Meet the specialist - Anna Speke
How long have you worked in the education/SEND sector?
I began my teaching career in 2012. I quickly developed a passion for supporting learners with SEND and specialised from there.
What can you tell us about your background?
My professional life actually began in the music industry, where I worked in international marketing and product management for many years. From there, I moved into the charity sector, working on events, concerts and fundraising, with the aim of improving the experiences of young people dealing with cancer. I then retrained as a primary school teacher in Birmingham, working at schools and within MATs as SENCO/SEND lead and specialist teacher.
My most recent role, before joining nasen, was leading a communication and interaction hub, working with both specialist and mainstream schools to support children to bridge the gap between settings. A large part of my professional life has focused on providing support for colleagues and on creating positive and supportive environments for both students and staff.
What do you enjoy most about working for nasen?
I really enjoy building professional relationships with colleagues across the sector to help them to feel empowered, supported and confident in providing the best possible provision for children and young people with SEND. No two days are the same, and I enjoy having the opportunity to focus on a wide variety of projects within my work.
nasen is full of people passionate about inclusion by design and it’s lovely to be part of an organisation which advocates for children and young people with SEND, their families and the professionals that work with them.
What are the benefits of subscribing to the SENCO Support Service?
As a former SENCO, I know that the role can be very challenging and feel quite isolating at times, as well as extremely rewarding. Subscribers can receive support and advice from SEND specialists to assist them in their role, and having a service exclusively for SENCOs can be invaluable in helping them to feel seen and supported.
Are there any SEND topics that you feel particularly passionate about?
I am particularly interested in the benefits of outdoor experiences and learning. I am a Level 3 qualified Forest School Lead, and love being outdoors for my own health and wellbeing too.
In my work as a practitioner, I have seen the huge impact that this can have on children and young people with SEND, their communication, their social skills and their health and wellbeing.
I am also very interested in animal-assisted therapy, and enjoy visiting schools and other settings with my own Pets As Therapy dog, Pepper.