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Special Needs Jungle, In Conversation

Special Needs Jungle, In Conversation

By Special Needs Jungle
Join Special Needs Jungle's Renata Blower, Tania Tirraoro and team, in conversations about current issues and interesting aspects around special educational needs and disabilities. The team will be chatting with a variety of voices from the world of SEND, explaining, exploring and educating on everything you need to know. The programme is also available in vision on YouTube.
Theme credit: Luca Tirraoro
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SNJ in Conversation with Will Quince MP, Children & Families Minister
SNJ's Renata Blower and Tania Tirraoro discuss aspects of the SEND Review Green Paper with Minister for Children & Families, Will Quince MP.  We covered a range of issues, including plans for mandatory mediation, ringfencing schools' SEND budgets, teacher training for SEND and much more over 45 minutes of in-depth conversation.  If you want to know more about the Green Paper, check out our dedicated page here
June 23, 2022
Growing Up Disabled, with Siena Castellon and George Fielding
On this episode of SNJ in Conversation, young disability campaigners, Siena Castellon and George Fielding talk to Special Needs Jungle's Renata Blower, discussing their lives, their achievements, what it was like growing up with a disability and the challenges that has presented. They offer advice for other young people - and their parents. Find the main post for this podcast on the SNJ website
December 17, 2021
How is Ofsted supporting & evaluating SEND provision during the pandemic?
On this episode of SNJ in Conversation, Tania Tirraoro & Matt Keer chat to Nick Whittaker, Ofsted HM Inspector and its specialist SEND Adviser, about how Ofsted is supporting & evaluating SEND provision during the coronavirus pandemic.  You can also watch this episode as a video on YouTube.  Find the blog post for the article on the SNJ website. Nick will be doing more of these chats in the coming months. Tell us what you want to know
November 23, 2020
The Teaching Assistant What's their role & how can schools use them effectively?
The teaching assistant is vital to enable many children with SEND to be in mainstream schools. But often teachers have had no training in using them to the best effect, and with no minimum standards, quality training for TAs can be hard to find. SNJ's Tania chats with Assistant Professor Rob Webster of UCL's Institute of Education, and Bren Prendergast, specialist teacher and trainer, about research into TAs and what needs to happen to improve training Don't forget to take the SNJ SEND Autumn Survey about your child's provision, whether they're in school and  Theme tune by Luca Tirraoro
October 15, 2020
SEND LAW AND EOTAS - PART 2: What's happening with SEND Law right now? And why you mustn't confuse EOTAS with home education.
Part Two SNJ in Conversation: SEND law now and EOTAS. Specialist SEN lawyers Hayley Mason and Nicole Lee talking to Tania Tirraoro about what parents should be expecting from their child's school for their support right now. And why Education Other Than at School or EOTAS shouldn't be confused with Home Education.   Help us to help you by please taking our Autumn SEND Education survey to find out if your child has the provision they should: SNJ in Conversation theme tune: Luca Tirraoro
October 02, 2020
SNJ in Conversation: SEND law now and EOTAS
SNJ in Conversation: SEND law now and EOTAS, with specialist lawyers Hayley Mason and Nicole Lee talking to Tania Tirraoro.  What's happening with SEND Law right now? And why if you're thinking of educating your disabled child yourself, you mustn't confuse Education Other than at School (EOTAS) with Home Education. This is part one of a two-part episode. Please help us to advocate for your family by taking our autumn SEND survey to find out how much of their stated provision your child is currently receiving: Find the post for this episode here on Special Needs Jungle Theme Music by Luca Tirraoro .
October 01, 2020
SNJ In Conversation: SEND training for SENCOs and school leaders with Anne Heavey and Hannah Moloney
On this episode of SNJ In Conversation, Tania Tirraoro chats to Anne Heavey, Director of Whole School SEND, and Hannah Moloney, expert SENCO and Dyslexia specialist, who've all created a resource for school leaders to improve their SEND knowledge. The discussion includes a brief history of SEND and why training in the UK is so far behind that in some other countries. Find the article that goes along with this video at
August 23, 2020
SNJ In Conversation: The online Oak Academy and how it's developing its SEND offer
Tania and Renata chat to Anne Heavey, specialist curriculum lead for the online Oak Academy resource bank, developed to support children during lockdown and now backed by the Department for Education. Anne is also the director of Whole School SEND and is working to make sure Oak has more to offer to children and young people with SEND for the year ahead.  Find the web post for the episode at
August 13, 2020
SNJ In Conversation: Race, discrimination, exclusion and intersectionality in SEND
SNJ's Renata Blower talks to our assistant editor, and former headteacher, Marguerite Haye, and to Venessa Bobb, SEND parent and advocate about their experiences as black women and parents of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The discussion ranges from disproportionality of black children and exclusion, intersectionality in SEND and how to change things for the better. Find the webpage with more information about this episode and the links referred to in the conversation here (from 7 Aug 2020)
August 06, 2020
SNJ In Conversation with Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children
Tania and Renata from SNJ chat with Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children about children's social care, what the pandemic has revealed, and what needs to change.  You can find the original post for this episode here on Special Needs Jungle  The CDC describes itself as, "the umbrella body for the disabled children's sector bringing together professionals, practitioners and policy-makers." In other words, it's the lynchpin of the SEND sector and is, in turn, part of the National Children's Bureau.  Special Needs Jungle is also a member of the CDC. Christine has been involved with supporting disabled children for 40 years, including authoring a number of Government reviews. So, if there is someone who knows everything there is to know about the history of SEND, it is Christine. Renata and I caught up with her via Zoom, for a wide-ranging discussion covering children's social care, the SEND reforms, what's gone wrong and what the CDC is doing to try to fix things.
June 28, 2020
How can disabled children's education still be protected during Coronavirus?

Public Law Barrister, Steve Broach, chats with Renata Blower and Tania Tirraoro of Special Needs Jungle about the Coronavirus Act legislative changes to SEND law and what families of children with special educational needs and disabilities remain entitled to to help support them whether they are back in school or still trying to learn online at home
May 31, 2020
SNJ In Conversation: Awesome and Autistic in a post-pandemic world
Teenage autistic author and neurodiversity advocate, Siena Castellon chats with Tania and Renata from Special Needs Jungle about her new book The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic, life in lockdown and how she's working out a new future post-pandemic.  Order Siena's book from her website: Find the SNJ post with more information about how you can win a copy in our giveaway here:
May 27, 2020
Coronavirus and children's 
mental health, 
issues explored & 
top tips to help
SNJ's Renata Blower & Tania Tirraoro in Conversation with Child & Adolescent Mental Health Counsellor, Angela Kelly. Angela is a parent of two children with autism and a qualified child and adolescent mental health counsellor. She's also Special Needs Jungle's Mental Health Editor.  We discuss at the issues sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown on the mental health of disabled children. Many children are experiencing increased anxiety and uncertainty about the future, while for others, not having to go to school during lockdown has taken away the very thing that caused their anxiety in the first place.  In this enlightening and engaging conversation, Angela, Renata and Tania answer some of the questions sent in by SNJ readers and discuss their own experiences during the crisis.  The episode is also available in vision on YouTube. Join in the conversation on our Special Needs Jungle Facebook Group, Let's Talk About SEND. Find more information about Angela Kelly and this episode on the SNJ website, where you can also sign up for new post alerts. If you'd like to suggest a topic for discussion, let us know
May 17, 2020