The episode builds on Episodes #17, #18 and #19 “Engagement (Part 1), (Part 2) & (Part 3)” and continues the exploration of Engagement. We get a glimpse of how Engagement is used within a mainstream additionally resourced provision to develop conversations conversations about learning.

Prof. Barry Carpenter CBE OBE FCCT introduces Alex Revens who is the SEN Lead for an Additionally Resourced Provision that is attached to a mainstream school, Belmont School, in North London. Alex is also a SLE (Senior Leader in Education) for Autism.

Through a short conversation and a presentation from Alex, we look through the lens of a practitioner… at how Alex and the team at Belmont School use Engagement to liberate the intrinsic motivation of his pupils.

Alex combines the pedagogy of Engagement with the assessment processes offered through the Evidence for Learning app. His rich insights show how the combination of both reach out to the child with complex needs and;

  • Meet them at their point of learning need;
  • Wrap around the child as active learner;
  • Capture their attainment;
  • Celebrate their achievement.

His systematic and deductive approaches generate a high quality curriculum, with some significant outcomes, however small.

PLEASE NOTE: It is highly recommended that you watch or listen to the first 3 parts (Episode #17, #18 & #19) before listening to this episode.

Episode 20 Engagement (Part 4) Alex Revens – Through the lens of a practitioner

In this episode, Prof. Barry Carpenter CBE OBE FCCT introduces Alex Revens who is the SEN Lead for an Additionally Resourced Provision that is attached to a mainstream school, Belmont School, in North London. Alex is also a SLE (Senior Leader in Education) for Autism.

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Alex’s paper on the use of Engagement within a mainstream additionally resourced provision:

Alex has shared the paper that he recently wrote about his use of Engagement as part of his studying for towards an NASENCO award. This can be downloaded below:

Using the Engagement Model to assess & capture Engagement in children with Severe Learning Difficulties within a mainstream additionally resourced provision (PDF)

About Alex Revens and Belmont School:

I am the Lead SEND Practitioner at Belmont School, a mainstream school with an additionally resourced provision for pupils with severe learning difficulties. My career so far has involved leading and advising additionally resourced provisions across several settings within my local authority. In my current role, I lead the specialist provision at Belmont, in which the pupils access both mainstream and specialist education. Within the school, we cater for a large cohort of pupils with complex needs, with our Inclusion policy stating that ‘we encourage and celebrate moments of wonder in all children and each small step of progress is celebrated, with all children’s strengths recognised and valued.’

As a Specialist Leader in Education, I support other settings, including senior leadership teams, whole school teams and teaching staff in their provision for pupils on Autism spectrum. This involves advising on the strategic leadership of SEND within settings, developing inclusive Autism-appropriate environments within classrooms and instilling an Autism accepting culture within schools. I also lead the NQT Autism training as part of the local authority programme.

I am currently studying for my NASENCO award, in which I wrote the paper referenced in this podcast. Our ARP has now embedded the Engagement Model and is supporting and advising other local schools in the introduction of this new statutory assessment.

About Barry Carpenter CBE OBE PhD FCCT:

Barry Carpenter holds the UK’s first Professorship in Mental Health in Education, at Oxford Brookes University. He is Honorary Professor at universities in the Ireland, Germany and Australia. He has been a Fellow of the University of Oxford.

He has been awarded an OBE and CBE by the Queen for services to children with Special Needs. In 2017 he was entered into “Who’s Who” in acknowledgement of his national and international contribution to the field of Special Education.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Barry has held the leadership positions of Headteacher, Principal, Academic Director, Chief Executive, Inspector of Schools and Director of the Centre for Special Education at Westminster College, Oxford. In 2009, he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education as Director of the Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project. In that role Barry led an important and valuable piece of research on the use of Engagement as a pedagogy. This work become the foundation for Department for Education’s new guidance for assessment (DfE, 2019). Since completing that research, Barry has overseen the development of a national project developing online ‘Training materials for teachers of children with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities” (

He is the author of over 150 articles and many texts on a range of learning disability/special needs topics. In the last 12 months, his work has been translated into German, French, Dutch and Russian. His most recent book publications (with Carolyn Blackburn and Jo Egerton) focus upon Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Most recently he co-authored “Engaging Learners with Complex Needs” (Routledge).

Barry lectures nationally and internationally. In recent years this has included China, Japan, Abu Dhabi, USA, and Germany. In 2018 he will be giving lectures in Australia and New Zealand. He is the co-founder of the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education. For the Mental Health Foundation, he Chaired the National Inquiry into the Mental Health of Young People with Learning Disabilities. He is currently Chairing a working group looking at the needs of Girls on the Autism Spectrum, which is the focus of his latest book.

Barry has 3 children – one a School Principal, one a Senior Occupational Therapist and a daughter with Down’s Syndrome, who now has a home of her own, published her first book in 2017, and is on an Apprenticeship as a Teaching Assistant.

For more information:

Professor Barry Carpenter’s website:

Further reading…

You may find the following articles about Engagement useful reading on the topic:

Advances in Autism – Engagement article (PDF)

Finding Ferdy A collaborative inquiry about a student with complex disabilities (PDF)

Children with CLDD 9 feb 11 (PDF)

Disengaged article September 16-17 (PDF)

Engagement in Learning 201 June-July 2011 pg40-42 (PDF)

Navigators of learning (PDF)

SEN magazine The rules of engagement Sept 2011 (PDF)

Revisiting Engagement May 2016 (PDF)

More info about Engagement:

More info about Evidence for Learning:

Join the conversation:

Facebook: EfL SEND Community Group

Join us at:

or search for “eflSENDCommunity” in Facebook.

The purpose of the group is to provide a safe, closed space to seek out and share ideas, experience and resources that can help with any and all aspects of SEND provision. It’s also a community for practitioners and schools that use Evidence for Learning and Insights for Learning to share ideas, resources and support each other in using these apps. This is a peer-moderated and supported group.

Facebook Group: Recovery Curriculum

We’ve set up a private facebook group specifically for The Recovery Curriculum at:

or search for “recoverycurriculum” in Facebook.

Linkedin Group: The Recovery Curriculum

The group is called “A Recovery Curriculum for children & schools post-pandemic” and you can find it at: