Thank you and signing off…..

After 4 and a half years of leading @SENexchange it is time for @Mishwood1 and @cherrylkd to pass the baton on to @jw_teach.

Mary and Cherryl would like to thank each and every follower who has supported them during that time including by supportive re-tweets, co – hosting and joining in weekly discussions, responding to questions posed by other followers, sharing news stories relating to #SEND and for giving of time, ideas, resources and support so readily and willingly. It is the followers that make @SENexchange the success it is and we are really proud that it has become the  well respected ‘Exchange’ that we envisaged back in Feb 2015 when we established it.

We absolutely know that  in  Joe we are leaving @SENexchange not only in safe hands but with someone who will alongside all of you develop @SENexchange in terms of bringing new ideas and energy to ensuring it remains  the ‘go to’ place on Twitter for  all things #SEND.

We are PROUD to be leaving #SENexchange tonight with a following of 6100

We are not going away and you will still see us on our own accounts and joining in discussions on @SENexchange when we can.

Sincere thank you to you all…signing off now….

Mary and Cherryl xx

A new chapter for SENexchange

Mary and Cherryl established @SENexchange  just over 4 years ago.

At that time there was a gap in a central place for a weekly discussion which was SEND focussed, central place to share knowledge, expertise and resources and  central place to ask for support where needed. We are delighted that the feedback we have had over the 4 years has been really positive with regards to the role of @SENexchange to provide all of the above and at the time of writing this we have established 5889 followers.

We are so lucky to have a regular group of colleagues who participate in our Wednesday evening discussions as well as others who join in as an when they are able to. The support we get for sharing information on@SENexchange and about the topic of our discussions each week is overwhelming and the  positive comments about how @SENexchange has helped colleagues is heart warming. The success of @SENexchange is attributed to our followers and for that we are very grateful.

Having had a series of co-hosts to our weekly discussions has been really beneficial in being able to use particular knowledge and skills as well as areas of interest of colleagues. It has brought new ideas and energy to our discussions.

After much thought, discussion and with a heavy heart we have decided that it is time for us to hand the @SENexchange baton on to someone new who will be able to build on the foundations we have established and continue to make @SENexchange the ‘go to’ place on Twitter for a committed community of advocates for our children and young people with SEND

We have our weekly discussions and co-hosts lined up until half term and it will be then that we will hand over to @jw_teach who is going to work with you all for the next chapter in the life of @SENexchange. Our last weekly discussion with you will be on Wednesday 17th October

@SENexchange and all of the colleagues who have joined us throughout out 4 year journey mean such alot to both of us. Huge thanks go to everyone who has supported us along the way. We will both still be around on twitter and will join in @SENexchange from the sidelines  – try keeping us away!

A note from Joe: 

I was honoured to be offered the opportunity to facilitate the continuation of @SENexchange into its next chapter. I have spent my career working to secure the very best outcomes for children with SEND. In the classroom It is easy to exist in a bubble, not pausing to consider how your work is reliant on the skills and knowledge of others, how the children and adults you teach are part of a wider society. It is through initiatives such as @SENexchange that I was introduced to passionate and hardworking people all over Britain and further afield. Each person brought a new perspective and new ideas to broaden the discussions. This served to remove the blinkers and challenged me to rethink how I approached special education. It showed me the power of collaboration and how my actions impacted the lives of individuals, families and even wider society. To be tasked with continuing this work means I will be standing on the shoulders of our contributors, those who generously spend their time devising the questions, sharing the tweets and contributing to discussions. This week alone the #SENexchange hashtag has reached 59,000 people. Many of those people will work outside of education and the positivity and passion shown by those taking part ripples wider than twitter. Whilst not always in agreement the discussions are respectful and solution focussed often strengthening the bonds betweens advocates, schools, homes, colleges, academics, social workers and beyond.

I will continue to promote the causes you all hold dear and promise to be a passionate advocate for all those involved in putting the wings on the backs of our children. I cannot do it alone and invite anyone reading this to contact me and share their ideas for future discussions and ways to take @SENexchange forward into 2020 and beyond.

