nasen (National Association for Special Educational Needs)
Professor Adam Boddison is the Chief Executive for nasen (National Association for Special Educational Needs) with responsibility for strategic direction and operational delivery across the full breadth of nasen’s activity. He is also the Chair of the Whole School SEND consortium and Chair of the National SEND Reference Group.
Adam is a National Leader of Governance and a Trustee at two Multi-Academy Trusts, spanning primary, secondary and specialist settings. Adam is a Trustee of the Potential Trust and a Fellow of the RSA. Prior to this, Adam held a number of senior education roles including Director of the Centre for Professional Education at the University of Warwick and Academic Principal for IGGY (a global educational social network for gifted teenagers). He has published a range of education books and is a qualified clinical hypnotherapist.
Author and Creator/Emotional Therapist
Ollie and his Super Powers
Alison Knowles trained to be a cognitive hypnotherapist purely out of interest in the subject. It interested her so much she then trained in NLP and then CBT and so it went on, giving her an extensive toolbox of techniques and schools of thought to help her help just about anyone who came to her clinic. Just about anyone except children. Alison realised all her training, the language and the science behind it was way beyond a child's capacity to understand and, to be fair, most adults too!
Speech and Language Advisor
Amy Loxley is a Speech and Language Advisor for I CAN, the UK’s leading children’s communication charity. With 14 years’ experience as a Speech and Language Therapist, Amy has worked with a diverse range of client groups across early years, primary and secondary phases, and in community, mainstream and specialist settings in the UK and Australia.
Amy’s current work includes developing a range of resources on Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) for mainstream school staff, including a series of introductory and intermediate webinars, a downloadable DLD guide, and a school workforce development package. She is also involved in developing and piloting I CAN’s Tele-therapy service.
Amy has authored articles for various magazines and blogs, and part of her role includes collaborating with I CAN’s communications team on content that is shared on their website, social media channels and other publications. Other recent work for Amy has included working with a partner to develop a website with information on the links between music and communication.
SEN and Disability Professional Adviser
Department for Education (DfE)
Since April 2010, André has worked as the DfE SEN and disability professional adviser, contributing to a range of policy developments, in particular the Children and Families Act. André has been a teacher and educational psychologist and held a number of practitioner and leadership roles in local authorities. He was a regional director in the National SEN Adviser team and was an adviser to the Lamb Inquiry into parental confidence.
Educational Advisory Teacher
An education advisor for ICT and Inclusion, Carol was named as one of the top ten educators for her work in inclusion, #EdTech2018. She was awarded an Ed Futurist award in 2019. Carol is currently a member of the DfE Assistive Technology Expert Group; a member of the BETT Advisory Team; a BETT Awards Judge and is a panel member and contributor to sessions at the House of Lords for the APPGAT committee.
She has taught in both mainstream and special schools. Recognising that communication lies at the heart of all effective teaching, most of her work has centred on creative and engaging use of technology to support communication in its widest sense. An advocate of inclusion and inclusive practice, Carol champions the effective use of both low and high tech solutions to facilitate access to learning, leisure and life for those who face barriers. She works across all age groups and levels of ability providing specialist advice and support locally; regionally; nationally and internationally.
Carol is an Inclusion Advisor for London Grid for Learning and has held this post for five years. This offers the opportunity to work on new offerings for all the schools across the Grid, looking to provide the most inclusive range of provision via the Cloud combined with conferences and workshops during the year.
Workshop/keynote presentations include both UK work and international conferences such as FETC/ATIA Florida, Illinois; Denmark , Rotterdam, Geneva, Cologne and two five city tours round Australia in 2018/2019.
All work centres on easy to replicate practice which is fun, achievable and creates communication enhancement opportunities.
SEND Consultant & Parent Advocate
Jane Friswell SEND Consultancy
A former SEN headteacher, with significant leadership experience in local authority SEN support and advisory roles and more recently as chief executive at nasen. Jane is now director of SEND Consultancy, a new and innovative support agency for those working in SEND, specialising in leading effective review of provision for children and young people with SEND, which commissions co-productively with young people with additional needs to effect improvement at local level.
A compelling , charismatic communicator and presenter who cares passionately about raising the quality of special needs provision for all with the ambition of achieving living an ordinary life for all. Jane continues to work with central government and international partners in an advisory capacity supporting the international agenda for SEND.
Jane is married and has three children, her 18 year old son is a young man with Aspergers, learning difficulties and additional mental health needs. She is the older sister and part time carer of a young lady with severe learning disabilities who lives in supported living in North Oxfordshire. Jane is a Court of Protection Depute. She is Chair of Governors and SEN Governor at a community primary school in the heart of Coventry, where a range of 33 different community languages are expressed which reflects the culturally rich and diverse community the school serves. Jane is a Trustee and supporter of a range of charitable trusts promoting an equal society for all.
