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nasen Award 2021 winners announced – Transforming the lives of children and young people with SEND and learning differences

#nasenAwards2021 Winners of nasen’s (@nasen_org) fifth annual Awards were revealed in a glittering celebration at the Waldorf Hilton in London on Friday (15th October 2021) with 13 schools, individuals and organisations winning accolades for their outstanding work to ensure that children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and learning differences reach their full potential.

The Awards are hosted by nasen – the National Association for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. nasen is the leading membership charity that exists to champion, connect and support those working with, and for, children and young people with SEND and learning differences.

Chief Executive of nasen, Annamarie Hassall MBE said:

“We are thrilled to announce the incredible winners of the 2021 nasen Awards. By spotlighting their hard work, inclusive best practice and sheer determination to achieve in spite of challenges, we hope to inspire others in the education and SEND sector.

“As CEO at my first nasen Awards, I was humbled by the calibre of nominations and the incredible work schools, individuals and organisations are doing to achieve such fantastic outcomes for children and young people with SEND and learning differences. This past 18-months have been particularly challenging for us all, and have greatly impacted the educational experience of all children and young people.

“At nasen, our vision is to achieve an educational experience for learners with SEND that is consistently as good as it is for learners without SEND. I would like to congratulate all our nasen Award winners for their dedication to this. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was shortlisted, as well as our judges, sponsors, and media partner – Schools Week – for their commitment to inclusion and to the awards.”

The nasen 2021 Award winners are:



The nasen Award for Early Years Provision, sponsored by Nursery World

Anglia Sunshine Nurseries in Sudbury

The nasen Award for Primary Provision, sponsored by GL Assessment

Whitefield Primary School in Liverpool

The nasen Award for Secondary Provision, sponsored by Seeds of Change

Henley Bank High School in Brockworth

The nasen Award for 16-25 Provision, sponsored by Brain in Hand

Derwen College in Oswestry

Specialist Provision of the Year Award, sponsored by IDL

Bramfield House School in Halesworth

The nasen Award for Co-production with Children and Young People and their Families, sponsored by The Seashell Trust

The Grove Pastoral Team in Haringey

Young Person/Youth (up to 25 years) Achievement Award, sponsored by Neurodiversity Networks CIC

Hope Whittaker, aged 9, from South London

SEND Leader of the Year Award, sponsored by National Education Union

Colin May from Torbay

Learning Support Staff Member of the Year Award, sponsored by Axcis Education

Carla Baker from Bournemouth

nasen Teacher of the Year Award, sponsored by Equazen

Abed Ahmed from Birmingham

The Innovation Award for Technology, sponsored by Scanning Pens

IDLS in Lancaster

The David Ryan Publication Award – in honour of late nasen trustee, David Ryan, sponsored by Maths For Life

Dr Niamh Mourton from Derby

The International Provision of the Year Award, sponsored by Institute of Child Education & Psychology (ICEP) Europe

Steps with Theera in Thailand

One of nasen’s 13 winners was 9-year-old Hope Whittaker who is autistic. Hope won the prestigious Young Person/Youth (up to 25 years) Achievement Award for rediscovering her love of learning, after struggles in education meant she was no longer able to attend school from March 2020.

Through developing a passion for photography and nature – especially birds – Hope has now found her voice.

She is currently documenting wildlife in photographs for the local council, and her work has been published in a number of places online, including the Guardian, Little Toller Books and the Evening Standard. One of Hope’s dreams is to develop a book with Chris Packham, wildlife TV presenter and conservationist.

Hope Whittaker said:

“I can’t believe that I won, it’s amazing! At school I masked how I was feeling, sort of like acting, and I was too tired and stressed to do much. When it was lockdown I had more time to go outside. Now, when I take a photo of a bird I haven’t seen before, I get excited and try to get as close as I can so I can take better photos. My life has gone from downhill to uphill. I feel happy, excited, proud and can’t wait to tell all of my friends I’ve won an award. It’s amazing I won out of all the people who entered. Remember, never stop believing in yourself.”

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