All our very best wishes to each and every one of you

Mary, Cherryl and Joe 

#SENexchange: Reflection and celebration

photo SEN exchange

As we have reached 3000 followers on @SENexchange we would like to take this time to thank and celebrate the contributions of our followers. The key thing that makes #SENexchange so successful is the contribution of our range of followers who are willing to share their knowledge and ideas. To mark the occasion of us reaching 3000 followers we decided to ask a few of our most regular contributors to our weekly discussions for their thoughts about #SENexchange. We would love to hear your views too so why not write us a message in the comments section at the end of the blog!


Jo Grace


“One of the wonderful things about SENexchange is who you can bump into in the ether. There are brand new teachers keen to learn and experienced practitioners willing to share. There are experts in their field professional trainers and specialists. There are parents, some with children newly diagnosed, others with tons of experience under their belt willing to share, and there are individuals with special needs and disabilities themselves giving their first hand insight into the discussions. Where else would you get such a mix? 30 mins on a Wednesday evening can be like a whole week’s worth of CPD.”

Helen Weston

“SEN exchange has been a revelation for me, firstly the fact that there IS great SEND practice out there in schools and there are staff who genuinely care and want to have the best outcomes for these children. On top of that, these wonderful Professionals STILL want to learn more and enjoy sharing and collecting new ideas.
If I am honest, some of the chats I have watched from afar as they are so unreflective of my experiences that I have found them difficult to read, it is hard when you feel you are fighting a system that could and should work well for your children but you find obstruction every step of the way. However, the huge learning experiences I have had from SEN exchange outweigh this and it has given me the extra confidence in school meetings to question decisions and poor inclusion / communication in a more specific way to ensure accountability. “

Joe W


#SENexchange was one of the first twitter chats I took part in. It presented an unparalleled opportunity to discuss important issues with a range of experienced practitioners from across the world.

You hear a lot about the negative side of twitter but I have never had a problem or issue during #SENexchange that has not been resolved through a challenging but beneficial professional dialogue. Unlike the complaints of twitter feeds becoming echo chamber a chat is open to all. Whilst there are multiple opinions shared every week there is a common theme of respect. It is clear that care and the dignity of any child is at the centre of every contributor’s ethos & practice.

Having a sounding board of experienced professionals, carers, parents and #actuallyautistic tweeters has been invaluable in broadening my thoughts and improving my practice.

Starlight McKenzie


I have found SENexchange to be a welcoming and friendly space for teachers, leaders in education, parents, home educators from early years to post 16, (as well as adults with SEND who share their experiences of receving education) to come together to discuss some of the issues that impact on meeting the needs of children with SEND and share solutions. The chat is inclusive and welcoming of a variety of perspectives and all views are respected and encouraged. There hasn’t been a single chat that I have participated in where I haven’t learned something useful or found something to think about in greater depth. I think t is a real positive for parents to see some of the real thought and care that goes into meeting the needs of children with SEND in schools and for professionals to have a non-confrontational perspective from parents on their practice.

Ed Psych Insight


“I think the #SENexchange chats are great at eliciting people’s thoughts and feelings on a wide range of everyday issues in education. They help to generate practical ideas for managing a child’s special educational needs. Above all, they reflect the many practitioners and parents who have a vested interest in learning more about how to help children fulfil their full potential.”

Integrated Brain


“Often we are so caught up with the act of doing processes and methods that have been tried and tested over the years. Over a cup of tea and with HolbyCity going on in the background I am both relaxing after a long day and thinking with peers on new ways to look at solutions we think we know about. It is a strange platform to talk, however the retrospective thinking about the topic, the replies and your own thoughts make you think and consider new possibilities. It is this reflection that I find most valuable. The idea that others out there can have a profound impact on my everyday work.”

Maria Ramsay


Why do I follow @SENexchange? It’s simple, a community of innovative thinkers in the SEND field that share practices offering honest reflections and guidance.”



