Serv­ing spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs

Coventry Telegraph - - LEARNING ZONE - By DAVID WHINYATES Spe­cial Correspondent

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-cham­ or call 02476 654321.

Tanya King, right, with the team at SEND Sup­ported, in­clud­ing Leonie Berry, left

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