Assessment within Special Educational Needs and Disability - Speakers

Tuesday 4 Feb 2020
IBIS, ILEC Conference Centre, London

Philippa Stobbs (Chair), Assistant Director, Council for Disabled Children

Philippa’s background is in teaching and school inspection work. She leads on education and equalities at the Council for Disabled Children and the Special Educational Consortium; advises on inclusive projects in Europe; was seconded into the DfE as SEN and disability professional adviser; leads a DfE project to increase inclusion in the early years; and is part of the DfE’s strategic partner team. 


Sarah Abad Murillo, Education Consultant, GL Assessment

Sarah is currently an education consultant for GL Assessment and a former primary assistant head with more than 10 years’ experience teaching within primary schools. During this time she has had experience of successfully supporting pupils with a range of SEN. Sarah has also successfully implemented whole-school strategies with regard to identification and challenge for SEN students with hidden talents.


Lia Castiglione, Head of Training, Communicate-ed

Lia is the author of the recently published PATOSS/JCQ book ‘Assessing the need for Access Arrangements’. She has 25 years’ experience of teaching learners of all ages and has held an Assessment Practising Certificate since 2008. Lia regularly assesses in schools and colleges and trains nationally on the subject of Exam Access Arrangements.


Alistair Crawford, Director of St Martins and St Andrew’s Teaching Schools in Derby

Alistair currently works as Director of St Martins and St Andrew’s Teaching Schools in Derby. Prior to this he worked in a range of specialist schools across the East Midlands as a teacher and senior leader. As an experienced specialist leader of education Alistair has supported many schools and colleagues to develop their SEND provision and improve outcomes for young people with additional needs. Alistair is a trustee of national charity EQUALS and is passionate about raising aspiration for the amazing young people we work with. He is currently working with a range of national partners to support employment and participation in elite sports.


Anita Devi, SEND Consultant

As a former SENCO, senior leader, school improvement adviser and local authority SEND advisery teacher and Healthwatch Trustee; Anita carries a wealth of experience in developing leaders of learning. Her own teaching career spans early years to post-grad in the UK and overseas and Anita lives her why through her belief in the joy of learning. In 2017, Anita was awarded the prestigious international Influential Educational Leaders Award for her SEND pipeline strategy developing professional from initial teacher training to advanced and experienced SENCOs. Currently a PT PhD student, changemaker education consultant & founding director of #TeamADL, finalists 2019 for The Disability Awards.


Bea Freeborn, Deputy Head, Downs View Link College

Bea has been lead teacher for curriculum and assessment at Downs View Special School in Brighton since January 2018. In addition, she has over 15 years’ experience working with young people with autism, severe learning difficulties and other comorbid conditions. She has taught in primary and secondary schools, as part of this work she has mentored NQT teachers, been the lead teacher for communication including being the Makaton tutor for the organisation. She is also a successful educational consultant and has worked extensively with staff in residential homes and families and young people in their own homes. This work involves planning waking day curriculum, support and guidance for managing complex enduring behavior that challenges and leading on the implementation of consistent communication systems.


Monika Gaweda, Head of School, Swiss Cottage School, Development & Research Centre

Monika’s current role as head of school has evolved out of a passion to ensure that every learner with special education needs, however complex, receives the very best quality provision available which is meaningful to individual needs and unlocks the full potential. Monika’s role involves overseeing the curriculum, assessment, teaching and learning and ensuring high quality of provision for all learners across the school. Her journey at Swiss Cottage School started in 2007. For the past 12 years, she has gained experience through working as a class teacher, teacher mentor, and a member of the extended leadership team and senior team. Monika has a Masters in SEN from her native Poland, as well as a BA in SEN and many years of classroom practice.