“The community of #SENexchange are very welcoming. They challenge me to think about my own practice and inspire me to be a better practitioner. The discussions each week are always worthwhile. The community of #SENexchange are very supportive. I would recommend #SENexchange to any tweeting practitioner, parent or carer.”

Helen Causier


“Wow! When I take part in the discussions I never think of our tweets being seen by so many followers! It’s a great achievement.
For me, #SENexchange was a great find. A community of professionals, parents, and some members able to contribute their own lived experience, all contributing to bring about understanding and share ideas or concerns. It’s different from other online forums because there isn’t the ‘them and us’ feel that I’ve come across elsewhere. Everyone contributes because they want things to be done properly for children, whatever their role. I’m proud of my job and I honestly think I work for a service that gets things right most of the time. However, concerns and ideas that I’ve come across in #SENexchange discussions have prompted me to talk to my managers about how we could improve, and been well received and acted upon. Also the support I sense when I contribute is very welcome – it’s always nice when people like what we do! I look forward to each week’s discussion. Thank you for hosting it”

Lynn MCann


SENExchange has been a great way for me to get to know other SEND practitioners from all over the UK and to learn from them.  I’ve made new friends and professional contacts that I would have never found just through twitter.  The range of topics covered each week have been wide ranging and always focussing on the practical. I particularly like how they welcome and include parents and people with different conditions to give their point of view.  We can all learn a lot from each other. Having the chance to host a chat was a challenge for me but I received so much help and support from Cherryl and Mary that it went really smoothly and I learned lots.  I’m looking forward to this chat continuing to help mainstream and specialist SEND teachers, parents and others come together and share knowledge and good practice for the sake of SEND children everywhere.  All the more important as the budget cuts hit schools and force us to be more inventive with less resources.

Callum Wetherill


What I like about Exchange: I love the fact that it builds a family of parents and professionals who go out of their way to support each other; first on a Wednesday night and then whenever anyone has a problem. You can learn so much from others on the different topics and it is usually anecdotal evidence to back up the theory. On a personal level, as someone who recently left the classroom, it is my opportunity to help others no I can’t do it directly
As for the future, it would be great to see some sort of conference/teachmeet. Continue to explore a range of topics and hopefully introduce new professionals and parents along the way”

And a note from each of us:

Mary Isherwood 


When we started #SENexchange, we aimed to establish a forum for sharing knowledge, ideas and resources relating to SEND. We are so grateful to the growing number of people who have joined us to do just that! The #SENexchange community is now rich with practitioners including schools and therapy services, with parents / carers, training providers, students and service users who all bring an important perspective to the discussions we have. The positive feedback we have from our followers is very much appreciated and helps us to ensure we keep #SENexchange relevant and useful. 

A huge thank you to all of you for working with us to make #SENexchange so successful for the last 2 years – onwards and upwards to the next 2!

Cherryl Drabble


Since we began #SENexchange two years ago I have enjoyed witnessing the increasing popularity of our weekly chats. We encourage anyone and everyone with an interest in those with special educational needs and disabilities to share their knowledge with us. Mary and I are on a mission to keep the chats as relevant as possible to the SEND community and we regularly request our tweeters to send us their chat topics. 

One particular chat regarding post 16 stands out as memorable as it was exceptionally busy. Another busy chat was our ASC and girls which we all found to be very informative. 

Over the two yeas we have had a few guest hosts and I would like to thank them for their expertise. I would also like to thank everyone for their contributions to our chats and for helping us to make #SENexchange successful. 

Our first anniversary blog #SENexchange


It was one year ago now when Mary Isherwood @Mishwood1 and Cherryl Drabble @cherrylkd first launched SENexchange @SENexchange and we felt we wanted to mark our first anniversary with a blog!

Our aim and mission has always been for @SENexchange to be a place where people either working in the field of SEND or those who have an interest in SEND can share information, resources,news, ideas, ask for help…….. Both of us were regularly contacted by others about SEND related issues and we felt having a forum to ‘exchange’ information more widely would be beneficial for the SEND community.

