What's New?

15 Mar 2021

engage in their future on BBC One

Sharon Gray OBE, Education Consultant and Co-Opted member of the engage in their future National Commitee was a guest on BBC One’s The Big Questions on Sunday 14th March 2021.

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Representing engage in their future, Sharon was asked to contribute to the conversation around whether or not our genes define us. Sharon spoke with knowledge and passion about the incredible work that engage in their future member schools do to develop trusting enabling relationships with children and young people who have experienced significant adversity or trauma and as a result have communicated that through their behaviour.

Sharon explained how integral the exploration and understanding of the neuro-science of learning and the biology of stress is to enabling staff better support students.

If you missed the show, it’s currently available on BBC iPlayer. Sharon’s contribution is around 36 minutes in but the discussion around the question of “is how we turn out due to our parents care or is it the result of the genes they passed on to us?” is well worth a watch.

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05 Mar 2021


London Regional Representative, engage in their future

engage in their future is looking to recruit a Regional Representative for the London region.

The voluntary position offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the work of engage in their future and to represent SEMH schools and other educational settings across the London region.

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Regional Representatives are expected to –

  • Actively support the leadership, direction and development of eitf at a national level for the benefit of its members.
  • Represent their region at the national level within eitf.
  • Provide regional support on behalf of eitf as a national organisation.
  • Identify and deliver regional, and support national, efforts to retain existing and recruit new member schools to eitf.

In return, the successful applicant will enjoy –

  • Extensive opportunities for informal professional development and networking.
  • Satisfaction of supporting students facing SEMH challenges and peers working with them, locally, regionally and nationally.
  • Scope to develop and shape the direction and impact of the organisation.
  • Being able to actively contribute to the collective voice representing SEMH education.

Required skills include –

  • Proven management, networking and communication skills.
  • Ability to identify key factors, make appropriate timely and well informed decisions, and identify possible impact on eitf and / or wider (SEMH) education framework.
  • Commitment to dedicate appropriate level of time, involvement and support to executing the role and liaising with colleagues.
  • Experience of the SEMH education sector and the wider education framework.
  • Ability to disseminate information, identify impact and communicate to colleagues either within their region or the National Committee.
  • Familiarity with, or experience of, eitf.

If you are interested in applying for the position of engage in their future London Regional Representative, or would like to receive further information about the role, please send us an email to engageintheirfuture@gmail.com

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24 Feb 2021


In response to these strange and often challenging times, engage in their future wanted to best to facilitate and deliver a forum that would allow our members to not just connect but to also contribute to, and benefit from, the knowledge and experience that had been gathered over recent weeks by colleagues across the national network of members.

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  • Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 4pm with Professor Barry CarpenterReigniting Learning and Well-Being.


  • Tuesday 27th April 2021 at 4pm with Nick Whittaker HMI Specialist Adviser, Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities – What we have learned about the experience of children and young people with SEND during the pandemic.

To register, please email us at engageintheirfuture@gmail.com and we’ll send you the joining details.

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Reigniting Learning and Well-Being with Professor Barry Carpenter (Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 4pm)

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of children and young people. As we start to consider  the implications of the road map back to “normality”, many schools will be asking how the experience has affected the child as a learner. Many children have become disengaged, and upon return from another lockdown our quest will be to re-engage them and re-ignite the flame of learning.

In this presentation you will be able to consider:

  • the  impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health
  • how we might rebuild emotional resilience in children
  • patterns of vulnerability related to the pandemic
  • the process of re-engaging the disengaged
  • compassionate leadership and a culture of kindness
  • resources to support children and aid teaching.

To join the #engage_and_connect session on Wednesday 24th March  at 4pm with Professor Barry Carpenter, please email us at engageintheirfuture@gmail.com expressing your interest. You will then be sent details about how to join the Zoom session.

This event is free to attend for engage in their future members. For non-members a fee of £30 will be charged (payable via BACS transfer).

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#engage_and_connect: Background

To support members during the challenges and pressures of the Coronavirus lockdown, engage in their future wanted to establish an effective and supportive way to keep everyone connected and provide informative sessions with relevant content using an easily accessible platform.

The answer was #engage_and_connect! A series of sessions covering a variety of topics were held during May, June and July via Zoom. Participants could talk, share and listen as well as benefit from advice, support and resources from guest speakers.

Although circumstances continue to evolve, the need for support and connection remains, as does demand for relevant, useful advice and resources.

The #engage_and_connect sessions supplement our efforts to support engage in their future members and the wider SEMH education community, but they also enable us to connect and provide participants with the reassurance that we are not alone during these unusual times.

