SENCo Conference

(SENCo Network 2021-22)
Delegate price £110.00
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Date & Details
Speaker Profiles

This year, due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, our SENCo conference will be split into 2 sessions.

SESSION 1: The Education Inspection Framework: through the SEN lens led by Kate Browning (9th February, 15:30-17:30)

Recording of session 1 is now available.


This session will provide SENCos with a working knowledge of the School Inspection Framework in relation to SEND, ensuring you have a sound understanding of what an inspection team is likely to focus on in relation to SEND, particularly during a Section 5 inspection (full inspection).

We will then look at how schools can use the Inspection Handbook to help provide a structure and robustness to its ongoing self-evaluation of SEND practise in order to strengthen its approach to improving provision and outcomes for children with special needs.

SESSION 2: Girls and Autism led by Sarah-Jane Critchley (22nd June, 13:00-15:30)


There are likely to be many girls with Autism Spectrum Condition in schools whose needs are not identified or understood as the sector’s knowledge about the ASC profile of girls has been limited. This session will focus on helping SENCos understand the latest research and development in the understanding of how girls present with ASC in the primary years including:

  • the impact that ASC can have (strengths and challenges) on development and learning
  • supporting earlier identification
  • recommendations for support both in terms of universal and targeted provision
  • support and effective partnership with parents / carers of girls with ASC.

This year our SENCo Conference will be split into 2 online sessions.

SESSION 1: Tuesday 9th February 2021 (15:30-17:30) – recording now available

SESSION 2: Tuesday 22nd June 2021 (13:00-15:30 – NEW TIME)

We will be using Zoom (online video conferencing software) to host this online event. If you have not used Zoom previously, you may need to download the Zoom software either to a laptop, PC, tablet or smartphone, prior to joining. When you have booked your place a link will be emailed to you, within 48 hours of the webinar, with further instructions about how to join the event.

The session will also be recorded and afterwards an edited version will be shared with those schools that have booked a place.


Schools who subscribe to the Gateway Alliance SENCo network have 1 FREE place on this event, per subscription. 

Costs will be incurred for additional places and for schools that do not subscribe. Please see our terms for details.


If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact us on 02476 347697 or email:

Kate Browning

Kate is our SENCo Network Leader and she is a well-regarded lead professional both locally and nationally in school improvement for children and young people with SEND. She has over 20 years of experience as a teacher, SENCo, Local Authority School Improvement Officer for SEN and interim Education Development Officer for NASEN, where she supported the delivery of nationwide training on the SEND Code of Practice with the DfE.

Kate now works with Teaching School Alliances, MATs, Local Authorities and individual schools to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND across the primary and secondary phase. She teaches the National Award for SEN Coordination and facilitates a number of SENCo Networks across the midlands. She is a lecturer for the University of Warwick PGCE programme and has delivered key note speeches and seminars at many conferences and events such as The Education Show, NASEN Live, TES SEN, Optimus, SEN South West. She is an Associate Consultant for NASEN, an expert advisor for The Key and Chair of Governors of a large junior school.


Sarah-Jane Critchley

Sarah-Jane is passionate about helping autistic people, their families, friends and supporters live happier lives of their own choosing. She is the internationally recognised author of ‘A Different Joy: The Parents’ Guide to Living Better with Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD and More…’ She is a contributing author to ‘Girls and Autism: Educational, Family and Personal Perspectives’ Edited by Barry Carpenter, Francesca Happe and Jo Egerton which will be published by Routledge in March 2019; and jointly with her daughter, Elizabeth, in ‘Educating Girls on the Autism Spectrum’ edited by Dr Caroline Bond and Dr. Judith Hebron to be published by Jessica Kingsley in 2019. She has written for Nursery World, SEN Magazine, Network Autism, Charity Finance and ICSA.   She has also written an online training module ‘Introduction to Autism’ for AC Education to support adoptive and foster parents.

She is a keynote speaker and presented on autism education in China, Scotland, Italy and Greece as well as the UK. Her speaking clients include the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), Times Educational Supplement (TES), NASEN, Autism Europe, Local Authorities and commercial organisations. She has written an online course, ‘An Introduction to Autism’ for AC Education.

For over 10 years, Sarah-Jane was with the Autism Education Trust working with a range of stakeholders to improve educational provision for young people with autism and securing continuous funding from the UK Department for Education of £6m. She worked with the DfE and stakeholders to develop guidance on Exam accommodations, access arrangements and to report on changes to the exam papers in GCSE English and Maths to OFQUAL and guidance on Exclusions with the National Autistic Society. She has been instrumental in the development, monitoring and management of a number of workforce development programmes including training that has reached over 190,000 education-based staff in England in 6 years. Sarah-Jane was an influential member of the Transforming Autism Education project adapting the AET’s highly successful training programme to meet the context and needs of professionals in Italy and Greece funded by the EU ERASMUS programme.

She designed and delivered marketing programmes and training in the management of key clients for the Construction Industry. She worked on the business plan and management buy-out for the privatisation of a facilities management company and subsequently implemented sales and marketing programmes for the new company.  She has had extensive operational and facilities management experience including leadership of over 100 staff and an operational budget in excess of £17M. Sarah-Jane holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) specialising in the management of change from City University. She is a mother to two autistic teenagers (a late-diagnosed girl and a boy) and an autistic husband. They share their home with two cats.

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