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MAT SEND Leadership with Simon Tanner

The SENDcast

Release Date: 02/01/2024

Effective Use of Visuals to Aid Communication with Kerry Thalia show art Effective Use of Visuals to Aid Communication with Kerry Thalia

The SENDcast

Children are not making as much progress communicating as they could be and are losing out on their ability to gain independence and autonomy. The failures in communication can lead to a lower expectation or achievement in academic and social areas. I'm excited to welcome Kerry Thalia to the podcast to discuss ‘Effective use of visuals to aid communication.’ This is Kerry's first podcast with the SENDcast, and we explore how we use visuals everyday with SEND, and more widely in teaching. Visual aids are invaluable tools, but all too often, they are treated as mere checkboxes instead of...

Looking and Trusting Inside Rather Than Looking For Solutions Externally with Alison Knowles show art Looking and Trusting Inside Rather Than Looking For Solutions Externally with Alison Knowles

The SENDcast

We have become victims to the “norm” and we doubt our self-worth based on external benchmarks such as houses, cars, grades, clothes. Parenting is around your child doing better than the next or behaving the way they do and not necessarily celebrating their uniqueness. Alison Knowles returns today to discuss ‘Looking and trusting inside rather than looking for solutions externally’. Alison explores the reasons why we aren’t trusting our judgement and why we’re basing our sense of self on others’ achievements. Asking for advice is healthy, but the problem arises when you’re...

Zones of Regulation with Kim Griffin show art Zones of Regulation with Kim Griffin

The SENDcast

When it comes to zones of regulation, often they’re not fully understood or correctly used in schools with the assumption that they are good or bad. Kim Griffin joins Dale today to shed light on this misconception! Green = good Red = bad In today’s podcast ‘Zones of regulation’, Kim provides clarity and insights on this important topic as she: Explains the zones and their original purpose Summarises information from a book about the zones Reflects on personal experiences Considers how schools use them Raises awareness that not all children feel emotions in the exact same way Discusses...

School Attendance with Suzy Rowland, Fintan O'Regan and Sarah-Jane Critchley show art School Attendance with Suzy Rowland, Fintan O'Regan and Sarah-Jane Critchley

The SENDcast

Today we are celebrating the release of our 200th episode of the podcast! To mark this special occasion, we have invited some of our past guests back to record an episode focused on the important topic of ‘school attendance’. Suzy Rowland, Sarah-Jane Critchley and Fintan O’Regan join me, not only will you hear our familiar voices, but you'll also see us live as we have video recorded the episode for the first time! The controversial DfE campaign “Attendance Matters” received criticism and trivialised some of the complex reasons why children may not attend school. It failed to...

Person-Centred Approaches: Clarity or Confusion? with Angela Scott show art Person-Centred Approaches: Clarity or Confusion? with Angela Scott

The SENDcast

The Children’s Act 2014 and SEND Code of Practice (2015) placed great emphasis on the use of person-centred approaches. The concept was embraced but without necessarily being fully explored and accurately interpreted. There is a level of confusion in some schools and settings about how to effectively implement person-centred practices without fully understanding the underlying principles. For SENCOs in particular, these approaches have often become overly bureaucratised. In this week’s episode, Angela Scott joins Dale to discuss ‘Person-Centred Approaches: clarity or confusion?’....

Morphology with Louise Selby show art Morphology with Louise Selby

The SENDcast

Everyone knows about phonics/phonology as it’s high on the national agenda for intervention currently, but it doesn’t always work. A lot of SENCOs, especially in secondary, are feeling trapped by phonics and Ofsted feeling they don't have permission to try a new approach. Teachers are also frustrated that they are just being told to do the same thing over and over. Our new special guest, Louise Selby, joins Dale today to delve into the fascinating world of ‘Morphology’. Louise explains that the English language is made up of 3 systems: phonology, morphology and etymology. Did you know...

Whole Life Mental Health Meanderings with Dr Helen Ross show art Whole Life Mental Health Meanderings with Dr Helen Ross

The SENDcast

Dr. Helen Ross, dyslexia expert and consultant, joined Dale this week in what they had planned to be a discussion on dyslexia and mental health. However, their conversation took an unexpected turn, leading them on a meandering path through various topics and reflections on life. They therefore decided to call the episode ‘Whole life mental health meanderings’. During this lively discussion, Helen and Dale ended up reflecting on their lives which took them all over the place – from labels, Helen's projects, and parental expectations to period pains and their own life journeys. The essence...

