Bob Reitemeier CBE | CEO | I CAN
Bob has over 30 years’ experience in the voluntary sector in England and internationally. Prior to his appointment at I CAN, he was Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation and Chief Executive of The Children’s Society. Internationally, Bob started his career as a secondary school teacher in Zaïre, followed by posts as Country Director for Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) in Chad and Country Director for ActionAid in Bangladesh. He settled with his family in England in 1994.
Bob has served on several national Boards supporting children and young people, including The Youth Justice Board, the Social Work Task Force, the Children’s Workforce Development Council and as Chairman of Children England. He received a CBE for services to children in 2012.
Robert Reilly-Craig | Head of Clinical Assessment | Pearson
Robert Reilly-Craig is Head of Clinical Assessment at Pearson. He has worked for Pearson for 9 years and leads business development activities in the UK for Clinical Assessment’s internationally recognised products and services. Prior to joining Clinical, Robert spent many years working in the Pearson Primary team where he developed a solid understanding of the Primary education market. Robert holds a BA in Business Studies with HR Management from Napier University.
Kamini Gadhok | MBE - Chief Executive | RCSLT
Kamini has been RCSLT Chief Executive since December 2000. Her primary role is to deliver service change by building strong partnerships with key stakeholders across Government, charities, other professional bodies and the Health Professions Council. Over the years Kamini has been involved in a number of Government initiatives, including a secondment to the Department of Health’s Care Record Development Board and as an adviser to the Bercow review of services for children with speech, language and communication needs. She received an MBE for her service to the allied health professions in 2009.
Malcolm Reeve | Managing Director | Firmament Education Ltd
Malcolm Reeve is Managing Director of Firmament Education Ltd. He was formerly CEO of Columbus School and College for children with special educational needs and Executive Director for SEND & Inclusion at Academies Enterprise Trust - the UK’s largest academy chain. Malcolm is a National Leader of Education and a Member of the National SEND Forum. He is Patron of the Centre Algarve holiday centre for people with special needs.
Jonathan Douglas | Director | National Literacy Trust
Jonathan Douglas is Director of the National Literacy Trust – the independent charity committed to raising literacy levels in the UK’s most deprived communities. Jonathan joined the Trust in 2007. He has developed the strategy for the 2008 National Year of Reading generating 2.5million new public library members, formed the All Party Parliamentary Literacy Group, expanded the National Literacy Trust schools’ programme to include 7,000 schools and engaged a wide range of businesses (including Boots Opticians, the Premier League, McDonald’s and KPMG) in the campaign for UK literacy.
He is Chair of Governors of St William of York Primary School in Lewisham. In 2014 Jonathan was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Oxford Brookes University.
Peter Sutcliffe | Editor | SEN Magazine
Peter has been the Editor of SEN Magazine, the UK’s leading magazine for special educational needs, since 2009. The Magazine has a a wide readership amongst teachers, parents and SEN professionals, providing comprehensive news and feature coverage of all aspects of special educational needs. Prior to taking up this role, Peter edited Family Magazine and headed-up editorial teams for publications in the education, music and entertainment sectors. He also has extensive experience of the creative and commercial aspects of publishing. Peter has managed the development of digital media platforms for magazines and currently edits the SEN website.
Dr Adam Boddison | Chief Executive | Nasen
Dr Adam Boddison is the Chief Executive for nasen (National Association for Special Educational Needs) with responsibility for strategic direction and operational delivery across the full breadth of nasen’s activity. He is also the Chair of the Whole School SEND consortium, which is leading on the delivery of the government’s SEND Schools’ Workforce contract. Adam is a National Leader of Governance, Chair and Vice-Chair of two Local Authority primary schools and a Trustee at two Multi-Academy Trusts, which span primary, secondary and specialist settings. Adam is a Trustee of the Potential Trust, a member of the National SEND Forum and a Fellow of the RSA. Prior to this, Adam held a number of senior education roles including Director of the Centre for Professional Education at the University of Warwick and Academic Principal for IGGY (a global educational social network for gifted teenagers). He has published a range of mathematics books and is a qualified clinical hypnotherapist.
Anna Reeve | CEO | ACE Centre
Prior to joining Ace Centre in 1996, Anna taught in mainstream and special education where she developed the role of ICT Coordinator and was promoted to the senior management team. Her interest in Assistive Technology and AAC stemmed from seeing the impact it had on students she taught and she learnt the value and the importance of working within a multi-disciplinary team in order to identify the best solutions to meet their needs. Since joining Ace Centre, she has overseen its transition from a service within Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council to national charity, joining the former two Ace Centres and campaigning for improved services and provision for children and adults who need AAC, which contributed to Ace Centre being commissioned by NHS England to deliver these services across two specialised commissioning regions. More recently, she has assisted in the establishment of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology. Anna is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester.
