Minister delivers keynote at Inclusive Home Learning Symposium
On 24 November, Policy Connect and the APPG for Assistive Technology held a symposium on the role of assistive and inclusive technologies for home learning. The event was chaired by APPGAT co-Chair Lord Shinkwin and the keynote address was delivered by Minister for Children and Families Vicky Ford MP (pictured). In her speech, the Minister highlighted the incredible hard work of teachers, families, and everyone in the inclusive technology community during the Covid pandemic. She announced the publication of the DfE’s rapid assessment review on assistive technology in education and emphasised her department’s commitment to continuing work on digital accessibility and inclusive educational technologies.
Following the minister’s speech, we held a Q&A with the audience and panellists Adam Gordon, LGfL SEND and Inclusion Manager, Kathryn Stowell, Head of CENMAC, Alistair Crawford, Lead of the Specialist offer at Oak National Academy, and Neil Beck, Lead Assistive Technologist at National Star College. We identified four key themes based on this discussion:
1. The challenges and opportunities of assistive technology for education in the home, including the role of parents.
2. The benefits of centralised resources and evidence, including how the inclusive edtech community can work together to improve the evidence base for AT.
3. Upskilling education professionals such as teachers, teaching assistants, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists and more.
4. How exams and the rules regarding the use of technology in exams affect the use of AT in education.
The rapid adoption of technology in schools as a result of Covid represents an important opportunity to build in inclusive digital practice to benefit all of our learners, and we look forward to continuing this essential work with the Minister and her department.
The full outcomes briefing is available as a pdf download (top right of this page). To request a Word document version, please email Geena Vabulas at geena.vabulas [at] policyconnect.org.uk.