Keith Park, Special Educational Needs Consultant.

Keith Park has worked in special educational settings in the UK and Australia for more years than he cares to remember.  With Nicola Grove, he is the co-author of ‘Odyssey Now’ and ‘Macbeth in Mind’, the first two books to make classical literature – Homer and Shakespeare – accessible to people with severe and profound learning disabilities.  He is also the author of the award-winning book ‘Interactive Storytelling’ which will be the basis of the workshop.

Summer Conference 2016 > Vijita Patel

How Swiss Cottage School maintains ‘outstanding’ status

Focus:  Developing and embedding a positive culture and professional learning community to promote on-going developments and avoid coasting.

Pen Picture

Vijita Patel is the Associate Principal of Swiss Cottage School Development & Research Centre, a five time Outstanding Special Needs School in the London Borough of Camden. Vijita is a proponent for the effective inclusion of learners with SEND, and promotes this agenda through a system leadership model. She believes inclusive philosophies and specialist pedagogy drive sustainable change towards aspirational outcomes. Vijita is also a member of the London Leadership Strategy and has been involved in DfE Consultations for SEND Policy and Assessment Without Levels.





Summer Conference 2016 > Debbie Gerring

The journey from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘outstanding’, Debbie Gerring.

Debbie Gerring is now the Headteacher of St Martins School in Derby. An ‘outstanding’ special school with 143 students on roll. Students are aged 11-19 years old and have moderate or severe learning difficulties. Additional complex needs such as ASD, attachment disorder, speech and language disorders and social and emotional processing difficulties are additional barriers to learning for the students. Debbie was previously Headteacher at Bennerley Fields School where she led the school from special measures to ‘outstanding’ in just over 3 years. Putting students, families, Governors and the wider school community at the heart of decision making and developments at Bennerley Fields was central to the change process. Debbie will speak, together with Governors and students, about this journey – relating lessons learned to her new position at St Martins and exploring common threads for success.

Training & Consultancy < Marion Stanton


Marion Stanton


Marion is a special Needs teacher with a specialism in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).  She is also the lead trainer and assessor for Communication and Learning Enterprises Limited and is author of “Understanding Cerebral Palsy” and “Let me tell you about Cerebral Palsy” both through Jessica Kingsley Publishers.  She is currently advising schools and adult services throughout the UK in curriculum differentiation, communication programmes, specialist software and setting up inclusion opportunities in mainstream schools for students with complex needs.  She has also been working with the exam boards to agree differentiation to GCSE’s so that they can be better accessed by AAC users and is also working with students who have mild and severe learning difficulties producing literacy and maths programmes that they can access.


Locations able to work

  • North of England (Lancs, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland)
  • East of England (Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire)
  • Midlands
  • Scotland
  • Ireland



Summer Conference 2014 < Dr Viv Hinchcliffe


A Broad and Balanced Curriculum

Broad and balanced or highly personalised?

In the presentation, I will propose that for children with the most complex needs, a broad and balanced curriculum is of secondary importance to professional teams working with families to prioritise learning and experiences that meet children’s individual needs. I will argue that we need to spend quality time on “the things that matter” for children and their families. Our teaching needs to be “unswervingly personalised” so children and young people actively and meaningfully engage in learning. I will talk about children’s holistic needs and the benefits of teachers and therapists working in transdisciplinary ways, putting the child and family at the centre.

Viv Hinchcliffe has been working in special education since the 1970’s. He started teaching children with severe and profound learning difficulties and was Head Teacher of Rectory Paddock School and Riverside School in Bromley. His first writing was to contribute to ‘In Search of a Curriculum’, published by Staff of Rectory Paddock School in 1983. His book ‘What Teachers Do’ (1995), written when he was senior lecturer in special education at Brunel University, celebrates the innovative work of teachers in mainstream and special schools. His latest book “Curricula for Teaching Children and Young People with Severe or Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties”, written with Peter Imray, was published this year. Viv is Executive Headteacher of Drumbeat School and ASD Service in Lewisham.


Summer Conference 2014 < Barry Carpenter

Changing Children – Changing Schools – They are – have you

In the last decade teachers have consistently reported changes in the population of children with special educational needs / disabilities (SEND). The term ‘Complex Needs’ has arisen and is widely used to describe this new generation of children.