Anna Theakston | Co-Director | Lucid
Anna Theakston is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Manchester and Co-Director of the LuCiD Centre (the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development). LuCiD is a large group of researchers based in the NorthWest of England, supported by a number of international partners. Together, we conduct research to understand how children learn to communicate with language during the preschool and early school years, and to provide parents, practitioners and policy-makers with information and advice, based on the most up-to-date research evidence, to support children's language development.
Zoё Peden | Co-founder | InSane Logic
Zoё is the mastermind behind Insane Logic alongside co-founder Andrew Jackman (aka Chief Code Monkey). Zoё’s 10-year career in educational and professional publishing, and subsequent senior position at The Makaton Charity, has made her passionate about supporting children, young people and adults’ language development and working with people with learning disabilities. This passion is what drove her to co-found Insane Logic, the company behind MyChoicePad – a language development platform for mobile tablets, which uses symbols and signs to reinforce language and is designed to help those with communication difficulties.
Professor Sonia Blandford |CEO & Founder| Achievement for All
Professor Sonia Blandford is one of the country’s foremost experts on social mobility and author of the influential publication: ‘Born to Fail? Social Mobility, A Working Class View’. Founder and CEO of the award-winning international education charity, Achievement for All, Sonia is also visiting professor of education at UCL Institute of Education. She is currently a member of the Cornwall College Board, Department for Education Pupil Premium Panel, and chair of ‘Learn’ for The Prince’s Trust 2030 Task Force. Sonia is editor of the Teaching Times Every Child journal and author of 250 articles and books written for teachers, leaders,parents, carers, children and young people.
Loic Menzies | Director | LKMCo
Loic Menzies is Chief Executive of the UK's education and youth, 'think and action-tank' LKMco. He has worked in education research, evaluation and policy for nearly ten years. Before that, he was a teacher, youth worker and tutor for Canterbury Christ Church’s Faculty of Education. Loic has authored numerous high profile reports on issues ranging from youth homelessness to teacher recruitment, all based on detailed qualitative and quantitative research. He works closely with practitioners and policy makers to communicate research’s implications, for example, presenting to the Education Select Committee on White Working Class Underachievement or working with civil servants to improve teacher recruitment, retention and development.
John Parrott | Chair |The Communication Consortium - NAPLIC
The majority of John’s career has been in education and more specifically working in the field of speech, language and communication. He taught in mainstream and special schools for over 20 years including 9 years as Head of I CAN’s Meath School. Since 2003 he has had a variety of roles including: Special School Improvement Partner; Regional Tutor on a post-grad distance learning course (SLCN); Registered Intermediary; part time I CAN Communication Advisor; and bespoke consultancy for Local Authorities, voluntary organisations and schools. His current roles include being a specialist SEN/Disability panel member of both the SEND and Social Security Tribunals. For over 25 years he has been a member of the volunteer committee that runs NAPLIC, being Chair for 10 years. He has represented NAPLIC at the Communication Consortium since 2009 and became Chair of the Consortium in September 2016.
Victoria Roe | Secretary and Deputy Chair | SMIRA
Victoria Roe spent her teaching career working in Slough and Leicester. She specialised in music, language development with Bi-lingual pupils and Special Educational Needs. Since 1980, she has worked to help children with Selective Mutism and has been involved with SMIRA (Selective Mutism Information and Research Association) from its foundation.
Victoria gained a Master of Arts in Educational Studies from the University of Leicester in 2011, doing research into Selective Mutism in adolescents. A paper on her research can be accessedwww.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/203095.pdf
Victoria is one of those from SMIRA who attend meetings of The Communication Trust and Consortium.
Cerys Griffiths | Creative Director | BBC Learning
Cerys is Creative Director for BBC Learning, the department in the BBC which aims to transform lives through education by delivering annual campaigns aimed at countering a cultural, societal or educational need, and Bitesize - the BBC’s formal education resource for children and young people. Cerys is responsible for all BBC Learning’s campaigns in production and is overall editorial lead for the BBC’s language and literacy initiative. Cerys is a former journalist and has been an editor of news programmes for both the BBC and ITV.
Victoria Joffe | Professor | City University
Victoria Joffe is Academic Director, International and Professor in the Enhancement of Child and Adolescent Language and Learning in the School of Health Sciences, City, University of London.
Victoria works with various health trusts, education authorities and third sector organisations devising and evaluating research into models of service delivery across the lifespan. She provides training and consultancy to teaching and therapy staff working with children and young people with diverse needs.
Victoria is a trustee of ICAN, and is co-editor of the journal, Child Language Teaching and Therapy. She also acts as a speech and language therapy partner for the Health Care and Professions Council.
Lisa Morgan | Senior Lecturer & Programme Lead | De Montfort University
Lisa Morgan is Senior Lecturer and Programme Lead of the BSc Speech and Language Therapy programme at De Montfort University, Leicester. Prior to this, Lisa was Professional Director at The Communication Trust, working on a wide range of programmes to support the children’s workforce in relation to speech, language and communication. Lisa has a particular interest in collaborative working between professionals, training and professional development and innovative approaches to support children and young people with SLCN.
