SEND

WIN a Skwitch – the device which makes composing music accessible to all!

The Skwitch device

WIN a Skwitch worth £44.95. Here's an inclusive gift idea which will enable people of all abilities to make music! The new hotly-tipped i-phone accessory is called a Skwitch. In a nutshell, it’s an inclusive pocket-sized electronic musical instrument that fits into your palm and allows you to make music at the touch of a button.

The device was created by the pioneering UK company Skoogmusic and is on sale via Apple and Amazon with an RRP of £44.95. There is nothing quite like it on the market – children can jam along with songs, compose and mix new tunes by connecting to apps and even use it to explore coding. 

Moti-Lab water play benefits SEND children of all abilities

Moti-Lab in action with a child

Education For Everybody editor Victoria Galligan speaks to Moti-Lab founder Richard O’Neill about his invention and how the resource is ideally suited to children with additional needs.

If you’ve ever seen children playing outside with water, you’ll know how hard it is to tear them away from their work – they’re fully engaged, enjoying the sensory experience and learning how the water flows, exploring how it affects objects and how they can change its effects and generally having a blast splashing and pouring.

Playinnovation create inclusive outdoor spaces

A Playinnovation outdoor area

Education for Everybody spoke to Playinnovation about how their PE and playground equipment is inclusive for children of all abilities.

Innovation at its best 

Children of all ages thrive when their senses are heighted and stimulated but this is especially true when it comes to children with special needs and disabilities. Providing these children with the means to engage, explore, discover, react and have fun outside the classroom setting is priceless and should be an essential part of the daily learning programme. 

Five priorities to improve teacher recruitment and retention

Monarch Education MD Esme Bianchi-Barry on teacher recruitment and retention

Esme Bianchi-Barry, Managing Director at Monarch Education, discusses the education staff shortage and how teacher recruitment and retention affects the SEND world in particular…

Recent reports have highlighted the chronic shortage of teaching staff in the UK. It is arguable that this is particularly keenly felt in the SEND sector, especially with the rising demand for SEN teachers. The latest Government figures on the percentage of pupils with special educational needs in England has increased to 14.6%, and 2.9% for those with a statement of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Time travel learning & multi-sensory teaching

multi-sensory teaching at Hampton Court

Taking multi-sensory teaching outside the classroom develops literacy and life skills whilst having fun, says Neil Mears, a SEND teacher at St Philips School.

One thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that, as a teacher, I need to teach the student, not just the subject. 

This is true for all children, but it’s a particularly pertinent point for those working towards, or at, Entry Level 1. 

Surprise minibus donation for SEND pupils

The Variety Minibus donated to Fitzwaryn

Pupils at a local special needs school were overcome with joy after being surprised with a brand new minibus, generously funded by four charitable organisations, including St James’s Place Foundation. 

Parents, governors and friends of Fitzwaryn School in Grove, Wantage were invited to join pupils for a surprise event in the school’s playground. The event was organised by Ray Collins, a well-known local fundraiser who set up a charitable trust in his own name.  

Seconds after Mr Collins announced the real reason for the event, a shiny new minibus was driven towards the pupils and guests, who burst into spontaneous shrieks of joy and excitement. 

US director awarded $400,000 to make film about search for son’s inclusive education 

Videocamp dad Olivier will make a film about inclusive education

New York-based director Olivier Bernier has been selected as the recipient of the $400,000 Videocamp Film Fund 2018. Bernier wowed the judging panel with his proposal for an intimate documentary following his own search for inclusive education for his son Emilio, who was born with Down Syndrome. 

Olivier Bernier says: “As a director, this is not only a story I will be telling – this is a story I am living. When I was a child, I didn’t go to an inclusive school. I was never exposed to anyone with intellectual disabilities and I was ill prepared for my own son’s arrival. I want to use this opportunity to make sure this never happens to anyone again.

Sally Phillips at FestABLE: ‘The SEN world is a treasure chest’

FestABLE speaker Sally Phillips

Having a child with special needs enables parents to understand and appreciate the important things in life, says actress and writer Sally Phillips. The well-known British comic was speaking at FestABLE, a festival celebrating specialist learning staged at National Star College in Cheltenham. 

It is the first time a festival dedicated to specialist learning has been staged in the UK.

“We are sitting on a treasure chest in the SEN (Special Educational Needs) world. Not only do we have freedom from some of the standards that the world operates with which are completely bogus but there’s a lot of living in the moment,” said Sally, who has a son with Down’s Syndrome. 

FestABLE event to be held at SEND college

Sally Phillips FestABLE

Guest speakers including TVs Sally Phillips will gather for FestABLE on June 2 as part of the UK’s first national festival dedicated to specialist learning.

Youtubers, assistive technology experts and professionals working with young people who have special educational needs and disabilities will attend the event. 

Young people have helped plan FestABLE’s diverse programme which includes all sorts from the chance to go in the country’s only wheelchair-accessible hot air balloon and play with eye-gaze controlled computer games, to sessions on speech and occupational therapy, Education, Health and Care plans, early autism intervention, SEND reform and removing the barriers to achievement.