Many will be aware of (and extremely grateful for!) the work that continues to be done by NASS, including regular updates that collate official guidance and disseminate its contents to identify the impact on specialist education. It was therefore a privilege to jointly deliver the #engage_and_connect sessions with NASS and have the opportunity to share our combined experiences more widely.

We would like to say ‘thank you’ to all of the speakers that have taken the time to join us and so willingly shared their resources, experience and expertise, and to all those individuals and schools that supported #engage_and_connect either by “dialling in” during the sessions or by visiting this website to access recordings or resources afterwards.

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Previous #engage_and_connect sessions

Tuesday 23rd February 2021 with Rich Berry

Following his session in January around supporting the mental health of school leaders and staff, this session saw Rich focus on the mental health of children and young people facing SEMH challenges.

Statistics show that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental well-being of our children and young people. Rich shared some of the neuro-science behind why emotional connections and relationships are so important to good mental health.

A recording of the session is available here –


Tuesday 9th February 2021 with Pete Smith

During the Autumn term 2020 following a major incident, one of the engage in their future member schools experienced three visitations – a joint HMI and Local Authority Safeguarding inspection, an Ofsted Care Assurance inspection (the next day) and an Ofsted ‘Research Visit’. In short, a full diagnostic into the past, present and future and all during a pandemic (and just before Christmas!).

Pete Smith, Deputy Head Teacher at West Kirby School and College and engage in their future Regional Representative for the North West shared this experience and what the school community learnt from it during this ‘Lockdown in Lockdown’ #engage_and_connect session.

Pete shared how the school community navigated the unprecedented challenges, handled the questions posed by Ofsted, and explained some of the techniques they adopted to protect and nurture the mental health of all stakeholders, all with a view to helping support colleagues prepare and plan for future inspections in this a most unprecedented time.

An edited recording of the session is available here –

The slides from the session are available here –

Lockdown in Lockdown presentation2

Some of the links included in Pete’s presentation are –


Tuesday 19th January 2021 with Rich Berry

The first #engage_and_connect session of 2021 was held on Tuesday 19th January when we welcomed Educational Consultant and Co-Chair of engage in their future Rich Berry to consider –

Maintaining a Window on the World That Supports the Mental Health of School Leaders and Their Staff

Rich highlighted the importance of us all being mental health aware,  recognising the signs of anxiety and mental stress, and not neglecting our own mental well-being. He shared practical advice and tips, as well as sign posting other resources.

A recording of the session is available here –


Friday 13th November 2020 with Carolyn Eyre

Following on from the hugely successful sessions earlier in the year, we were delighted to welcome Carolyn Eyre to the first #engage_and_connect session of the new academic year.

Carolyn had been scheduled to join us at our National Conference (which was unfortunately cancelled) but safeguarding is such a high priority issue that it was important that we still share and benefit from Carolyn’s expertise.

Carolyn’s presentation started by touching on how we got to where are now by taking a brief but relevant look at historical research, reports and guidance before moving on to the changes introduced by the most recent guidance and the implications for our schools.

Those that joined us confirmed what a comprehensive and informative session it was, and just how important our role as advocates for the children and young people that we work with is.

Carolyn has very kindly shared a copy of her presentation with us so that those who were able to join us can reminder themselves of what was covered, and those that weren’t able to make it can still benefit –

Carolyn Eyre_Nov 2020


Wednesday 1st July 2020 with Richard McCann

It was a privilege to be joined by motivational speaker Richard McCann for the #engage_and_connect session on Wednesday 1st July. Richard spoke at the engage in their future National Conference in 2011 so we knew to expect a presentation of exceptional quality, emotional content, and highly relevant messages.

Richard shared his personal experience of adversity and challenge, explained the impact that key individuals had on him, and illustrated how his “I Can” and “I Will” attitude helped him turn his life around. Through this, his own experience and appreciation of the difference that educators can have on their students was clear.

The key messages that he shared are as relevant to teachers as they are to their students: “we have the greatest capacity to grow when we’re facing to challenges”, “don’t be afraid to ask for help”, “kindness matters”.

A recording of the session is not available but to find out more about Richard, please visit his website – www.richardmccann.co.uk


Wednesday 3rd June 2020 with Professor Barry Carpenter and Sharon Gray

Hot on the heels of the #engage_and_connect session with Bernard Allen on Monday 1st June, Professor Barry Carpenter joined us on Wednesday 3rd June for the fourth #engage_and_connect.

Barry talked through his Recovery Curriculum work, the five key areas of loss, and how the Recovery Curriculum is a construct built on five levers “as a systematic, relationships-based approach to reigniting the flame of learning in each child”. He reiterated how important compassionate leadership is at this time more than ever, and how teaching is, at its core, relationship based.

