FestABLE brings together an impressive group of speakers who work across the Specialist Educational Learning spectrum. All of them are renowned for their commitment to young people with disabilities and learning difficulties and for their expertise.
Christine is a passionate advocate for the rights of disabled children and young people and their families. She began her career as a social worker in 1980 and worked extensively in specialist roles in various settings, joining the Council for Disabled Children in 2000 and becoming Director in 2003.
Christine works with ministers and civil servants to advise on policy, recently leading two Reviews for Government departments. She helped establish the long-running Every Disabled Child Matters campaign, and in 2016 was awarded a Damehood for her outstanding work for disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs.
Claire Dorer is the Chief Executive of NASS. She has held this post since 2005. She previously held policy responsibility for Non-maintained and Independent Special Schools in the Department of Education.
Claire started her working life as a psychologist, working in both child and adolescent and adult mental health services. She has a number of publications on the topic of self-harm from her time as a research psychologist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. She also taught psychology and managed the community care pathway on the University of Birmingham’s social work programme.
Within NASS, Claire works with over 290 special schools, catering for more than 10,000 children and young people with complex needs. Claire represents the sector in work with central and local Government and Ofsted and has recently been involved in work on the SEN Reforms, Quality Standards and Public Procurement Regulations.
Claire is a published poet, cartoonist and music journalist but leads a far less exciting life these days, existing on Netflix box sets, football and cricket scores and occasional computer gaming.
Dr Adam Boddison is the Chief Executive for nasen (the National Association for Special Educational Needs) with responsibility for strategic direction and operational delivery across the full breadth of nasen’s activity.
Prior to this, Adam held a number of senior education roles including Director of the Centre for Professional Education at the University of Warwick, Academic Principal for IGGY (an educational social network for gifted teenagers) and West Midlands Area Coordinator for the Further Mathematics Support Programme. Adam is a Trustee of the Active Learning Trust and the Potential Trust and is a National Leader of Governance.
David Bartram has visited and worked with more than 300 schools. Between 2009 – 2017 David was Director for SEND at the London Leadership Strategy, a not-for-profit organisation run by serving headteachers, He is a regular speaker at international conferences and works closely with the British Council to support the development of SEND policy overseas. David is co-author of the SEND Review Guide, a national peer-review framework that has now been downloaded by over 4000 schools.
David has led outstanding SEND provision in London schools for over 15 years and he was awarded an OBE for services to Special Educational Needs and Disability in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list.
Jules Daulby is Senior Consultant at The Driver Youth Trust, a charity dedicated to improving the chances of children with SEND and Literacy Difficulties. She began life as an English and Drama teacher in a large comprehensive, was promoted to deputy head of sixth form and then dropped it all to go to the Falkland Islands becoming a radio news broadcaster.
On Jules’ return to the UK she began working as a Parent Partnership Officer which changed her outlook on how schools communicate with parents. Since then, Jules has worked in Further Education and Higher Education as an English lecturer and Learning Support Tutor before working for Dorset’s SENSS service. Before taking up her current post, Jules was Head of a Speech and Language base and alternative curriculum in a mainstream school alongside co-ordinating literacy across a pyramid of 17 schools.
Caroline is Director, Language Development Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholingiustics and Co-Director, ESRC LuCiD Centre, University of Liverpool. She is a researcher who studies how children learn to communicate with language, with a particular interest in grammar and in assessing how the child’s environment promotes and shapes language growth.
Her first study into language development was a diary study in which she recorded every single question produced by her two-year-old daughter over a nine-month period. Nowadays her work is less time-consuming. Her recent book, Understanding Child Language Acquisition, is an introduction to the most important research on child language acquisition over the past 50 years, as well as to some of the most influential theories in the field.
Since April 2010, André has worked as the Department of Education SEN and Disability Professional Adviser, contributing to a range of policy developments, in particular the Children and Families Act. André has been a teacher and educational psychologist and held a number of practitioner and leadership roles in local authorities. He was a Regional SEN Director for the National Strategies SEN Adviser team, and was an adviser to the Lamb Inquiry into parental confidence.
Storyworlds Life is a social enterprise committed to strengthening support around the child, young person or vulnerable adult so they can be healthy and happy.
Its story-based approach to learning brings together people who want to address an area of concern – individuals, families, practitioners, educators, policy-makers, voluntary sector and other stakeholders. Its tools and resources help them listen to one another, identify what’s important and agree on what needs to change.
Sandra Smith trained as a midwife and has over 30 years’ experience within the NHS in clinical, education and strategic leadership roles. Dr Esther Walker is a specialist in using drama and storytelling for learning and development.
Laura completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology and master’s degree in Autism Education at the University of Birmingham. She spent some time working in various roles with children, adolescents and adults with autism before going on to complete her doctoral training in Educational Psychology at the Institute of Education, University of London.
Since qualifying Laura has worked for the past eight years for Surrey County Council and in 2015 set up the Local Early Autism Programme (LEAP). She has recently had an article published in the Good Autism Practice Journal reflecting on the experience of developing and establishing this service.
