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SSAT Special Schools Summit 2019

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Tuesday 14th May 2019 London

Rethinking special schools – time to take hold of the agenda

This annual event will give leaders of special schools the opportunity to reflect on where your school is now and where you need to move towards to provide for the ever-changing needs of your school population.

You will hear the latest thinking around leadership, curriculum development, assessment, the role of technology and the power of networking during the highly-practical day, which will also allow you to discuss, debate and share ideas to help identify ways of driving forward change in your school.

There will also be a series of practical school-led workshops exploring technology and school attendance; a session on employability and raising learner aspirations; a plenary led by Chris McFall, National Education Development Manager, Apple; and opportunities to network with other special school leaders.
Read the full draft agenda

Book your place today

Not a member? Find out more about the SSAT Special Schools and SEND Network.

The four pillars of curriculum design

This session about SSAT’s four pillars of curriculum design will ask why you need to think differently and in what ways the new Ofsted framework will support you in thinking differently. The session will cover:

  • Intent: How you articulate and evidence what you are trying to achieve
  • Content: Ensuring a broard and balanced curriculum, and making decisions about what to include
  • Delivery: The link between pedagogy and curriculum
  • Experience: How do you assess the lived daily experience of young people in the classroom.

NHS Sight Project

NHS England is working closely with SeeAbility and experts from across the optical, learning disability and SEND professions to provide sight tests for all children with a learning disability or autism who attend a special school in their school environment. This group of children experience a high prevalence of serious sight problems, and are 28 x more likely to have serious sight issues in comparison with the general population. Yet despite their greater need, up to 50% of these children are not receiving eye care because of the significant access barriers they must overcome, and of those who do, the majority are attending hospital eye departments in the absence of suitable community based alternatives.

Around a third of children will need glasses, often with a high prescription, and provision and ongoing support with glasses is part of the model to support children to maximise their visual potential. Understanding every child’s visual abilities, needs and limitations is vital to supporting them to access the curriculum, and to this end, this information will be shared with teaching staff for every child.

This session will provide information on how the service will be delivered, along with an update on the work that has been completed to date. It will emphasise the vital role schools have to play in ensuring that as many children as possible benefit from the service, and go on to realise their full potential – in and out of the classroom.

Reaching all learners with Apple

You will learn how Apple technology can empower all learners, and lower barriers to learning for those with visual, auditory, motor and other challenges.

Learning goals for this session include:

  • Explore the built-in accessibility features of iPad and Mac
  • Discover how iPad and Mac can scaffold and personalise learning
  • Discover how Apple’s classroom tools can be used to guide and support learning

Engaging students and parents through feedback and assessment

You will learn how classroom tools for iPad can support feedback and assessment in the classroom as well as building a sense of community between schools and families.

Learning goals for this session include:

  • Discover how classroom tools for iPad can be used to guide and support learning for students of all abilities
  • Discover how classroom tools for iPad can engage parents and other stakeholder groups in the learning process
  • Consider opportunities to reduce teacher workload

Richard Everitt, Programme Manager: Optical Services Commissioning, NHS England and NHS Improvement

Richard has spent much of his career in the private sector, working for a variety of blue-chip companies including Mars Ltd, Gillette Group UK, and Procter & Gamble. Richard first moved into the public sector in 2013 where he joined Herefordshire CCG as a Programme Manager, working on a transformation programme to modify and improve services at Wye Valley Trust.

This paved the way to his current position as a Programme Manager within the central primary care commissioning operations team of NHS England, taking a lead for the optometry sector. His role involves improving quality and outcomes for optometry practices through IT connectivity and setting the strategic commissioning direction for enhanced services – prioritising people with Learning Disabilities.

Richard works in partnership with the optometry profession to ensure the best outcomes for all stakeholders are achieved.

Charlotte Thurston, Head of Schools Engagement, Education and Employers

Charlotte is the Head of Schools Engagement at Education and Employers, a charity that pioneers research into employer engagement in education and supports schools and colleges to form effective partnerships with employers.

