Impact Education Software: SENDit and Roots & Shoots Learning
Monica and I learned the full value of the ESC one-to-one meetings back in February when we met over Zoom one Friday afternoon. We knew we had plenty already in common, due to our backgrounds in SEND. I was a former SENCo and Monica has a strong history working in SEN in schools, in local authorities and then as a SEN consultant.
We both felt there would be synergy in our work, although this wasn’t necessarily obvious at first glance. Monica’s EdTech company was rather different to my business, Roots and Shoots Learning, despite both having SEND at their heart. Roots and Shoots Learning is a non-traditional alternative provision offering one day a week placements for students with SEMH (Social, Emotional and Mental Health) needs at risk of permanent exclusion due to extreme behaviours. Monica co-founded Impact Education Software (IES) as a result of her desire to positively disrupt the status quo in SEND in the education system, believing that an innovative solution was needed to support the change that was long overdue. SENDit, the platform developed by the IES team in 2018 (?), became that solution. We both had the entrepreneurial drive, to spot entrenched, systemic problems and create solutions.
As we talked it became clear that my strategic thinking around SEND, specifically undiagnosed needs leading to an impending crisis in exclusion figures, and impacting on Safeguarding and county lines overlapped with Monica’s own professional curiosity around unidentified SEN. I had seen the unintended consequences of unidentified SEN for myself and felt a guilty knowledge – vulnerable children and young people who end up in places they shouldn’t; a reality I had seen for myself working as a Designated Safeguarding Lead aswell as SENCo in a Secondary setting, serving a severely disadvantaged community.
This was more than professional curiosity for us both, it was really about Social justice and creating social change. A background in Sociology was also something we held in common that we discovered on that same Friday afternoon.
SENDit is about being Changemakers … change the system and you can change lives. Of course I wanted to be involved!
We agreed to talk again and this led to working on small projects together, the most recent of which led to with me being contracted to work for IES on a specific project, supporting them with enabling SENCos from large mainstream to see the value of the platform for their specific setting. My background and experience in large settings means I can bring a unique value to the projects we collaborate on.
In addition, my teaching and training skills means I can support in the development of effective sessions for SENCos and Inclusion leads. It is wonderful to work alongside someone with the shared passion to be solution-based when working within a complex system, and to have impact on inclusive education moving forwards.
Our collaboration supports both our goals as companies… current collaboration gives ies access to your skills and entrepreneurial approach, while I am able
ESC is about connecting people with solutions, and ESC ensured that IES and I came across each other at just the right time – connecting my skills and entrepreneurial approach with their visionary approach to SEND, enabling IES move forwards as a company and achieve their bold ambition to be Changemakers in SEND, both nationally and internationally. ESC gave us the opportunity to see each other’s skills and overlapping expertise and from there a strong working partnership has flourished. We’re very grateful to be part of ESC!