SEND Conference

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SEND Conference 2018


The 18th annual SEND Conference provides an opportunity to discuss current practice, and changes to legislation and assessment. Our keynote speakers will provide you with an update and overview of national issues relating to SEND learners.

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£249 (£209 early bird price) + VAT or attend as part of the SENDCO Support Package

Mar 23 2018


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The Studio
51 Lever Street
M1 1FN

Phone: 08449671111


The 18th annual SEND Conference provides an opportunity to discuss current practice, and changes to legislation and assessment. Our keynote speakers will provide you with an update and overview of national issues relating to SEND learners. 

This will be explored further during workshops that will support you in considering ways of meeting the needs of children with a range of special educational needs within your setting.

Delegates who attend the annual conference describe the day as “relevant”, “inspiring”, “informative and inspirational”, “an excellent event to network with other SENDCos”, providing them with a clear focus to move forward in their role. 

View conference agenda

Keynotes SEND Conference agenda


The following workshops will be available to choose from:

  • BESD to SEMHDennis Piper
  • Universal classroom provision for SEND - Making Learning AccessibleAlison Wilcox
  • Introduction to dyscalculiaPaul Gee
  • Small changes big differenceDiane Moat
  • Working with parentsJulie Brown, Audrey Johnson
  • Making case studies workHelen Marriott, Lynne Swindlehurst
  • Making reading accessible for allLaura Lodge
  • An introduction to PolkadotsJo Buckler
  • Creativity, trauma & attachmentDeirdre McConnell 

View the full workshop info here

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Keynote Speakers

Alison Wilcox Alison Wilcox

Alison worked for many years as a primary teacher before taking up a post with Birmingham Local Authority as an advisory teacher for SEN, working with schools and settings to develop their provision for children and young people with SEN in general, and those with learning and cognition difficulties in particular.

The advisory post encompassed a wide variety of responsibilities, working both at school level and at an authority-wide level in securing best practice for SEN, raising standards through school improvement and providing educational advice for individual children and young people. Achieving a leadership position within this team, Alison then contributed directly to colleagues’ continuing professional development within the field.

Alison joined Nasen in November 2014 as their Education Development Officer (EDO) and is now their Head of Education. She contributes to the strategic direction of the Association; working to make the vision of securing the best possible outcomes for children and young people a reality. The role includes being responsible for production of educational materials, resources and training, connecting with members and other education colleagues at events and within seminars, providing professional advice and guidance, as well as working directly with schools and settings wherever possible.

Keynote: Now and next, the future of SEND provision

This session will consider the following key questions:

  • Where are we on the journey through SEND reform?
  • What are the drivers and tensions across education impacting upon SEND?
  • How might needs change and how do we respond?

Neil Griffiths Neil Griffiths

Neil was a primary school headteacher for 13 years before taking on the role of director of a National Literacy Project for the Basic Skills Agency. This agency believed in Neil’s highly original Storysack idea and allowed him to promote it to schools and communities throughout the UK. After six years, Neil began to devote all of his energies to the project and set up what is now the worldwide, highly acclaimed, and award-winning Storysack® phenomenon.

Many publishers and institutions have asked Neil to contribute his wealth of experience to their projects over the years – his knowledge of learning, gift of story, passion for teaching, and his love of children – helping them to produce prized resources and to achieve success in the highly competitive educational market. He has created award-winning play resources, written a nursery curriculum, a best-selling resource book on creative play for Nelson Thornes Publishers, and imaginative material for the Early Learning Centre. He has developed a scheme for supporting English as an additional language for Harcourt Publishing and has consulted for a highly successful toy manufacturer.

Neil also writes his own children’s books, published exclusively by Red Robin Books. They feature strong storylines, memorable characters, enchanting language, and arresting illustrations. They charm children and have sold in the thousands. Neil loves to tell a story and a story time with him is a rare and highly entertaining event as he magically draws his audience into his storyworlds.

He is also available for inspirational training worldwide and is known internationally for his unique delivery, exceptional energy, and his rare storytelling gift.

Keynote: Putting our children first

At a time when the needs of children are often lost, this highly practical talk will focus upon:

  • Creating a clear vision of why we educate children
  • Establishing effective relationships with children, including communication, classroom management and the role of adults
  • Delivering inspirational activities

Dennis Piper Dennis Piper

Dennis is a Special Educational Needs Consultant and a Social, Emotional and Mental Health Specialist. He is an affiliate member of the British Psychological Society alongside membership of the National Association for Special Educational Needs, European Network for Social and Emotional Competency, The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP, USA) and International School Psychology Association (ISPA). Dennis also works as an Associate Lecturer and Academic Tutor at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and was nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Supervisor' 2016 Teaching Award by the MMU students. He was formerly a headteacher, head of a primary support service, head of Special Educational Needs and class teacher and has worked in mainstream schools, special and inter-agency provision. 

As a teacher with over 30 years of experience, Dennis has worked as a specialist in Cognition and Learning, Communication and Interaction, Physical and Health Needs and Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. His work on Cognition and Learning has resulted in a reading intervention approach used in secondary schools and Children’s Homes to re-engage non-readers. His Social, Emotional and Mental Health work has resulted in national and international recognition for innovation and a range of training packages to assist schools in becoming not only more child-centred and inclusive but also ‘emotional well-being friendly’. In October 2016, Dennis presented his research to school psychologists and teachers at the International InSPA conference at Pondicherry University, Pudicherry, Chennai, India. 

As an applied researcher, Dennis works to provide the bridge between academic and professional aspects of the roles of teacher and lecturer. He is a member of a number of specialist groups, involved internationally in projects in the field of social and emotional learning and mental health needs. As an academic, Dennis both teaches and examines for the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination. This is a Masters Degree level qualification introduced by the UK Government to assist in achieving the aim of ‘all teachers being teachers of pupils with special educational needs’. Dennis is currently completing his Doctorate in Education at Manchester University, UK.

Keynote: The PIPER Model - Personalised Interventions Promoting Emotional Resilience

Currently 1 in 5 pupils experience mental health problems, the highest proportion experiencing anxiety-related disorders. In this keynote Dennis will explore the impact of anxiety-driven behaviour on both teachers and pupils.

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