Serving special educational needs
A GROUP of teachers are using their expertise to improve the prospects of pupils with special educational needs across Warwickshire and beyond.
SEND Supported, an education consultancy specialising in helping schools improve support to pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, was formed when six former local authority specialist teachers came together following a re-focus by their employer.
The group, consisting of Leonie Berry, Lucy Clarke, Jules McLean, George Timlin, Joanna Burden and Clair Cole, felt that their knowledge, experience and contacts put them in a position where they could continue to maximise the help individual pupils received by working directly with schools and families.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, via the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, has supported the team in order to help on the business side of the operation.
This has ranged from helping to organise payment schedules for staff, to arranging networking opportunities and advising on the legal requirements of setting up a business.
The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the district and borough councils.
Leonie Berry said: “We had built up a lot of close ties with schools across the area who knew how we worked to ensure that the children get as much help as possible. Knowing we are specialists in what we do, we were approached by schools wanting to maintain working relationships with us.
“The invaluable input from the chamber has provided business advice and support through training and mentoring to give us the skills to set up and run SEND Supported as a growing business.”
SEND Supported can assist schools in supporting children with autism, cognition and learning, social emotional and mental health, developmental language disorder, dyslexia and counselling with specialists in each area.
Sadly, the next stage of their development will not be seen by co-founder George Timlin, who passed away in February, with tributes from schools he had worked with across the country flooding in after his death.
Leonie said: “His passing is huge, not just personally to those who knew him, but to the education system for SEND pupils.”
Tanya King, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, has worked directly with the team, supporting their business to grow over the last 12 months.
She said: “The contribution this group is making to our educational system in Coventry and Warwickshire is huge and it was a brave decision for them to go it alone.
“We are delighted to be working with them and their growth is proof of what a great job they are doing and what a positive reputation they have built.”
Businesses in their first 12 months who think they could benefit from working with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce should contact startyourbusiness@ cw-chamber.co.uk or call 02476 654321.
Tanya King, right, with the team at SEND Supported, including Leonie Berry, left