The world of education never stays still and the same is true of the world of SEND and it has been a particularly turbulent year with the implementation of the revised Code of Practice and it’s implications for schools, our children and young people and their families. It has been good that people have felt able to share their views and experiences about what is happening relating to SEND either in schools and at home and at times. Having discussion and debate is good and we have always reminded contributors that it is fine to disagree and to offer other perspectives, as long as it is done politely and with respect.

We started our weekly discussions on a Wednesday evening a year ago and have always included topic ideas suggested by our followers.  Did you know you can find a Storify collection of all of our discussions in one place?  It is important to us that we reflect the issues of interest to all of you so keep your suggestions coming in to us!

We are going to return to our weekly discussions after our Easter holiday break on Wednesday 27th April with a chat to mark the anniversary of  @SENexchange “Share your success stories relating to SEND over the last year and tell us your hopes and plans for the the coming year” 

Here at  SENexchange, we feel that over the last year we have established a group of supportive colleagues in the field of SEND and we look forward to our continued collaboration as we move forward into our second year. Thank you to each and every one of our 1758 followers for their continued involvement and support.

Mary and Cherryl





A sincere Christmas thank you from #SENexchange

photo SEN exchange


Mary and Cherryl started @SENexchange  on Twitter in April 2015 with a wish to create a place where ideas, news, information and resources relating to SEND could be shared.

We are delighted that since then we have:

  • 1451 supportive followers
  • published 8 blogs
  • Held 28 weekly discussions on a range of topics suggested by our followers

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last 9 months. We appreciate the Re-tweets we get and the people who send us links to free resources to share with others.

We want #SENexchange to respond to and reflect the needs and views of the SEND community and to stay up to date with current issues pertinent to those working in the field so we are grateful to those who have suggested topics for our Wednesday evening discussion. We #Storify our discussion each week and have a Storify collection which holds the records of our discussions in one place:

Please do continue to suggest topics for us to discuss in the new year when we resume our weekly chats on 6th January 2016

To read all our other blogs check out our wordpress site

We sincerely wish you all a very happy, healthy and enjoyable Christmas and look forward to more #SENexchange together in the New Year

Mary and Cherryl




#SENexchange: Where are we now and where are we going?


Mary Isherwood @Mishwood1 and Cherryl-kd @cherrylkd initiated SENexchange @SENexchange in April 2015 in response to both of us receiving lots of queries about various aspects of working with children and young people with SEND. This blog tells you how and why we started:

We started SENexchange in April 2015 and since then 1000 of you have joined us to ‘exchange’ your thoughts, ideas, views, resources. Thank you! We appreciate your support, involvement and contribution very much.

We started our ‘exchange’ with a list of SEN tweeters, bloggers and websites: . We also regularly share news and updates on a range of aspects of SEND – some of which we find ourselves and tweet out – others which we are grateful are sent to us from our followers enabling us to pass on through the exchange account. We have also been pleased to tweet SEN related queries from followers on @SENexchange and have been pleased with how supportive SEN colleagues have been in responding.

We started our weekly discussions in the middle of April and have covered a range of themes – all suggested by our followers.We have around 20 regular contributors to our discussions which is great! One of the biggest reasons for establishing #SENexchange was that there are lots of people out there with a range of knowledge and expertise to share and we are delighted with the positive feedback we have had – we know people are finding it useful – including us! We are learning lots from others as we go along – that’s what it is all about! If you have missed our discussions so far or want to see what we have been ‘exchanging’, take a look at our #Storify collection blog:

Where do we go from here?

We hope you will understand we are taking a little break from our weekly discussions but will be back each Wednesday, 8 – 8.30 p.m. from Wednesday 2nd September 2015.

We will continue to tweet news and articles relating to SEND as they arise and SEN related queries….

#SENexchange is as much about you all out there as it is about us so do tell us any thoughts about how we could make the exchange better – we welcome your views and ideas!

What do we need from you?

We are grateful for your support following us, your re-tweets and for engaging with us in conversation, particularly in our weekly discussions but at other times too – we like to hear from you!