Resources, ideas and useful links were shared and the value and relevance of Barry’s expertise was clearly appreciated given the positive feedback from participants.

For those who would like to revisit the session, pull out the resources and links that Barry mentioned, or share it with colleagues, and for those that were unable to make it, a recording is available here –

It was also a privilege to hear from Sharon Gray again as she provided more detail and insight on the work that she has been doing with the Embark Federation.

Sharon explained how they have been looking at the real lived experience of all stakeholders during the pandemic, how they are developing a library of resources to support students by age and stage as they return to school, and shared several useful and practical ideas to aid that transition.

Sharon’s session can be viewed here –


Monday 1st June 2020 with Bernard Allen

In his #engage_and_connect session, Bernard Allen referred to the need to take “reasonable endeavours” to minimise risk and do the best possible in the circumstances. Considering the language that we use in risk assessments, demonstrating the thinking behind certain actions and guidance, and ensuring that this is shared in the appropriate with stakeholders were also discussed.

Bernard also pointed out that, in legal cases, the test of what constitutes good practice is whether or not a particular course of action would be supported by a ‘reasonable body of professional opinion’. In drawing together such an experienced group to face these challenges we become that reasonable body. There are no experts in a position to pass down infallible guidance to leaders on the practicalities of managing schools and children’s homes in this new era. It is up to us to invent best practice by engaging creatively and sharing ideas that seem to work.

A recording is available (in two parts) here –

Resources from Bernard’s session are –


Many thanks to Bernard for sharing these and allowing us to make them available here.

You may also find this resource useful – Health and safety audit.pdf020620. Drafted in response to numerous requests from a wide range of educational settings for advice and support, we are enormously grateful to Tony Ryall and Jeannine Law for providing and sharing this document.


Tuesday 19th May 2020 with Keith Fraser, Chair of the Youth Justice Board

For those that missed the session on 19th May with Keith Fraser, Chair of the Youth Justice Board, you can view the session here.

Keith reflected on how the circumstances caused by the Coronavirus pandemic have provided an opportunity to reflect and to challenge if we should return to the “old” normal.

He also talked through how the “child first” approach must translate into strategy and operational procedures, and that it should be genuinely understood and delivered by all stakeholders and involved parties to be truly effective.


Wednesday 6th May 2020

The first #engage_and_connect session provided a useful and informative opportunity for participants to come together. Experience, feedback and concerns were shared but it was finding reassurance that they weren’t alone in the prevailing unprecedented circumstances that proved to be so invaluable for participants. It provided a much needed forum for sharing collective support for the emotional and mental well being of school leaders who found themselves supporting so many others and facing so many challenges.


#engage_and_connect GDPR Statement

The GDPR statement for #engage_and_connect can be found here – #engage_and_connect GDPR Statement

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16 Nov 2020

Support engage in their future when you shop at Amazon

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Did you know that you can support engage in their future when you shop at Amazon?

All you need to do is click on the link below and it will take you through to Amazon smile and set engage in their future as the charity that you wish to support. Amazon will donate a percentage of the amount spent to engage in their future which we’ll use to support our work with children and young people facing SEMH challenges and those working with them.

Don’t forget to shop through smile.Amazon.co.uk each time you make a purchase.

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04 Sep 2020

Lenny and Lily: wordless stories for primary school children

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As schools return, these two books from Beyond Words provide an invaluable resource to help children make sense of their experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic, communicate their feelings and prepare for more change as they go back to the classroom.

As the stories are told in pictures alone, it is not necessary for children to be able to read words to enjoy them. This means they are appropriate for pupils in both mainstream and special education settings.

Supporting text at the end of each story gives teaching staff and parents guidance on how to use the stories with children.

Both stories are structured around the 5 Losses and 5 Levers of the Recovery Curriculum – www.recoverycurriculum.org are available to download for free from: www.booksbeyondwords.co.uk/lenny-and-lily-childrens-stories.

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03 Sep 2020

St Edward’s School GCSE Press Release

Graham Maher, the new Headmaster of St Edward’s SEMH School, Romsey has praised the results achieved by GCSE pupils.

To read the full press release, click here: St Edward’s press release 2020.

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30 Jun 2020

2020 National Creative Awards

Congratulations to everyone that took part in the 2020 National Creative Awards.

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In these unprecedented times, our connections have never been so important so the theme of the 2020 National Creative Awards – “Connections” – proved to be very topical and seemed to really resonate with everyone that took part. This led to some incredible creativity, thought and effort across all the categories. Our congratulations to everyone that took part.

Results for the 2020 National Creative Awards were announced in early June and all participants were contacted to let them know the outcome of their entry.

A report on the 2020 National Creative Awards is available by to read and download: engage in the future 2020 NCA report.

