CfESEND blog: communities of practice feedback and attachment trauma at Weston College

Blog by Sam Mayhew, Dean of Faculty – Inclusive Practice, and Jane Vivian, Project Manager: Centres for Excellence in SEND (People) at Weston College, for the Centres for Excellence in SEND programme.

What others are saying about the Centre for Excellence in SEND (People):

The work of the Centre for Excellence in SEND continues to gain momentum with over 1000 organisations engaging with it during lockdown. Here’s what one of our Communities of Practice FE members has to say about engagement so far….

East Coast College logo

“A key theme of my pedagogy is collaboration; learning from others and gaining support from others to improve personal skills, confidence and knowledge. I promote this to my learners and have demonstrated this myself by attending online webinars delivered by the Centre for Excellence (People), Weston.

I have been attending online webinars over the past 12 months to develop my knowledge and understanding as part of my role at East Coast College. I course lead and teach on programmes designed to develop skills for learners with SEND in the Foundation Learning department. Many of the young people I teach face barriers to employment or further education. The training I have attended has supported me to find creative ways to harness the skills that these learners have, overcoming some of their barriers, improving their wellbeing and helping them to achieve.

Mental health continues to be one of the key challenges within education, especially during uncertain times. I have always been passionate about breaking down the stigma of mental health within my lessons, letting my learners know that they are in a safe, supportive environment. My ongoing engagement with CfE webinars has allowed me to discuss and share strategies with other like-minded professionals. This enables me to continue guiding learners through challenges, using a growth mindset to develop their own strategies to support their own wellbeing in future.

I will continue to collaborate with the CfE Community of Practice through future focus groups and webinars, to deepen my own knowledge and share good practice with other professionals. The shared resources and toolkits have been an invaluable tool for my planning of future learning.”

Ryan Pickering BSc (Hons), Course Leader for Entry 3 / Level 1 Step Up SEND Provision, Assistant Team Leader for Prince’s Trust Foundation Skills and Alternative Department, East Coast College Great Yarmouth Campus.

Visit Somerset logo

VisitSomerset are a strategic partner and have supported the work of both the Community of Practice and Employability Hub.  Here’s what they have to say about the work of the CfE (People):

“It is vital that employers understand the importance of not only good physical health but also mental health, often ignored and not understood.

The Centre for Excellence (CfE) in SEND (People) which is being run by Weston College, is delivering and supporting a fantastic program, helping, through seminars and webinars along with other educational forums, to support our members and the industry to understand the importance and opportunities that working and developing good SEND and inclusive practise can bring.

Since partnering with the CfE (People) last summer, I have witnessed its influence and value, which is being felt right across the industry and Somerset. It is vital to remember that although SEND is often focused on young adults and children, many adults (who have been lost in previous decades), need that support also. I know that many employers are looking for guidance as to how they can support and underpin adult learning, to enhance and extend mature students life skills and future chances.

We need to promote more equality and diversity in the workplace and the huge benefits that this can bring. I cannot think of better partners to work with in this pursuit than the CfE (People) and Weston College. The county is becoming a better place for all of the work being delivered by the CfE Communities of Practice and Employability Hub in this field, ably led by Jane Vivian and the rest of the team.

You are an inspirational team leading the cause for SEND, inclusivity and equality and diversity.  It thrills me to be with you on that journey as we explore different ways of making the county more accepting and warmly welcoming for all.”

John Turner, CEO of Somerset Tourism Association and Visit Somerset.

In case you missed it do tune into our recorded webinar on attachment trauma found on the SEND Excellence Gateway.

Image of title slide of webinar on attachment and developmental trauma awareness

The session focused on trauma, understanding signs of trauma and its impacts and how trauma can be managed.

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on everyone’s lives and will continue to do so. Common signs of trauma include shock, denial, or disbelief, confusion, difficulty concentrating, anger, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, self-blame, withdrawing from others, feeling sad or hopeless, feeling disconnected or numb.

Through this session, we share our approach to recognising and managing the impacts of trauma, practices and lessons learnt, in our mission to support all staff and learners including those with SEND.  We take a look at some of the support services we have in place and how our specialist practitioner model helps to ensure support is available across the organisation.

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about the work of our CfE in SEND (People).  We’re keen to hear from anyone who would like to work collaboratively with the CfE, so please do get in touch with your suggestions and ideas:

For further details of the ETF Centres for Excellence in SEND, webinar recordings, resources and toolkits visit the ETF’s SEND Excellence Gateway.

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