Research from various disciplines has also recorded significant shifts in the profile of children’s needs, often resulting from new causal bases e.g. prematurity, alcohol or drug abuse, medical interventions. What does this mean for the world of Education, and our Schools?

The Department for Education funded project, on children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (CLDD) has charted the education pathways of this group of learners across a range of schools in the U.K. and internationally. With a key focus on engagement in learning, new evidence has emerged on effective educational practice which will support and guide schools and teachers, and enhance educational opportunities for this group of learners.

The opportunities presented by the new Code of Practice on SEN , in relation to this group of learners will be highlighted.

Barry Carpenter – OBE/PhD is Honorary Professor at universities in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Australia, and lectures nationally and internationally. He has been a Fellow of the University of Oxford, and has held the leadership positions of Academic Director, Chief Executive, Principal, Headteacher, Inspector of Schools and Director of the Centre for Special Education at Westminster College, Oxford. He was Director of the DfE’s ‘Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project’ (2009-2011), and their online ‘Training materials for teachers of children with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities’ (2011-2012). He has recently co-authored two books on children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and is currently preparing a book on ‘Children with Complex Needs’



 Summer Conference 2014 < Mike Sissons


MAPP – Getting Personal About Assessment

‘Mapping and Assessing Personal Progress’ (MAPP) is a resource which is designed to support the process of setting personal learning intentions and assessing progress. This presentation provides an introduction to MAPP and aims to raise, on the way, some key issues in the assessment of pupil progress.

The first part of the presentation will look at MAPP from a theoretical perspective, explaining the structure and layout of the resource and exploring the principles which inform its design whilst the second part will take a practical look at the implementation of MAPP within The Dales School setting.

Mike Sissons is Assistant Head Teacher at The Dales School in North Yorkshire which is an age 3 to 19 school for pupils with profound and multiple, severe and moderate learning difficulties. In addition to teaching responsibilities he leads on assessment/data and is subject leader for English and Music. Mike coordinates and delivers the North Yorkshire severe learning difficulties outreach service to mainstream schools and is also coordinator of NYCAP (North Yorkshire Communication Aids Partnership) which provides assessment, equipment and support in AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) throughout Hambleton and Richmondshire.

Summer Conference 2014 < Dr. Nicola Grove


Oracy, Literacy and Narrative:
Helping Children with Communication Difficulties become Storytellers

This presentation will address the question of how to enable pupils with a range of communication difficulties to become effective narrators both on and off the page. Stories and storytelling are usually located within the literacy curriculum, but evidence suggests children will benefit in several ways if oral narrative is developed in its own right, as well as in the service of literacy. Oral personal stories, in particular, are virtually excluded from the curriculum but have been shown to provide the key to emotional literacy and narrative competence. The ability to write a story can be naturally and spontaneously mediated through oral telling. At a time when the role of oracy has been challenged and marginalised by political influences, we need to maintain a focus on direct face to face communication in the classroom in order to equip pupils with the skills to function in everyday life.

Nicola Grove is a former English teacher and speech and language therapist who has a lifetime interest in stories, curriculum and special educational needs. Her early work focused on access to literature across the range of ability; her book Ways into Literature (joint winner of a NASEN prize) featured practical ideas and examples from teachers all over the UK who used original works of poetry and fiction in special school classrooms. She taught at the Institute of Education, then at City University, leaving in 2004 to set up the first company of storytellers with learning disabilities, now an award winning charity ( Over the last 10 years she has been researching and developing strategies to enable children and adults with severe and profound communication challenges to engage in personal storytelling. Last year she published the first edited book about storytelling and special educational needs. Using Storytelling to Support Children and Adults with Special Needs Transforming lives through telling tales. The Big book of Storysharing will be published this summer by Speechmark.

Training & Consultancy < Sherborne Developmental Movement


Sherborne Association UK

The Sherborne Association UK is a non-profit-making registered charity and part of an international organisation that is dedicated to maximising the abilities of all people with and without disabilities through the medium of movement. It was formed to continue and promote the work of Veronica Sherborne.

Locations able to work
  • Throughout the country, from various International Course Leaders



Training & Consultancy < David Muir


David Muir

David has been a head teacher of two schools and recently left Ofsted where he worked as an HMI. He has led a school out of special measures and specialises in SEN, although he is an experienced inspector with all Ofsted framework and in all phases and types of school.


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