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Initial Reflective Statement

Suzy Hope

Samuel Ryder Academy, St. Albans

I studied Business Studies at the University of Portsmouth and have spent the majority of my
professional career in HR, specialising in Learning and Development, with over twenty years’
experience of applying learning theory and designing and delivering innovative learning solutions
and cultural change to meet individual, team and organisational needs, most recently in a Public
sector setting where achievements include the design and delivery of a Hertfordshire Children’s
Services Leadership Academy.

Alongside I volunteer with a local Samaritans branch and have supported many callers with
emotional, behavioural and social problems, as well as playing a large part in the running of the

Following the opportunity for redundancy from my Employer during a recent restructure, I sought an
opportunity to learn more about, and gain experience within a school team, supporting students
with SEN and was delighted to recently join the Samuel Ryder Academy Inclusion Team.

The Samuel Ryder Academy has the SENCO as part of the senior leadership team structure and there
is a strong culture within the school community that meeting SEN is an important issue to the

I quickly became impressed and interested in the inclusive nature of the school and the delivery of
learning support offered both within the Inclusion Unit – Learning Zone, Life Skills, Nuture groups,
but also within the classrooms and wondered where the practical EBI opportunities lie.

I am particularly interested in the idea of communication opportunities across the whole staffing
team: the idea of the (internal) ‘team around the most vulnerable students’ with a practical team
working and communication solution to support the delivery of this.

The idea of collaboration and team working across the Academy to improve life chances of our most
vulnerable students, alongside all of our other pupils, underpins the Teacher Led Development
(TLDW) Programme ethos and my curious and creative side makes this a challenge, yet potentially
rewarding aspect and contribution, that I would like to investigate further.
Current concerns

My initial observations, and I am at the very beginning of a steep learning curve, are that there are
no magical cures in special needs; change and progress are made through, SEN professionals
interpreting and evaluating data (assessments / reports from previous schools and associated
bodies) and creating appropriate strategies which are then, and this aspect is the critical part, used
to continually support teachers to work effectively with the sheer diversity of personalities and
abilities they are called to work successfully with?

So the question becomes – where are the EBI’s in how we can even better support the SRA teaching
team to ensure that the minority receive the specific and diversified teaching input required but not
at the expense of the majority given the balancing of resources with a busy school?

Key questions for initial investigation

Where are we now? Initial learning lunch focus group?

What reading can support my research