Forum words

‘No Ticks - No Boxes’
Outstanding Practice in the Education of SLD/PMLD Learners

Two-day Forum

Led by Flo Longhorn with 18 Presenters

to be held at Swiss Cottage School Conference Centre, Central London

30 November and 1 December 2017

Presentation Topics

  • A wandering minstrel with a squeeze box
  • Bio behaviours
  • Child/student centred approaches - whole school development
  • Engagement - new perspectives
  • Equals SLD/PMLD semi-formal curriculum
  • Experiential playfulness with elephants’ trunks and paper plates
  • Happiness and Life Satisfaction for the very special person
  • How do I know what I am feeling? Interoception
  • Immersive environments
  • Lilli Nielsen’s legacy - active learning, little rooms, resonance boards
  • Meaningful observations
  • No boxes, no ticks?
  • Outstanding school approaches from Chailey Heritage, Woodlands and Ash Field Academy
  • Personalised assessment, personalised curricula - a whole school approach
  • Social justice and people with SLD/PMLD
  • Resonance boards - calling and responding
  • Schematic learning - supporting early development of repeated behaviours
  • Sensing the world around and forming secure attachments
  • The brain, neurology, sounds and music
  • Sensory science, story of a star
  • Routes for Learning - updates!
  • ‘Teaching the unteachable: managing the unmanageable’- one school’s approach
  • Blogging the sensory dispensary
  • Mental health - developing well-being plans

Forum people imageThe Presenters

  • Andrew Colley, Special Education Lecturer, University of East London
  • Becky Lyddon, Founder Sensory Spectacle, London
  • Ellen Croft, PMLD Curriculum Leader, Ashfield Academy, Leicester
  • Flo Longhorn, Principal Consultant in Special/Multisensory Education, Belgium
  • Helen Lane, Neurologic Music Therapist, Woodlands School, London
  • Dr James Galpin, Developmental Psychologist, The Bridge School, London
  • Joanna Grace, Author, Trainer and Founder of the Sensory Project, Cornwall
  • Jane Thistlethwaite (N.Z.), Teaching Fellow, Birmingham University
  • Keith Park, Independent Special Interactions Consultant, London
  • Les Staves, Very Special Maths Consultant, Leeds
  • Dr Maria Robinson, Early Years Author, Bedfordshire
  • Peter Imray, Special Educational Training and Advice, Bedfordshire
  • Phil Martin, Retired Special School Headteacher, Routes for Learning Wales
  • Sarah Hall, Founder Willows Sensory Service, Birmingham
  • Simon Yates and team, Chailey Heritage School, East Sussex
  • Lucy Allen and Hannah Underwood, John Fielding School, Lincolnshire
  • Gillian Carver and Timothy Holdsworth, St. Ann's School, London
  • Spotlight on the work of Dr Lilli Nielsen, Denmark

Further information from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The full two-day programme will be published here closer to the time of the Forum.

Download the Flyer and Booking Forms (.doc and .pdf).

Special Event at Univ. of Birmingham in honour of Penny Lacey - 13 May 2017

Scruffy Targets, Meaningful Outcomes, Inspiring Legacy - Celebrating the life and work of Dr Penny Lacey

Location: School of Education (Building R19), The Vaughan Jeffreys Lecture Theatre
Date: Saturday 13 May 2017 (14:00-18:00)

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham is hosting an event to celebrate life and work of Dr Penny Lacey. You are invited to this open event to celebrate Penny’s remarkable contribution to the field of education, and in particular the education of children with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

Penny Lacey - My Tribute

Penny's spirit is the spirit of humankind. It is still with us, and will remain in the ongoing influence of her achievements, and what she inspired in us. She always strove to open minds.

Penny LaceyFor our special children, she knew the reality of the barriers that their conditions presented. She was a force in eroding the inhibitions of medical models that saw only disability. She was truly an educationist and taught us to seek to find ABILITY and nurture it. There was an underlying humour in this lady from the university. Who else could have humanised the dry processes of 'target setting' as she did with the subversive idea of 'scruffy targets'!

