Nasen Live 2016: SEND practice and reform

Written by: Beverley Walters | Published:
SEND support: A scene from nasen Live 2015. This year’s event is to take place in Leeds at the end of April (Image: Nasen Live)

With the recent significant changes to SEND practice, including the new Code of Practice, this year’s nasen Live event in April is offering CPD and best practice advice. Beverley Walters previews the event

The onus on schools to meet the requirements of the SEND reforms is considerable, and CPD plays a critical role in the development of effective strategies.

To address this, nasen Live on April 29 and 30 offers CPD for anyone working in the field of special and additional educational needs and disability.

Since the last nasen Live, embedding the SEND Code of Practice continues, and nasen’s focus remains to drive support for teachers, practitioners and SENCOs across the 0 to 25 age range.

Nasen Live 2016 focuses on “what works” at classroom level, concerning effective intervention and support for learners with SEN.

At a time when we as professionals are meeting an increasingly diverse range of needs within a new framework of identification, assessment and support for SEN, effective support is crucial to ensuring quality special needs provision across the sector.

Friday CPD

Nasen Live 2016 will deliver 22 seminars across the two-day event, along with free SEND updates and briefings. Each day sees a keynote SEND update, covering latest developments from Dr Adam Boddison, nasen’s chief executive, and Andre Imich, SEND professional advisor at the Department for Education (DfE).

With the SEND reforms placing new emphasis on ensuring that young people move into adulthood with choice and control over their lives, schools can get practical advice from a workshop delivered by Linda Jordan from the National Development Team for Inclusion. Her session on the Friday (April 29), will explore the role of schools in helping to prepare young people with SEND for employment, independent living, community inclusion and good health.

Promoting mental wellbeing in learners with SEND is another key consideration for schools. The British Medical Association estimates that two in 10 young people experience some form of mental ill health during adolescence.

In children and young people with SEND there can be two to three times as many with some form of mental health need, so how do schools keep their children emotionally strong?

Professor Barry Carpenter’s session on the Friday looks at how schools can develop a curriculum framework around emotional wellbeing and what pedagogy will facilitate the development of emotional resilience in children.

The legal obligations for schools have changed since the SEND reforms, and a session with Mark Blois of law firm Browne Jacobson will examine the legal duties relevant to staff working with SEND learners.

His session will provide up-to-date information to help manage legal obligations practically and proportionately, including consideration of the duty of care, equality law and confidentiality and information-sharing.

For schools, having a thorough understanding of the developments in Ofsted’s Common Inspection Framework (CIF) and how it relates to their local area inspection is essential. Ofsted’s Mary Rayner is to deliver a session examining the implementation of the CIF, and the implications of national working groups on achievement.

Saturday CPD

The Saturday (April 30) sees sessions covering topics from memory, literacy and numeracy to computing and assessment and practical advice for specific roles within a school.

Specific needs are covered throughout nasen Live, and schools wishing to discover more about how autism affects girls can hear from Sarah Wild, headteacher at Limpsfield Grange School, who featured in the ITV documentary, Girls with Autism.

The seminar will outline how autism can present differently in girls and its impact in terms of anxiety, friendships, relationships, mental health and keeping safe. The seminar will cover some of the approaches that are used at Limpsfield Grange.

For SENCOs to meet their responsibilities and ultimately to reach a point where they can effectively act as the in-school SEND specialist, there will be a need to support staff in further developing high-quality teaching.

Alison Wilcox, nasen’s education development officer, will outline how SENCOs can achieve that, looking at the role of the SENCO in collaborative learning in her session.

She will outline the nature of effective CPD and how to maximise its impact. She will consider how schools can engage their staff and the skill-set SENCOs might require to draw upon to do this successfully.

The role of the SENCO is also to be considered in consultant Kate Browning’s session, which will look at how the SENCO can help to develop teachers’ confidence and skills in adapting teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of pupils with SEND, exploring some of the key approaches to differentiation in secondary classrooms to enable pupils with SEND to have the best possible chance of learning.

Understanding personal budgets and the freedoms that they can offer to families is another integral requirement for schools. In her session, Pat Bullen, pathfinder lead at Leicester City Council, will take delegates through the legal aspects of personal budgets, covering emerging practice across the country. She will also outline effective commissioning arrangements between local authorities and health commissioners, and provide evidence of families’ views about personal budgets.

For school leaders

A leadership summit will take place after school hours, with refreshments. This will take the form of a structured panel session where leading speakers in SEND will present a series of short keynotes, each addressing a main feature of strategic leadership for SEND, including funding implications of proposed changes for SEN, schools’ commissioning services and developing new provision.

Online CPD and guidance

With CPD playing such an essential role in the quality of support that a school delivers, nasen’s free online SEND CPD – entitled Focus on SEND – will be showcased at nasen Live 2016.

This training offer of CPD for every teacher is free to access and takes a practice-led, enquiry-based approach. It consists of approximately nine hours of learning which will be available 24-hours-a-day.

Modules will cover: high-quality practice and what this means for SEND, identifying needs and the role of assessment, the process for arriving at meaningful outcomes, participation and engagement, both of children and young people and of their parents and families, meeting needs and how the cycle of assess, plan, do, review can be used to best effect.

In addition to the SEND resources at the show, nasen’s SEND Gateway continues to offer access to free advice and resources from nasen and other sector organisations. The online portal for SEND offers information, training and resources for SEND in the context of the SEND reforms.

  • Beverley Walters is professional development manager at special needs association nasen.

Further information

Nasen Live takes place on April 29 and 30 at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. The event is free to attend and seminars must be booked in advance. For more details on the full CPD programme and to book seminar places, visit


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