CfESEND blog: webinars and Communities of Practice at Weston College

Blog by Jacqui Ford, Deputy Principal Curriculum Innovation and SEND at Weston College, for the Centres for Excellence in SEND programme.


We’ve had a busy month since the last ‘spotlight’ was issued. As well as having senior leaders travelling around the UK to conduct a number of face-to-face consultation visits, we have also hosted two webinars and secured keynote and guest speakers for the Mental health: Challenging perceptions, changing the narrative event on 5 March.

Work continues in developing the Community of Practice (CoP) and Leadership Hub (LH) with several follow up conversations resulting from the ‘Day in the Life of SEND’ event on 18 December.

What has been particularly pleasing is that we’ve heard from several colleges who were unable to attend the 18 December event and subsequent webinars, who have requested a visit to the college. These visits have been scheduled which we are delighted with, but even more encouragingly, it does highlight that the CoP is building momentum and having an impact.

Weston College 3D tour


Webinar: 22 January – Using 3D tours to engage and transition learners

The webinar explored the use of digital technology and, 3D interactive tours.

These were developed to support staff in the Inclusive Practice/SEND teams. However, the greatest impact has been using this technology with learners, helping them to become familiar with various colleges sites and facilities, thus reducing anxiety and breaking down barriers to learning amongst our learners with SEND. 

The webinar explored how to fund this technology, embed it into the Inclusive Practice culture and provision and highlighted the impact on successful engagement and transition for new and current learners.

For anyone who was unable to join the webinar, this can be viewed on the ETF’s SEND Excellence Gateway


Webinar: 5 February – Developing careers in SEND including higher level apprenticeship

The 5 February webinar explored the topic of creating inspirational careers in SEND including a high lever apprenticeship.

This topic was chosen following multiple requests during the ‘A Day in the Life of SEND’ event on 18 December.

As well as establishing a ‘Specialist Support Model’ within the Inclusive Practice faculty, Weston College is exploring the option to develop s Higher Apprenticeship.

As part of our ‘People’ theme for the CfESEND programme, Weston College is looking to establish a ‘Trailblazer Group’ to work collaboratively on the development of a new Higher Apprenticeship. 

Expressions of Interest were requested during the webinar with a couple of organisations coming forward.

For further details or to join the Trailblazer Group, email:

For more general information on careers in SEND, do check out the ETF’s guide Making a big difference: working with learners with SEND.


Weston College Trailblazer process


Event: 5 March – ‘Mental Health: Challenging Perceptions, Changing the Narrative

We are excited to announce several keynote and guest speakers for the ‘Mental Health’ event on 5 March.  As well as Anna Williamson, TV presenter, radio host and author of several AmazonTop100 best sellers, we have ‘The Big House’ Production Company, YoungMinds, BigWhiteWall and Nick Elson to name but a few of the amazing organisations and individuals supporting the event.

Topics to be covered include childhood traumas, mental health triggers, socio-economic factors, resilience and supporting people within work. The event promised to also give delegates examples of tools and techniques which can be adopted to support children, teens, young adults and employees with varying mental health issues.

Places are filling up so if you or colleagues would like to attend please register.


Working Together to Share -Effective Practice

Engagement with the CfESEND Leadership Hub and Communities of Practice continues to grow. We are very encouraged with the level of engagement and how effective practice is being exchanged across the group.

As well as tailoring content of webinars and events to meet the requests of CoP members, we are also investigating how we can develop a virtual CoP which have continue to exchange information, share best practice and develop a powerful legacy impact. 

We’re keen to hear from anyone who would like to work collaboratively with us and the ‘People’ themed CfESEND

Please do get in touch with your suggestions and ideas at:

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