She sought to encourage us to give our children great experiences and see them blossom. It was her mission to overcome barriers by gentle means. Her influence was contributory in enabling Keith Park to grasp the opportunity for our special children to participate in performing the bible stories in the awesome environment of Westminster Abbey. Awesome is the right word, for in that place words soar with the sounds and echoes, creating an experience where sensory meets spirit. But when the humour she loved in Keith's work also comes into play, spirituality overflows into joy.

It has been my privilege to participate with those people – children, parents, teachers and just passers-by. My privilege to hear them chant and raise their hands together, one of the songs we chanted included the words:

Love is the key
But where is the door?

The work of Penny Lacey helped many people “turn the lock and open the door”.

So, I am sorry that when this special event takes place I will not be there to share it with you. But I would like to send you some entertainment in the form of a video of an improvised counting session that I did un-planned on the floor in the school that Penny loved at Castlewood. I hope you enjoy it, because on it I believe you can see it was easy for me, even as a stranger, because her children have been taught to enjoy learning - what better tribute could there be to her philosophy .

All the best from Les Staves

Swiss Cottage School Conference Centre Venue Information

Swiss Cottage SchoolSwiss Cottage School
80 Avenue Road

Phone: 020 7681 8080
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Conference Centre is on the top floor of the school building, with full lift access.

The school is next door to the new UCL Academy on the corner of Adelaide/Avenue Road.

Nearest underground station: Swiss Cottage, come out of exit one and turn left on to Avenue Road.

Nearest overground station: South Hampstead

Bus services: 46, 113, 13, 187, 268, 603, N113 and N13

Important travel information

Full travel and transport information can be downloaded here - How to find us: [].

A Google map is available here -,-0.134462&z=12&t=m&hl=en&gl=US&mapclient=embed&q=80%20Avenue%20Road%20London%20NW8%206HX%20UK.

Please note there is NO PARKING ON SITE and very limited parking in the surrounding area, so we strongly advise you do not drive.

Disabled Access

Our school has full disabled access and facilities. Please notify reception if you require any support during your visit.

Develop Your Sensory Lexiconary Tour

from The Sensory Projects

Early Bird Booking for the 2018 Lexiconary Tour is now live! Book via EventBrite at the links below.


The event starts at 0930h on each day.















Event Description

Develop your sensory lexiconary and learn to use it to communicate with those who experience meaning in a primarily sensory way. 
This course will teach you about the development of seven sensory systems and show you how to select and organise sensory resources in such a way as to engage Sensory Beings in conversations, whilst also supporting their mental well being and developing their cognition. 

Everyone is welcome on these days but they are particularly suitable for:

  • People who support individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
  • People who are looking to use sensory communication with individuals in the later stages of dementia.
  • People who work with babies and children in the early years looking to develop their sensory practice.
  • Creative individuals looking to develop sensory works to engage with sensory communicators.
  • People who work in special schools or run groups that support students from special schools.
  • People with a particular interest in sensory literacy.

Feedback from Sensory Lexiconary delegates 2017
"The lives of the children I work with will be changed because I came to this today"
Children's hospice worker
"Jam packed day of stimulating, scintillating sensory expressions. ESSENTIAL!"
Special school practitioner
"This is how to share life alongside people with sensory needs"
A member of staff at National Star College
"A jaw droppingly good day. As a groupie of endless day seminars, course and conferences this was very rare"
Hospice worker
Feedback from Sensory Lexiconary delegates 2016
"Totally inspirational: No one is too disabled to have a conversation"
Anne-Marie Glasby from Changing Our Lives
"Inspired and delighted by the sensory possibilities
Circus Starr CIC
Not enough superlatives to describe the experience
Jo Bonney Support worker extraordinaire

Delegates on Lexiconaries so far have included: parents, foster carers, teachers from special and mainstream settings, portage workers, speech and language therapists, CAMHs team members, artists and actors, support workers, staff from hospital education teams, children's hospice practitioners, staff from dementia care settings, people supporting refugees and victims of trauma, people who support babies in the first months of life, staff members from CICs looking to support inclusion in society, social researchers, family members and more. I look forward to welcoming new diverse delegates in the future.