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UEL special education academic and graduates present research at conference in east London

reading a book

UEL and the Whitefield Academy Trust have an exciting partnership

A senior lecturer and three graduates from the University of East London (UEL) have given presentations at a conference hosted by one of the largest special education providers in Europe.

Nicole Whitelaw (pictured centre), who lectures in Professional Development and Special Educational Needs (SEN) at the Cass School of Education and Communities, spoke at the Research Unlocked Symposium in November, which was themed ‘Let’s Talk Communication’.

Mrs Whitelaw gave a presentation on ‘Why we do practitioner research: surprising results and communicating findings’.

The event was organised by the Whitefield Research and Development Centre, and held at the Whitefield Academy Trust in Walthamstow, east London. It was attended by representatives from the education sector, higher education institutes and local government. 

The Whitefield Academy Trust has nearly 450 pupils between 3-19 years old who have sensory and other educational needs.

Mrs Whitelaw explained that UEL has a special relationship with the school. She said, “We teach a master’s degree on-site at the school, so we’re essentially bringing the lecture room to the teachers, which works well in terms of flexibility around the teachers’ timetable, and also helps maintain the link between learning and practise. 

Three teachers from the Whitefield Academy Trust who graduated from UEL’s on-site MA programme also spoke at the conference. The trio specialise in autism and education. 

Roisin Marr (left) spoke on ‘Using Lego therapy to support the development of social competence skills in autistic pupils’, while Kayleigh Hardy (second from right) presented on ‘Formative assessment of wellbeing in autistic pupils, including pupil voice’.

Tom Stacey (right) shared his work on ‘Developing communication with pre-verbal autistic pupils – a look at Attention Autism’s effectiveness at enhancing communication.’ 

Mrs Whitelaw said, “Whitefield has an international reputation for expertise in SEN, making this an exciting partnership between the two organisations.”