David is a long standing and much respected leader of SEND. Former Chair of the National SEND Forum and currently a Trustee for the Shaw Academy Trust.
Alternative Provision of the Year
The Pathways Team was set up to meet the needs of children and young people, aged 7-16, who are experiencing emotional based school non-attendance. They provide transdisciplinary support to families and young people, supporting a return to education. It’s a bespoke, staged, holistic support pathway, starting at home and finishing with a transition to an educational setting. The team is unique in that all professionals work as one to ensure a golden thread of support is delivered to meet all needs. In addition, the team host family support evenings. The team have a 100% success rate of returning pupils to educational settings.
Chadsgrove School Support Services - Pathways Team, Bromsgrove
Co-Production Initiative of the Year
Sponsored by Seashell
Emily facilitated the project that sees a committee of Year 3-6 pupils take on the role of ‘champions’ of SEND in their school, working together to make real change. The committee has organised Makaton classes, started an art initiative, and even held a dyspraxia disco, complete with lights and dance tutorials, all whilst providing senior leaders with constant feedback and ideas on what needs to change. The pilot has been so successful that Emily has since expanded the project within the wider Girls Day School Trust and is recruiting neurodiversity champions across all the schools!
Emily Rushton and BHJS Neurodiversity Champions, Bromley
Early Years Provision of the Year
Sponsored by Nursery World
University of Bradford Nursery provides early education for children aged 0-5 years, for Bradford University students, staff, and public users, supporting children with communication, interaction, cognitive, physical, sensory and SEMH needs. Following Covid-19, the nursery has faced, and overcome, several challenges.
University of Bradford Nursery, Bradford
International Provision of the Year
Sponsored by IDL
Neurodiversity at Work Research Centre (NWRC), launched in 2023, is Southeast Asia's first research centre focusing on connecting neurodivergence workers to meaningful employment and supporting SEND through inclusive workplaces accessible to people with disabilities. It is a collaborative effort between Sasin, a premier international business school in Thailand, and Steps, Thailand's leading consultancy for workplace accessibility.
Neurodiversity at Work Research Centre, Thailand
Leader or Leadership Team of the Year
Sponsored by National Education Union
Andrew's leadership skills at Everton Free School have led to an average student's progress of 58% above expected, demonstrating his ability to motivate and inspire his team, resulting in high employee satisfaction.
Andrew's exceptional leadership is attributed to his strong communication skills, which effectively articulate goals, expectations, and team feedback, fostering a culture of respect and value. Andrew has implemented innovative programs and initiatives to support individuals with special educational needs, including tailored training for staff and stakeholders, and ensures adequate resources and materials.
Andrew Poole, Everton Free School, Liverpool
Specialist Provision of the Year
Sponsored by The Edwin Group
Choices College is a post-16 institution offering work experience for young adults aged 16-25, with autism and learning disabilities. It began as an idea from its National Lead, Linda Selby MBE. Alongside a career in Pathology in the NHS, Linda has been a carer for Stevie (her nephew) for 45 years. Stevie is profoundly disabled with cerebral palsy and attended a specialist school, where Linda formed a close relationship with the teachers there. As a result, classes from the school were regularly invited to visit the hospital, where Linda worked. Now in 2023 Linda's programme has expanded to 20 national cohorts and 17 NHS Trusts working to increase opportunities for young people and has trained over 1000 employer mentors on learning disability awareness to increase inclusivity in the workplace.
NHS England Choices College, Yorkshire
Young Advocate of the Year (Aged 16 and Under)
Sponsored by Cosmo by Filisia
Finn is 14 and neurodivergent with high learning potential. She experienced significant barriers to inclusion in education before moving to Dwight School London, 6 years ago. She uses her experience to raise awareness and challenge barriers experienced by neurodivergent and disabled children. She is passionate about making sure disabled children in her school have a voice and finds ways to raise awareness about people’s rights and the barriers they face in her classwork; in informal discussions with other students; through assemblies; calling out stigma and excluding behaviours and language; and by regularly raising issues with school staff.
Finn Anderson-Hendra, Dwight School, London
Young Advocate of the Year (aged 17 and over)
Sponsored by Christie and Co
Maham is a 22-year-old deaf student at Hopwood Hall College. She is about to complete a Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy and states that she loves being deaf. Maham has a very positive outlook on life, continuously working to expand her personal, social, and academic skills. She has progressed from a Skills for Life course in college, to a Level 1, 2 and 3 in Hairdressing, Level 2 in Beauty and is about to complete a Level 3 Beauty Therapy course. She is in the process of becoming a self-employed Beauty Therapist and has chosen to further expand her skill set by studying Level 3 Media Makeup from September 2023. Maham is inspirational, and the college has been privileged to be part of the progress she has made in becoming a successful young woman and demonstrating to all that, in her words, ‘Nothing is impossible’.
Maham Butt, Hopwood Hall College, Manchester
Changemaker of the Year
Sponsored by Rockerbox News
Advocating for educational equality and accessibility, Hannah’s endless work has transformed the lives of young individuals with SEND who have experienced disrupted education, working with them to build their confidence, achieve academic success and develop vital life skills to thrive. In addition to the support provided to hundreds of young people across the West Midlands, Hannah runs workshops, outreach initiatives and social action projects to break down barriers and ensure no one is left behind.
