The voice of specialist further education

Centre for Excellence in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Natspec and Centres for Excellence logos

Natspec is one of four national Centres for Excellence in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (CfESEND). Each provides expert support for further education (FE) leaders, managers and practitioners to help them put learners with SEND at the centre of their organisation, as part of a Department for Education (DfE) funded national programme.

The aim of this transformational programme is to place inclusion right at the centre of further education so that difference is valued, and all learners fulfil their aspirations. Natspec is working with ETF alongside the other Centres for Excellence in supporting and developing the SEND in FE workforce. Our offer complements the excellent work that the other Centres do and builds on the lessons learnt from our partnership working between specialist and mainstream FE colleges. Our primary focus is on supporting staff in FE who work with young people with complex needs in a wide variety of FE settings. We will be achieving this by sharing highly specialist knowledge, skills, and experience, through live sessions, communities of practice and provider reviews.

Table of contents

Our 2024/25 programme

Live sessions

This series of live webinars focus on current issues and concerns for FE providers working with learners with SEND. Each live, online webinar is led by one or more experienced SEND trainers and includes guidance and advice from Natspec member specialist colleges who have expertise in the topic in focus.

Teaching and learning strategies to enable SEND learners to remember and learn more over time

26 September 2024
This session, facilitated by Natspec, will cover the challenges faced by many SEND learners to acquire new knowledge and skills and how practitioners can plan teaching and learning activities that enable successful use of the working memory.

Communities of Practice

Our three themed Communities of Practice enable colleges to share good practice, network and discuss current issues. Each will meet online twice or three times during 2024/25, for around an hour.

Each online meeting will be facilitated by an experienced SEND specialist and Natspec’s Centre for Excellence supporters will be present to discuss their experiences and journey with the group.

Transition out of college planning and preparing for adulthood skills development

3 September 2024
This community of practice session will focus on planning for transition out of college and preparing for adulthood skills development for learners in their final year.

Provider reviews

Our provider reviews are targeted at General Further Education colleges who have recently received a Requires Improvement or Inadequate grade from Ofsted, or where weaknesses have been identified in their high needs provision.

The review is intended to help colleges improve provision through a process of supported self-assessment and external review from an experienced SEND professional.

The reviewer will work with you and your team to establish a secure understanding of your current strengths and weaknesses and create a quality improvement plan with clear actions for moving forwards. Please fill out our provider review form to apply.

Get involved

Natspec member colleges graded Good or Outstanding are invited to actively support our Centre for Excellence by sharing expertise from within the specialist sector with mainstream FE providers.

If you are interested in getting involved and becoming one of our supporters, please complete our supporters application form.

Further information

Find out more about the work of the four Centres for Excellence in SEND on the ETF website or email 

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