Find out about all the speakers at this year's show.
Carol Allen is an education advisor for ICT and inclusion. She has taught since 1980 in both mainstream schools – primary and high, and schools for students with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties. Recognising, as an English specialist, that communication lies at the heart of all effective teaching, the majority of her work has centred on creative and engaging use of technology to support communication in its widest sense. Carol works in partnership with many companies in the educational technology field as she holds a strong belief in sharing and collaboration across all participants in order to maximise the potential opportunities for her students. All work centres on easy to replicate practice which is fun, achievable and creates communication enhancement opportunities. Recent workshops and keynotes include presentations at ATIA Florida, Denmark, BETT 2017, Birmingham, Manchester, London and Australia. Carol is list owner for sld-forum, an international mailing list for practitioners and educators interested in the effective teaching and learning for those with complex barriers to learning. Currently looking at the impact of mobile technologies on inclusive practice, she is working with a zoo to produce some very different learning opportunities for the staff, school and family visitors and some of the animals themselves!
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. Jane is married and has three children, her 15 year old son is a young man with Aspergers, learning difficulties and additional mental health needs. She is a school governor, trustee and supporter of a range of charitable trusts promoting equity and equality for children and young people with additional needs.
Kerry is a teacher and AAC implementation manager for Smartbox. She has worked in mainstream and special schools at both primary and secondary level, specialising in developing Assistive Technology (AT) and Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). Kerry writes content for Grid 3 software and develops a range of supporting materials for professionals and parents. She also collaborates with schools and other organisations to provide guidance on how to use Grid 3 as a classroom tool for AAC. Kerry has presented at Communication Matters annual conference (Leicester), CM Literacy & AAC Best Practice (Oldham), ASL & Technology Conference (Glasgow and Edinburgh) and at the Tes SEN Show. She has also delivered various workshops and training across the UK. Her current focus is core vocabulary and designing the best way for parents and professionals to access learning resources to enable them to facilitate successful communication for the AAC learner.
Sherann Hillman MBE is head of family services Seashell Trust and chair of the PIPStockport Parent Carer Forum. Sherann is the parent of 3 young people with SEN, and has over 20 years of experience of supporting families with children and young people with SEND. Sherann was previously co-chair and NW representative of NNPCF and instrumental in the Children & Families Act and relevant legislation embedding participation of parent carers. She is also a representative of parent carers on several local, regional, and national work streams including the Rochford Review and is passionate about ensuring co-production happens with children, young people, and their parent carers in all the services and support they receive.
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.
Since April 2010, André has worked as the DfE SEN and Disability Professional Advisor, 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.
Judy became the president of NAHT in May 2019, after serving as Vice President the previous year. Judy graduated in English and Linguistics at Lancaster University then completed her PGCE in Primary Education at St. Martin’s College, Lancaster. She began teaching in 1988. She has taught throughout the primary age range specialising in Literacy and Early Years. Judy has been headteacher of an Infant and Nursery School in West Yorkshire since 2005. She joined NAHT at the same time! She was elected to NAHT’s National Executive in 2013 representing Yorkshire. In 2016 Judy became the first Chair of the newly formed NAHT Early Years Sector Council. The Council aims to raise the profile of Early Years Education and it’s work steers and informs NAHT’s policy on early years education.
Alan Heath is the Founder and Director of Learning Solutions, an organisation based in Yorkshire, UK, that since 1996 has been dedicated to helping children and adults maximise learning potential. He has presented at major Educational Conferences in the UK for many years and is known as a lively and inspiring speaker. His work brings together the underlying sensory problems inherent in many areas of learning, speech and developmental delay. He works extensively in schools and with Health Professionals in the UK and internationally. Alan is the author of Beating Dyslexia – A Natural Way, published in 1997 and developer of The Movement Program and TAVS (Test of Auditory and Visual Skills).