Early Years SEND Consultant and Trainer
Church Park Consultants
Julie is a highly regarded trainer and speaker who has a long established reputation in the SEND sector. She is an associate trainer and consultant for nasen, The British Association of Early Education and regularly leads seminars at national events. Julie’s background is rooted in understanding and meeting the needs of young children with (SEND) and with a specific focus on promoting and developing a greater understanding of all aspects of social, emotional and mental health.
Kim is an occupational therapist who has been supporting children, schools and families for over 15 years. She has extensive experience working with children who have sensory and/or motor skill challenges, including those with autism and dyspraxia. Kim has worked in the NHS, social care, mainstream and specialist schools and private practice. In an effort to help more children receive occupational therapy support, Kim’s current focus is creating online training and programmes for schools, teachers and parents. This includes courses on sensory processing disorder, pencil grasp and fine motor skill development. Kim is the author of two books, Sensory Group and Supporting Pencil Grasp Development. In her spare time, she likes to bake and go hiking.
Council for Disabled Children (CDC)
Philippa has played a key role in crafting, challenging and championing education policy in her various roles in the public and voluntary sector. A trained teacher and occupational therapist with a Masters in the education of children with special needs, she began her career in mainstream and special schools, became an advisory teacher, then an inspector for the Inner London Education Authority.
When she joined the Council for Disabled Children, she set up the Special Educational Consortium to create a national campaigning voice for the disabled children’s sector and set about helping to establish and develop parent partnership services (now known as Information, Advice and Support services). She has worked in Parliament during the passage of legislation; reviewed inclusion in one of our most inclusive local authorities; contributed to the development of several Codes of Practice; was seconded into the DfE as SEN and disability professional adviser; advised on an inclusive early years project in Europe; is currently leading a DfE-funded project to increase access and inclusion in the early years; and works as part of the team providing support to the DfE as strategic partner on SEN and disability.
Different Joy Partnership
Sarah-Jane Critchley is passionate about helping autistic people, their families, friends and supporters live happier lives of their own choosing. She is the internationally recognised author of ‘A Different Joy: The Parents’ Guide to Living Better with Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD and More...’. and contributor to two titles on autism and girls. She wrote an ‘Introduction to Autism’ for AC Education to support adoptive and foster parents. She is an international keynote speaker.
For over 10 years (2008-1018), Sarah-Jane managed the Autism Education Trust working to improve educational provision for young people with autism. She was instrumental in the development, monitoring and management of the award-winning training programme that reached over 207,000 education-based staff in the UK and adapting the AET’s highly successful training programme to meet the local context in Italy and Greece. She worked with stakeholders to produce guidance on exam accommodations and exclusions. Sarah-Jane holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) specialising in the management of change from London’s City University.
She identifies as autistic and is the proud mother of two young adults (a late-diagnosed girl and boy), has been married to her husband for nearly 30 years and shares her home with two cats.
Dr Susie Nyman
Curriculum Manager for Health and Social Care
The Sixth Form College, Farnborough
Dr Susie Nyman is passionate about discovering how children learn and supporting them in ways which enable them to succeed. She was appointed as a biology teacher at The Sixth Form College Farnborough in 1995, and subsequently as curriculum manager for health and social care where she has worked ever since.
In addition to her teaching, Susie is an OCR moderator and CPD Trainer as well as an author for Oaka Books. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences on a variety of topics ranging from ‘Multi-sensory Teaching’ to ‘Study Skills’, ‘How to Become a Grade Riser’, ‘The Secrets of Helping Dyslexic Students to Pass GCSE Science’ and ‘Empowering Students with Mental Health Issues’. Fundamental to her teaching is identifying the students’ individual needs and finding the strategies that support and encourage them to succeed. This she has found to be of paramount importance when working with and empowering students with mental health issues and SEND.
In recognition of over 21 years continued service at The Sixth Form College Farnborough, Susie has been nominated three times by the College for the ‘TES FE Teacher of the Year Award’. This is an honour of which she is immensely proud.
Dame Christine Lenehan, DBE
Council for Disabled Children
Christine began her career as a social worker in 1980 working with children and their families in specialist roles in both residential and community settings. In 2000 Christine joined the Council for Disabled Children, part of National Children’s Bureau and became Director in 2003. Last year she carried out Reviews for both the Department of Health and Department for Education, into the treatment of children with significant needs and the experiences and outcomes of children and young people in residential special schools and colleges. Both Reviews received a very positive response from Government, and implementation of their recommendations is likely to make a significant impact on practice in this area and the experiences of the children and young people affected.