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18 May 2020

2020 Football Tournament Report

Report from the football tournament hosted by Shenstone Lodge School

The second 2020 regional football tournament was hosted Shenstone Lodge School in early March with eleven schools taking part. The exceptional standards of fair play and team spirit evident at the first tournament continued, and there was plenty of football talent on show.

A report on the event is available to read here.

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18 May 2020

Covid 19: Guidance for Schools

Please click on the “See More” link below to view the full details.

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The last few months have been unusual to say the least and there is no doubt that there are a few challenges still ahead. engage in their future will continue to collate and share relevant information and useful resources with colleagues to support best practice and provide guidance and advice. Every school and educational setting is unique but the information shared here will be helpful for everyone.

We are enormously grateful to NASS for collating, disseminating and sharing the essential and latest information throughout these challenging times. Their updates have proved to be an invaluable resource to so many and their support and hard work is hugely appreciated.

Latest Details (September 2020):

NASS Update_01.09.20


Archived Information:

Please be advised that the resources below may have been updated, revised or replaced since their initial publication and we recommend checking the latest Government and DfE guidance.

Actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020

Summarised Govt Guidance (May 2020)

Opening Schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers

Shared Resources from NASS:

COVID-19 List of guidance and information – 11May2020

Covid-19 Safeguarding in Schools, Colleges and Other Providers

Decision Tree and advice Brown Jacobson

Coronavirus Workplace checklist PDF v3

Summary DfE safeguarding changes

Innovation Broking Covid-19 Webinar 04.06.2020

Octavia House – FAQs

Minister Ford’s open letter to SEND sector schools opening

NHS Test and Trace

Safer Recruitment Consortium

Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Those Working With Children and Young People in Education Settings (Addendum April 2020)

NASS Updates:

Colleagues will no doubt find these well-balanced and comprehensive reflections from NASS useful, especially as they also contain a number of useful online links –

NASS Update_15.05.20 

NASS Update_18.05.20

NASS Update_21.05.20

NASS Update_22.05.20

NASS Update_26.05.20

NASS Update_01.06.20

NASS Update_03.06.20

NASS Update_10.06.20

NASS Update_16.06.20

NASS Update_24.06.20

NASS Update_10.07.20

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28 Apr 2020

We’re here if you need us

Please click on the “See More” link below to view the full statement.

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The last few weeks have probably been the most challenging for all our colleagues across all sectors of education. We recognise that as Heads within our sector you have probably had to deal with more issues than most and understand that that will have placed an extraordinary strain on you and your staff. Our members, their students and the SEMH community are our priority and the last thing we want to do is add to that strain with extra calls and emails. Whatever the circumstances of your school though, engage in their future is here to support you however you need us so please reach out and contact us with your concerns, queries or just to share and connect: the Regional Representatives and other members of the National Committee are available.

2020 National Conference
We have decided to postpone our National Conference in July for a year.

We also decided to change the theme to encompass well being and resilience, but also thought it sensible to ask you what you felt about the focus and whether you would like any other areas to be covered. If you would like to suggest anything please get in touch with your Regional Representative.

If you have already paid for your place at the National Conference information will come out to you from Georgina shortly.

Connected Curriculum
As a National Committee we are really aware that prior to this crisis everyone was working incredibly hard on developing their curriculum provision and that recent events have taken that focus away. We plan to try and consolidate the work around curriculum and the learning of the last few weeks by holding an online webinar in the autumn which we hope as many of you as can will join.

2020 National Awards
We have also decided to postpone our National Awards. This year would have been the 10th anniversary of the scheme and we will make sure that anyone due to be nominated this year doesn’t miss out so please continue to submit nominations as usual.

Plans for next year are already being worked on.

2020 National Creative Awards
Many schools have used the National Creative Awards as part of their home study packages (if you haven’t please feel free to include it). The deadline is Friday 1st May. A reminder that all the information around the National Creative Awards is on our new website – click here for details.

Peer to Peer Support
For many the last few weeks has seen Heads having to make decisions they never thought they would have to around school closures and supporting the most vulnerable. We know that our young people will struggle in this time of uncertainty and will also struggle to return to the routines of school when are eventually able to return. As such we would like to encourage all of you to use the peer to peer network support chat room on the website. On the assumption that we will all have come across things new to us “no question is off limits”. This will enable all of us to support each other whilst we are in lock down.

2020 Football Tournament
This event has been postponed until further notice and the schools involved will be contacted.

NASS have been providing excellent updates on the issues affecting special schools around the Covid-19 pandemic. We are extremely grateful for all their hard work and their willingness to share it.

Stay Safe!
In the meantime your health and well being is a priority so please get in touch if you need advice or support.

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