, like the introduction of grammar schools, it doesn’t matter that the profession is, for once, united, it happens anyway…”
Tania Tirraoro, Special Needs Jungle
“Where the Whole School SEND conference differed from others is that it also had a meaningful parent contingent of delegates.
There were several ‘working with parents’ table besides ours, including Sarah Driver of The Driver Youth Trust and her co-host, parent, Bethlyn Killey, herself a notable Twitter voice, who spoke about her parent experience and what she’s learned as a result. What this meant was that even if a practitioner-delegate managed to avoid one of our tables, they were still likely to be seated at a table with a parent-delegate discussing aspects of SEND.”
, Headteacher and co-founder of #WomenEd
“We all need to challenge, we all need to model, we all need to champion, we all need to celebrate the diversities in our classrooms, schools and in our society.
Actions I would like to see as a result of today:
- A network of SEND leaders and partners to work collaboratively in finding collective solutions to common issues
- An opportunity for a series of events including one targeting Headteachers and Governors
- A reform re the requirements of SEND provision for ITT and the skills gap closure for Quality First Teaching across the system
- A statutory requirement for all schools to have a qualified SENDco and a named SEND lead on every SLT who needs to refresh their training every year like the DSL does for safeguarding practice
- Hyper accountability for SEND provision in all schools like we have for PP”
If you have not taken the Whole School SEND pledge and joined the consortium go to our Join The Consortium page here.