In 2009 Christine was awarded an OBE for services for disabled children and young people and in 2013 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. In 2016 she was awarded a Damehood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in recognition of her outstanding work for disabled children and young and those with special educational needs spanning over 35 years.
Head of Content
Tes SEN Show
Beverley has over 17 years’ senior management experience of the education sector, focusing on special educational needs and disability (SEND). She is responsible for the Tes SEN Show’s content strategy and structure across all 42 seminars, parent and carer forum presentations and exhibitor workshops. Beverley is passionate about raising awareness of SEN and has a wealth of knowledge and experience of the SEN sector. As a member of the senior leadership team at nasen for over 10 years, Beverley has worked alongside colleagues at the DfE leading the development of the SEND Gateway, which was launched in 2014, managed the delivery of professional development nationally to meet the needs of a variety of education settings and supported the work of Council for Disabled Children on government funded projects. She has worked with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to promote UK SEN expertise abroad and has been a member of the organising committee of the quinquennial Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress (ISEC) Glasgow 2005, Belfast 2010 and Portugal 2015. Beverley is SEN Governor of a local primary school in inner city Birmingham and mum to a wonderful young man who inspires her to keep learning.
Dr Asha Patel
Dr Asha Patel (founder of Innovating Minds) is a registered Clinical Psychologist providing the Healing Together facilitator programme that supports children impacted by domestic abuse. This is the first trauma informed programme that equips facilitators with the knowledge and resources they need to provide early intervention with children. Dr Patel is also the mastermind behind EduPod, the online platform that provides training for designated mental health leads that are implementing a whole school approach to mental health.
Spotlight Education Support
Liz is the Founder of Spotlight Education Support, a training and consultancy provider which provides SEND focused school improvement support nationally and internationally. She is an experienced Senior Leader and SENCo and still works part time in a leadership role at a large secondary school in the North West.
Liz has worked in schools for 20 years. She originally trained as a secondary English teacher and has since held pastoral, curriculum and SEND leadership roles in all-through schools in both the state and independent sectors. Liz regularly presents at national conferences and publishes articles designed to support school leaders, SENCos and teachers.
Liz is passionate about all things education but has expertise in education change management and SEND CPD which enables inclusive teaching and learning.
Further Education Student
Aidan is currently in Further Education studying Aerospace Engineering Lvl 3 after leaving school with 6 GCSEs. He aims to attend University and embark upon a career in Aviation/Aerospace.
Professor Amanda Kirby
Do-IT Solutions/University of South Wales
Professor Amanda Kirby has an international reputation in the field of Neurodiversity. She is a trustee of the ADHD Foundation, working closely with the BDA, Dyspraxia Foundation and several Autism charities. She has written 8 books, more than 100 research papers in the field and is an emeritus Professor at the University of South Wales. She is a parent of neurodivergent children and grandchildren, and a GP.
Holding a PhD in emerging adulthood in neurodiversity, she founded and ran a clinical and research team for fifteen years relating to neurodiversity. She delivers the first UK accredited course on Neurodiversity in the Workplace and has developed the Neurodiversity Aware Standard with the ADHD Foundation. She is the CEO of Do-IT Solutions, who are Disability Confident Leaders. Do-IT is an innovative tech for good company providing web-based screening and assessment tools relating to neurodiversity for all ages. She has been voted nationally UK GP of the Year.
Director of Education
Tom, Director of Education at I CAN, has worked in education for over 20 years in both mainstream and SEND sectors and has been a successful Headteacher in two schools. He has successfully worked with a number of schools and colleagues to secure school improvement in a range of settings. As the senior educationalist in the organisation, Tom's role is to ensure the very highest quality education in I CAN’s schools and provide sector intelligence and professional guidance to work across the organisation that requires educational input.
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
The Speech and Language Garden
Beth is a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist with extensive experience working with children and young adults in a range of settings including primary and secondary schools, preschools, clinics and pupil referral units.
Alongside Beth's independent clinical practise, she provides online cPD training and resources to schools and education settings to support children with a range of speech, language and communication needs. As a result of my training courses, many Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Preschool Practitioners and other education professionals have felt empowered to help their students with their speech, language and communication needs with fun and effective strategies and interventions.
Beth has delivered guest lectures to Speech and Language Therapy students covering a range of topics, including service provision, speech sounds, stammering, vocabulary and word finding, clinical assessment and intervention. She is also a practise educator for student SALTs and enjoys supporting and nurturing the next generation of clinicians.
Beth is registered with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, the Health and Care Professionals Council and the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice. She has a master's degree (MSc) in Health and Human Sciences, qualifying as a Speech & Language Therapist in 2009. Her undergraduate degree is in Linguistics and Spanish (BA Hons).