Stephen Parsons has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist for over 25 years. Until recently he worked as an SaLT Service Manager in Hackney in London, but is now working as a freelance trainer and author. He is particularly interested in how whole class practice can include children with developmental language disorder.
Stephen has co-authored (with Anna Branagan) ‘Word Aware’ (2013), ‘Word Aware 2’ (2017) and ‘Language for Thinking’ (2nd edition, 2017).
Since 2015 Stephen has been the Chair of NAPLIC, the association for professionals supporting language. www.naplic.org.uk . Stephen is active on Twitter via @WordAware.
Michelle Haywood is currently a Senior Lecturer for Initial Teaching Education (ITE) and Head of Primary Placements at The University of Wolverhampton, as well as being Deputy Editor of Pedagogy In Practice and Co-founder of @ResearchSEND.
Michelle has a wide range of experience in the SEND sector, undertaking roles such as Head of a SEND Support Service, Deputy Head Teacher, EY SEND Advisory Teacher, Teacher in charge of a Dyslexia Centre, lead teacher in an EY Enhanced SEND provision and SENCO. Michelle continues to work with Schools to enhance SEND provision through her lead role for the development and execution of SEND Strategy for the seventeen schools which make up the University of Wolverhampton’s Multi Academy Trust.
Michelle’s research interests include the leadership and management of SEND, Supporting SEND in ITE and learners experiencing literacy difficulties.
Sarah has worked extensively in learning support and specific educational needs for more than a decade. She has a passion for diversity and inclusion, drawing upon her experience as a secondary, further and higher education teacher to influence her approaches to person centred learning.
In her role as Disability Services Manager at the University of Wolverhampton, she led on the development of specialist staff contracts, considerate marking scheme and the inclusivity and accessibility of the student portal. In her most recent role, Sarah co-leads the inclusion development project within the Institute of Education and assists with ResearchSEND.
Simon Knight has around 20 years’ experience of working with children with SLD and PMLD and has held a number of roles in the area of Special Education. He has sat on the Department of Education panels developing both the Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants and the Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development. He has been published in SLD Experience, Teach SENCO, has written chapters in books and writes features for the TES.
He regularly contributes comment and content to other publications and conferences and can be found Tweeting as @simonknight100. He is currently the Director of Whole School SEND, a consortium of organisations committed to enhancing the quality of education for learners with SEND.
Bob has over 30 years’ experience in the voluntary sector in England and internationally. Prior to his appointment at I CAN, he was Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation and Chief Ex-ecutive of The Children’s Society. Internationally, Bob started his career as a secondary school teacher in Zaïre, followed by posts as Country Director for Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) in Chad and Country Director for ActionAid in Bangladesh. He settled with his family in Eng-land in 1994. Bob has a son with autism and has personal experience of navigating the challenges of the special educational needs system.
Bob has served on several national Boards supporting children and young people, including The Youth Justice Board, the Social Work Task Force, the Children’s Workforce Development Council and as Chairman of Children England. He received a CBE for services to children in 2012.
Mary Hartshorne is Head of Evidence for I CAN, the national children’s communication charity. She has responsibility for ensuring I CAN runs high quality programmes of work with evidence of im-pact. She is a specialist speech and language therapist with many years experience of working in education – both as a practitioner and manager. She has authored many of I CAN’s discussion pa-pers, notably The Cost to the nation of Children’s Poor Communication.
Mary is leading Bercow: Ten Years On – a national review of provision for children and young peo-ple with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), due to be published March 2018.
Wendy has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist for over 30 years, in clinical practice, as a senior lecturer and in the third sector. She was a professional advisor at I CAN and professional director at The Communication Trust until 2015 where she led on a number of projects to develop and share interventions, information and resources, as well as inputting on national policy and re-search.
Wendy is currently the Director of Lingo, an organisation that provides consultancy, practical re-sources, professional development and speech and language therapy to schools and settings.
Wendy also enjoys working in partnership with local and national organisations such as I CAN and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, Cambridge University, Driver Youth Trust and The Communication Trust on all things speech, language and communication.
TwoCan Theatre Company was set up in March 2014 by Louise Partridge, Nicola Miles-Wildin and Rebecca Andrews as a direct result of their frustrations at the lack of accessible and equal opportunities within the arts for professional and non-professional artists. It is a Gloucestershire-based Theatre Company that provides an inclusive accessible theatrical ex-perience for artists, participants and audiences. TwoCan’s DNA is about producing high qual-ity work that not only challenges preconceptions of disability and dispels the notion of help-lessness, but ensures its work reaches large and diverse audiences, no matter what barriers participants or artists may face.
Elly is driven to change make with passion and honesty for our amazing Exceptional Children (thanks to her greatest teacher – her phenomenal eldest daughter). Turning a serious negative into a huge positive, Elly developed and manages daily an extraordinary ‘A Team’ of Intervenors and an ‘out of the box’ approach for education. Currently writing about values, ethics and excellence in practice supported by colleagues in the USA. Aiming to blog/vlog successfully and learning how to Tweet.
CanDoELLA is a moving story rooted in the value of authenticity, belief, hope and a mission to change things for our Exceptional Children.
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