The SEND gathering at Thirsk Courthouse was certainly an informative and inspirational way to spend a Tuesday afternoon in October!
As we arrived, there was time to explore some new music technology tools, then the sessions started with a talk by practising teacher Vicky Hubbard who introduced the Sounds of Intent Assessment tool. I found the video examples particularly useful and I could certainly see how this could be incorporated into our school system with a little more research on my part. I was not so sure how useful this would be for my MLD pupils but intend to explore more to find out. The internet site will be a good source of information.
Mike Sissons from the Dales school in Northallerton took second slot, showing us ways music has touched the SLD and PMLD students in his school via music technology. Again, the videos and photos were impressive and immediately made me want to put in a bid at my own school to introduce music technology. It has always felt too big a step for us to go down that path as we have little equipment but the success that Mike has had with his students has prompted me to speak to our SLT and try to get some music technology equipment into our development plan for next year.
After a very welcome ‘high tea’, Clarence Adoo gave the keynote speech which was truly inspirational. He demonstrates very movingly that no matter what one’s disability is, there is still a way to take a very active part in music activities given the right opportunities and equipment.
The final session of the afternoon was delivered by Ros Hawley who made us take part actively rather than sit and listen! We made music through listening to others, using our voices and bodies. I will have to give some more thought regarding putting these ideas into practice with my own students but it did provide some interesting starting points.
The whole afternoon, which was attended by about 50 people had a great atmosphere. It was heartening to see many young musicians, some new teachers and other established teachers all being enthused to use music in more varied ways to enrich the lives of the young disabled people we come into contact with.