The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Conference

Salford Professional Development is proud to present our seventh Special Educational Needs and Disability Conference. Bringing together sector leaders, professionals and parents to reflect on a system that left children and young people feeling ‘forgotten, left-behind and overlooked’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Having been disproportionately affected by issues arising from protracted school closures - disrupted teaching and EHCP delivery, lack of support during the transition and a disregard for social, emotional, and mental wellbeing: what measures need to be taken to tackle educational inequality in SEND?

In the National SENCO Workforce Survey 2020, 73% of SENCO’s surveyed reported issues with the virtual delivery of SEN support, with a further 8 out of 10 finding it difficult to provide learning support online.

How can collaborative working be utilised to not only improve outcomes for pupils with SEND but also in supporting SENCOs, Schools and Local Authorities in delivering provisions?

Join us at the conference to hear the latest governmental updates and key issues under consideration, discuss best practice examples, and explore the dynamic challenges in SEND and plans beyond the pandemic.

At a glance

Conference Dates Coming Soon

Please Note:

*** We don’t accept delegate registrations from suppliers. Please click here for sponsorship details. *** 



Conference Opens: exhibition and networking


Opening remarks from the Chair

Kate Whittlesey
Kate Whittlesey
Director, The SEND Advisory Team


Opening Keynote

In this presentation, Adam will talk about how Ofsted inspects SEND provision in schools, what research and inspections (both school and Area SEND) have shown us, and provide an update on the new Area SEND framework. This will include the successes and areas for improvement from providers which will illustrate what strong provision looks like.

Adam S
Adam Sproston HMI
Specialist Adviser: SEND, Area SEND and Alternative Provision, Ofsted


From Portland College 

Exemplar SEND practitioners from Portland College, Mark Dale and Dave Winters, come together to discuss Portland’s 5-year plan – why is health and wellbeing at the core, and what is ‘Be Healthy, Active & Courageous’ all about? They will also share insight on how they measure data approaches and how to best prepare for Adult Outcomes, using learner case studies to bring their concepts to life. 


Dr Mark Dale - Principle & CEO, Portland College 

David Winter - Curriculum Manager, Portland College 


The SEND and Alternative Green Paper – Opportunities and Challenges

The government has consulted on changes to the SEND and Alternative Provision system through a Green Paper. This presentation will focus on the key issues under consideration and provide updates on progress.

André Imich
André Imich
SEN and Disability Professional Adviser, Department for Education


Networking Break


Exceptional Results and Exemplar Practice – How Dixons Trinity Do It 

Nicole Dempsey's headshot image
Nicole Dempsey
Assistant Principal, Dixons Trinity Academy and Deputy Regional Lead, Whole School SEND


Encouraging Inclusive Education Practice

The Covid-19 Pandemic has highlighted the inequality within the educational system, leaving young people with SEND feeling like an ‘afterthought’. This session will cover best practice examples from the Independent Schools Association.

Helen Stanton-Tonner
Helen Stanton-Tonner
Director of Education and Inclusion, Independent Schools Association


Networking Break


Afternoon Keynote – How the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on SEND works and their priorities for enhancing SEND Provision

In this pre-recorded keynote addressing all delegates, Olivia Blake MP discusses how the All Party Parliamentary Group works, the priorities for enhancing SEND provision, and the impact and lessons learnt from the pandemic.

Olivia Blake
Olivia Blake MP
Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on SEND


An Update from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) investigates complaints about councils and some other authorities and organisations, including independent adult social care providers and children’s social services, in England. In this session, we will explore the lessons learned from the investigations and highlight some of the common issues and themes relating to SEND cases.

Sharon Chappell's headshot
Sharon Chappell
Assistant Ombudsman, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman


Networking Break


Tackling challenging behaviour in the classroom

In this session, we will be investigating triggers and potential signs of dysregulated behaviour, as well as looking at a toolbox of proactive measures to help tackle challenging behaviour in the classroom.

Katie Goodwin
Katie Goodwin
Assistant Headteacher, Abbey Hill School and College


Improving whole school SEND development

‘It is now more important than ever that leaders know where their SEND provision is at and have a clear roadmap of development’. A keynote presentation about demonstrating effective leadership through reviewing of the SEND provision.

Kate Whittlesey
Kate Whittlesey
Director, The SEND Advisory Team


Parental Reflections on the SEND Review

Tina will be discussing parental thoughts around the SEND Review and AP green paper and what the worries for parents are, but also what we hope that the review will bring.

Tina Emery
Tina Emery
Co-chair and Southwest Regional Steering Group Member, National Network of Parent Carer Forums


Closing remarks from the Chair

Kate Whittlesey
Kate Whittlesey
Director, The SEND Advisory Team


Event Ends

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss the impact of the Education Inspection Framework on SEND provision
  • Hear impactful stories of remote learning for staff, pupils and parents
  • Consider the ways in which Covid-19 has affected SEND provisions
  • Explore the impact that disruptions in education have had on the social, emotional and language development of SEND children and young adults
  • Hear case studies of best practices from organisations improving outcomes for SEND pupils
  • Gain insight into a BAME perspective on SEND provisions
  • Hear from, engage with and question industry leaders on the future of the SEND sector

Who Should Attend?

  • Directors of Education
  • Directors of Schools and Learning
  • Directors of Special Educational Needs
  • Heads of SEN
  • Head and Deputy Head Teachers
  • Inclusion Service Managers
  • Principals
  • Qualifications and Assessment Leads
  • Regional Education Directors
  • Teachers and SEN Teachers
  • Senior Education Advisors

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