Meet the specialist - Michael Surr
Education Officer and Editor of nasen Connect
How long have you worked in the education/SEND sector?
I began my teaching career in 1994 in a primary school. My time at nasen began in 2016 when I was seconded to work on the development of the online Focus on SEND training.
What can you tell us about your background?
During my career I have worked in primary schools, both in England and abroad. During that time, I had various roles including SENCO, equal opportunities lead, ICT lead and deputy head teacher. I broadened my experience by working for a Local Authority as an advisory teacher for SEND. This provided me with the opportunity to diversify my experience and develop my knowledge of the early years and secondary sectors.
What do you enjoy most about working for nasen?
I love the diversity of experiences that working for nasen offers. In my current role this ranges from being the editor of the bi-monthly membership magazine, nasen Connect, to working on a variety of projects. I also enjoy the opportunity to meet and work with colleagues from across the sector, both in the UK and abroad.
What are the benefits of subscribing to the SENCO Support Service?
As the name suggests, the SENCO Support Service is aimed at SENCOs. It is the only support service available exclusively for this group. Subscribers receive responses from SEND specialists with a deep breadth of knowledge and understanding.
Are there any SEND topics that you feel particularly passionate about?
My personal interests include mental health and wellbeing and person-centred practice.
Developing good mental health and wellbeing is so important for both young people and adults alike. It forms the foundation from which we can learn, grow, develop, and maintain positive relationships and ultimately lead happy and fulfilling lives. As this is still an area that is surrounded by stigma, it is important that everyone’s knowledge and understanding is developed, that people feel comfortable talking about it and ultimately that we have an understanding of how to support others and take care of ourselves.
Person-centred practice isn’t a new concept but despite this there is still much about it that is misunderstood. Listening to and acting on what young people and their families are telling us, will help to develop open and trusting relationships, which in turn will lead to a better understanding of strengths and needs and the best way to provide effective support for individuals.
Are there any further qualifications/certifications that you would like to share with the community?
I have been certified by Mental Health Fist Aid England to deliver their 2-day mental health first aid course, the one-day mental health champion course and the half day awareness raising course. I am also a trained facilitator