SEND Peer Challenge Project

Derby City Opportunity Area in Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

This team will be delivering important work for the Derby City Opportunity Area in Special Educational Needs and Disability. This project will involve the hosting of events (conferences and forums) and an evaluation study. The project also includes a rolling programme of whole school reviews which will involve 50 primary schools and 14 secondary schools. Teams of reviewers (from Derby City and the University of Derby) will visit schools to carry out peer challenges that include preparation and monitoring visits. Reviewers will also write summary reports.

For the Attention of All Derby City SENCOs, Headteachers and SEND Governors - Please note that the Derby City SEND Conference will take place on Monday 14th September 2020 - BOOKING WILL OPEN FROM MONDAY 20th APRIL 2020!

List of key documents and links:

Derby City SENCO Networks Meeting taking place at University of Derby Kedleston Road Campus:

-     Wednesday 18th March 2020 - Cancelled as at 16.03.20

-     Thursday 21st May 2020 - Cancelled as at 16.03.20

Derby City SEND Conference: Monday 14th September 2020 - BOOKING WILL BE OPEN FROM 20TH APRIL 2020!

Derby City SEND Project Launch Event on Monday 17th September 2018 at St Martins School, The Derwent Campus, Bracknell Drive, Alvaston, Derby:

Project Launch Event Presentation


Details and useful documents on how to make a complaint will be available in the very near future. In the meantime, if you wish to make a complaint, please email the Project email at

How do I become a SEND Peer Challenger/Reviewer?

If you are interested in being involved in this Project as a Peer Challenger/Reviewer, please complete the attached SEND Peer Challenge Expression of Interest form and return to Once approved, you will be invited to attend a training session.

How does my school get a Peer Challenge/Review?

Please email to express your school's interest in being involved in the Project.

What does the School Self Evaluation Report look like?

You can view the report here: School Self Evaluation

Opportunity Area Conference: Whole School Inclusion & SEND 2019

Tuesday 9th July 2019, University of Derby

Conference Programme

Keynote 1: School Improvement, Inclusion and SEND: Key messages for the City of Derby, Dr Deborah Robinson

In this keynote, Dr. Deborah Robinson will draw on the research and evaluation findings from the first year of the OA SEND School Challenge Programme linking this to the international evidence base for school improvement, inclusion and SEND.

Dr Deborah Robinson has worked as a teacher and deputy head in primary schools in London, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City.

She has also been a SENCO in three schools and was among the first generation of SENCOs trained by Nottinghamshire Local Education Authority (LEA) in the 1990s. Debs has had a career-long interest in developing more inclusive classroom practice for SEND, as a teacher, school leader and more latterly, as a teacher educator and researcher. She is probably best known for her publications in this area and was the lead author for the book 'Inclusive Practice in the Primary School'. Debs has worked at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Derby. At Derby, she won the vice-chancellor's award for Outstanding Individual Impact in recognition of her contribution in research, teaching and external outreach. She currently works as an Assistant Professor in Teacher Development at the University of Nottingham.

Keynote 1 - Derby City OA - Dr Debs Robinson

Keynote 2: The SEND Reforms 5 Years On: What's working, what's not and what you can do!

In this keynote, Professor Brian Lamb OBE will focus on the national picture evaluating the SEND reforms five years after they were published. Specific attention will be given to the implementation of the new Ofsted inspection framework.

Professor Brian Lamb OBE was Chair of the Inquiry into Parental Confidence in the Special Educational Needs, which recommended the original creation of Achievement for All. He was Chair of the Special Education Consortium for ten years and a founding board member of Every Disabled Child Matters. He is also a visiting

Professor in Special Educational Needs and Disability at the University of Derby, and a Visiting Fellow at London South Bank University looking at social innovation in public services.

Brian was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Middlesex University for his work on SEND. He has published widely on SEND issues. After a long career as a senior leader in the voluntary sector, he now works with local authorities, parents' groups, education leaders and the voluntary sector to bring about positive change for children with special educational needs and vulnerable learners. He has been Chair of Achievement for All since 2011.

Keynote 2 - Professor Brian Lamb

List of workshops presentations: 

A Person-Centred Approach - Alistair Crawford

Autism, University and Person-Centred Practice - Sophie Judd

Preventing Exclusion through inclusion - Dr Geri Codina and Alex Grady

Provision Mapping - Kath Wheatley

Quality First Teaching - Becky Green

SENCO Development Network (EY, Primary and Secondary)

SEND Strategic Leadership- Jane Starbuck

Supporting the emotional wellbeing of SEND learners - Wendy Conrad

WIN WIN - Professor Gill Richards

Working in Partnership with Parents - Jo Gihooly


DERBY CITY SENCO NETWORK Meetings are funded by Derby City Opportunity Fund.  The regular termly meetings are for SENCOs, SEND leads/ practitioners and SEN Governors across 0 to 25 years education providers. These are collaborative events by Derby City Council, Derby City Early years settings, Schools and Colleges, Derby Opportunity Area and the University of Derby. 
The core values/principles for the Derby City SENCO Network are:
  • 'share good practice',
  • 'be dynamic and interactive',
  • 'improve outcomes for Children and Young adults with SEND',
  • 'raise confidence of all those involved with SEND',
  • 'create a SEND community who are enthusiastic and engaged'.
To sign up, please use this link: Derby City SENCO Network sign up

Forthcoming Meeting Dates in Academic Year 2019/2020: 

Wednesday 18th March 2020 - 4.00-pm until 6.00-pm - For Derby City SENCOs Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Post 16:  Cancelled as at 16.03.20

Thursday 21st May 2020 - 4.00-pm until 6.00-pm - For Derby City SENCOs Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Post 16:  Cancelled as at 16.03.20

Derby City SEND Conference: Monday 14th September 2020 - All Day.  Bookings being taken from 20th April 2020

Presentations from Meetings in Academic Year 2019/2020:

December 2019 - Please click links below to access presentations:

SENCO Network Meeting Agenda for Wednesday 11th December 2019

SENCO Network Update Presentation - Kate Browning

Derby City SENCO Forum - Presentation from Nick Whittaker on 11th December 2019

SEND SENCO Forum Presentation - Andy Smith & Pauline Anderson

SEND SENCO Forum Presentation - David Gardner


Presentations from Meetings in Academic Year 2018/2019: 

SENCO NET final presentation 23rd March.pptx

SENCO NET Final presentation May 19.pptx

SENCO Network Nov 2018 Primary _ EYFS pat b slides.pptx

SENCO Network Nov 2018 Secondary FE Pat b slides.pptx

SENCO Net Evaluation Derby City SENCO Net meeting march 18

SENCO Net flyer 14-15 November 18

SENCO Net flyer 16-17 May 18

SENCO Net flyer March 18

SENCO Net flyer May 2019

SENCO network may 18 national updates sec and FE

SENCO network- May 2019

SENCOnet May 18 national updates primary and EY

To sign up, please use this link: Derby City SENCO Network sign up


You can contact the Project team at

Pip Betts, Project Administrator, can be contacted on 01332 593259.