New Developments

SENAD Group to Open New Specialist School- Northamptonshire

Edgewood School will be the newest and latest edition to the SENAD Group portfolio. Currently undergoing major building and renovation work, our site in Lingswood Park, Northampton will become a vibrant, ambitious and caring independent day and residential school for young people aged 7 up to 18 years old.

Opening in Autumn 2023, the school will be able to accommodate up to 26 pupils, first starting with day placements (14) and then after completion of the children’s home development, reaching up to 12 residential placements (38 and 52 week). Pupils who attend will have an EHCP and experience a range of special educational needs including: Autism, moderate to severe learning disabilities, speech, language and communication difficulties and challenging behaviours.

All classes will be small with a high staff to pupil ratio and the school will offer a broad curriculum designed to meet the very individual needs of each pupil and supported by a range of therapeutic programmes.

We are currently recruiting for the school Headteacher

SENAD Group Welcome New Directors

After 15 years tireless work across the SENAD Group Mark Flynn, Chief Operations Officer has retired and he left the SENAD Group on the 31st August 2022. We wish Mark a long, happy and healthy retirement and send huge thanks to him for all the fantastic work he did for the Group.

We’re pleased to welcome 2 new Directors who joined the team on Monday 5th September.

Suzanne Pennington -Director of Education

After being Head Teacher of a large Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ special school in Buckinghamshire, Suzanne relocated to Derbyshire in 2012, joining the SENAD Group as Head Teacher of Pegasus School. She then successfully commissioned and set up both Ecclesbourne Lodge and OneNineFive transitional homes on behalf of the Group as she struggled to find suitable adult provision for Pegasus School leavers. Suzanne then joined St Andrew’s School in Derby as Head Teacher; a ‘Good’ school with a residential department that was judged to be ‘Outstanding’ at the first inspection under her tenure.

Suzanne is passionate about coaching and mentoring staff to achieve the best outcomes – for themselves and for the young people with whom they work. Suzanne was a Director of the Derby Teaching School’s Alliance, working across the City to provide high quality training for staff in all school settings. The focus was ensuring equality of opportunity and inclusion for learners with additional needs.

Suzanne has worked for over 30 years in specialist settings advocating for adults and young people with SEND. She has been successful at leading schools, colleges and adult settings to become highly effective organisations, also contributing to the development of specialist educational services locally through focus groups and working parties, countrywide through DfE action groups; and internationally in Moscow and Japan.

Mark Ryder – Director of Children’s Social Care.

Mark started his career as a qualified Social Worker and was then a Care Inspector for 11 years, 7 of which with Ofsted. In 2014 he joined the SENAD Group as Head of Care at Alderwasley Hall School and was part of the team in getting the care provisions to ‘Outstanding’ at both the Lower and Upper School sites for three successive years.

Mark has since worked with a large SEN provider as their Senior Regional Operations Manager where he was the Responsible Individual for 5 children’s homes and led on compliance for a further 27 homes. He was also the National Lead Safeguarding Manager for this group and more lately, he leads the care division with a group specialising in SEN and EBD children’s homes in the Midlands area.

Mark has successfully registered a number of specialist homes and received good and outstanding Ofsted grades for newly created and developing services. He is committed to excellent outcomes for young people and is a strong advocate for them, Mark brings a wealth of experience to the role and is looking forward to meeting with and supporting both previous and new colleagues.

Awarding Staff for Excellence

In May 2021 we launched the very first SENAD Staff Awards to celebrate excellence by recognizing members of our team that have gone the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of those we educate, care and support.
Award winners were announced at the end of the year, with 153 members of staff from disciplines across the group, receiving awards for their contribution to their service. 50 of these winners went on to win the overall SENAD Group awards. Categories included Care Practitioner of the year, Domestic Champion to IT Champion, and nominations were open to all employees. Huge congratulations to all of the 2021 winners… Look out for nominations opening for the 2022 awards soon.

National Awards Winners- SENAD Community

Congratulations to our colleagues at SENAD Community who won the ‘Lord Rix Supporting Older People with Learning Disabilities Award’ at this year’s National Learning Disability Awards.
The team were awarded for their strong values, partnership working, linking to communities, supporting people to achieve their aspirations and their investment to staff teams.
Michelle Gould was shortlisted for the ‘Senior Managers Award’
Laura Ward was shortlisted for the ‘Breaking Down Barriers Award’

SENAD Group support Derby Uni students’ work on community SEND projects

Four University of Derby students who have provided community support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are the first recipients of a new prize from one of the UK’s leading providers of specialist education and care.

The Derby-based SENAD Group has sponsored the prizes of £500 each in recognition of the civic contribution made by the students.

Between them, the inaugural winners, all third-year students from the University’s BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs and Disabilities degree programme, have developed sport and physical activities, research-based therapies, methods for managing emotions and opportunities for children to interact with animals.

While studying for her degree at Derby, Samantha Hilton’s placement at The Island Project Farming and Education Centre in Derbyshire saw her deliver sessions focused on the mental health and wellbeing of children by building their rapport with the centre’s animals.