Working with Parents with Lynn How show art Working with Parents with Lynn How

The SENDcast

As you know, SENCOs play a crucial role in supporting students with special educational needs, and they often find themselves in the firing line when dealing with parental issues. Despite their kindness and empathy, SENCOs (and teachers in general) are not always equipped with specific training in this area, which poses a significant challenge. To shed light on this topic, Lynn How joins Dale to share valuable insights and tips for working effectively with parents. In this episode, Lynn explores; the reasons why this challenge is a recurring issue for SENCOs barriers to parental engagement...

Your Senses and Your Mental Health with Joanna Grace show art Your Senses and Your Mental Health with Joanna Grace

The SENDcast

Did you know that there is a profound connection between our senses and mental health? Our senses can heighten the more stress we’re under, but they can also shut down as well. Smell alone can bring up strong feelings and emotions, for example, no one likes the smell of hospitals, but they love the smell of fresh bread. To explore this connection further, Dale invited Joanna Grace, Sensory Engagement and Inclusion Specialist, to join him to discuss ‘Your senses and your mental health’. Joanna highlights that when in a depressive mindset, you can withdraw from the world and restrict your...

What is an OT? with Kim Griffin show art What is an OT? with Kim Griffin

The SENDcast

We’ve all heard of Occupational Therapists – but do we truly understand the breadth and depth of their role? Kim Griffin has been an OT for over 20 years and joins Dale for today’s podcast ‘What is an OT?’. Kim sheds light on the history of the profession, explains how the name was derived and how it can specialise in different areas; such as working with children, adults, mental health, SEND, orthopaedics and so on. An OT’s role can support people across their lifespan! Kim specialises in paediatrics and has extensive experience working with SEND children within schools. During...

More Episodes

Do you know what is involved in being a MAT (Multi-Academy Trust) SEND leader?

To shed light on this role, our special guest, Simon Tanner, joins Dale in today's episode to explore ‘MAT SEND Leadership’. Simon, the National Director of SEND for E-ACT, brings a wealth of experience, having spent a decade as an accomplished SENCO and six years as a MAT leader for SEND. His expertise lies in developing effective SEND practices across multiple MATs and leading SEND and MAT SEND reviews nationwide.

During our conversation, we delve into various aspects of effective MAT SEND leadership, including:

  • Working for a Multi-Academy Trust
  • The role of a SEND leader within the MAT
  • The importance of data
  • Scaling projects and interventions across multiple schools
  • Assurance in SEND provision
  • Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for both individual academies and the entire trust
  • School improvement strategies
  • Collaboration is key

Listen to hear how the MAT SEND leader offers support to the lone SENCO and provides a strategic overview of SEND provision.


About Simon Tanner

Simon is National Director of SEND for E-ACT.  With 10 years as an experienced SENDCo and 6 as a MAT leader for SEND, Simon has developed effective SEND practice across multiple MATs and lead on SEND and MAT SEND reviews across the country.    

Simon Co-chairs the MAT SEND Leaders group which he established with Dr Nicola Crossly (Liberty Trust).  The group currently have over 100 MAT leaders of SEND and collaborate with Whole Education.  Simon is a mentor on Whole Educations MAT SEND leaders programme which last year supported over 250 academies across England and is now moving into its second cohort.    

Simon regularly presents at National conferences and was part of EDUKEYs Provision map series in 2020-2021 and TEXTHELPs festivals of education between 2021-2023. 

Contact Simon



[email protected]


Useful Links

·         B Squared Website – www.bsquared.co.uk 

·         Meeting with Dale to find out about B Squared - https://calendly.com/b-squared-team/overview-of-b-squared-sendcast 

·         Email Dale – [email protected] 

·         Subscribe to the SENDcast - https://www.thesendcast.com/subscribe


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We have been involved with Special Educational Needs for over 25 years, helping show the small steps of progress pupils with SEND make. B Squared has worked with thousands of schools, we understand the challenges professionals working in SEND face. We wanted a way to support these hardworking professionals - which is why we launched The SENDcast! Click the button below to find out more about how B Squared can help improve assessment for pupils with SEND in your school.