The ISC SEN conference, 14 November 2013, London

Posted on: 14 Nov 2013

By Barry Huggett, Headmaster of More House School and Chair of ISC SEN Group.

For the last eight years, the ISC SEN Conference has brought together practitioners and experts so that the provision in our schools for children who find learning a little more difficult has become better and better.

This has always been an organic process with the wishes of delegates from one year informing the programme for the next. In fairness, the changes in ISI inspection of SEN, which were introduced during this period, has added some momentum to the desire of schools to deliver the best provision they can for SEN children.

Historically, the most recognised need has always been dyslexia and, sadly, some Heads and teachers used “dyslexia” as a catch-all term for all SEN conditions. By attendance at the Conference, SENCOs and their heads have been able to engender a more informed and scientific approach to supporting children in ISC schools both in discrete units, but as important, in the mainstream lessons where greater differentiation is bringing much better outcomes for SEN children.

This year six presentations, all delivered by leading researchers or practitioners, will again widen the knowledge of the 250+ delegates who will then disseminate new ideas into their schools.

  • The thinking classroom – development of visual skills
  • Working memory difficulties: causes and intervention
  • Development of handwriting,
  • Understanding children on the autistic spectrum: challenges and support in school settings.
  • Legal update, most necessary during a time of significant change with the Children and Families Bill still going through Parliament and the New Code of Practice at the consultation stage.
  • Mental health issues in Adolescence. A disturbing sign of the times was the request of many of last year’s delegates that something should be delivered on mental health problems. Outside the lecture hall there is always a useful trade exhibition and built into the programme are opportunities to network and to exchange contact details.

Perhaps it is now time for a mechanism to be set up so that ISC SENCOs/ Heads and teachers can tap into the huge body of SEN information in our schools and use it as a resource. This could so easily be done through social media and Skype/Face-time exchange. Indeed through the latter, support could be given to children in one school by a specialist teacher in another. After all, they have been for some years teaching piano to individual students in the backwoods of Canada in this way.

What do you think?

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