Retaining compassion in constrained economic times nurturing self-belief

Retaining compassion in constrained economic times nurturing self-belief 

Aimhigher London is pleased to announce our keynote speakers for the forthcoming CPD Conference for SENCO’s and teachers working with young people who are disabled and neurodivergent 19 June 2023.  

Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children 

Christine will be will be talking about the recently published Government’s SEND Improvement Plan, what it might achieve, and what issues remain to be tackled

About Christine:  

Christine has spent the last 40 years advocating for the rights of disabled children, young people and their families. She became Director of the Council for Disabled Children in 2000 and has worked tirelessly to see a fully inclusive society where all disabled children and young people can achieve their aspirations and do not feel excluded.  

She has been responsible for influential reviews commissioned by the Department of Health and the Department for Education, with recommendations that are making a significant impact on the lives of children and young people.  

Having started her career as a social worker in the 1980’s, Christine went on to be awarded an OBE in 2009, was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2013 and was awarded her damehood in 2016.  

Dr Jonathan Vincent  

Jonathon will be talking about the Disabled Students Commitment and the extent to which it supports a better experience for students with autism. He will talk about the specific issues that autistic students encounter in the transition to higher education, while at university and crucially what happens to autistic graduates in the job market.  

 About Jonathon:  

Jonathon’s background was in specialist and mainstream secondary schools before moving in higher education. He is currently a lecturer in the Educational Research Department based at Lancaster University, Jonathan focuses on the experiences of autistic students entering, studying and leaving university. He has published a range of international peer reviewed journals, given talks at a conferences around the world, and provided training for the Ministry of Justice in the UK.  

In 2021, Jonathan was awarded funding from the Churchill Fellowship to develop a free online course for autistic students and graduates, in collaboration with autistic job coaches and careers consultants. Currently, he is working with the University of Southampton and AGCAS to understand more about neurodivergent graduates’ employment capabilities. If you are interested to find out more about Jonathon’s current project ENGAGE, Enhancing Neurodivergent Graduates’ Access to Graduate Employment, check out the website: Engage Project  

Professor Deborah Johnston – Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Framework) London South Bank University

Professor Johnston will be talking about her work on the Disabled Student Commitment and how the Commitment should now shape the expectations of disabled students who are planning on going to university and providing a practical example of the usefulness of the Commitment to higher education institutions

About Deborah

Prof Deborah Johnston is a professor of development economics and DVC (Academic Framework) at London South Bank University. Previously she was PVC Education-equivalent at SOAS University of London for four years.

She completed an undergraduate degree in Economics and an Mphil in the Economics and Politics of Development at Queens’ College Cambridge and went on to complete a PhD in Economics in 1997 from SOAS University of London. Since then she has split her career across academia, charities and government.

Deborah’s academic work has focused on inequality and poverty. She is a person who stammers and is a board member of STAMMA (the British Stammering Association).  Deborah has worked with others to ensure greater awareness of the needs of students who stammer. Her education leadership work has involved a close partnership with the Students Unions to eliminate Awarding Gaps of all kinds. Deborah obtained Principal Fellowship of Higher Education Academy, an international recognition of a commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education in 2019.

She is part of the TASO, a centre dedicated to Transforming Access and Student Outcomes, on the working group for Disability and Mental Health and was a general commissioner on the government’s Disabled Students Commission.  She was one of the authors and involved in the consultation around the Disabled Student Commitment.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE



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