The energies of FLSE at the national level are currently being stretched by the desire to continue to develop the range and impact of our work within the SEN sector and the urgent need to present a professional image and information service to members and potential members by building an effective web site. Currently over 20% of maintained special schools have taken membership of the FLSE enabling their leaders to gain benefit from the Federation. In addition, our membership now reflects PRUs, hospital schools, consultants and SIPs. Our short-term goal is to build and broaden this membership base.
SEND 'Green Paper' Summit - 2011
The Summit Conference held on the 9th March was a tremendous success, even though there was an 11th hour cancellation by Sarah Teather who had numerous other commitments to fulfil due to the Green Paper actually being published the same day - after a 24 hour delay. This was very disappointing for the audience who had paid to come to hear the Minister give a keynote speach... even more so because she was giving a press briefing just 200 yards up the street at the DfE!!!
The majority of the delegates quickly moved on from this to enage with what the day was really all about.... assessing the initial impact of the content of the Green Paper and providing their initial responses to the key five chapters of the paper which were identified as:
- Early identification and support
- Giving parent’s control
- Learning and achieving
- Preparing for adulthood
- Services working together for families
What happens next....
All the data and feedback from the delegates is currently being collated and will then be analysed by the organisers before being compiled into a formal response that will be sent to the DfE as part of the Green Paper consultation process. This information will then also be fed back to the delegates.
It will also be posted on this website.
Watch this space.
SEND Conference Meetings
By way of establishing a forum for ongoing dialogue, greater collaboration and 'round table' discussion on SEND matters in general, the FLSE has also initiated SEND Conference meetings with a number of key organisations within the SEND sector.
The primary objective was to establish a framework for organisations and stakeholders in the SEND sector to work more closely together for the greater good, and identify where closer cooperation and collaboration on key SEND issues will provide a greater opportunity to enact change.
These SEND Conference meetings will provide an active forum to enable regular ‘round table’ discussion and information sharing on matters of general and mutual interest between many parties and key stakeholder organisations that represent the SEND sector.
The first of these meetings was held in London on the 13th October and representatives of the DfE, NASS, nasen, NAHT, Engage, BATOD, SWALSS, SSAT and Hays Education attended. It is likely that invitations will be extended to other organisations when we meet again in January 2011, with the intention to hold future meetings every quarter.
Send Conference meetings that are currently scheduled for the 2011 academic year are:
- Wednesday 23rd March 2011
As minutes and meeting notes are disseminated to the attendees, it will become their responsibility to communicate this information to others within their own organisations, be they SEND professional bodies, or schools or SEN services – because the key to the ongoing success of these SEND Conference meetings will be to encourage feedback from others… be they work colleagues, school staff, parents or whoever, so that ultimately we can be seen to truly represent a unified and collective voice on SEND matters.
More news will be released on this ASAP.
Ongoing development of the web site
Through the web site, our aim is to make people aware of what the FLSE is all about and the work we are doing on behalf of our members, encourage new members to join and to provide a high quality specialist service tailored to the interests and needs of leaders in special educational settings. The web site will continue to be a 'work in progress' and will evolve over time. Our Home Page will change periodically to reflect changing priorities and the key issues of the day. Our expectation is that much of the content within these areas of interest will come from you, the practitioners. The FLSE asks you to embrace a spirit of collaboration and mutual support. The sharing of good practice, experiences, exemplar materials and good advice is fundamental to our work.
Building a library of best practice advice, comment, examples
In our Document Bank and within the various pages of the web site we aim to build a library of good practice, current developments, sound advice, guidance and methodology which will offer support or a fresh insight to colleagues. The initial range of resources available will be limited both by a need to set a date and to 'go live' with the site. It is also limited by the short period of time we have had to gather materials from schools and services. You will appreciate then that this aspect of the web site will flourish because you and other members contribute your ideas and materials.
Building your voice
Special education has for too long been something that people think about after they believe they have sorted out the rest of the education system. This has provided both a need and an opportunity for special educational leaders to be progressive and to think 'outside the box'. The current government has shown some awareness that special education can no longer be left to adapt to the norm but that new policy and initiatives must be informed by consultation and discussion with SEN leaders. The FLSE is the vehicle which will provide your voice to the decision makers and is well positioned to collaborate and reflect the opinions and ideas of the broader spectrum of organisations and services that work within the SEN spectrum.
The National Executive
The National Executive (NatEx) meets 4 times a year. The meetings are held at the Institute of Education, London. Meeting dates are set for the year, in advance. This enables the regional committees to plan their meetings so that they can receive feedback and contribute to the discussion in a timely manner. The agenda and work programme for the NatEx is planned by the CEO and the National Facilitator.
NatEx meetings that are currently scheduled for the 2010/2011 academic year are:
- Wednesday 23rd March 2011
The Strategic Development Group
The Strategic Development Group steers the work of the FLSE. It is responsible for building the business plan and setting strategic goals for the future development of the FLSE. Members are the Chair and Vice-Chair, a co-opted executive member, the CEO and Facilitator. This group is supported by the national administrator.
SDG meetings for the 2010/2011 academic year are set for:
- Tuesday 22nd March 2011
In addition to the regular business of the SDG the group has engaged the services of a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) to aid the planning and organisation of all future conferences and regional events.
Regional news and updates
Work within the regions is ongoing. Each region is at a different point in their development. Where 'seeding' is still necessary the SDG and consultant Gill Henderson support the embryonic regional organisation by planning and providing a launch conference. This may be followed up some months later by other regional events which are steered by the SDG. The aim is to have every region working in an autonomous way, meeting local and regional needs as well as contributing strongly to the national agenda and debate.
You will find a link to your region on the web site. This will let you know how things currently stand 'where you live'. Our membership grows most strongly through the regional network and the efforts of the regional executive. Remember that the work of the regions requires a commitment beyond 'the day job' - maybe you have the time and talents to take on an important regional role. If you would like to know more about becoming involved contact your local regional representative or send us an email.
Colleagues from within the FLSE are regularly representing SEN UK through their work in various parts of the world. At the end of January/beginning of February, for example, our Chairman, David Bateson will be attending an international conference in Qatar where issues of provision facing Middle Eastern countries will feature highly. Similarly, Malcolm Reeve, Vice Chairman, will be in Shanghai on a similar mission to facilitate the development of provision in China. Other FLSE members are known to have undertaken similar work overseas in the past months.
This has prompted the SDG to enquire about and promote ideas enabling other and more formalised relationships with other countries. One objective is to arrange for a group of FLSE members to travel and work abroad and, of course, that FLSE will reciprocate in offering opportunity and hospitality to overseas visitors.