Beth is a mum of 2 primary school aged children, one with special needs, and when she is not being a Speech Therapist, she enjoys playing card games and eating biscuits with her kids (even if she hardly ever wins!).
Principal Officer for Education and Equalities
Council for Disabled Children (CDC)
Chris Rees is the Principal Officer for Education and Equalities at the Council for Disabled Children (CDC). He has been based at CDC for over 7 years, working on a range of programmes including the IASS Network, the Special Educational Consortium and the Early Years SEND Partnership.
In over 20 years’ experience working in the voluntary sector, Chris has also delivered a national school exclusion support service for Save the Children, worked on youth justice projects in Tajikistan and provided pedagogy support among secondary school teachers in Ethiopia. Chris has a son with Down’s syndrome, and is passionate about supporting children with SEND fulfil their potential and achieve their aspirations.
Driver Youth Trust
Chris Rossiter is the Chief Executive of Driver Youth Trust (DYT), a national education charity with a mission to change the way literacy difficulties and SEND are approached in schools across the country. DYT provides professional development opportunities for educators at all levels, from teaching assistants to governors and trustees.
Chris originally trained as an applied psychologist and has worked across the private, public and charitable sector for over fifteen years. He has particular expertise in special educational needs and disability, and organisational psychology. He is a primary Chair of Governors, Trustee of the Astrea Academy Trust, member of the literacy sub-committee of the Hastings Opportunity Area and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Married to Geoff, Chris lives in Berkshire and has interests which include cycling, wine and twentieth century art. Chris’ real passion is his Labrador, Dolly.
Business Development Manager
Ellie has dedicated her working life to the provision of support for children and families of children with SEND. As a qualified teacher, Ellie left the mainstream teaching environment in 2005 to become the founder and CEO of a very successful, nature based alternative provision on a farm in North Essex.
Ellie has worked directly with children and their families as well as their schools, the NHS, local authorities and social care providers. She also delivers training and consultancy on behalf of the ATF partnership and Social Farms and Gardens, with a special interest in developing opportunities for young people with anxiety and depression.
Ellie served for many years on the board of directors for Care Farming UK (now known as Social Farms and Gardens).
In 2014, Ellie was presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship in appreciation of her service to the local and national community.
Ellie works part time for Contact as their business development manager on projects making a transformational difference through the delivery of training and support across the UK.
Ellie is also a mum of three children, one of whom has additional, complex needs. She believes passionately in co-production and building a community of support around children and their families to overcome the difficulties that they face.
Early Years Project Manager
Gail has previously worked in the communications industry in Manchester, Liverpool and London and has carried the skills acquired into a new world of disability. Since the birth of her son, she is passionate about making a difference to the lives of families on their new journey that they never expected to be on.
Joining up services, co-production, resilience and person-centred planning is key to her work with Contact and other organisations, supporting and training families with disabled children in all different aspects of improving their lives.
She is a Lay member on the Health Education England Patient Advisory Forum, Disabled Children’s Partnership Board, Expert Parent Trainer and an active Trustee for both Disability Challengers and FitzRoy.
In the little spare time she has Gail loves to spend time on the IOW walking and playing golf.
ADHD and Neurodiversity Trainer and Consultant
Fintan is one of the leading Behaviour and Learning Specialists in the UK. He is currently an ADHD and Neurodiversity consultant and trainer for number of schools and organisations, an associate lecturer for Leicester University, NASEN, the Helen Arkell Charity and the Institute of Education.
He was the Headmaster of the Centre Academy School, regarded as the first specialist school within the UK for children with ADHD/ODD from 1996 -2002. Prior to that, he was a Deputy Head Teacher, the Head of the Science Department and a Science/PE teacher in London, Newcastle and Washington DC
He is a current member of the Special Education Consortium, the SpLD Assessment Standards Committee, and The London CDC and is a council member of CReSTeD.
Fintan is an internationally acclaimed presenter has presented over 2000 seminars throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, Australia, New Zealand and North America and has published over 10 books on learning, behaviour and socialisation issues.
Primary School Teacher/Life Coach
Jo is an experienced primary school teacher, English manager and freelance children's book consultant who passionately believes in the power of stories to elicit discussions and change people's ways of thinking. She loves working with leaders to develop their reading curriculums and to help them develop a whole school ethos of reading for pleasure.
Vafa is a qualified NLP Practitioner and Coach and experienced healthcare professional. She is passionate about creating a safe and nurturing space for her clients to be seen, heard and understood. She believes everyone has all the necessary ingredients deep within them to get the life they wish for.
