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The Centres for Excellence in SEND newsletter

The monthly Centres for Excellence in SEND newsletter brings you all the latest news and activities from the three Centres, as well as highlighting the Foundation's SEND CPD opportunities. You can access editions of the newsletter below. You can sign up to receive the newsletter by email by visiting our newsletters page and filling in your details, making sure you tick the ‘SEND’ box.

Links to editions of the ETF SEND newsletter will appear below when they are published. 


Tomorrow’s leaders: a world beyond disability

Tomorrow’s leaders: a world beyond disability is a publication featuring young people who are all achieving great things in their own lives, in their communities and wider society. The Education and Training Foundation worked with the Council for Disabled Children to develop and publish the resource.

The publication contains inspiring stories from young people who are achieving their goals in:

  • arts, sports and leisure
  • campaigning, advocacy and inclusion
  • entrepreneurship and employment

The publication is written for those learning and working in education. It highlights the importance of having the highest aspirations for our young people and supporting them to achieve them.

Making the SEND reforms work

Commissioned by The ETF, The National Development Team for Inclusion (NTDi) have produced two case study videos showcasing how local authorities and FE providers work together to support learners with SEND achieve their aspirations inclusing progressing into employment.

The first case study video shows how Greenbank College in Liverpool and its local authority worked in partnership to promote independent living and the second case study video shows how several learning providers in Nottinghamshire and the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire local authorities worked successfully together so that learners with SEND gained employment.

SEND Temporary legislative changes
Incentives for new teachers

The Department for Education has just announced a new series of incentives for 20/21 for Further Education initial teacher education: Bursaries and Grants. Bursaries are available for pre-service trainees in SEND of £15,000 (conditions apply), and Grants to employers of £18,200 to cover the cost of the training and release from teaching. For more details see our FE Advice page.


Our three Centres for Excellence in SEND (CfE), have been sharing webinar recordings and resources from the events they've been holding.

 For more details about the Centres for Excellence, the events, or how to join a hub or a SEND Community of Practice please visit the Centres for Excellence pages


In this space we'll highlight our continual professional development (CPD) opportunities:

The SEND Managers' programme:

  • Leadership module: leading when you're not in charge: This module is led by Di Neale from the Leadership Centre, a UK-wide charity specialising in strengthening leadership across public services, including specialist education. The module will give you tools and techniques for working in complex situations, but will also be grounded in practice, so that you have an opportunity to try out Systems Leadership approaches for yourself and reflect on how you can apply these to real-time issues you're facing.
  • Knowledge module: maximising potential:  The module is a designed to support you to develop essential SEND knowledge and skills. These will enable you to meet the statutory duties and provide a personalised learning experience. 


  • Everything you need to know about SEND funding for FE learners: Register your interest for the next event.

Book your place or register your interest, using the Foundation's online booking system.

Specific needs and wellbeing courses

We offer a range of courses to help practitioners and managers within the Further Education (FE) sector, and those responsible for post-16 learner programmes increase their awareness and improve support for learners. Our full day training courses have been designed to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to adapt your communication, teaching strategies and environments to enable your learners to achieve their full potential.

Book your place using the Foundation's online booking system. If you have a number of staff who would benefit from the training, these courses are now available to book for in-house delivery at the provider premises. To find out more about the courses take a look at our Specific needs and wellbeing page to access our recent webinars and associated guidance documents.

Read Kath Wood's Neurodiversity: Unleashing potential in learners blog post. Kath, a Disability Training and Consultancy Specialist at Remploy Ltd, explains why thinking about conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and autism just as special educational needs or learning difficulties may prevent teachers and trainers recognising some learners’ potential and why, instead, looking at these as examples of neurodiversity can help teachers to recognise and unleash the potential in learners, with and without a diagnosed condition.

And don't forget the professional development opportunities available on Foundation Online Learning. Do take a look at the Education and Training Foundation's (ETF) wide range of courses, many of them relevant to those supporting learners with SEND, together with our bespoke SEND offer

Are you looking for specific training? As part of a mapping exercise of SEND CPD training and qualifications available from the ETF and a wide range of other organisations we have produced a SEND CPD Framework. The information is provided to raise awareness to the SEND workforce of the variety CPD opportunities available. The inclusion of information from other organisations does not indicate a recommendation by the ETF of this offer.

We cannot guarantee the quality of any events not organised by or on behalf of the Foundation.

New publications

The Women and Work All Party Parlimentary Group (APPG) have published a new report, Inclusivity and Intersectionality.An image of the Inclusivity and intersectionality report 2019Women by the Women and Work APPG In 2019, the Women and Work APPG’s theme was Inclusivity and Intersectionality. Throughout its work over the past four years, the APPG has recognised and highlighted the fact that women are not a homogenous group, and that a focus on gender alone can sometimes be misleading. They heard evidence from witnesses as to how different aspects of identity such as age, race, disability or income can affect an individual’s experience of recruitment and employment. 

Out of this work, they have produced a toolkit of practical suggestions and strategies for employers to support an inclusive workplace and to put intersectionality into practice. This report aims to equip employers with the tools to create more inclusive workplaces which benefit employees at all levels.

