Leadership for Special Educational Needs

I've worked for several years in a variety of special and mainstream school and outdoor centress and am passionate about the differences you can make to peoples lives by having some knowledge and understanding of their challenges. I started my career as a teaching assistant, before becoming a behaviour specialist and finally completing teacher training in outdoor education at Bangor university, I felt compelled to share my knowledge with other members When at the Mountain Training Associaiton Peaks regional open day our new co-ordinator Steve Jones opened the floor to members. special educational needs

I began the day talking about various learning models, and styles. Covering Kolb, Mortlock, Maslow, VAK, how these can be related to our instructing/coaching and what implications this can have on learning outcomes. This brought forward interesting discussions on how applicable these theories are in relation to the outdoor industry, with a conclusion that they worked as a good solid starting/reference tool.

The group then moved onto separate discussions trying to define SEND (Special Educational Needs, and Disability), then focusing on a specific area, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, the groups identified characteristics, and strategies to help with learning. I provided a booklet covering Autism Spectrum Disorder, Social Emotional Behaviour Disorder, and Dyslexia, the booklet gave candidates all key characteristics and major strategies in helping people with these barriers. It was at this point I realised there was enough to cover here that any one of these could have been a workshop all in itself, especially if members didn't have a background in these areas.

After a short break, the group had the chance to practice these strategies whilst leading various teambuilding/problem solving tasks, (with some brilliant role playing I may add!) this was an excellent exercise to see the theories being put into practice and some really creative ideas being demonstrated. Secial educational needs 1

After lunch, we moved onto leaderships styles, I then challenged smaller groups to plan and deliver bouldering sessions in a certain leadership style. The day ended with developing action plans to identify an area within their own teaching or within their organisation that needed developing so that their sessions where more inclusive.

A big thank you to ROKT Climbing Gym, Brighouse for allowing us access to all their facilities.

I would also like to thank those who attended and supported the workshop and for the feedback they gave me which will help me prepare another one in the future.

Danny Giblin

highlights of the day

  • Lots of practical ideas for team building inclusively
  • Great insight to teaching styles
  • Useful resources to improve the interest of inclusive activities
  • Gaining understanding and learning strategies to support speical educational needs.

Some testimonials


This workshop was a great opportunity to look at tools to adapt sessions and ways of improving inclusion, all aspects of the workshop was really helpful. I picked up new ways to deal with different people and behaviour

A really insightful course, highlighting tools and techniques for maximising inclusion, developing an increased understanding of the needs of others.

A well run and informative insight into the diverse area of SEN. A good balance between some academic and practical hands on, role playing work.

I have really enjoyed the session. I have learnt a lot and it will be beneficial for me as an instructor.

Brilliant ! looking forward to the next workshop.