We want SENexchange to be useful to you so please do continue to tell us your thoughts / ideas for discussion topics – as you can see from our Storify list – we really do listen and respond where ever we can

We would continue to welcome new followers – would be great to have more parents /carers of children with SEND joining us to have a parent’s perspective to our discussions and members of multi-agency teams who work with children and young people with SEND e.g. speech and lang therapists, educational psychologists. If you know any one interested in or working with children and young people with SEND who doesn’t know about us yet – please tell them who / where we are.

We are planning to discuss Initial Teacher Training and CPD for those working with SEND during the autumn term so any training providers out there – please do come and join us – we would value your contribution.

Once again a huge and heartfelt thank you to all of you for making our first 5 months of #SENexchange such a success.

With sincere and warmest wishes for a lovely summer to you all

Mary and Cherryl

#SENexchange: The Storify Collection

photo SEN exchange

Once again Mary and Cherryl would like to thank our growing group of followers for joining and supporting us and for their exchange of ideas and experience – that’s what it is all about!

We started our weekly discussions each Wednesday evening on 15th April and are pleased we have a regular group of contributors.We would be delighted if more followers felt able to join our discussions – particularly encouraging parents / carers and those from other agencies who are able to offer a different perspective to the things we talk about. The more people who join us – the broader and richer the exchange of information / experience and ideas….

We always storify after each of our weekly discussions, some of which were collated in our blog ‘Our story so far’ published in May 2015. We thought people might find it useful to have our storify collections in one place however, hence this blog

Our discussions so far have all been taken from / based on your suggestions  – Here they are in #storify form:

April 15th 2015 – Our first discussion – What’s special about CPD for working with children and young poeple with SEND?  Was suggested by Simon Knight (@SimonKnight100). You can read the #storify here:

April 22nd 2015 – We discussed – How do you involve parents and carers in their child’s learning? A topic suggested by EdRightAlliance (@ERA_tweet). You can read the #storify here:

April 29th 2015 – We discussed  “Supporting meaningful pupil voice for children and young ppl with SEN ” . A topic suggested by Mary Isherwood (@Mishwood1). You can read the #storify here:

May 6th 2015- We discussed – Effective strategies for promoting collaboration between mainstream & special schools. – A topic suggested by  Jen (@senteacher_jen). You can read the #storify here:

May 13th 2015- We discussed ‘Encouraging children and young people with SEND to become independent learners.Suggested by Alexis Doyle (@alexisemma31). You can read the #Storify here: 

May 19th 2015-  We discussed  ‘How do teachers/TAs work together to ensure best outcomes for children & young people with SEND. Suggested by Fiona ( @fiona_moody).  You can read the #Storify here:

June 3rd 2015- We discussed – ‘Sharing good practice for pupils in mainstream and special schools learning together’ based on the suggestion by Amjad Ali (@ASTsupportAAli). You can read the #Storify here:

June 10th 2015 – We discussed ‘ Supporting children and young people to manage their own behaviour’ . A topic suggested by (@Educate_NE ). You can read the #Storify here:

June 17th 2015- We discussed ‘Important features of an ASD friendly learning environment’ as suggested by Lynn McCann (@reachoutASC). You can read the #Storify here:

June 24th 2015- We discussed ‘Supporting independent writing for learners with SEND’ (based on a suggestion by @jwscattergood). You can read the #Storify here:

1st July 2015- We are discussing ‘Best practice in supporting transitions for learners with SEND’. A topic suggested by @MariaStMarys. #Storify here: 

8th July 2015 – We discussed  ‘supporting learners with SEND with SRE and puberty’. A topic suggested by Lynn McCann (@reachoutASC)  #Storify here:

15th July 2015- We discussed ‘ How we support learners with SEND to be safe online’. This topic arose from a discussion between @Mishwood1 and @cherrylkd You can read the #storify here:

We took a short summer break and then……………..