Managing a team of regional and central staff, Charlotte is responsible for developing and delivering a strategy to support an increase in school engagement with the charity’s projects and programmes primarily through Inspiring the Future, Inspiring Women and Primary Futures. Charlotte also project manages several funded projects including the Department for Education’s Apprenticeship Knowledge and Support project.

Prior to joining the charity, Charlotte worked as a Campaigns Organiser for a Member of Parliament and has also served as a trustee at an international health charity.

Cath Kitchen, Headteacher, Hospital and Outreach Education

Cath is a National Leader of Education for hospital education and is currently the Headteacher of Northamptonshire Hospital and Outreach Education, a medical PRU. As the project lead for the Department of Education’s Alternative Provision Innovation Fund, Cath assesses the efficacy of the telepresence robot known as ‘AV1’ in working with pupils with medical needs.

An experienced leader with MSc in Child and Adolescent Health, Cath is also an executive member of the National Association for Hospital education.

Kay Charles B.Ed., MA, NPQH, CEO of Compass Learning Partnership

As the current CEO of Compass Learning Partnership, Kay is also the Executive Headteacher of Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding Schools’; The Village, Woodfield Special Schools and Woodfield Teaching School. Kay has been a Headteacher for 18 years in four special schools and completed a secondment to Ofsted HMI in 2007, conducting inspections across all phases and sectors.

Kay is a member of the Brent Local Safeguarding Children’s Boar and is also the Chair of the Brent Schools Partnership, an innovative school improvement service, with a membership of over 70 Brent schools, colleges and educational provisions. The Partnership is currently leading on a black Caribbean and dual heritage achievement programme across all Brent schools and a leadership and succession-planning project, funded via Brent Schools Forum.

Compass Learning Partnership represents over 500 pupils with complex needs and disabilities attending Brent special schools and provisions locally and nationally. Compass Learning Partnership champions children and young people with complex needs and disabilities. Pupils are entitled to be included and make their best progress within the context of an educational journey, which is adventurous and promotes independence.

Laura Millard, Headteacher and Natalie Gordon, Deputy Headteacher, Hollinwood Academy – Newbridge Group

Hollinwood Academy is a specialist provision for pupils aged 4 to 19 years. All students have a diagnosis of ASD and/or Social Communication Disorder. Hollinwood Academy opened in September 2015. Laura and Natalie have been members of the SLT from the beginning and in April 2018 they were asked to pilot the 1:1 iPad project. The project has been extremely successful and Laura and Natalie are now involved in supporting other schools within the MAT in their early stages of implementation. During the Apple summit in January, Laura and Natalie were asked to share their journey with Doug Beck (Vice President for Apple Inc), Sharon O’Mara (Educational based Marketing for Apple Inc) and a number of senior executives from the international teams. This was a huge success and they were able to showcase their successes and the impact technology has had in their classrooms.

Tom Middlehurst, Head of Policy & Public Affairs, SSAT

As Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Tom leads on SSAT’s responses to government policy and explores the implications of policy on school practice. He also directs the SSAT National Conference programme and contributes to SSAT’s educational offer. Tom is a qualified English teacher, and a governor and trustee of several schools and MATs. Tom enjoys travel, food and wine, the theatre, and is an avid Archers fan.

Pauline Holbrook, Head of SEND, SSAT

Pauline has worked in the special education sector for over 30 years. She has experience of teaching, leadership, training and undertaking research. Her philosophy is that all students require outstanding teaching that takes into account their needs, abilities and aspirations in order to prepare them for adult life.

Ofsted and the curriculum – more good news?

In this free download, SSAT senior education lead Colin Logan reveals findings from phase 3 of Ofsted’s review and the implications for school leaders.

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Tuesday 14th May 2019


9:00am - 4:15pm


£285 (members) £325 (non-members) All prices exclusive of VAT

Event venue and location

Apple London HQ
1 Hanover Street
London, W1S 1YZ United Kingdom

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