The programme will begin in the Autumn term and will cover the full academic year 2022/23. Our dates are still being finalised but we recommend you sign up as soon as you can.  This will be a very popular programme and we only have limited spaces in each group.

Programme overview

This programme involves the training of a strategic lead from each school to develop their role as a SEND Champion who will be an ambassador for whole school development of inclusive teaching. SEND Champions will work closely with key stakeholders in the school to implement a distributed leadership framework. This will involve conducting a SEND audit of their school, then designing and implementing a whole school action plan which ensures all staff are responsible for supporting the needs of SEND learners. The plan will undergo continual evaluation and will become an on-going feature of the school self-evaluation.

In addition to the training sessions in this programme, each SEND Champion will receive a one-to-one 30-minute coaching session with either Katherine Walsh or Margaret Mulholland. We will encourage each participant to partner with a colleague from another school, establishing a collaborative relationship which facilitates constructive review of each other’s practice.

Programme aims

A focus on developing strategic ‘buy in’ and distributed leadership of SEND across the school. The following steps will be scaffolded by the SEND Champion Programme:

  • Reviewing the current provision using a SEND Champion review tool.
  • Opportunity to work with peers in school and beyond to collect evidence, triangulate, reflect and build engagement for next steps.
  • Developing an action plan for prioritising system and staff development.
  • Coaching support to tailor action plans to school contexts and school development planning.

Suitable for

Mainstream school leads who have, or are working towards, shared responsibility for SEND leadership across their school. The person who commits to this programme will become the SEND Champion in their school which may be a new and unique role for their context. They will work strategically to complement the (commonly) operational role of the SENDCo. Their priority will be to extend the knowledge and understanding of staff in how to adapt the classroom setting for SEND learners.

Because the role largely links to improving teaching and learning and embedding inclusive pedagogy, the SEND Champion will ideally be someone other than the SENDCo. That said, we recognise this will not always be possible for some schools. If you are in a small school we suggest putting either the Headteacher or SENDCo forward for the programme.  If you are both the Headteacher and the SENDCo we can still support you on the programme. Other typical roles the SEND Champion might currently be in or aspiring towards include: T&L Lead, Subject Lead, Assistant or Associate Assistant Headteacher.

Sessions will include

  • 2 x in-person half day training with both Margaret Mulholland and Katherine Walsh
  • 2 x online twilight with either Margaret Mulholland or Katherine Walsh
  • 1 x 30 minute 1:1 coaching session with either Margaret Mulholland or Katherine Walsh
  • The opportunity to partner with a colleague from another school to review the practice and implementation of each other’s plan.

Programme leads: Margaret Mulholland and Katherine Walsh

Margaret and Katherine led the EEF RCT Trial (2020-22) of SEND development, implementing the SEND Review tool with 145 secondary schools from Cornwall to Carlisle. From this experience, they then designed a programme to support the process of transforming SEND provision in 72 intervention schools. The overall strategy developed aims to support schools to move from reactive and operational responses to a model that is proactive and strategic.

Moving to a whole school approach requires distributed responsibility for SEND across the school where every member of staff is both accountable and confident to teach all children. The programme will share the same goals for both primary and secondary and workshop sessions will be tailored to the different opportunities and challenges for each.


£275 per person

This programme has been designed to support the City of York Council strategy 2022/23 which will focus on SEND provision and practice in mainstream schools.  We are only able to offer 1 place per school (Primary and Secondary) in York and 1 place per school (Secondary only) in Ryedale and Scarborough.

SEND Champion Programme flyer


Event Details