Katy Henry, Leader of Semi-Formal Pathway, Swiss Cottage School, Development and Research Centre

Katy joined the extended leadership team at Swiss Cottage School in September 2019 as leader of the semi-formal pathway. Her role is to ensure the curriculum provided gives all learners the opportunity to maximise their understanding of the world around them and increase their level of independence. Katy has worked in education for several years, specialising in SEN. After completing her PGCE in 2010 Katy began her journey in the classroom as an A Level lecturer, then took a natural step towards working in Special Education in 2014.


Jess Maye, Woodfield Teaching School Alliance

Jess is a passionate and innovative speech and language therapist and head of therapy at a large SEN school in North London. She has a wide-ranging skill set, including strategic personalised planning, statistical analysis and assessment of children with a huge range of special educational needs. Jess is an experienced practitioner and has been providing teachers with the tool kit to teach children with an individualised personal approach which is required for success in the classroom. The synthesis of theoretical evidence-based practice and pedagogical application in the classroom gives Jess a unique perspective and understanding of how children learn and subsequently how best to teach them.


Hannah Moloney, SENCO and Dyslexia Specialist

Hannah is a qualified and practicing SENCO, overseeing provision across four schools across the 2-18 age range. She is also a dyslexia specialist teacher and assessor and an experienced senior leader. The creative behind the National SENCO Workload Survey 2018 and the charity Generation CAN, she is passionate about improving the working experience of SENCOs nationally, as well as shifting perceptions and awareness about what children and young people with SEND are capable of. 


Dr Deborah Robinson,  Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham 

Dr Deborah Robinson has worked as a teacher and deputy head in primary schools in London, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City. She has also been a SENCO in three schools and was among the first generation of SENCOs trained by Nottinghamshire LEA in the 1990s. Deborah has had a career-long interest in developing more inclusive classroom practice for SEND, as a teacher, school leader and more latterly, as a teacher educator and researcher. She is probably best known for her publications in this area and was the lead author for the book ‘Inclusive Practice in the Primary School’. Deborah has worked at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Derby. At Derby, she won the vice-chancellor’s award for Outstanding Individual Impact in recognition of her contribution in research, teaching and external outreach. She was also a member of the research team who evaluated the pilot of the ‘Seven Aspects of Engagement’ profile and has been an expert advisor for the Standards and Testing Agency.


Nick Sheffield, Assistant Head at Woodfield Teaching School, part of the Expert Rochford Review Group

Nick Sheffield is an assistant headteacher at Woodfield Teaching School and a guest lecturer at Middlesex and Bedfordshire University. Nick created the reflective teaching tool which is currently being circulated as an outstanding example of utilising the engagement model in reflection and assessment of pupil progress. As a member of the Rochford Review Group, Nick is currently developing CPD, whole-school assessment strategies and case study materials and is at the forefront SEND assessment.   


Jacqui Shepherd, Lecturer in Education, autism and inclusion researcher, University of Sussex

Jacqui is a lecturer in education and contributes to teaching and research on inclusive education, special educational needs and disability and autism at the University of Sussex. She supports trainee teachers (across primary and secondary schools) to work with children with autism and other special educational needs and how to develop inclusive environments that work for all pupils. She also supervises postgraduate and doctoral students with interests in autism, inclusion and special educational needs. Her research has explored transitions for autistic pupils, in particular the transition from special schools to mainstream colleges at the age of 16 and strategies for improving that experience. She has also completed projects on dental anxiety and autism, improving the participation of disabled children in education in Jordan and is working to develop inclusive education training for trainee teachers in Uganda. Jacqui is a governor at a special school and also has an autistic son.


Mandy Wilding, Education Development Officer, nasen

Mandy taught for 33 years in four very different primary and infant schools in Northamptonshire and Coventry and has led whole-school Assessment, Maths and Science. She was a primary SENCO for nine years and an assistant headteacher. Mandy is currently leading nasen’s government-funded Early Years Level 3 SENCO Award Project to train 507 Early Years SENCOs from PVI settings by March 2020 in 23 Local Authorities across the country.