Sensory Engagement and Inclusion Specialist/Founder
The Sensory Projects
Joanna Grace is a Sensory Engagement and Inclusion Specialist, Author, Trainer, TEDx speaker and Founder of The Sensory Projects. Through her work, Joanna seeks to contribute to a future where people are understood in spite of their differences. The Sensory Projects run on the principle that with the right knowledge and a little creativity inexpensive items can become effective sensory tools for inclusion.
Joanna has family members with neurodivergent conditions and disabilities. As a teacher, Joanna taught students from 2-19 yrs in mainstream and special school settings and was recognised for her outstanding practice. She has also been employed in a consultancy capacity. Joanna has been a registered foster carer for children with complex disabilities.
Joanna set up The Sensory Projects in 2010. Since then The Sensory Projects have won awards for innovative and inclusive practice and Joanna has been recognised as a thought leader with regards to her perspective on disability and neurodivergence. To date Joanna has had 8 books published focusing on aspects of sensory engagement and neurodiversity, and through The Sensory Projects has published over 30 sensory stories. Joanna also writes for magazines, journals, print and online media and has had close to 200 articles published.
Joanna grew up on a boat and now lives in rural Cornwall with her husband, two young sons, a cat and a dog, close to the sea that feels like home to her.
Joanna is an active user of social media and welcomes new connections with people interested in inclusion.
Advisory Teacher for ICT and Inclusion
John Galloway is a specialist in the use of technology to support the inclusion of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). His work covers all phases of schools and the full range of SEND. He works part-time for Tower Hamlets, and has worked with schools and local authorities across the country. He has developed and delivered CPD at every level, including post-graduate, and spoken at conferences in the UK and abroad.
He has written a number of books and many articles that have appeared in TES, Guardian, Special Children, SECED, and Special World. His several books include co-authoring, ‘Learning with Mobile and Handheld Technologies’ – winner of Best Book in the 2015 Technology and Innovation Awards.
He has spoken at conferences in the UK and abroad about his work.
Principal Educational Psychologist
Julia has worked with children, young people, schools and families for 27 years. She started her career as a teacher, and has worked in mainstream, special schools and pupil referral units (PRUs). She has also volunteered with VSO and worked in a large international school in Thailand. Julia has worked as a Senior Specialist Educational Psychologist for Behaviour and as part of a multi-disciplinary Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) team.
Julia has worked for Place2Be since 2013. Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity that works with children and young people in schools across the UK. A key role for Julia at Place2Be is to work with counsellors and school staff to identify and support the needs of children and young people with SEND who may have an unrecognised mental health needs. She has developed a particular interest in the mental health needs of autistic children and young people and those are Looked After, adopted, or who live in kinship care.
Throughout her career, Julia has maintained a passion for promoting good mental health for all - including the most vulnerable children and young people, their teachers and their parent-carers.
Children and Young People Lead
National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi)
Julie is a qualified social worker and has worked in a variety of roles in social care since qualifying 32 years ago. Julie is passionate about ensuring young people with special educational needs and disabilities have equal life chances as they move into adulthood.
Julie leads the Children and Young People programme at the National Development Team for Inclusion, a values-led organisation that works on a not-for-profit basis. Julie has also headed up the national Preparing for Adulthood programme, funded by the Department for Education for the past five years.
Julie is passionate about person centred approaches to ensure that all vulnerable young people have the same opportunities to be aspirational and succeed.
Lana Grant Autism Consultancy
Lana Grant is a Specialist advisor within the field of SEN (special educational needs) counsellor, advocate for SEN children and their families. Lana has worked within the field of SEN for nearly twenty years, with a specialism in autism.
Lana is a specialist in autism and females and her debut book "From Here To Maternity, pregnancy and motherhood on the Autism Spectrum" was published in March 2015 by Jessica Kingsley publishers.
Lana has contributed articles, podcasts and presentations for TES, The Autism Show, NAS (National Autistic Society), New York Times and many others.
Lana has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome and is also a parent of children on the autism spectrum. She is experienced in supporting and educating young people with autism and other forms of SEN from 3 years into adulthood.
Lorraine Petersen Educational Consultancy (LPEC)
Lorraine has 25 years’ experience in the mainstream school environment as a teacher and Head Teacher. From 2004 – 2013 Lorraine was CEO of nasen, a charitable organisation supporting all those who work with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. As a result, Lorraine has many years’ experience of working with pupils with an array of special and additional needs and the teachers, SENCOs and support staff that work with them.
During her time as CEO of nasen, Lorraine worked on a number of projects with various agencies including the Department for Education, the National College of Teaching and Leadership (formally the Teaching Agency) and UKTI. She has been a chair, keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at many national and international events and conferences (that as well as a consultant for a number of national organisations.
