September 2014

Meeting of PDN (SEN and inclusive practice –PDN-SENIP)

Wednesday 17th September

University of Derby, 2.15-4pm

Room K101


Amanda Grant (SENAD group

Deborah Robinson (University of Derby, Chair)

Pam Wooding (University of Derby, ITE)

Melsa Buxton (Fountains Federation)

Shally Saleri-Palmer (St Martins Special School)

Megan Watts (Christ the King Primary School)

Matt Le Mare (University of Derby, Creative Therapies)

Ani Thomas (University of Derby, ITE)

Rosemary Shepherd (University of Derby, Department of Education and Childhood)

Rhys Hancock (Alfreton Park Community Special School)

Simon Bishop (Holbrook Centre for Autism)


Gavin Morris (Sawley Infant and Nursery School)

Susan Allen (Ivy House School)

Sarah Le Good (Derby College)

Karen Lee-Daniels (Forest Way Teaching School)

Brian Jones (SENAD group)

Becky Green (St Giles Special School)


ITEM 1: Welcome and introductions

DR welcomed the attendees and explained that a number of apologies had been forwarded. New members were also welcomed and the remit of the group was shared. 

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

DR reported on the 2014 SEND Conference was very successful. The performance from the pupils of St Martins Special School was particularly well received. The conference was an opportunity for debate and as a result of requests from delegates had been extended to a full day in 2015. Positive feedback about the conference is posted under the conference pages of the PDN-SIP website

ITEM 3: The PDN website

DR reported that the website is now available on:

The PDN members were pleased to see that progress had been made in the offer of two professional development opportunities – the specialist mentor course and the teacher exchange opportunity.

ACTION: PDN members to alert staff to the opportunities available via the PDN website and to encourage take up.

ITEM 4: A research orientation

The group discussed the importance of using research tools and processes as a means of fostering inclusive practice and professional development for SEND. The challenges of squeezing time for this into the busy schedule of the classroom teacher were discussed. MB explained that her school had developed a research orientation in its leadership approach. Middle leaders were supporting staff in analysing the outcomes of their own teaching (data, work analysis etc.). The group agreed that this was a model of good practice and manifested the qualities that the PDN were seeking to promote.

SSP explained similar processes occurring across the network of schools overseen by St Martins. The group agreed that this was an important way forward.


PDN to design enquiry processes (linked to professional development) that were both feasible within a school environment and capable of delivering impact (in terms of pupil progress, well-being, independent living) – Next meeting focus

ACTION: DR to consider how in data gathering, we might garner evidence of impact on learners in ways that demonstrate the value of a research orientation to school improvement.

DR explained how the PDN would seek to establish itself as a respected research hub. This would give it an advantage when seeking to secure research and development funding in the future. Teaching Schools also seeking research and development funding would be advantaged by their association with it.

ITEM 5: The conference

The group began to draw together initial ideas for the 2014 SEN conference at the University of Derby. The following was agreed

  • The conference would focus on the way in which mainstream/special schools and colleges within a locality could network to create an inclusive educational community for learners with special educational needs. This would resist the polarisation of special and mainstream provision in ways that benefit children and professionals within those communities.
  • Key terms for the conference would be collaboration, community, professional enquiry and impact.
  • Our keynote speakers would include Melsa Buxton and Pam Wooding who could demonstrate the way in which a co-operative learning trust operates as an inclusive educational community seeking positive outcomes for learners.
  • We would invite young people with special needs and disabilities to share their experiences of varied provision. All members of the PDN would work on recruiting these speakers.
  • We would involve the SKILLS organisation in delivering workshops.
  • We would have a workshop on using ‘soft’ data to demonstrate valid impact (run by RH and SSP).
  • The pupils of St Martins School would be invited to perform again.
  • We would seek a National speaker who could speak to the themes of the conference (Barry Carpenter is a possibility since his recent work has represented the idea of a culture of ‘finding out’)
  • The conference would be on Friday 13th June, 10-4pm

ACTION: DR to inform university of event date.

AG to contact SKILLS  advisory team and begin initial enquiries

MB, AG and SSP to begin to approach young people who might speak at the conference.

ITEM 6: Date of next meeting

The date has changed from 16th January to 28th January (2.15pm – 4pm) due to clashes with the graduation ceremonies at the University of Derby. This was also the case with the SEN research cluster (1-2pm).