Angharad is an experienced Speech and Language Therapist who has worked for the NHS for 15 years and now runs Find the Key Speech and Language Therapy alongside her NHS work. She specialises in working with children with complex physical, medical and learning needs from birth to adulthood, on both communication and feeding. She especially loves working in the preschool period because it gives her the chance to work directly with families. She thinks that Early Years settings have fantastic potential to support children and families in this situation, because they understand that learning needs to be child-led and relationship-based. You can find Angharad online on Facebook (@findthekeyslt), Twitter (@FindthekeySLT), Instagram (findthekeySLT1) and Linked In (Angharad Welch)
Barry is a values driven, authentic and visionary leader who is passionate about working restoratively with people to develop relationships and partnerships that get from talk to action and improve outcomes. He is an independent consultant with over 18 years of leadership and operational experience in the public sector in Childrens' and adults' services including SEND, Care Leavers, Children Looked After, Connexions, programme management, strategy and commissioning. Barry worked in the complex needs leadership team in Leeds for 5 years. Where he chaired the SEND strategy board, led on preparing for adulthood, was the strategic lead for post 16 SEND and a key player in implementing the SEND reforms locally. Barry is an associate and proud member of the NDTIs national preparing for adulthood team. He is the North East and North West Regional PfA Coordinator supporting local areas to embed best practice and deliver the SEND reforms. In this role Barry also works with schools and colleges, supporting and challenging them to embed PfA into their practice and curriculum.
Carole is currently the EYFS lead at Hinderton Primary School (an Outstanding Special School for children with Autism). She has worked in special education at Hinderton for over 7 years but prior to this she had many years of experience as an EYFS teacher in mainstream schools in Halton. Carole is fully trained in Attention Autism therapy, a programme designed to develop attention , communication and early learning skills in young children with additional needs. She has worked successfully with many local mainstream schools and nurseries to embed this programme into their EYFS practice. She is also part of the outreach team at Hinderton and she enjoys working with EYFS settings so that children with Autism can have the very best start to their education. Carole delivers AET training in both the EYFS and Schools phase. Hinderton Teaching School are also Strategic partners for the AET Schools based training in the North West. Carole is a mum to two children with Autism so she offers a unique perspective on the challenges faced by both schools and families.
Dr Clements has worked in suicide and self-harm research for over 10 years, based at the Centre for Mental Health and Safety at The University of Manchester. She completed her PhD at The University of Manchester which examined suicide and self-harm in people with bipolar disorder, and is currently Project Manager of The Manchester Self-Harm Project and a coinvestigator on The Multicentre Study of Self-Harm in England. Her research interests include the epidemiology, psychology, and prevention of suicide and self-harm and she has contributed to a number of self-harm and suicide prevention resources, reports, and strategy groups locally and nationally.
Dr Cathy Hamer is an early years teacher, HCPC registered Practitioner Psychologist and BPS Chartered Educational and Health Psychologist. She has led the development of Sure Start, Children’s Centres, Early Support, early years, special educational needs and disability services across Wales, London and the North West. Cathy coordinates the NW SEND regional network. She is an Associate for National Children’s Bureau, Council for Disabled Children and National Literacy Trust with extensive experience of providing consultancy services and delivering a wide range of training nationally and internationally. She has a particular interest in working with parents of children and young people with special needs and disabilities, has conducted original research in this area, and delivers the Expert Parent Carer programme. She has managed the national Talk To Your Baby campaign, led the Face to Face project and developed strategic guidance for communication in the early years. Cathy has developed Let’s Listen - Young children’s voices – profiling and planning to enable their participation in children’s services as well as creating the HELLO (Helping Early Language and Literacy Outcomes) toolkit. Cathy is the independent chair of the Best Start Partnership in the States of Jersey and chair of a St Helens based charity, Connect, which holds the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Hannah is a qualified and practicing SENCO and dyslexia specialist, currently working as Director of Inclusion over a family of primary and secondary schools. An experienced senior leader, she also supports and contributes to the work of nasen and Whole School SEND in leading change nationally. The visionary behind the National SENCO Workload Survey 2018 and the charity Generation CAN, she is passionate about improving the working experience of SENCOs nationally, as well as shifting perceptions and awareness about what children and young people with SEND are capable of. To find out more about her projects, please visit www.hannahmoloney.co.uk and www.generationCAN.org.uk
James has worked with young people with learning difficulties for the last 17 years. He has spent his teaching career in both Primary and Secondary phases of education specifically working with children with Moderate, Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties and Autism. He is currently Deputy Head Teacher at Sunningdale School, an Outstanding provision in Sunderland for pupils with Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. James is a trustee of EQUALS, a not-for-profit registered charity, first formed in 1994, committed to supporting the work of teachers, TAs, schools and parents/carers of pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) severe learning difficulties (SLD) and moderate learning difficulties (MLD). James additionally works as a visiting lecturer for University of Northumbria at Newcastle. James undertakes Specialist Leader of Education duties as part of the school’s role as a National Support School and is involved in the development and delivery (as the Lead Mentor) in Sunningdale Teaching School's Specialist (SLD, PMLD, ASD) Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programme in collaboration with the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. James has developed and delivered workshops on a wide variety of topics related to Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties on behalf of the SENHub in Tyne and Wear. He has also previously managed a number of outreach and intervention teams on behalf of Sunderland Local Authority.