In 2009 Lorraine was awarded an OBE for her services to education. In 2010 Lorraine was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Education Research Awards and in 2013 the Outstanding Achievement Award at BETT. In the same year, Lorraine established Lorraine Petersen Educational Consultancy and currently works independently, delivering training and supporting schools and local authorities with their SEND policy and practice.
In 2015 Lorraine successfully completed the IPSEA SEN Foundation Legal Training and has been appointed as an Associate Lecturer at the University of Worcester. In 2016 Lorraine became an Advocate of the Chartered College of Teaching. Lorraine is a qualified Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a Healing Together Facilitator.
Lorraine in currently Director of Chadsgrove Teaching School Alliance and is Chair of Governors at Chadsgrove School and a Governor at Lokrum Fields, a newly opened Independent Special School.
International Director of Programmes, Training and Delivery for Education
Crisis Prevention Institute
Maria previously spent 17 years in various positions of increasing responsibility at a residential special academy, catering for children with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH). While there she became a Certified Pivotal MAPA (Management of Actual and Potential Aggression) and Pivotal Instructor and completed a BSc in Health & Social Care Restraint Reduction, developed in conjunction with the Crisis Prevention Institute and the University of Wolverhampton.
Her studies led her to successfully introduce a programme at the academy that was child centred and restorative, underpinned by Pivotal MAPA and Pivotal principles, where staff fully appreciated the importance of calm, consistent behaviours, and that all behaviours are a form of communication. The academy saw a significant and consistent improvement in behaviours and a reduction in the use of restrictive physical interventions over the past five years.
Ofsted commented: “The school’s commitment to reducing restrictive physical intervention and restraint is commendable and helps to create an ethos where physical aggression is rare. The school’s use of restorative justice is successfully helping pupils to develop self-control, a sense of empathy and understanding of right and wrong. As a result, over their time in the school, pupils develop more tolerant and inclusive values.”
Maria also holds a Masters in International Education Leadership from the UCL Institute of Education, a world leader in education research and teacher training.
Headteacher/NAHT National Executive Member
Over 25 years, Marijke Miles has worked with young people with SEND in many different contexts and sectors. Currently Headteacher of Baycroft School, a school for secondary aged students with learning difficulties and autism, she was previously Headteacher of Prospect School, a secondary school for boys with SEMH. Both have become known as centres for excellence for supporting young people and their families, as well as training units for student social workers from the Universities of Chichester and Winchester. She is known for her innovative practice which has featured in several books.
As Chair of the NAHT SEND Council and a member of the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education she contributes intellectual and moral advocacy into SEND practice, provision and strategy.
Nick Whittaker, HMI
Nick is Ofsted's HMI Specialist Adviser, SEND. He is a qualified teacher and, prior to joining Ofsted, was executive headteacher of two all-age special schools for children and young people who have severe learning difficulties and complex needs. He has also worked as a senior local authority adviser and school improvement partner.
Nick is founding chair and a trustee of Climbing for All Sheffield, a charity which provides outdoor and adventurous activities for children and young people who have a wide range of special educational needs and/or disabilities.
Dr Rob Long (D.Ed.Psych.) is a Chartered Psychologist who works independently, offering high quality training in schools and colleges to teachers and other professionals who work with children and young people. His special interest area is the challenges faced by children and young people who face social, emotional and mental health difficulties. Rob also offers individual advice and support to young people and their families. Previously, Rob lectured in Psychology and Sociology before working as an Educational Psychologist for Wolverhampton and then Devon Education Authorities. He has written and published several books and online assessments to support the work and training that he provides.
Rob is a tutor for the Oxford Brookes University distance learning course on Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties and an active member of the Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties Association (Sebda).
Associate Tutor (UCL) and Education Consultant
Centre for Inclusive Education
Sally Franklin is an Associate Tutor based at the world-renowned Centre for Inclusive Education, within the Institute of Education (IOE) at University College London. She lectures across all aspects of SEND, including the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (NaSENCo), effective EHCPs, High Quality Teaching and Provision Mapping.
Sally also works as an independent SEND consultant, supporting schools both in the UK and internationally to improve their inclusive practice. She leads on the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) course and trains extensively in TA deployment and practice, working with hundreds of schools to support their strategic deployment of TAs. She also works as a Regional Implementation Lead for the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), supporting effective change in schools.
Sheila began her career as a nurse and health visitor before completing a degree and teaching, initially in further education, where she was shocked at the number of students who had spent 10 years in education yet couldn’t read. She trained in systematic synthetic phonics and began to use phonics immediately with students and quickly realised that even the students who had been ‘written off’, could learn to read when taught explicitly using a systematic approach.
