London Leadership Strategy (LLS) and the Mercers hosted school leaders, parents and other experts in supporting children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) at a celebration of SEND leaders at Mercers’ Hall on Tuesday evening (27th September).
Over the summer LLS launched the SEND Review Guide – supported in part by a grant from the Department for Education – and developed with partners from across the education and charity sector. This free-to-use resource has already reached over 5,000 schools and the underpinning model – which is based on schools sharing effective practice – is already sitting alongside Pupil Premium Reviews as a model for school improvement.
Tuesday’s event was organised to celebrate the contribution and support of those who fed into the development of the SEND Review Guide and the excellent work that the system leaders in SEND do in supporting their peers in other schools. The event was opened by Professor David Woods CBE, LLS’s Chair, who thanked SEND leaders for improving the life chances of children and young people with SEND.
David Bartram OBE, LLS’s SEND lead, ran through the guiding principles of the SEND Review project, and concluded: “The SEND Review Guide really is just the beginning of a process that we hope will provide the opportunity for ongoing dialogue and partnership that will provide schools with a foundation to collaborate and build communities of practice that really do place improving outcomes for all children, including those with special educational needs, at the centre”.
Vijita Patel, LLS Director and co-author of the SEND Review Guide, explained the effect the SEND review process has had on her as a practitioner, saying: “I develop as a leader by doing SEND reviews on other schools and bringing that learning back to my own school”.
Lucy Heyes, Team Leader for SEND at the Department for Education, praised the SEND Review Guide, highlighting its important role in providing a framework to help teachers feel confident in their approach to pupils with SEND. She added that the SEND Review Guide has made some great progress and the Whole School SEND Consortium will continue this good work.
Dr Tim Coulson, Regional Schools Commissioner for East of England and North-East London, said the SEND Review Guide was appealing not only because of its focus on improving outcomes for children and young people, but also on excellent leadership. Dr Coulson praised LLS’s increasing work outside of London, saying: “LLS is such a renowned organisation. We all know that you can’t have a great school without a very good leader. For those of us who work outside as well as inside London, it’s very heartening to see LLS working well outside London – the really well-thought of work in Norfolk is what I have got to see”.
Anita Kerwin-Nye, Managing Director of LLS and Chair of the Whole School SEND Consortium, ended by saying “that removing the barriers to achieve that children with SEND face is the moral issue of our time. The way we measure society is the way it treats the most vulnerable within it and we are facing some very big threats to ensuring that children facing additional challenges are supported to match the outcomes of their peers”.
LLS is very grateful to the Mercers both for hosting the celebration, and for funding the training to carry out SEND Reviews. Over the last year LLS has trained over 100 SEND Reviewers, with the latest cohort from Harris and AET Academy Trusts undertaking training just last week.
The SEND Review Guide is available to download for free via www.thesendreview.com.
More information about the Whole School SEND Consortium is available via www.wholeschoolsend.com.
You can read Dr Tim Coulson's speech in full here.
You can read David Bartram OBE's speech in full here.
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Photography by Emile Holba.