Education, News

SEND Arts and Education Symposium brings together educators, artists and policymakers

Earlier this month we held their first national Symposium to share the achievements of its award-winning SENsory Atelier programme, funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

The Symposium opened with welcome speeches from Attenborough Arts Centre Director Andrew Fletcher, University of Leicester President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Kerry Law and Attenborough Arts Centre patron Michael Attenborough CBE. All of them noted the importance of arts within education and facilitating more support to enable learning for all.

Throughout the day the attendees learnt how SENsory Atelier provides an innovative model for the future of SEND education in SEN schools and heard from internationally acclaimed experts in the field of arts and creativity in SEND education including Dr Penny Hay (Bath Spa University), Simon Taylor (University of Worcester), Jo Stockdale (External Evaluator) and Attenborough Arts Centre own Marianne Scahill-Pape and Bob Christer, who has since moved onto another role at Bamboozle Leicester.

“It is vital that we continue to champion the strengths of SEND education and the role the arts can play in helping young people to become architects of their own learning. We were hugely excited to share our learning and to collaborate with our speakers and delegates in forging new milestones for the future of education.” – Bob Christer, previous SENsory Atelier Programme Manager

The Symposium featured practical workshops and explorations of creative activities with SENsory Atelier participants, teachers and artists including artist and curator Pasha Kincaid and Sian Watson Taylor who has worked on 9 artist residencies as part of the programme since the pilot in 2016. The event ended with an interactive roundtable session that worked to help answer the future needs of SEND education nationally and internationally.

“Empowering to be in a room with like-minded professionals. As a teacher, you can Sometimes get bogged down by planning, assessment, targets etc, so today had helped me to relight a spark.” – Attendee

“Recently I have been feeling squashed, trapped and contained by the system and have been seriously considering leaving teaching. Yesterday threw a huge spanner in the works for me! It was emotional. I felt as though maybe this isn’t quite it for me yet and being in a room with such incredibly driven and passionate educators was an affirming experience. Maybe I’m just not where I need to be right now and I need to find new energy to make things happen again.” – Attendee

The speeches from the key note speakers are now available to view on our YouTube, alongside the roundtable discussion with a panel of experts and audience participant. Click here to view them all.

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