The Gatsby Foundation, has published a new resource using the Gatsby Benchmarks with students with SEND. The resource, Good Career Guidance: Perspectives from the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities sector, can be downloaded from their website.


News from the sector

Image of the READY project posterNew research study

The University of Manchester are leading on a long term research study funded by the National Deaf Children's Society, READY (Recording Emerging Adulthood in Deaf Youth) following young people who have a hearing loss as they become independent adults. They are looking to engage with young people aged 15-18 who have a hearing loss or see themselves as deaf. For more information, see the project website or email:

SEND Review

On the 6 September, the Government announced the launch of a cross-cutting review of SEND five years on from the Children and Families Act. The aim of the review to see if the reforms introduced are supporting children and young people with SEND and to make sure they are being implemented as well as possible. The internal review will look across education, health and care to consider:

  • the evidence on how the system can provide the highest quality support that enables children and young people with SEND to thrive and prepare for adulthood, including employment
  • better helping parents to make decisions about what kind of support will be best for their child
  • making sure support in different local areas is consistent, and that high-quality support is available across the country
  • how we strike the right balance of state-funded provisions across inclusive mainstream and specialist places
  • aligning incentives and accountability for schools, colleges and local authorities to make sure they provide the best possible support for children and young people with SEND
  • understanding what is causing the demand for education, health and care plans
  • ensuring that public money is spent in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner, placing a premium on securing high quality outcomes for those children and young people who need additional support.

The government also announced today that Tony McArdle, Lead Commissioner in Northamptonshire County Council, will be the new chair of the SEND System Leadership Board, which brings together sector leaders across Education, Health and Social Care to drive improvements. He will act as an independent advisor to the review, alongside Education Endowment Fund Chair Sir Kevan Collins and Anne Heavey, National Director of Whole School SEN.;

New Reports

In July, the AOC published a research report, Meeting the needs of students aged 16-19 who were not in school for part or all of Key Stage 4: The contribution of general FE (GFE) colleges. The aim of the research to understand better how GFE colleges are working with young people, aged 16+, who ceased to attend school during Key Stage 4 and went on to enrol at college aged 16+. The research project focused on four colleges of different sizes and locations to learn about numbers of such learners, their needs and circumstances, the provision offered, the challenges, and to learn from providers what high-quality provision for those students should look like and how it might be achieved.

The Education and Training Foundation published a Training Needs Analysis report for people working in the Further Education and Training (FE) sector in England. A number of subsiduary reports for Mental Health training and Special Educational Needs training have also been published. The reports are available on the ETF website.

The Department for Education published a Work experience and vocational/technical provision for young people on SEN support: A rapid evidence assessment report. The aim of the rapid evidence assessment was to identify evidence on the benefits (or otherwise) of work experience for these young people as they prepare to enter paid employment. The report highlights a number of principles of good practice for post-16 providers in finding work experience/placements for young people with less complex special educational needs.

Revisits to local areas with a Written Statement of Action (WSoA) for SEND

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced a programme of revisits to those local areas which were asked to produce a WSoA following their SEND inspections. The revisits programme will run alongside the current programme of local area SEND inspections, which is in place until 2021. The revisits do not represent a re-inspection of SEN provision. Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will only revisit those areas which were asked to produce a WSoA and the focus of the visit will be on the progress made since the original inspection. Revisits will allow Ofsted and the CQC to assess the progress which local areas have made against each of the actions in their WSoA.  They will also provide additional reassurance to families on the progress local services are making, identify where further work is needed, and enable local areas to demonstrate the improvements they have made to SEND services and in delivering better outcomes for children and young people. 

Local areas will usually be revisited within 18 months of their WSoA having been accepted as fit for purpose by Ofsted and CQC. The local area will receive ten days’ notification of the revisit, which will last up to four days, depending on the number of actions in the WSoA. A report will be published on the Ofsted and CQC websites, usually 33 days after the inspectors have finished the revisit. It will set out whether the local area has made sufficient progress against each area of the WSoA.

For more information, visit the Government website. The inspections will be carried out in line with the Local Area SEND Inspection Framework and the newly updated (April 2019) Inspection Handbook.

Highlights from published Ofsted reports

Northampton College achieved an overall grade of Good in its Ofsted report (December), with Outstanding for their High Needs provision. The report highlights many things including:

Leaders, managers and governors have very high aspirations for students. They use high needs funding very effectively to provide challenging and highly effective individualised learning.

Take a look at our new toolkit Co-creating the curriculum with learners with SEND which has been created to support you to involve learners in deciding what to learn and how they might be taught. It can help you personalise study programmes, you'll find it on the Teaching and Learning and Leadership and Management pages.

Foxes Academy achieved an overall grade of Outstanding in its Ofsted report (July). The report highlights many things including, staff training, the support available to learners and the preparation for employment and careers. 

Partnerships with employers are excellent and productive, assisting learners to enjoy highly effective work experience or work placements. The real working environment of the Foxes Hotel enhances the experiences of learners very successfully.

Visit our Employers and employability page for resources to help you support learners, including our free online course The Right Place created in partnership with Mencap.