Samantha developed a more ‘hands-on approach’ and taught herself Makaton sign language which she could incorporate in sessions through a ‘Simon Says’ game, based around welfare needs of the animals at the centre.

She said: “This prize has enabled me to realise and value my own work and achievements in such a hard year for all, especially children and young people with SEND. My degree provided a placement which incorporates animal-assisted interaction, and the changes I saw within the children has inspired me to further my education on therapy which incorporates animals.”

Amelia Goodhew created a physical activity programme with targets designed to meet social, emotional and sensory needs. The SHINE programme, which operates in the Coventry and Warwickshire area, has progressed to delivering one-to-one sessions to 23 children aged between three and 13 years old. The sessions are delivered at home, schools and other locations in the community.

Amelia, who worked as a teaching assistant before enrolling on the degree course at Derby, said: “Winning the SENAD prize award means the world to me, as it has aided me in showing my value as a SEND professional. The award has also helped us to access more funding and open our community SHINE project to more participants across Rugby, as well as continuing to support participants in Coventry and Warwickshire.”

She will soon begin a new role as SEND lead for the Coventry-based Positive Impact Group, working to deliver alternative provision for children.

Leila Holman researched the value of resonance boards, which use sound to assist sensory learning, in the Derby school at which she worked as a teaching assistant. She put together a training programme which enabled staff to use the boards for creative sessions, focused on increasing non-verbal communication. As a result, the boards are now used across her school and have helped to enhance children’s communication skills.

She said: “It means so much that my contribution to the SEND community has been noticed not just by myself, but by others, which has given me a real confidence boost and inspired me to keep going and keep pushing myself to be the best practitioner I can be.

“It has given me a real lift in such a difficult time and showed me that it is always worth carrying on, being myself and doing what I believe in.”

Emily Humphries has been volunteering to help children with SEND since she was 12 years old, which has led to a career in a primary school, while continuing to volunteer in the Scouting movement, as well as working for the Staffordshire-based charity Ourspace.

Her interest in how one of the schools she volunteered with managed behaviour and taught self-regulation led to the development of her own practice of one-to-one support. This allowed flexibility for children to manage their own emotions, and to ensure there is always a calming environment after a child has experienced a distressing situation.

Emily said: “SEND has always been a huge factor in my surrounding life and it’s amazing to be recognised for my continuous work within the SEND community. It has brought so much pride and determination going forward and this achievement will stand out as I progress throughout my career into SEND teaching.”

Brian Jones, SENAD Group Executive Chairman and University of Derby honorand, said: “Supporting the SEND experts of the future is hugely important to us at the SENAD Group, as we continue to develop best practice to ensure that all children and young people with special education needs and disabilities’ are given every opportunity to maximise their potential. I would like to congratulate the four University of Derby students who have been awarded a SENAD Group sponsored prize, their ingenuity, hard work and dedication to the projects they have worked on is outstanding.”

Trevor Cotterill, Programme Leader for Education Studies and SEND at the University of Derby, said: “We are delighted that The SENAD Group has so kindly sponsored these new prizes for our students. They shine a light on the brilliant work being done to support children with special educational needs by our students in their workplaces and local communities.

“As an applied university, we take huge pride in knowing that our students are using their knowledge, understanding and skills to provide practical solutions which bring real and lasting benefits to children’s lives.”

In addition to the prizes, SENAD has also pledged a £3,000 scholarship to one student enrolling in this year’s post graduate School Direct with Qualified Teacher PGCE, with SEND pathway, following their transition from a University of Derby undergraduate programme.

Chief Executive Officer Awarded Honorary Master Degree From The University of Derby

Brian Jones PC VC Chancellor

Huge congratulations go to our Chief Executive Officer Brian Jones who has been awarded Honorary Master of Derby University to recognise him for his work to promote and ensure the equality of education for young people.

Brian has been Chief Executive Officer for the SENAD Group since 2006. Using his significant experience in specialist education with local authorities, the voluntary sector and independent sector, he has successfully led the group in designing and operating high quality education, therapy and care services for young people and adults with autism, speech language and communication needs and mental health needs.

Brian is relentless in his dedication, determination and ambition to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our society and their families are treated with the respect, dignity and have equal opportunities to maximise their potential. He is highly respected figure within the sector and works closely with the Department for Education, educational institutions, including the University of Derby to develop policy and practice that will increase equality for all people with additional needs.

Photo Credit – Richard Richards Photography

Video Credit – First Sight Media

‘Outstanding’ SENAD Group Services in 2018




Three of the Groups services have been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by inspectors during 2018, Alderwasley Hall and Sixth Form Centre Homes for residential students and SENAD Community (West Midlands).

SENAD Community – Coventry were inspected by the Care Quality Commission in January.
The service provides care and support, including personal care, to people living in their own homes in the community within the West Midlands region of the country.As part of the inspection, the Inspector requested feedback for six health and social care professionals who work with the service and during the inspection they spoke to three people who are supported by the service and one relative. The inspector also spent time talking to the Registered Manager, Laura Ward and five members of staff. The inspector also review the care plans of four people, staff recruitment and supervision records and other records relating to the management of the service.