2nd September 2015- We discussed ‘How can we best use social media to support outcomes for learners with SEND’. This topic arose from a discussion between @Mishwood1 and @cherrylkd. You can read the #Storify here:

9th September 2015- We discussed ‘ How we can best use feedback to help learners with SEND make progress’. A topic suggested by @jwinchester25. You can read the #Storify here:

16th September 2015- We discussed ‘How schools are dealing with Life After Levels for learners with SEND’. This topic was raised and suggested for discussion by a number of folllowers. You can read the #Storify here:

23rd September 2015- We discussed ‘What is best practice in Initial teacher training for working with learners with SEND?’. This topic arose from our own discussions. You can read the storify here:

30th September 2015- We discussed ‘What innovative uses have you found for your sensory room?’. A topic suggested by @senteacher_jen , You can read the #Storify here:

7th October 2015- We discussed ‘ What particular aspects of staff H+wb should we consider for working with learners with SEN?. This topic was suggested by @senteacher_jen   You can read the #Storify here: 

14th October 2015- We discussed ‘ How do we best use tech for our learners with SEND?’ A topic suggested by @cherrylkd. You can read the #storify here:

21st October 2015- We discussed ‘What are the essential elements of relevant and meaningful homework for learners with SEND?’. A topic suggested by @Mishwood1. You can read the #storify here:

We took a half term break and then…..

4th November 2015- We discussed ‘How we best get parents / carers involved in the life of the school. A topic suggested by several followers. You can read the #Storify here:

11th November 2015- We discussed best uses of Pupil Premium funding as suggested by  @cherrylkd      You can read the #Storify here:

18th November2015 – We discussed ‘ How we ensure effective safeguarding of our learners with SEND as suggested by  @Mishwood1      . You can read the #Storify here:

25th November 2015- We discussed ‘ How we monitor and evaluate the performance of TAs. A topic suggested by @MrSeniorLeader. You can read the #Storify here:

2nd December 2015- We shared strategies of supporting AfL with our learners with SEND. A topic suggested by @missmbunbury .    You can read the #Storify here:

9th December 2015- We discussed ‘How we can use Enterprise in education’ as suggested by @cherrylkd    . You can read the #Storify here:

16th December 2015- We discussed ‘The range of ways we use music in our schools’ as suggested by @LittleAngelsSch Little Angels School. You can read the #Storify here:

We then took our Christmas break

On January 6th 2016 we started the new year by sharing our hopes for SEND in 2016. You can read the #Storify here:

13th January 2016, we discussed  “How do we support our learners with SEND to move from special to m/stream schools” – a topic suggested by  @StarlightMcKenz    You can read the #storify here:  

20th January 2016, we discussed “How do we best support pupils with SLD in mainstream classes. You can read the storify here:  

27th January 2016. We discussed “”Multi- agency teams: Who is involved with your pupils with SEND and why? ” You can read the #Storify here:  

3rd February 2016. We discussed “What is the role of the SEND Governor?”. You can read the #Storify here:

10th February 2016, we discussed”SEND: Whose responsibility is it anyway?” You can read the #Storify here: 

After a half term break….

24th February 2016, we discussed “. How do we best support our children on the Autistic spectrum” – You can read the #Storify here:  

2nd March 2016, we discussed how we support our learners with SEND develop their play skills. You can read the #Storify here: .

9th March 2016, We discussed outdoor learning. You can read the #storify here: 

16th March 2016, we shared good practice in supporting transitions for learners with SEND. You can read the #Storify here: 

23rd March 2016, we acknowledged World Downs Syndrome day with our discussion. You can read the #Storify here:

30th March 2016, we celebrated the achievements of our children and young people. You can read the #Storify here: 

We then took an Easter break from our discussions

27th April 2016, we celebrated our first anniversary here at #SENexchange with an anniversary special discussion where we invited people to “Share achievements in SEND over the last 12 months and hopes for the next 12 months”. You can read the #storify here:

4th May 2016, we had a guest co-host@LauraKerbey,  who had suggested our discussion topic of ‘PDA’. You can read our #storify here:

11th May 2016, we discussed “How can we make best use of social media to support SEND?”. You can read the #storify here:

18th May 2016, we had a guest co-host of @JosephBaldwin who had suggested our discussion topic of “Let’s discuss technology assisted communication”. You can read the #storify here:

25th May 2016, we discussed “What comments / feedback from parents / carers would make a teacher most proud?” suggested by @StarlightMcKenz. You can read the #Storify here:

It is time for us to have a half – term break from our discussions. Our next discussion will be on Wednesday 8th June at 8 p.m.

