ND SEND Conference 2021: Building a more confident and inclusive space

A full day conference , free to ND Members, hosted by National Drama with specialist speakers.
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Join National Drama for this brilliant full day conference with sessions exploring the science behind learning, SEND in early years, ASD, learning through play and Drama in the SEND classroom. The Conference will be hosted by National Drama with special guest speakers:


  • Karen Wallace-Jones
    Karen Wallace-Jones
    Make/Sense Theatre, Drama teacher in PRU

    Karen trained at the University of Warwick and Drama Studio London. After working as a professional actor and running her own early years storytelling business, she trained formally as a Secondary Drama teacher, choosing to work in her training year in a SEN school.
    Since then, Karen trained with Oily Cart theatre company/Rose Bruford College in creating multi-sensory theatre for PMLD/ASD audiences. This led to her developing her own immersive style of theatre for complex needs at her school, and subsequently as Head of Creative Arts, delivered a joint collaborative project developing it with another local SEN School. This, and several other theatre projects with her diverse cohort of students, led to her department winning a Reading Cultural Award in 2019 for their inclusive school productions.
    In March 2019, Karen gained a place on an Erasmus scheme learning from SCEN:SE Theatre (performing arts/drama for people with complex disabilities) and Glada Hudik Theatre (an neurodiverse, integrated theatre company) in Hudiksvall, Sweden about their cutting edge cross-arts work. In November 2019, after several years of training drama teachers from the University of the Arts, Utrecht, in SEN Drama at her school in Reading, Karen was invited to speak on diversity in the arts at The Crossing Cultures Festival in the Netherlands.
    Karen is a trained Arts Award advisor and has 7 years experience of delivering and assessing it for SEN young people from Discover to Silver level. She was instrumental in her previous SEN school gaining Artsmark Platinum status and has delivered training to teachers within the BASS (Berkshire Alliance of Special Schools) in creative approaches and SEN Drama.
    Karen runs Make/Sense Theatre, making theatre for, by and with the neurodivergent community in Reading, Berkshire. She is also currently working as a part-time Drama teacher in a Pupil Referral Unit combining Drama and her training and skills in therapeutic thinking, trauma-informed approaches, and Theatre of Resilience to work with SEMH/SEN young people. This is whilst studying for a Diploma in Neuro-Dramatic Play- an attachment-based drama intervention used with children who are traumatised, abused or neglected.
    Karen currently volunteers with the Executive Committee of National Drama as their SEND Advisor.

  • Lana Selby
    Lana Selby
    Drama therapist

    Lana grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. She made sure she was in every annual school play, no matter how big or small the part. She studied for a BA in English and Drama at the University of Cape Town and trained as an English and drama teacher in 1990. She taught in secondary schools during the latter years of the apartheid era in South Africa and was a member of a theatre – in – education company, devising and performing in plays addressing the AIDS crisis in Africa at the time, racism and gender discrimination. She moved to London in 1994 to train as a dramatherapist.
    For the past thirty years, Lana has worked extensively in educational (mainstream and special needs), mental health and forensic clinical settings. She has taught in both mainstream and special needs schools in inner and outer London boroughs. As a therapist, Lana has worked with clients of all ages and clinical needs; with charities, in schools, on acute and rehab mental health wards and in a prison. She has mentored and supervised newly trained arts therapists.
    Drama is the creative medium through which she has taught, challenged, supported and inspired students, service users and clients.
    Lana is currently part of the Arts Therapies team in a special needs secondary school in London.

  • Melanie Coles
    Early Years SENCO – Bemerton's Childrens Centre, London
  • Shelly Coles
    ASD Lead practitioner – Cambridge School, London

Hourly Schedule

9.00 - 9.45
Opening address & introductions
  • Introducing sessions and order of play for the day
Christopher Holman
10.00 - 11.00
Autism in the classroom, Educational Neuroscience: Bridging the Gap
  • Introduction to basic Neuroscience for educationalists
  • Neuromyths and negative role in education
  • Introduction to ASD
  • Special schools vs. Mainstream schooling
  • Discussions of best practice & strategies
Shelly Coles
11.00 - 12.00
Learning through play: Special Educational Needs in the Early years setting
  • The role of early years provision and the challenges of SEND pupils
  • Learning through play – practical examples and how cross curricular works through play
  • EHCP's, the administrative challenges of SEND and how to support pupils in a classroom
  • The role of the wider community in SEND pupils' learning
12.00 - 12.30
12.30 - 13.30
TBC (Karen Wallace-Jones)
13.30 - 14.30
Drama in the SEND classroom
  • Working practically in a special school
  • SEMH Learning through role play
  • Discussion of best practice & strategies
15.00 - 16.00
Panel Discussion and closing address
  • Discussion of members questions - on the theme of "Confident staff & empowered students: How can we make our learning environments more inclusive?"
  • Wider discussion about the future of Drama and SEND
Christopher Holman, Shelly Coles, Zeena Rasheed
Christopher Holman
Christopher Holman
Head of Performing Arts and Senior Leader
Christopher Holman is Head of Performing Arts and member of his School’s senior leadership team. Alongside his work as Secondary Education Officer for National Drama, he is currently working on a PhD investigating the role of formal education on developing identity throughout early adolescence. Outside of his own context, Christopher is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer and curriculum consultant, working with schools to improve creative arts education provision.
Shelly Coles
ASD Lead practitioner – Cambridge School, London
Zeena Rasheed
Zeena Rasheed
National Drama Vice Chair
Zeena Rasheed is Vice Chair for ND, has taught all sorts of qualifications, in a range of roles and schools for over 20 years, and currently works near Barnsley. She has led workshops for teachers and facilitators at Expo, in the Middle East and in local networks.
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26 Jun 2021


9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Free to Members / £30 Non-Members


National Drama


National Drama

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National Drama

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  • nd@nationaldrama.org.uk
  • The Crypt Centre
    St Mary Magdalene's Church
    Munster Square
    London NW1 3PT

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