Reflections of a ‘newish’ #SEND manager 

Last summer, just eight weeks into a new role as a SEND manager, I wrote an article reflecting on what that felt like to leave 19 ½ years in prison education and move into SEND in adult and community learning. I’m now eight months into that role and I am back to let you know how it is going.

What did I think back then? I realised how much I didn’t know, and that was okay as long as you take responsibility for not knowing and make it your mission to find out and learn. There are loads of sources to help with that – colleagues, CPD courses and resources such as on the ETF SEND Exhibition Site.

I also realised I had transferable skills, and that all I had gained in prison education I brought with me to my new role. I also now realise that when they said in the interview it is a very busy role, they really weren’t joking!

Over eight months into the role and I do feel more knowledgeable. I have done a Level 2 in Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties and also all the ETF modules on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform, which we’ve uploaded to our Staff CPD Forum for others to access. I have done courses on autism and with hindsight can see that when I was working in prison education many of the behaviour problems I witnessed may have been undiagnosed autism, so I wish I had known more then.

In addition to my management role, I am teaching one course for SEND learners and supporting a colleague on the Level 3 teacher training course. This has been really great and it feels like a two-way street of learning. I can contribute my experience of teaching to the teacher training course and I also try out ideas I glean from my colleague. It keeps me grounded. I am a teacher at heart and really enjoy it. It also means I am doing all the things I expect my teachers to do, and when they say they have no time I feel in a better place to support them. I really value the time I have to explore things and learn and I try to give that back to my team.

As a manager I knew I had skills, I am organised and I can see what needs working on and improving, but this role has taken my management skills to a new level. There is an immediacy to working as a SEND manager. You have to be there and to respond to learners’ needs, to parents and carers and teachers, especially when an incident occurs. Every issue results in actions and everything has to be followed through. Sometimes it is about having challenging conversations. It has pushed me and taken my skills further. It is also about finding a balance between being responsive and there for people, as well as finding time to focus on my other management tasks. I am learning to carve out time to concentrate and focus on those tasks, otherwise, I would be constantly on response mode for other people. I make appointments with myself and make sure I keep them.

Advertisement

And it is so busy, sometimes it can feel overwhelming, but it is exciting. As a management team, we have time together to plan. We come together in one room, with all the information we need, to ask questions and support each to do the bigger quality and operational tasks. That helps. I feel established and know that our leadership team is giving us time to do our jobs well.

When I was eight weeks into the job, I wanted to feel settled. Do I feel settled? Yes I do. I love this job. I am not planning to move on and I don’t know what I would do next but this job feels like it will give me great experience and stand me in good stead for whatever that might be.

Thoria King, SEND Manager at the London Borough of Hillingdon

I would really recommend working within SEND – it’s rewarding, challenging and always interesting. If you are considering it, take a look at some of the resources on ETF SEND Exhibition Site to get a good idea of the breadth of what is involved, or look at the guide Make a big difference: working with learners with special educational needs and disabilities, which provides information about the qualifications you need and the different career pathways. More information on the ETF’s SEND offer and resources can be found on the SEND webpage.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Advertisers

Newsroom Activity

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page