Michelle Morris | Consultant Speech and Language Therapist, Clinical Lead Enhanced Service Development | Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Michelle is Consultant Speech and Language Therapist, Clinical Lead for Enhanced Service Development at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Designated Clinical Officer at Salford CCG.
Michelle qualified from Glasgow University in speech pathology and therapeutics and went on to secure her first post in Salford, where she has held a number of clinical and managerial posts, gradually progressing to the consultant post she holds today. Michelle’s current responsibilities include developing non-NHS commissioned services, advising on professional and clinical issues relating to AHPs, and supporting service transformation. Having completed a masters in applied public health, Michelle’s area of special interest and expertise is the relationship between speech, language and communication and children’s life chances at a population level.
Tania Tirraoro | Editor | Special Needs Jungle websiteT
Tania Tirraoro is the founder of the influential Special Needs Jungle website and the parent of two young adults with autism. She is also autistic. Tania is a journalist, author and an expert in using social media for social good. She is a member of the Ofsted stakeholder SEND Advisory Group and the Nasen SEND Expert Reference Group.
Guthsna Khan | Deputy Head | Childrens House Nursery & 2018 Early Years Setting of the Year Award Winner
Guthsna Khan is the deputy head teacher at Children’s House Nursery School in Tower Hamlets, winner of the 2018 Early Years Setting of the Year.
Guthsna is a Specialist Leader in Education, she is committed to sharing and harnessing the best resources that the system can offer to bring about improvement across the early years sector. She supports a number of early years settings across East London facilitating peer reviews and training days. She offers individual coaching and targeted work on specific areas such as increasing parental engagement.
Guthsna is passionate about early years and developing young children’s communication to give each child the best possible start to their educational journey.
Pip St John | Independent Education Consultant | & 2018 Communication Champion of the Year Winner
Pip St John is an independent education consultant based in North West England. With over 30 years teaching and consultancy experience, Pip specialises in speech, language and communication, and is passionate about vocabulary learning and comprehension. She is a founder member of the North West Network Speech and Language Group and was the Secretary of the National Association of Professionals concerned with Language Impairment in Children (NAPLIC) for seven years. In 2018 she earned the accolade of national Communication Champion at the Shine a Light Awards.
Diz Minnitt | Speech and Language Lead | Association of Youth Offending Team Managers (AYM) Milton Keynes
Diz Minnitt has been the Speech and Language Lead for the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers (AYM) since 2007 and was a founder member of the Children's Communication Coalition - national organisations / experts in communication and justice seeking action to meet the needs of vulnerable children with communication disability. A qualified Social Worker with 30+ years’ multi-agency Youth Justice / Youth Offending Teams experience, he has been Operational Manager in Milton Keynes Youth Offending Team since 2001. In 2008 he introduced a model of practice that put Speech and Language Therapy at the heart of the service (‘Screening Out not Screening In’) ensuring every child was assessed for speech, language and communication needs. This change in practice has led to Milton Keynes Youth Offending Team consistently achieving low reoffending rates that have been in the top ten nationally for the past 4 years.
Marie McLaughlin | Team Manager | Manchester Youth Justice Team & 2018 Youth Justice of the Year Award winner
Marie McLaughlin has led the development of the Youth Justice Service in Manchester for eight years and in her current role she has responsibility for the delivery of services to children, young people and their families, courts and victims of crime. Marie has a background of working in the criminal justice system with both adults and children in custodial and community settings.
Manchester Youth Justice is a multi-agency Service with Social Workers, Probation Officers, Police Officers, Child and Adolescent Health Service workers, Speech and Language and Drama Therapists, Restorative Justice Workers, Education specialists as well as commissioned providers who can support and engage with young people to address their complex needs.
Libby Hill | Speech & Language Therapist | 2018 Katie Rough Memorial Award for Selective Mutism winner
Libby Hill is a multi-award-winning speech and language therapist who has over 30 years’ experience in the field. She has been independent for over ten years and is highly specialist in ASC. She loves complex cases including selective mutism and PDA. Her company, Small Talk, have a centre based on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border, where she sees children from all over the UK. She uses her therapy Labrador very successfully. She is a member of the RCSLT London ASD CEN, and the National CEN for SM. She also belongs to the professional's group and the research group for PDA.
Marie Watson | Winner of The Award for Excellence in Special Needs Education | Pearson Teaching Awards
Marie is profoundly deaf and has a strong Deaf identity. She is a teacher in Royal School for the Deaf and teaches English and leads the BSL (British Sign Language) department. Marie enjoys working with children and young people and finds its very rewarding to be one of the role models in the school and Deaf community to show that there are opportunities for other deaf peope to achieve whatever they want to be. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the cinema to watch movies and going on long walks with my two dogs. She also likes socialising with my friends both Deaf and hearing.
Nicky Cox | Editor | First News
Della Bolat | Director | Consilium Communications
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