Inspectors found staff were caring and compassionate and people were being provided with safe, responsive, caring, effective and well-led care. A full inspection report has been published on CQC’s website

Under CQC’s programme of inspections, all adult social care services are being given a rating according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. SENAD Community Ltd- Coventry is rated Outstanding for being safe and well-led, and Good for being caring, responsive and effective.

Maggie Hannelly, CQC’s Head of Inspection for Adult Social Care in the central region said:
“Our inspection team were really impressed by the level of care and support offered to people at SENAD Community Ltd- Coventry, which we found gave them an enhanced sense of quality of life and well-being. “People were extremely satisfied with the quality of the service they received. The registered manager provided clear leadership to the staff team and was valued by people, staff and the provider.
“There was a positive culture and the provider’s value system placed people at the heart of the service. There was a whole team culture whose focus was on how could they do things better for people.
“People consistently told us staff were well trained. Staff underwent a rigorous induction programme prior to providing people’s care. The dignity care staff champion shared their learning with peers.
“The registered manager had used innovative and creative ways of training and developing staff that enabled them to apply their learning in their practice in order to deliver outstanding care for people.
“There was a strong emphasis on the importance of people eating and drinking well. The provider’s utilisation of an electronic recording system meant they could very effectively monitor if people had received their required support with eating and drinking. Any issues were picked up promptly through the system and fed back to the office staff to record.
“All of this meant people received a high standard of care, which is why it has been rated Outstanding.”

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said:
“The quality of care which our inspectors found here was exceptional and I am very pleased that we can celebrate the service’s achievements.
“An outstanding service is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work and commitment. I would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved.”

The homes for residential students at Alderwasley Hall School and Sixth Form Centre have achieved the accolade of being rated Outstanding for a third consecutive year.

The homes are inspected by Ofsted Care and Inspectors look closely at the experiences and progress of children and young people and the difference the home makes to their lives. The inspectors spoke to children and young people, parents and members of the care staff team, as well as the Registered Managers. Karen Tatham is the Registered Manager for the homes for younger students and Lesley Mawbey is the Registered Manager for the residential accommodation at the Sixth Form Centre. Care of the young people at the school is also overseen by Mark Ryder, Head of Care. To achieve an Outstanding rating the service must demonstrate they consistently exceed the standards of good and the expectations of the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015.

During their inspection in September Inspectors found the children’s home for students aged 5 to 15 years, provided a service which contributes significantly to the positive outcomes and experiences of young people who are placed at the school on a residential basis.

Staff were praised for their partnership working with parents and the warm nurturing relationships they build with young people. A strong key team of care, education and therapy meet regularly with parents and the young person to work out strategies to ensure progress.
The inspectors also commented on the wide range of activities young people are able to take part in, the strong safeguarding process and the strong leadership team.

Read the report in full

Accommodation for older students, aged 16 to 19 years, comprises of two houses, one located on the Sixth Form Centre site and another located just down the road in Matlock.

Inspectors found staff to be passionate about ensuring young people had long term positive outcomes, which was reflected in the close working with education and therapy staff and the fact that most young people went on to higher or further education or joined apprenticeship schemes. They also commented on the effectiveness of the staff in working with young people with complex mental health conditions.

Read the report in full

New Transition Home – opening May 2014. Now Taking Reservations!


OneNineFive will provide accommodation for 10 residents to live in a suburban residential area with easy access to the shopping and leisure facilities of Burton upon Trent. The accommodation is designed over three floors of a Victorian house giving three self-contained apartments.

OneNineFive is an ideal home for people with complex difficulties and challenges that require specialist support in a safe and caring environment. At OneNineFive residents will be able to learn practical life skills and participate in social activities that will support their transition towards a more independent life.

Specialist staff will work with young adults to plan experiences and activities that develop skills for independent living. From initial assessment onwards, the young adult will be at the centre of all planning to ensure we take account of their wishes, desires and preferences.


For more information please call – Caroline Eaton. Tel: 01332 378840 or complete our online enquiry form.

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New Service: West Midlands Learning Campus

Cedar Lodge

The new campus has been developed to provide a robust and innovative menu of services that meet the current and future needs and life aspirations of young people and adults with severe learning difficulties, autism and complex behaviours which currently prevent them achieving their potential, to access lifelong learning through highly individualised and formal learning programmes and empowering life opportunities.

In developing the new campus we have taken the best of all the services and resources on the site for the advantage of students and residents.

The campus can provide a combined through service from age 11 years to adulthood and includes:

  • Rowden House School and Children’s Home
  • Cedar Lodge Transition Service
  • Winslow Court Adult Home
  • Three community based adult homes within a 5 mile radius of the campus
  • Community based support programmes

The main goals of the service are to enable the young person or adult to re-engage with their:

  • Learning
  • Family
  • Peer Group
  • Community

The programme of activities provided at the campus follows and holistic approach to ensure an individual’s intellectual, emotional and physical needs are recognised and addressed.