A major education conference held in Bradford focused on serving the needs of pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) has been hailed as a big success.
More than 600 representatives from schools across the district attended the event, which was organised by Bradford Council.
The audience at Bradford City’s Northern Commercial Stadium at Valley Parade heard keynote speeches from a panel of experts from the sector.
The “Putting Children at the Centre” – Bradford SEND conference 2017 also allowed the council to set out its vision for the district where Bradford moves towards a sector-led self improving model of SEND provision where best practice is shared between schools.
The event was aimed at headteachers, SENCOs (special educational needs co-ordinators) and SEND governors of all schools in the district, parents, partner agencies as well as staff from the further education sector.
Welcoming delegates to the event Bradford Council’s Strategic Director for Children’s Services Michael Jameson said he believed that working together schools, the local authority and parents all had the expertise to provide the best possible support and education for pupils with SEND.
Bradford Council has well-developed relationships with schools and believes that continued collaboration will help transform the way in which specialist provision and support for SEND pupils is delivered.
The audience then heard from three top national speakers in SEND education.
Jane Friswell, a former chief executive of the Nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs) charity and director of SEND Consultancy, focused on why “Good practice for students with SEND is good practice for all.”
She told the conference that she was very impressed with the “quality of ambition” she had seen from Bradford for SEND provision.
Jean Gross CBE spoke about how to support learners with SEND through quality first teaching and Simon Knight, from the London Leadership, talked about School Based SEND Review, a nationally recognised review tool for evaluating how well a school is meeting the needs of SEND children which is being rolled out across the Bradford District next term.
The event also included a market place which allowed the council to promote the additional services that are available to support pupils with SEND in schools.
Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said: “We are delighted with how this conference went. We have received so much positive feedback both from our schools and from the expert speakers who were kind enough to share their experience with us.
“Colleagues have told us that they were inspired by the speakers and that the event was a good opportunity to refresh their knowledge and learn new things. It gave people the chance to pick up on strategies to use in the classroom and the chance to network and share ideas with other colleagues.
“Bradford has a growing population and we know that there is a growing need for more specialist places in our schools. But what the conference shows is that there is a shared commitment from the council and schools to ensure that across the district the needs of these pupils can be met.”