In 2014 a number of like-minded colleagues met to explore a number of key issues that were affecting our children and our schools.
Colleagues were drawn from special school academies, special teaching schools, the SSAT, the National Education Trust, SWALSS, the NAHT and most recently nasen.
We believed that the special school community should be at the forefront of re-designing and establishing an assembly (group) to bring together key organisations to offer a point of reference for policy makers and government organisations.
Following careful consideration we agreed a direction of travel.
This group eventually became Special Schools’ Voice. It continues to be our intention to form a ‘collaborative assembly’ with the single clear intention of offering a voice to special schools at this time of rapid change.
We discussed, and accepted, that no single representative group can ever give an assurance to directly impact upon central or local policy. However, we believe that by working more ‘smartly’ and co-operatively we have a greater chance of, at least, ensuring key policy makers and agencies are aware of the everyday challenges and successes within our schools.
There is no cost to being associated with the Special Schools’ Voice. Schools will continue to benefit from their associations with the listed groups but will see this development as an additional benefit to their membership. We have ensured that special schools that are not yet members of any of the listed organisations will not be disadvantaged and can still, if they choose, make a significant contribution to the Special Schools’ Voice.
All members of the steering group have agreed to give of their time freely and not claim any expenses.
We have developed a communication strategy that operates via email and ensures dialogue between schools and from schools to government agencies. We endeavour to report back to schools when issues have been raised. We welcome the opportunity to share excellent practice and we offer our schools the opportunity to showcase innovation.