8th June 2016 – We discussed how SENCOs share information and support others. You can read our #storify here

15th June 2016 – We discussed what makes an autism friendly school? You can read our #storify here

22nd June 2016 – We discussed how we include our children with SEND in wider society. You can read our #storify here

29th June 2016 – We discussed how we can best support the mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people with SEND. You can read our #Storify here 

6th July 2016 – We discussed how we can best use assemblies for children with SEND. You can read our #Storify here

13th July 2016 – We discussed assessment of holistic  learning “Measure what you value”. You can read our #Storify here

20th July 2016 – We shared our SEND highlights of the year. You can read our storify here

We are now going to both take a summer break from our weekly discussions.

We will start a new #Storify collection in the new academic year when we return to our discussions on  7th September 2016 so they are all held in one place to make it easier for people to search for topics we have discussed.

Thank you again for all the positive feedback, support, and contributions we have had from you – please do continue to spread the word – the bigger the voice – the bigger the exchange – the bigger the impact for our children and young people with SEND. Do continue to  send us your discussion topic ideas too – we will add them to the list

With sincere thanks and warmest wishes

Mary and Cherryl

A United Force #SENexchange

A warm welcome to all our #SEND followers including parents and the wider community.

We would like to thank you all for your continued support for our weekly themes. As the weeks progress we are all learning new things from each other and sharing our strategies. We aim to improve the experience for all children with SEND either in mainstream or in special school.

We all have varying experiences and on occasions this will lead to differences in opinion. That’s absolutely fine. If we work through these differences by tweeting and being respectful of other people’s opinions we will produce a stronger voice for our special children. We hope you agree that by being a united force we will deliver better outcomes.

We look forward to sharing your best strategies and examples of mainstream and special school pupils learning together, tonight at 8pm. Do join us.

Many thanks
Mary and Cherryl #SENexchange


#SENexchange : Our story so far

photo SEN exchange

SENexchange was established in March 2015 by Mary Isherwood (@Mishwood1) and Cherryl Drabble (@Cherryl-kd). Our welcome blog tells you why:

We are delighted that to this date we have established 784 followers who are all involved or interested in SEN. Our followers include a really nice mixture of professionals who work with SEN in different ways and of parents / carers – we value everyone who has joined as we believe that the ‘exchange’ of views, information and experience from all different perspectives helps us all to learn together.

As part of our philosophy has always been about the ‘exchange’ of the wide range of knowledge and expertise that is available on twitter, we did an early blog which includes a list of SEN tweeters / bloggers and some useful SEN websites: When ever we come across news items or research articles we think might be useful to other followers we tweet them from the #SENexhange account and we are grateful to other people who pass on information to us they have come across which we can re-tweet. Martin Matthews (@mm684 ) for example regularly send us the links to recent publications – thank you Martin!

We are also pleased to re-tweet queries / requests for advice and resources from followers and have noticed how others very quickly respond with ideas from their own experience – again – supporting the idea behind establishing this account as an SENexchange.

We felt there was a value to a weekly discussion between followers but as this is very much about responding to interests and needs out there we asked for discussion ideas from our followers.: We continue to add to this list of suggestions as new ideas come  forward. Our weekly discussion was established on Wednesday’s, from 7.30 – 8 p.m.. The evening and time was chosen so as not to clash with other existing discussions. We have found however that a number of people have told us they have struggled to be there for 7.30 p.m. and therefore from 13th May 2015, our discussions will be on Wednesday evenings at the new time of 8.00 – 8.30 p.m. We do very much value the contributions of the small number of people who are regularly contributing and we know others are following the discussion even if not joining in. We also know there are lots of others out there who have lots to offer and could really add value to our discussions – we hope our new time will help to make that possible.

