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East of England and North East London

We would like to introduce ourselves as the regional team for the East of England and North East London. Our role is to work in collaboration with all stakeholders to promote and celebrate the great SEND practice across the region.

At the moment in the East we are working to develop professional networks that will support schools in prioritising SEND working in partnership with families, children and young people. There is so much expertise already in schools and communities that we want to share for the benefit of all.

Using this knowledge we will support teachers, SENCOs and Leadership teams by growing the community of practice, enabling professionals to prioritise SEND and create positive changes for these young people and families.

We invite parents, carers, leaders and practitioners to contact us by joining the Whole School SEND community and sharing good practice.

Image shows East of England and North East London region on a map

Local authorities in this region

Barking and Dagenham, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hackney, Haringey, Havering, Newham, Norfolk, Peterborough, Redbridge, Southend-on-Sea, Suffolk, Thurrock, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest 

Meet your Regional SEND Leads

Regional SEND Lead

Michelle is the Director of Inclusive Learning at Sapientia Education Trust Central Education Team working across 17 schools; 10 primary & 7 secondary, to ensure that Every Leader is a Leader of SEND and Every Teacher is a Teacher of SEND. 

As a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) in Special Educational Needs (SEND) and Senior Leader, Michelle has over 18 years of in-depth strategic and practical experience across all age ranges; from Early Years through to Key Stage 5.  

She has experience leading SEND across Multi-Academy Trusts and is an accredited NASEN SEND Reviewer providing both strategic and operational coaching opportunities for schools across the region as well as being a published contributor with the EEF SEND Working Group for the SEND in Mainstream Schools Guidance.

Michelle is also an accredited Level 7 Educational Tester and provides support to schools for individual Child/Young Person cases and whole school approaches.

Headshot of Michelle Unstead

Michelle Unstead

Deputy Regional SEND Lead

Heba is the Assistant Headteacher and inclusion leader at London's Mayflower Primary School. She has taught in inner London primary schools since 2007, and holds a Masters in Special and Inclusive Education from University College London Institute of Education (IOE) . As a specialist leader, Heba provides support to schools locally and more widely through her secondment role as a deputy regional lead at Whole School SEND (NASEN). Heba is passionate about research and implementing innovative practice.  She has secured funding for a variety of school projects including the use of sensory integration to provide whole class support for children aged 3-7 years and helping children with  special educational needs improve their recall strategies.  She was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2019 to look at inclusive practices in mainstream schools in New York for Autistic pupils.  This year, she has received another grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to pilot a project at her school in collaboration with the Centre of Research in Autism Education (CRAE), UCL.  Heba is also a PHD student at CRAE (Centre for Research in Autism Education) UCL , exploring the collaboration of caregivers of autistic children from minority ethnic backgrounds with school professionals.

Headshot of Heba Al-Jayoosi

Heba Al-Jayoosi

Deputy Regional SEND Lead

Rebecca has more than 15 years’ experience working as a senior school Leader, Deputy Head teacher (Head of Start-up School), Assistant head teacher and a SENCO in several inner city schools. Her areas of expertise include SEND, SEND legislation, creating an inclusive classroom/ quality first teaching, inclusion, SEMH (including ADHD) and Emotional related school refusal (attendance). She holds a Master’s Degree in Education focusing on SEND and Autism Spectrum Conditions. At the heart of it all, she is an outstanding English teacher. Rebecca is a qualified SENCO and registered with British Psychologist society (CCET3). Her current position is Director of Inclusion for Every Child, Every Day Multi Academy Trust. Her role includes supporting and working in collaboration with Head teachers, senior leaders and SENCO’s in developing a person centred approach to inclusion. She also works as a School improvement partner for schools in her Trust and outside the Trust as directed by her CEO. Her philosophy is centred on the understanding that every teacher is a teacher of SEND and every leader is a leader of SEND.

Headshot of Rebecca Gonyora

Rebecca Gonyora

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