Expert Reference Group

28 Nov 2019   |   Dave Mills, Executive Vice Principal   |   Phoenix Park Academy, Sevenhills Academy

At the beginning of the year I began representing Phoenix Park and Sevenhills (as well as Wellspring Academy Trust) as a member of the Expert Reference Group for Whole School SEND and NASEN in London. This is part of a DfE project to raise the profile of SEND in schools and academies. I promised at the time that I would post an update as the project developed. There have been four meetings to date spread over the year and much work behind the scenes. The project is currently in purdah because of the imminent election but of the draft documents circulated it is shaping up to be an impressive piece of work.

As champions of children and young people, it may interest you to know how ahead of the curve we are at Wellspring, as many of the issues and scenarios illustrated in the documents are things that we acknowledge, tackle and consider as a matter of course. The work aims to provide illustrative guidance to school leaders to free up SENDCOs to focus more time on children, to focus leader’s minds on their particular needs and consider ways to facilitate maximum impact. In all my years of reading I have never seen some of the recommendations made committed to paper and genuinely think it could be considered ground-breaking for SENDCOs. Of course, the recent publication of the SEND Parliamentary Inquiry is equally timely, so the two pieces of work dovetailing each other will hopefully be a powerful vehicle for SEND change across the education landscape.

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