Innovations spread by worldwide forum

27th October 2000 at 01:00
Special Needs London is the ideal place to see what's new, says Mike Gordon of NASEN

Special Needs London, the South's biggest educational book and resources exhibition, takes place at the Business Design Centre next week. It is organised by the National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN) and the Educational Publishers Council and supported by The TES. Last year more than 16,000 people attended the exhibition and conference seminars and this year more than 150 educational publishers and suppliers are exhibiting resources covering the whole curriculum. As an exhibition within an exhibition, Special Needs IT will focus on the benefits of new technology. As well as meeting specialist companies on their exhibition stands, visitors can attend How IT Works demonstrations.

The seminar programme features top speakers from across the country. The range of 40 seminar topics covers inclusion, the Code of Practice, behaviour management, severe learning difficulties, literacy and mathematics, and more. Call free for further information on 0800 018 2998 or check the NASEN website: www.

It has been exciting year for NASEN. Membership has risen to almost 11,000. The Association has engaged in two joint projects with the Department for Education and Employment. In September four regional conferences were held on the future role of special schools. These were very well attended by senior local education authority officers, headteachers and members. Second, and nearing completion, is a research project which is examining the considerable changes occurring across the country in the structure, organisation and funding of SEN suppot services. The aim is to identify and disseminate good practice. Most education authorities have participated.

NASEN continues to produce publications and policy documents which outline and support responsibilities at central government, local authority and school level. Recent policies have focused on inclusion, early years, partnership with parents, and post-16.

An exciting new development will be NASEN's Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, which will be published electronically three times a year. The journal has great potential for disseminating evidence-based innovations developed in the UK to others around the world. The first issue will be Spring I, 2001. It will complement NASEN's existing journals - British Journal of Special Education, Support for Learning and Special! - and create a forum for researchers to reflect on and share ideas regarding issues of particular importance to them such as methodology, research design and ethical considerations.

The forthcoming revised Code of Practice and the SEN and Disability Rights in Education Bill will present great challenges to those working in the field of special educational needs. NASEN will continue to play a vital role in influencing SEN policy and practice.

Special Needs London is at the Business Design Centre, Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0QH on November 2 and 3 (9.30am-5pm) and November 4 (10am-4pm) Exhibition floor plan page 23 Mike Gordon is executive secretary of NASEN, NASEN House, 45 Amber Business Village, Amber Close, Amington, Tamworth B77 4RP. Tel: 01827 311500. Fax: 01827 313005. E-mail: Web:

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