The year ahead for SEND – big challenges, more opportunities

6 February 2024

Join SENWG member, Texthelp Ltd, and expert panelists as they address key challenges in the SEND sector.


11am - 12pm


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Free for BESA members, £50 for non-BESA members

Join SENWG member, Texthelp Ltd, and expert panelists as they address key challenges in the SEND sector.



This webinar will be hosted by Carrie-Ann Gibson, Texthelp International Education Manager and Chair of BESA's Special Needs Working Group, together with a trio of expert panelists from diverse corners of the SEND sector. The webinar focuses on navigating the complex landscape of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), particularly addressing five pivotal challenge areas: funding, policy, workload, training, and technology. Delve into the heart of these critical concerns that will shape the trajectory of the SEND sector in the upcoming academic year.

Through in-depth discussions and insights, you will gain an understanding of the challenges that educators, students, and institutions face. The webinar aims to equip you with the knowledge to extend robust support to staff and students while unveiling ways to harness commercial opportunities and explore new avenues within the sector.


Key Takeaways:

  1. Expert Insights on SEND Challenges: This event offers the opportunity to hear directly from SENWG member Texthelp Ltd and three expert panelists in the SEND sector. 
  2. Addressing Key Challenges: The event will delve into each of the identified challenge areas, offering an in-depth exploration of the issues facing the SEND sector in the upcoming academic year. 
  3. Supporting Staff and Students: Discover strategies and approaches to effectively support staff and students in the face of these challenges. 
  4. Maximising Opportunities: The event will not only focus on challenges but also highlight the commercial opportunities that can arise in the SEND sector. Attendees will learn how to identify and capitalise on new prospects while navigating the evolving landscape of special educational needs and disabilities.

Join us to discover innovative solutions, engage with thought leaders, and chart a course towards a more resilient and inclusive SEND landscape




Carrie-Ann Gibson, International Education Manager at Texthelp
Educator, international speaker, language enthusiast and International Education Manager at Texthelp, the world's largest specialist accessibility company.
Carrie-Ann has a degree in Applied Languages and a Masters in Professional Language Studies and has a deep knowledge of international education. Multilingual, and fluent in three languages, her background in teaching English as an additional language gives her a particular focus on literacy and language development.
Carrie-Ann is also currently the Chair of BESA’s SEN working group.


Patrick McGrath, Head of Education Strategy at Texthelp

Patrick is an educator, an engaging international speaker, blogger, podcaster, an Honorary Fellow at UU and Head of Education Strategy at the Texthelp Group - the world's largest specialist assistive technology company. Patrick is passionate about ensuring that technology has a positive, meaningful and sustainable impact on teaching & learning through a focus on inclusion, accessibility and universal design.


Lindsay Fuller, History Teacher and SENDCo at Northampton School for Girls 

Lindsay has worked as a history teacher for the last 24 years and is also currently SENDCo at Northampton School for Girls. She is passionate about inclusion and providing students with the right support they need to succeed and achieve their full potential. She is constantly developing as an educator, having recently qualified as a dyslexia specialist teacher. 


Abigail Hawkins, SEN Consultant

Abigail, a passionate and seasoned SENCO with over 25 years of experience, is the dynamic force behind SENDCOSolutions and SENsible SENCO CIC. Through her SEN consultancy and not-for-profit networking support group, she champions inclusive education and offers invaluable support to educators and schools across the spectrum. Having taught a diverse range of subjects to students of all ages, from toddlers to adults, Abigail has a versatile and practical approach to SEN issues.


Simon Tanner, National Director of SEND for E-ACT 

Simon has recently been appointed as National Director of SEND for E-ACT. With 10 years as an experienced SENDCo and 5 as a MAT leader for SEND, Simon has developed effective SEND practice across multiple schools and leads on SEND and MAT SEND reviews across the country. Simon Co-chairs the MAT SEND Leaders group which he established with Dr Nicola Crossly (Liberty Trust). The group currently has over 90 MAT leaders of SEND and collaborate with Whole Education. Simon is a mentor on their newly designed MAT SEND leaders programme which is currently delivering support to over 250 academies across England.  



To register your interest, or to ask any questions, please email eventsteam@besa.org.uk. 

We look forward to having you join us for an enlightening and enriching experience!

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