Karen is currently the Family Support Worker at Hinderton Primary School (an Outstanding Special School for children with Autism). She has worked in special education at Hinderton for 12 years formerly as TA and HLTA but now primarily supporting families. Prior to Hinderton she had many years of experience as an EYFS Nursery Nurse in mainstream schools in London. Karen is fully trained in Attention Autism therapy, a programme designed to develop attention, communication and early learning skills in young children with additional needs. She is also part of the outreach team at Hinderton and she enjoys working with various EYFS settings so that children with Autism can have the very best start to their education. Karen delivers AET training in both the EYFS and Schools phase. Hinderton Teaching School are also strategic partners for the AET Schools based training in the North West. Karen is trained to deliver NAS EarlyBird Plus parenting programme to families and is also a Sleep Scotland sleep counsellor.
Lesley has worked in education for many years; originally as a primary class teacher and then as a SENCO in primary and secondary settings. She has developed her passion for supporting children and young people with SEND in her fifteen years as a SEN advisory teacher with Birmingham Local Authority. In her current role as Assistant Service Lead she is project lead for High Quality Teaching, SLCN and staff training and development. As part of the leadership team she is regularly involved with whole school SEN reviews.
Lianne Ward has been a teacher for 21 years. After completing her education degree in Cardiff she then spent 13 years employed as a Year 6 teacher in a local Primary school before travelling the world in 2002. Whilst travelling Lianne enjoyed teaching in Peru and Thailand. In 2011, she was appointed lead teacher of an area based Nurture Group as part of Cornwall Council before taking on the post of Vice Principal and SENDCo at Restormel Academy, and was appointed as Principal in 2017. In April 2019, Lianne was appointed Executive Principal for Wave MAT Cornwall, overseeing the smooth running of all six academies in Cornwall. Lianne is committed to providing a nurturing school provision to support our most vulnerable students whilst maintaining high expectations with a strong academic focus.
Maria Catterick is the Director of FASD Network UK which she founded due to her personal and professional experiences of children and young people with FASD. Her organisation seeks to support families, equip professionals, and provide training to raise awareness for social change. This work now sees her connecting with over one thousand families in her region alone and as many again from her wider work which further highlights how common FASD can be. She is also a founding member of the FASD UK Alliance which works together to raise awareness of FASD in the UK. Her book, “Understanding FASD for parents, carers and professionals” was published in 2014 by Jessica Kingley Publications. She received a Prime Minister’s award for her FASD work in 2013 and was given a FASD Champion Award in 2017.
Mrunal is the father of two children. His son, Arun is 11 years old and was born very prematurely. Arun has cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and learning difficulties as well as an insatiable lust for life. 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. Between 2013 and 2016, Mrunal was the chair of Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum and chaired the Eastern Region of Parent Carer Forums in 2014 and 2015. The NNPCF is made up of 150 local parent carer forums who have 80,000 members across England. 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 and has over 20 years of experience leading large complex organisations and change programmes.