Sheila later worked in specialist schools teaching individuals and small groups using Sounds-write phonics and has continued to work with individual students on a private basis who struggle with reading and spelling. Having also completed the CELTA course, she has taught English to numerous speakers of other languages incorporating phonics where appropriate especially with ESOL learners many of whom have not been literate in their first language and seen how effective the phonics is with a range of different learners. Sheila now spends most of her time training teachers, school staff and other professionals in phonics and other areas related to vulnerable children and is author of ‘Overcoming Barriers to Learning’ published by Worth and ‘Make it Magnificent’ published by Attuned Education.
Teacher of the Deaf
National Deaf Children’s Society
Emma is the Teacher of the Deaf at the National Deaf Children’s Society and is involved in a wide variety of education projects including developing resources and delivering training. Emma has worked as a teacher, SENCO and qualified Teacher of the Deaf, promoting and supporting children with SEND and their families. She has an additional qualification in Early Years and Deafness and is a Level 2 BSL user.
National Deaf Children's Society
Sian has worked at the National Deaf Children’s Society since 2011 supporting families of deaf children and the professionals working with them. Her current role involves developing and delivering training to practitioners working with deaf children in the early years.
Sian has over 30 years’ experience of supporting children and their families, including six years in a Hearing Impaired department of a primary school and 11 years working in a deprived area in Wales as part of Sure Start.
Sian initially qualified as an NNEB and also has a degree in Childhood Studies. She has qualified with Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP) stage 2.
Lucy is the founder of SENse Learning. She has experience of working with children and young people with varying diagnoses, such as Autism Spectrum Conditions, including PDA, Attachment Difficulties including Developmental Trauma, ADHD and Global Development Delay, in a range of specialist settings. She has worked as part of leadership teams within school settings and has extensive experience of working and communicating with multi-agency teams. She has led on Teaching and Learning with ASD across a specialist school provision and developed safeguarding procedures in a bespoke learning provision for young people out of school. She is a registered Attachment Lead across the Sussex area.
Sophie has experience of working with children both in and out of formal education, ranging in ages from 5-16 years old. She has worked in SEN education for over 10 years in a variety of mainstream, special and alternative educational provisions. She has worked with children with a variety of different diagnoses including Autistic Spectrum Disorder, PDA, Attachment Difficulties as well as students who are avoiding or struggling to attend school. Sophie is also a registered Behaviour Lead through CPI and is a registered foster carer.
39 Essex Chambers
Steve Broach is a public lawyer who advises and represents individuals, charities, companies and public authorities. He has particular interest and expertise in health, education and social care, with a focus on disability and children’s rights cases. His practice ranges from commercial judicial reviews to challenges to funding cuts to public services. He has appeared in a large number of reported cases, including many of the Supreme Court cases on disability issues. Steve also has a regulatory public law practice involving challenges to decisions of regulatory bodies and the police, as well as being a discrimination specialist who is experienced in using discrimination arguments in public law challenges. He is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission ‘A’ Panel of counsel.
Steve is ranked in four categories by Chambers and Partners, including in Band 1 for Community Care and Education. He was awarded Young Barrister of the Year at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2011. Before coming to the Bar in 2008, Steve worked extensively in the voluntary sector on behalf of disabled children and disabled adults.
Dr Susan Ebbels
Moor House Research and Training Institute
Susan has worked at Moor House with children with Language Disorder, including Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) as a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist for over 20 years.
Prior to this, she worked in mainstream and special schools, language units, nurseries and clinics both as a speech and language therapist and earlier as a speech and language therapy assistant. She has an honorary lectureship at UCL (where she completed her PhD in 2005) and is also a specialist advisor for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.
She is on the editorial boards of two peer reviewed journals, the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders and Child Language Teaching and Therapy.
She is passionate about the need for evidence-based practice and has carried out, coordinated and published many intervention studies on a range of areas, but with a particular focus on improving the comprehension and production of grammar in children with language disorders using her SHAPE CODINGTM system. She delivers regular courses both on the SHAPE CODINGTM system and on the current evidence base for school-aged children with DLD.
Specialist Teacher (DLD) & MHRTI Trainer
An experienced teacher in both mainstream and SEN settings, Sue began her career in a mainstream school and in 1996 started working for the London Borough of Bromley as KS2 specialist teacher in both their language units.
It was here that she began supporting pupils with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Sue worked closely with Speech & Language Therapists (SLTs) to deliver specialist language teaching and supported pupils’ re-integration into mainstream classes.
In 2006, she joined the teaching staff at Moor House and has extensive experience of devising and delivering a mainstream curriculum that has been highly differentiated for the language needs of the pupils in her class. She has worked closely alongside speech and language therapists for many years to ensure that speech and language therapy can be integrated throughout the curriculum using a range of specialist systems.