Hannah was unable to attend on the evening, images shows award sponsors Rockerbox News collecting award on Hannah's behalf.
Hannah Walton, One/Third Project, West Midlands
Further Education (FE) Provision of the Year
Sponsored by Seashell
Equality, diversity, and inclusion are at the heart of Derwen college. Breaking down barriers and challenging preconceptions are what they do every day. They enable students with a wide range of special educational needs and disabilities to achieve their ambitions – for most, the aspirations include future employment, maximum independence, love, and friendship.
Most students learn work skills in the college’s unique ‘Marketplace’ which is open to the public and includes a garden centre and a gift shop, charity shop, café, restaurant, and small hotel. As they progress, students embark on external weekly work placements with one of the College’s many business partners. Of their 2021-22 graduates, 30 out of 43 (69%) are now in paid or voluntary work or further training.
Derwen College, Derwen, Shropshire
Innovation in the Field of Inclusion
Sponsored by Concero
The Highland Deaf Education Service has developed a unique BSL curriculum, featuring lesson plans and activities on a USB stick, promoting inclusive learning for Deaf children. HDES focuses on technology-driven changes, launching a low-cost BSL training program for hearing children, offering the only comprehensive resource available on the market. The BSL pack aligns with the Scottish Government's 1+2 Languages initiative, the BSL Act (Scotland) 2015, and Highland's BSL Plan to enhance primary school language learning. It has been purchased by every local authority in Scotland without ever being advertised. Highland has more people learning BSL than any other area of Scotland!
Highland Deaf Education Services, Scotland
Primary Provision of the Year
Sponsored by Axcis Education
Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School has expanded its SEND provision from one to two dedicated spaces, Patch for Reception and Key Stage 1 children and Den for Key Stage 2 children, focusing on teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving. There is also The Hive, a dedicated SEND classroom for children below age expectations, providing support and confidence building. It can seat up to ten children, reducing the need for a Teaching Assistant and achieving remarkable progress. The school offers TLC with a psychology-trained inclusion support assistant, implementing SEMH interventions like drawing, talking, and Lego therapy, and group interventions like 'respecting differences'.
Sir Alex Fleming Primary School, Telford
Secondary Provision of the Year
Sponsored by Secondary Language Link
Ruth Gorse Academy (TRGA), part of the GORSE Academies Trust, is an outstanding secondary school in Leeds that focuses on providing exceptional secondary education for pupils with SEND and Inclusion. TRGA has been recognized by external agencies, including the Centre of Social Justice, for its exceptional initiatives in promoting inclusion. Their 'THINK 5' Teaching and Learning strategy, based on EEF recommendations, outlines five key priorities for teaching and learning, including effective planning, explicit instructions, cognitive and metacognitive strategies, scaffolding, and flexible grouping. TRGA's SEND Champions, who meet half-termly for CPD and quality assurance opportunities, have significantly improved outcomes and progress for pupils, resulting in a Progress 8 score of 0.19 for the 2021/22 Academic Year.
The Ruth Gorse Academy, Leeds
Support Practitioner of the Year
Sponsored by Whole School SEND
Rob, a Study Support Assistant Lead at Barnet & Southgate College, is a key member of the Supported Learning team, responsible for managing around 90 Study Support Assistants for students with SEN needs, including complex, profound, behaviour, and autism/neurodiversity. His expertise and commitment are vital to the provision's success. Rob employs high-level skills to manage and support his team with integrity, knowledge, and empathy. He uses exemplary techniques to support young people, including small group, 1:1, and large group sessions, and effectively de-escalates and distracts behaviour features.
Rob Carroll, Barnet and Southgate College, Barnet
Teacher of the Year
Sponsored by Scanning Pens
Gary, the Director of Inclusion at Bristnall Hall, has been instrumental in fostering a strong SEND department and promoting acceptance among students. His efforts have resulted in oversubscription and a positive school ethos. Gary has also ensured parental involvement, reviving half-termly coffee mornings for SEND parents. He has provided students with a variety of after-school clubs, including cooking and life skills, and has partnered with West Bromwich Albion to offer sports clubs. Gary's passion for inclusive trips has led to students attending events like theatre performances and football matches. He has also created inclusive trips to Paris and New York, ensuring all students can access mainstream trips regardless of their needs. His dedication to inclusivity has allowed Bristnall Hall to reach its full potential.
Gary Whall, formerly of Bristnall Hall Academy, Oldbury, Sandwell
The David Ryan Award for Positive Media Impact
Sponsored by nasen Connect
Georgina is the author of two books for children with SEND; '100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play' (published by JKP June 2021) and 'How to Boost Reading and Writing Through Play' (published by JKP November 2022). Her books help parents and teachers to support children with SEND through play-based activities. Georgina also founded The SEN Resources Blog, one of the most popular SEND websites in the U.K. It provides support for families and teachers of children with SEND. Her blog has a huge online community now of over 35k people and her website is free to access. It is also regularly featured in national newspapers- including the Guardian, Telegraph and Independent. During the pandemic she recorded free daily videos of play based activities to help families of children with SEND access home learning. Georgina hosts the very popular 'SEND in the Experts with Georgina Durrant' podcast which is currently the UK's most listened to podcast about SEND and regularly charts in the top 30 education podcasts on Apple. She shares the expertise of her guests to raise awareness of specific SEND and helps teachers to feel more confident in their support of children with SEND in their classrooms.