As a UK based consultant specialising in Dyslexia and inclusion issues, Neil works internationally, delivered training to teachers in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Europe, as well as the UK. He is the International Consultant for the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand and Ambassador for Code Read in Australia, running workshops in inclusive classroom practice and meeting the needs of vulnerable learners. Neil is known for his ability to bring the classroom into his training and he regularly models inclusive strategies in classrooms around the world, most recently in Malta as well as schools in England and Scotland.
Pat has over 30 years of experience as a teacher, head teacher and senior education leader, having qualified in 1984 to teach children with severe learning difficulties. For the last seven years she has worked as an independent educational consultant. Pat holds a contract to lead the East Midlands SEND Regional reforms until March 2020; and is a member of the National Development Team for Inclusion, teaching on the national SEND leadership course. She is also a Preparation for Adulthood regional facilitator. Having trained SENCOs across England in primary and secondary phases, in nasen's 'Whole school approach to increasing access, participation and inclusion' 2012-2014, Pat acted as nasen Education Officer October 2013-October 2014. In April 2016, she became a member of the NDTi hosted ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ team. Pat is currently a school improvement adviser for SEND in Leicester City. Pat has also served as a Governor as a member of staff, as a community and LA governor, and as a parent governor, in six different local authority areas, for over thirty years.
Dr Peter Taylor currently works as a clinical lecturer at the University of Manchester. He completed both his PhD and clinical training at the university, before working for three years at the University of Liverpool as a lecturer in clinical psychology. He returned to work at Manchester in September 2016. Dr Taylor's research focuses on the psycho-social mechanisms underlying suicide and self-harm. This work includes investigations of the affective processes surrounding self-harm and suicide (specific mood states like shame and emotional instability more generally), traits related to risk of self-harm (e.g., impulsivity), and the process by which individuals negotiate help-seeking in relation to their self-harm.
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, which have now become information, advice and support services. She has worked in Parliament during the passage of legislation; 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; has recently led DfE-funded projects 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.
Rob is an experienced CEO with extensive board room experience. Rob’s first Headteacher role started in 2000, he has Masters Degrees in Economics and Education Management and has worked extensively with pupils who exhibit challenging behaviour and those who are unable to access school due to their health. He has contributed to developing leading policy and practice in this field and is a passionate advocate of inclusion, and proud father of two.
Steven Baker is the Executive Headteacher of two outstanding schools in Merseyside that cater for children aged 5-16 with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH). His schools use non-confrontational approaches to behaviour management and the secondary SEMH school is a sanction free zone. They have won a range of national awards for their compassionate, collaborative approach and in 2018 the Department for Education cited the primary school as an example of best practice in mental health due to their focus on supporting pupil, and staff, well-being. Steven has held a range of leadership roles, is a former Ofsted inspector and regularly delivers national keynotes on topics including well-being, managing challenging behaviour and leading strategic change. He develops school leaders for Ambition Institute, quality assures the work of their facilitators and has co-written an online behaviour management course which was hosted on the FutureLearn platform; the course had almost 10,000 subscribers from 165 countries. Steven is a member of the Ambition Institute and Learnus advisory boards (Learnus is a think tank that aims to bridge the gap between neuroscience research and education); he was recently made a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching for his ‘significant and sustained’ impact on teaching. Steven is on the SecEd and Headteacher Update editorial board, sits on the panel of judges for the Pearson Teaching Awards and works with the Ministry of Justice in youth and adult establishments nationwide as they focus their efforts on developing a culture of rehabilitation.
Mary taught and managed in primary, secondary and special schools for over 20 years, working in everything from a comprehensive school of 1,600 students to a village school with 35 on role and three year groups in a class. During this time she developed a real interest in context and learning which formed part of her MA Ed thesis. After leaving direct teaching she became the Education, Training and Employment Manager in a Youth Offending Team and then Head of a Virtual School for Children in Care. This has given her the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of the barriers to learning facing many young people and how to overcome these. These barriers are not just within individuals but also within systems and processes and much of Mary’s work has been at a strategic level challenging and navigating these on behalf of the young people she works with. Mary is also a restorative justice trainer, facilitator and assessor. Mary joined Young Minds in 2014 as a trainer and consultant. She delivers training nationally including several Academic Resilience Approach projects and a post graduate course for those interested in becoming ARA facilitators. These include the setting up communities of practice for collaboratives of schools/colleges and supporting them to build resilience across whole school communities and structures.
