The Tes SEN Show 2018: A focus on SEMH

Written by: Beverley Walters | Published:
Special support: Last year’s Tes SEN Show (Image: The Tes SEN Show)

The annual Tes SEN Show takes place on October 5 and 6 and will focus on social, emotional mental health. Head of content and chair of this year’s keynote panel discussion, Beverley Walters, looks at the CPD, seminars and other attractions on offer at the free event

When social, emotional mental health (SEMH) was included in the revised SEND Code of Practice it provided an opportunity for the entire education workforce to rethink how we identify and support vulnerable children and young people, and the role each practitioner has to play in providing support. These discussions and debates will take centre stage at this year’s Tes SEN Show, which offers practical workshops, CPD seminars, and opportunities for education professionals to network over a two-day period at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.


The show’s opening keynote will feature a panel debate focusing on the impact that SEN can have on SEMH, how in turn children and young people with SEN and/or SEMH respond to education and the support available to pupils and staff.

In December 2017, the government put forward proposals on children and young people’s mental health in its Green Paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision, looking at ways for schools and colleges to support pupils’ mental health, as well as plans for new mental health support teams. In its response to the Green Paper consultation, published in July, the government has now outlined proposals to improve mental health support for children and young people in England. More than £300 million has been made available to fund them.

As the Green Paper emphasised, one in 10 (around 850,000) children and young people have a diagnosable mental health condition. These illnesses can have a devastating impact on their physical health, their relationships and their future prospects. The challenge often extends into a person’s adult life, with half of all mental health conditions beginning before the age of 14.

The keynote debate will feature representatives from the Department for Education, Gloucester House – The Tavistock Children’s Day Unit, Young Minds, and a specialist advisor and advocate for people with autism and their families – as well as issues raised by you, the audience.


This year’s event includes 42 CPD seminars focusing on SEMH as it relates to specific SEN, government policy, assessment and the broad areas of need as set out in the SEND Code of Practice. Seminars are an hour in length and offer practical applications and techniques and, where available, delegates will have access to handouts for presentations at the event.

The Tes SEN Show is free to attend – all visitors have full access to the exhibition, the Exhibitor Workshop Theatre, the Spotlight Theatre, and the Parent and Carer Forum. Visitors can also access the Opening Keynote Debate but must register their interest in attending this during the registration process. There are however a range of fees for attending seminars. Each seminar place costs £18 (plus VAT) if booked before the show. During the show, seminar places booked on-site cost £20 (+VAT). Highlights include:
Selected CPD

EYFS: Promoting access and inclusion for young children with SEN and disabilities – a year on from the introduction of the 30 hours entitlement for the three and four-year-old children of working parents, this seminar reviews access and inclusion for young children with SEN and disabilities (Phil Snell, associate for the early years & Philippa Stobbs, assistant director, Council for Disabled Children, 11am, October 5).

Key stages 1 & 2: Teaching vocabulary and supporting understanding of language in primary school – this session will explore how to identify children with poor vocabulary and difficulties understanding and how to support them in the classroom (Wendy Lee, speech and language consultant, Lingo, 11am, October 5).

Key stages 1 to 4: Maximising the impact of TAs – an update on the latest research on teaching assistants and their role in supporting pupils with SEND (Rob Webster, director, MITA, UCL Institute of Education, 12:30pm, October 5).

Key stages 1 to 4: Attachment theory and practical strategies for support – attachment difficulties affect around 40 per cent of young people in our schools and understanding those needs is essential in helping students to learn (Nicola Marshall, trainer, author and coach, BraveHeart Education, 2pm, October 6).

Key stages 1 to 4: Assessment and diagnosis of maths difficulties and dyscalculia – assessment and diagnosis of this heterogeneous population requires a flexible protocol, focusing on key factors such as working memory and recall of basic facts. This session looks at the “clinical” interpretation and use of a mix of standardised and informal tests (Steve Chinn, independent consultant, 11am, October 5).

Key stages 1 to 5: Identifying SEN: How can we be sure that a pupil has SEN? How clear are we in articulating our additional to and different from provision? What are the implications for developing and growing our universal provision for identification of SEN? How confident are we that, with limited resources, we are targeting and meeting the needs of those with SEN? (Jane Friswell, SEND consultant and advocate, JFA SEND Consultancy, 3:30pm, October 5).

Key stages 2 & 3: SLCN and SEMH: Understanding the links – for some children, anxiety or behaviour can be traced back to underlying speech, language and communication needs and children with identified SLCN are at higher risk of mental health difficulties. This seminar will look at this relationship, discuss how to spot hidden SLCN, and consider strategies to support children with these difficulties (Wendy Lee, speech and language consultant, Lingo, 2pm, October 5).

Key stages 1 to 5: Developing mental security for both staff and students, to enable effective management of behaviour – how to create emotionally intelligent schools which enhance and support mental security for all (Victor Allen, behaviour consultant specialising in emotional intelligence and mental security, Mirror Development & Training, 12:30pm, October 6).

Key stages 1 to 5: Understanding the impact of trauma and distress in children who have experienced abuse – the presentation will offer scenarios that will assist professionals in appreciating the journey of rebuilding confidence and resilience in those who have been hurt emotionally and may be experiencing mental health difficulties (Aqualma Murray, independent trainer, consultant and coach, Aqualma Empowerment Services, 11am, October 6).

Key stages 1 to 4: All Together: A whole school approach to reducing bullying of disabled children and those with SEN – this interactive workshop will look at what research says about bullying behaviour and how to turn this into effective anti-bullying practice (Nicola Murray, senior programme lead, Anti-Bullying Alliance, National Children’s Bureau, 3:30pm, October 5).

SEN exhibition

A key attraction of the show will also be the traditional exhibition of products and services relevant to SEN education and professionals. There will be more than 160 exhibition stands at the event, including a range of products and services, resources, charities, and more.

Free practical workshops

Exhibitors will take part in free demonstrations and presentations as part of the Exhibitor Workshop Theatre, available throughout the two-day event. The Spotlight Theatre is available on the Friday (October 5) only and provides an opportunity to hear from a selection of exhibitors giving informative, 30-minute presentations about their products and how they can support practice. These sessions are free to attend but cannot be pre-booked – so arrive early to get a seat.

The Parent and Carer Forum

BAFTA award-winning broadcaster, vocal coach, leadership coach and campaigner Carrie Grant will again chair the Parent and Carer Forum on the Saturday (October 6) and, with a team of parents of children and young people with SEN, who themselves are education professionals, will guide parents and carers through issues ranging from becoming a parent leader to meeting the needs of children with autism and learning disabilities in the health system.

  • Beverley Walters is the head of content for the Tes SEN Show.

Further information

To register for free entry to the show, to reserve seminar places and for full details of the programme, including overviews of all seminars, Spotlight Theatre sessions, workshops and the exhibition, visit and

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