On 24 March 2022, the British Curriculum Forum (BCF) ran the Spotlight on SEND: Curriculum Design and Practice online event. The event focused attention on research-informed curriculum design and practice to support positive outcomes for all pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Teachers, practitioners, researchers, leaders, managers and academics came together to share their critical perspectives and assumptions about researching this aspect of the curriculum. We are immensely grateful to all of our speakers for agreeing to write posts for this BERA Blog Special Issue. This collection of standalone, but related, posts consists of 10 contributions:
Katherine Runswick-Cole and Martina Smith kick-start this impressive collection by invoking DisPolitical Love as a force for change in SEND policy and practice. Margaret Mulholland invites teachers to ‘think like a detective’ in her metaphor for inquiry and teaching methodology for effective inclusive teaching. In her post, Amelia Roberts focuses on lesson study as a mechanism to enhance curriculum implementation and impact on pupils with special educational needs. Writing about the National Framework for Inclusion in Scotland, Kirsten Darling-McQuistan examines the extent to which a singular framework can support student teachers and teachers to include learners in diverse classroom communities. Challenging the ‘normative model of difference and its implications on pedagogy and practice’, Janet Hoskin asks how can we challenge assumptions about learners with SEND? Drawing on his experience as a teacher in Northern Ireland, a special needs advisory officer, vice principal and principal, Colin Millar highlights the importance of excellent communication between teacher and pupil and offers his guidance on communication efficacy in the classroom. For Luke Beardon, the equity versus equality debate is more than pertinent when any discussion about autistic inclusion takes place. In his post, Luke offers his take on what inclusion, for the autistic learner, is all about. Acknowledging the many barriers to inclusive education that pupils encounter, Amelie Thompson writes about a fascinating cross-sector action research project focusing on primary curriculum design and planning. Our final guest speaker contribution comes from Chandrika Devarakonda, who explores the concepts of special educational needs and disabilities and intersectionality, and highlights the importance of an awareness of how these are linked.
On the day of this event, participants had the opportunity to move into two parallel sessions where our speakers presented and took questions from their audience. In this collection we include the two summaries of those sessions from our two event chairs, Victoria Pugh and Richard Pountney.
We would like to thank, once again, all our speakers for agreeing to write for this BERA Blog special issue. These contributors share a passion and dedication to all things related to SEND and the curriculum. But this work is not something we can do on our own – it demands collaboration on all fronts: collaboration with our politicians and policymakers; collaboration with our subject associations, our examination bodies, our NGOs and charities; and collaboration with our teaching and student unions, and indeed all of us who are involved in teacher education in all its guises and locations. For this reason, we would like to ask everyone reading this collection to promote it on your social networks (including Twitter). In doing so we can celebrate and champion the work of these amazing colleagues and all those involved in this field.