June 2014

  • ITEM 1: Welcome and introductions

DR welcomed the attendees and explained that a number of apologies had been forwarded. MB and PW for example could not attend since they were attending the SEND conference on 20th June. Other members were not able to attend due to priorities at school.


  • ITEM 2: The SEND conference (20th June 2014)

DR reported on the SEND conference which was set to be an excellent event. The group celebrated the fact that the conference was being opened by children from St Martins Special School since it signalled the central place of learners with SENDs in the work of our network and in its conference.

MB and PW were to be speakers in the panel event at the end of the conference which was to focus on the priorities for professional development in the SEN and mainstream sector over coming years. 

The work of the PDN–SIP was to be publicised during the event and further membership promoted.

ACTION: DR would report on the conference and its outcomes at the next meeting of the PDN-SIP.


  • ITEM 3: The relevance of a research orientation to our PDN: RSN BERA report – implications

DR reported on the findings and recommendations of the recently published RSN BERA report on the importance of building research and enquiry into school improvement and professional development through presenting Paper A. The following points were made:

  • Our network was wise in centralising research, development and publication in its remit (PAPER B) since it was becoming clear that this kind of approach to professional development was the most likely to impact positively on inclusive practice
  • It was difficult to prioritise research-oriented professional development in schools given working conditions and workload. However, when such approaches had a formal outcome (such as completion of an accredited course) it was more likely to occur. Building the research oriented activities that might be established through PDN-SIP into school development plans could be a way to embed such approaches and measure their impact (CS and KB)
  • DR noted that where the PDN-SIP could build and publish empirical research from its work, it would fulfill its remit and be in a stronger position to secure research funding in the future.

ACTIONS: DR to request that members bring their school improvement plans to the next meeting. CS and KB to reflect on their own school’s improvement plans and present examples of how professional development activity with a research orientation could be built in.


  • ITEM 4: Developing the PDN SEND and inclusive practice website

DR explained that she was in the process of developing this website and that its purpose was to:

  • Explain the remit and purpose of the group
  • Invite new membership
  • Publish findings of research and development activity across the network.
  • Publicise development opportunities available to staff in organisations that have membership of the PDN-SIP
  • Provide Online forms to register interest (or apply for) particular opportunities being offered by the professional development network.


  • ITEM 5: Developing the specialist mentor programme

A course designed for staff who wanted to be specialist mentors in SEN and Inclusive practice has been developed as a result of the work and discussions of the PDN-SIP. Following discussion and amendment during this meeting it will now be publicised using PAPER B.

DR explained that:

  • The course will be free to staff who are represented by members of the PDN-SIP though schools will have to pay for cover.
  • It will run on three afternoons during 2014-15
  • The course will promote a research orientation in professional development in SEN and inclusive practice
  • It will be taught by DR who has expertise in how to design professional development for inclusive practice in ways that can have maximum impact. This was the result of her own engagement with a doctoral study in the area.
  • Some participants in the course will be asked to participate in research about the impact of the course (and the related enquiry project) so that this might be published and disseminated.

ACTION: DR to publicise the event to all members of the PDN-SIP so that they might invite their staff to register. Opportunity also to be publicised on the website.


  • ITEM 6: Developing the teacher exchange programme

The group confirmed that this is to be launched in September 2014 and staff can register an interest on the newly founded website. The university will lead in setting up the exchanges and putting people in contact with other.

ACTION: Group to confirm support arrangements for this development at our meeting in September.


  • ITEM 7: Dates and times of meetings for 2014/15:

Wednesday 17 September 2014, 2.30pm - 3.45pm

Wednesday 14 January, 2.30pm - 3.45pm

Wednesday 17 June, 2.30pm - 3.45pm

All meetings at the University of Derby, Kedleston Road Campus.