In 2019, Sue was seconded to the MHRTI as a trainer to develop a range of courses for mainstream schools. In addition, Sue works as a literacy group intervention lead teacher, supporting students from KS2-KS4 who have DLD and additional literacy needs.
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Moor House Research and Training Institute
Hilary is an experienced, evidence-based Highly Specialist Speech & Language Therapist within the field of language disorders, including Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).
Working across both Moor House School & College and the Research & Training Institute, Hilary provides highly specialist interventions to a small caseload of students with DLD in 1:1 small group and classroom sessions, working within an integrated, intensive speech and language therapy service.
She also provides expert support, advice and training to both internal and external professionals, including Makaton (regional tutor), the SHAPE CODING™ system (accredited trainer), The Listening Program® (certified provider) and Signed English (tutor).
Hilary is a regular presenter at conferences and recently co-authored a research paper on the effectiveness of semantic intervention for word-finding difficulties in college-aged students with persistent language disorders.
Autism & ADHD Specialist/Founder
Suzy is an author, Autism & ADHD Specialist, Adaptive Cognitive Behaviour Therapist & poet. She founded the #happyinschool project to help families educators, effectively manage the significant issues around educating neurodiverse youngsters. She initiated the project as a forum for autism & ADHD parent advocacy and it quickly developed into a series of detailed training programmes for parents, mental health professionals and educators. As the project founder, she works collaboratively with a range of charitable organisations to empower parents, and mental health professionals around engagement and educating children and young people with neurodiversity or intellectual disabilities.
She was a speaker at this year’s National Autistic Society conference on mental health and has worked with Express CIC, IAPT, Fastminds, Richmond Borough Mind, Ruils, ADHD Richmond & Kingston, as well as with private clients. She works collaboratively with organisations and individuals using social prescribing, group therapy and adaptive CBT to achieve the most suitable and supportive outcomes for the families and young people she works with. Her book S.E.N.D. in the Clowns was a best seller in Amazon’s neurology listing and is also available from her website.
Mrunal Sissodia, OBE
National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF)
Mrunal is the East of England steering group member for the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) and since July 2017 has the pleasure of serving as co-chair. The NNPCF is made up of 151 local parent carer forums made up of parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities. The NNPCF has 100,000 members across England. In his role with the NNPCF Mrunal sits on numerous national boards and works closely with national government including the Department for Education, NHS England and Ofsted.
Mrunal is a passionate advocate of participation and co-production and believes that the direct, authentic voices of all sectors of the community must be involved in making decisions about how the services they use are designed, commissioned and delivered.
Before joining the NNPCF Steering Group, Mrunal was a director at Leonard Cheshire Disability and has extensive experience of the charity sector developing strategy and new services. Prior to this Mrunal was a director of strategic change management at Deutsche Bank.
During the Covid 19 pandemic, Mrunal has been a member of key government boards including the Department for Education’s Vulnerable Children’s Board, the School’s Recovery Advisory Group and NHS England’s children and young people’s stakeholder council. Mrunal was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours for services to children and young people with special educational needs and Disabilities including during the Covid 19 response.
National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF)
Tina is the Southwest steering group member for the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) and since July 2019 has also served as co-chair. The NNPCF is made up of 151 local parent carer forums made up of parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities. The NNPCF has 100,000 members across England. In her role with the NNPCF, Tina sits on numerous national boards and works closely with national government including the Department for Education, NHS England and Ofsted. She also works closely with regional government teams, including being instrumental in setting up ways of working with NHSE in the SW.
Tina has worked in Education and Residential Social Care and has been a youth worker for over 30 years. She is passionate about hearing from not only parent carers, but also children and young people.
During the Covid 19 pandemic, Tina has been a member of key government boards including the Department for Education’s Vulnerable Children’s Board and the alternative provision advisory group.
National Development Lead for the Education Sector
Child Bereavement UK
Tracey began her career as a research scientist, developing links with the education sector through an outreach programme and mentoring scheme. Subsequently, she qualified as a teacher and taught across the primary phase, specialising in supporting vulnerable pupils and their families, including young people with autism.
Tracey joined Child Bereavement UK in 2018 as the National Development Lead for the Education Sector. Her role at the charity includes raising awareness of bereavement within the sector, supporting education professionals and designing online resources.
Throughout the pandemic, Tracey has delivered bereavement training webinars, which have been attended by over 18000 education professionals.
Husband and Father
Robert is a husband and father of 6 children of whom Aidan is the youngest. After over 30 years of employment, he undertook Self employment to have the flexibility to positively engage with educators. He then returned to University to qualify as a Coach/ Mentor.