The UK's leading conference for DLD and SLCN


The UK's leading conference for DLD and SLCN

“Developmental Language Disorder: Making change happen”

Conference Aston Meeting Suites, Aston University, Birmingham

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Jean GrossJean Gross, CBE, Chair of the Bercow 10 years on review panel

Jean is a national expert on special educational needs and has frequently acted in an advisory capacity to government.

She was until 2011 the government’s Communication Champion for children, tasked with promoting the case for better support for children with speech, language and communication difficulties.

She is the chair of the Bercow Ten Years On 2018 Review of services for SLCN. Previously she headed a charity responsible for the very successful Every Child a Reader and Every Child Counts one-to-one tuition programmes, and was Senior Director within the National Strategies, responsible for work on overcoming barriers to achievement.

She is the author of numerous articles and best-selling books on SEN, including Special educational needs and school improvement (David Fulton, 2004), Beating Bureaucracy in SEN (NASEN/Routledge, 3rd edn. 2015) and Time to Talk (Routledge, 2nd edn. 2017). She was awarded a CBE in the 2011 New Year’s honours list, for services to education.

Mandy GristMandy Grist, ICAN Advisor and Bercow: Ten Years On Project Manager

Mandy Grist is a speech and language therapist.

As part of her role at I CAN she is required to keep abreast of the many developments in policy and legislation in the fields of speech and language therapy and education.

Mandy has specific knowledge and keen interest in collaborative practice for professionals working with children and young people with SLCN, including children and young people with SLCN in educational settings.

She is project manager for the Bercow: Ten Years On review.

Mary HartshorneMary Hartshorne, ICAN Advisor and Bercow: Ten Years On Lead

Mary Hartshorne is Head of Evidence for I CAN, the national children’s communication charity. She leads I CAN’s impact measurement and management, with responsibility for ensuring high quality, evidenced programmes of work.

She is a specialist speech and language therapist with many years experience of working in education – both as a practitioner and manager. She has authored many of I CAN’s discussion papers, notably The Cost to the nation of Children’s Poor Communication.

She is currently studying for a PhD evaluating the impact of a whole school approach to supporting language and communication in secondary aged students.

Mary is leading Bercow: Ten Years On – a national review of provision for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), due to be published March 2018.

Megan DixonMegan Dixon, Director of Literacy and Aspirer Research School, Aspire Educational Trust

Megan currently works as the Director of Literacy for the Aspire Educational Trust, a multi-academy trust based in the North West of England.

She is based at Ash Grove Academy, an Outstanding (Ofsted, 2013) one form entry primary school and national Teaching School, where she has worked for the past 5 years. Ash Grove Academy is situated within an area of high social and economic deprivation, with 60% of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium.

From July 2016 Megan also became Director of the Aspirer Research School based at Ash Grove Academy, one of the first EEF/IEE Research Schools in the Research School Network.

With almost twenty years’ experience in the classroom, she is a specialist literacy teacher and trainer, with considerable expertise in teaching children who find it hardest to learn.

Prior to working at Ash Grove, she has worked as a class teacher, Local Authority Literacy consultant and trainer.

Megan is fascinated by how we can transfer research evidence into effective classroom practice and is usually involved in at least one research trial.

Thomas MartelThomas Martell, Programme Manager, Education Endowment Foundation

Tom leads the Education Endowment Foundation’s North East Primary Literacy Campaign, which aims to invest £10 million over 5 years to improve literacy teaching in the North East through more effective use of evidence.

In addition to his role leading the campaign, Tom is also involved with a variety of trials, which seek to build the evidence base through rigorous research.

Tom also leads the production of evidence-based guidance reports focusing on language and literacy and is currently working on guidance for early years and secondary schools to build on the published reports on primary literacy.

Prior to working at EEF Tom was a teacher and Head of Department in two secondary schools.

Tom now serves as a governor of a primary and secondary school.

Maxine BurnsMaxine Burns, Speech and Language Adviser, ICAN

Maxine Burns is a Speech and Language Advisor with the children’s communication charity I CAN.

A Speech and Language Therapist by background, she has significant experience of working at both practitioner and leadership levels with primary and secondary aged pupils in mainstream, alternative education and specialist settings.

With I CAN, she project managed the development and implementation of Secondary Talk (a whole school development programme focusing on language and attainment) and, more recently, Talk about Talk Secondary (an intervention focusing on communication skills for employment).




NAPLIC CONFERENCE & AGM: “Developmental Language Disorder: Making change happen”

The conference started Jean Gross summarising the findings of the Bercow 10 year review which included startling findings about the discrepancies between professionals and parents about how well families are listened to.

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