TMSEN12 – a TeachMeet event focusing on practice and approaches that work to support learners with Special Educational Needs (SEN) took place on Saturday 28th February. It's fair to say it was an awesome day:
TeachMeet SEN 2012 (TMSEN12 for short) focused on practice that works for learners with Special Educational Needs – learning difficulties or disabilities which make it harder to learn or access education. According to 2010 Government figures, approximately 21% of all pupils in England are identified as having SEN.
Credit needs to go to my partner in crime, Jo Badge, and to Leon Cych and Mike McSharry for their stirling support. Most of all, huge thanks has to go to everyone who took part and particularly all the amazing speakers. Thanks also to everyone who joined us by live stream and in Twitter.
TeachMeet SEN 2012 followed the traditional TeachMeet format of practitioners talking about and demoing practice that works, in 7 minute micro presentations or 2 minute nano presentations.
Over 70 school leaders, teachers, trainee teachers, academics and Local Authority officers from Leicester and right across the UK spent their Saturday morning sharing effective practice, resources and generating new ideas.
Not just for SEN learners
Marc Faulder's tweet "So much at #tmsen12 today is valid for all learners" was a thought echoed by many of the participants, and reflected in the event debate, most explicitly in John Galloway's Accessible by default priority. As many participants commented, the ideas and resources shared weren't just of benefit to learners with learning difficulties or disabilities – but could be of benefit to all learners. The message of the obvious benefit of putting lessons learnt from and effective approaches with our most disadvantaged learners squarely at the centre of planning and provision was loud and clear. By engaging with tools, resources and planning for SEN learners, we can more effectively support everyone.
I'm hopeful that the day was a valuable one for everyone who was able to take part. The value to, and validation of, participants is a really important aim of any event – it's critical that we support and celebrate our practice and provide opportunities for individual development, networking and sharing.
Modeling good practice is also a critical activity. This was brilliantly done by our speakers, and I very much hope that everyone introduced to the TeachMeet format as a process took away some inspiration for looking at how they approach their own activity scaffolding.
In my closing remarks I asked all participants to think about and let us know about their next steps. This event was inspired by the last TeachMeet Jo and I attended, although it took a little longer than we expected to organise:)
My follow up from the day will be to collect and curate the days outputs to ceate a micro site of the days presentations, talks and links. In the mean time, please do carry on sharing resources under the #tmsen12 tag, and let us know what your next steps are!
While you're waiting, you can check out:
Simon Finch TMSEN12 pictures
& my TMSEN12 pictures
Technologies for Inclusion: The Critical Debate – results
TMSEN12 included a panel debate looking at technologies for inclusion. Sal Cooke, Bev Evans and John Galloway, presented and defended the issues and areas they identified as current national priorities. You can read their priority descriptions here. At distance participants and people at the debate we're invited to comment and vote on the outlined priorities, and here are the vote results:
Sal Cooke's Helping staff stay up to speed with the pace of technology practice and development won the vote by a clear lead. In second place was Bev Evans priority Funding for SEN technology in all schools. In third place was John Galloway's Accessible by default priority.
This was very much in line with the discussion on the day. There was a recognition that many mainstream services, tools and programmes were effectively being used to support SEN learners. There was also a recognition that many schools had been given or had invested in specialist or mainstream services, tools and programmes that could be used in fun, creative and effective ways, but weren't being. While no one disputed the need for parity of funding for SEN learners and schools, there was agreement that the critical issue was ensuring that staff could and were using technology, when appropriate, to enhance and make learning interesting, fun and engaging.