Kath is a former teacher who, through her children’s life experience, became a person-centred planner and a trainer across many parts of the SEND area nationally but mainly in the North West. She is passionate about social justice and ensuring that everyone is enabled to have a voice in the SEND system. Kath believes that a more person-centred approach rather than a system centred approach helps everyone achieve a better life. She has four children, is an active member of her local community, Co-Chair of her local Parent Carer Forum and NorthWest Steering Group Member for the National Network of Parent Carer Forums and is governor at her local secondary school. She is a proud Mancunian and enjoys meeting people from all cultures and communities.
A positive educational experience- The Autism Education Trust (AET) helps autistic children and young people have equal opportunities and a positive educational experience that empowers them to achieve their ambitions. The AET programme offers face-to-face training courses and a wealth of free, practical resources for practitioners and those working in mainstream and specialist Early Years, Schools and Post 16 settings. The training courses are delivered by local trainers with experience in the field of autism education and understanding of the local context. Growing need- As the number of children receiving an autism diagnosis is rising, demand for the AET programme has been increasing. It is now the largest national autism training programme in England for education-based staff, having to date provided professional development to over 240,000 Early Years, School and Post-16 staff, including senior leadership. The AET programme can play a key role in helping your setting support autistic pupils, meet your wider responsibilities and will form an essential part of your Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Leading the way in autism education- AET’s 360° holistic approach offers a unique, evidence-based autism education programme supported by the Department for Education and developed by leading autism education specialists, including researchers, autistic people, parents of pupils on the autism spectrum, trainers and practitioners. The programme includes: •modular, face-to-face training courses •good practice standards against which schools can audit their practice and plan improvement •competency framework for practitioners to self-assess their practice and to plan CPD •a range of free practical resources.
Anne Longfield OBE is the Children’s Commissioner for England. She speaks up for children and young people so that policymakers and the people who have an impact on their lives take their views and interests into account when making decisions about them. She has a legal duty to promote and protect the rights of all children in England with a particular focus on children and young people who are in or leaving care, living away from home or receiving social care services.
Maxine Burns is one of the lead speech and language advisors for I CAN, the national children’s communication charity, and The Communication Trust, a consortium of over 50 organisations representing this sector. A speech and language therapist by background, she has significant experience of working at both practitioner and leadership levels with primary and secondary aged pupils in mainstream, alternative education and specialist settings. Particularly interested in older children and young people, she authored I CAN’s discussion paper, ‘Skills for Work, Skills for Life’. She led the pilot and launch of both I CAN’s secondary programmes, ‘Secondary Talk’ and later, ‘Talk about Talk Secondary’. Current strands of work include piloting a Year 7 targeted intervention in mainstream secondary schools in the northwest of England.
As the father of a young adult with learning disabilities I have worked with parents and professionals to design a range of simple and effective visual planning and communication boards that support learning and self-management. I wanted to share those products to help others and so, with my wife and a long-term friend, I set up OurBoards Community Interest Company. OurBoards is a company set up for the purpose of creating and delivering products and services to help everyone, including those with Neurodiversities and Hidden Disabilities, to reach their full potential. At OurBoards we have a vision to support people facing cognitive processing challenges by designing and manufacturing visual communication boards that help them to understand and manage their thoughts, behaviours and emotions. We also want to create working environments where everybody can thrive. OurBoards designs and supplies products that help people with a range of thought processes, brain conditions and diversities including ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, FASD, Dementia, Down Syndrome, Strokes and Learning Disabilities. We help these people and their families to have a better quality of life. The products can be used solely by the individual or in partnership with family members / support workers / carers. I live with my wife, Heather, in a multigenerational family supporting both our adult daughter, Felicity, who has learning disabilities, and my wife’s elderly father. We understand from personal experience some of the pressures and challenges facing people living with such conditions. Prior to OurBoards I have spent my professional life working in IT, running my own contracting and consulting business.