Our discussions so far have all been taken from your suggestions and each discussion is recorded after in the form of a #Storify. We have had four weeks of discussion so far:

April 15th – Our first discussion – What’s special about CPD for working with children and young poeple with SEND?  Was suggested by Simon Knight (@SimonKnight100). You can read the #storify here:

April 22nd – We discussed – How do you involve parents and carers in their child’s learning? A topic suggested by EdRightAlliance (@ERA_tweet). You can read the #storify here:

April 29th  – We discussed  “Supporting meaningful pupil voice for children and young ppl with SEN ” . A topic suggested by Mary Isherwood (@Mishwood1). You can read the #storify here:

May 6th – We discussed – Effective strategies for promoting collaboration between mainstream & special schools. – A topic suggested by  Jen (@senteacher_jen). You can read the #storify here:

So that is our story so far!

Thank you for all the positive feedback, support, and contributions we have had from you – please do continue to spread the word – the bigger the voice – the bigger the exchange – the bigger the impact for our children and young people with SEND. Do continue to  send us your discussion topic ideas too – we will add them to the list

With warmest wishes

Mary and Cherryl

#SENexchange discussion topics. Your suggestions so far

photo SEN exchange

We are very much looking forward to starting our weekly discussions with you each Wednesday, 7.30 – 8 pm from 15th April. As in our initial blog our idea is for the weekly discussion to be the start of a ‘themed’ week where contributors could continue to share ideas, thoughts, resources etc. on the topic discussed.

We have been really pleased that many of you have already suggested ideas for discussion which we have been collating. The suggestions so far are listed below.

Please continue to tell us your thoughts about discussion topic ideas and we will make sure they are considered. You might favour a topic already on the list or have thoughts about another area for discussion? You can tell us your thoughts by commenting on this blog or by tweeting us @SENexchange.

It would be really nice to broaden some of our discussion questions to more directly include parents / carers and members of multi-agency teams with whom we work too – any discussion suggestions which do this would be welcomed e.g.around home-school collaboration /  joint planning and evaluation with multi-agency partners.Perhaps a discussion involving training providers on ITT / ongoing CPD for SEND in both mainstream and special might be of interest as a discussion topic?

We are delighted that #SENexchange has already been doing it’s job in sharing of ideas and resources e.g. @ozzysocks who during last week asked about maths resources for SEND in mainstream schools and had several responses from fellow #SENexchange followers.

Ideas of topics so far for our weekly discussion / themed weeks include:

– deployment of TAs to support pupil outcomes ( suggested by @fiona_moody)

– Inclusion – what is it and how we can support it? (suggested by @ASTsupportAAli)

– pupil voice for children and young people with SEND ( suggested by @Mishwood1)

– practical science ( suggested by @jwscattergood)

– Numeracy ( suggested by @jwscattergood) / Literacy and numeracy (@robbo1511)

– Including children with visual impairments ( suggested by@10kmk42)

– Developing independent learners ( suggested by @alexisemma31)

– Promoting the collaboration between mainstream and special schools ( suggested by @senteacher_jen)

– CPD in special schools ( suggested by @SimonKinght100)

–  The difference between ‘behaviour management’ and the importance of ‘managing ones own behaviour’ ( suggested by @Educate_NE:)

– Working collaboratively with parents / carers ( suggested by @ERA_tweet)

– How to prepare young people with SEND for working life. Should our curriculum be focussed on accreditation or work/life skills? ( suggested on blog comment by Liz Stamatelatos)

– What are the most important considerations for an ASD friendly learning environment ( suggested by @reachoutASC)

– How do we support transition from primary to secondary for children and young people with SEND? ( suggested by @MariaStMarys )

– How do we support learners with SEND with puberty / SRE? ( suggested by @reachoutASC)

– Best practice in E-safety ( following a disucssion with @Mishwood1 and @Cherrylkd )

With warmest wishes and huge thanks for your continued involvement and support.

Mary and Cherryl