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Winter Wonderland – end of term CENMAC team highlights!

It’s been quite a final week for the school autumn term with snowfall bringing much of London to a grinding halt! It did look lovely though… 

As 2022 comes to end we’ve been looking back at our busy autumn term.

Kathryn Stowell, CENMAC Team Leader said “The CENMAC team continues to grow as we support even more children and young people across London. We aim to upskill and build the knowledge and expertise of those in all the schools we work. To help build an education service which provides all students who need it, the assistive technologies to achieve more. With every member who has joined the team whether it’s as part of admin, technical or an advisory role, they are bringing unique qualities and expertise which is creating a diverse and skilled team. I am very proud to be part of this growing service.”

Other highlights include:

Snow in Essex
Snow in Essex

Here’s a beautiful picture of the snow taken in Essex by Advisory Teacher David Howard 

The TES SEND Show 

We exhibited at the Tes SEND show and had a great time chatting to many of you at our stand. It was also great to see all the new emerging technology such as the Cubbie Sensory Hub and how Caption.Ed could help support our students with note taking in school more easily.


Abdi Omar’s inspirational training sessions 

Abdi Omar our wonderful AAC consultant was out and about at a number of schools, where he gave incredibly valuable and emotive sessions on strategies to motivate children and young people to use their AT and AAC devices.  

Mary Long’s QTVI Qualification

Deputy Team Leader Mary Long passed her QTVI course with a Distinction! Well done Mary! Now as a Qualified Teacher of Children and Young People with Vision Impairment this means that she will be able to put her new skills to work immediately with a number of a CENMAC students.

The Tes SEND Show

Tes SEND Show
Abdi with staff at Michael Tippett School
Abdi with staff at The Michael Tippett College

CENMAC online and face-to-face training

On top of completing her QTVI, Mary also delivered multiple training sessions on Clicker 8 and supporting staff to help students become more confident writers. She also organised a successful series of weekly Thursday Thirty online training sessions where we showcase some of the assistive technologies we use to support CENMAC students. These sessions provide simple introductions to show how it is used. Don’t forget to take a look and sign up for our spring term sessions!

Mary also supported a student who was previously non-verbal, through the use of AAC, to develop her confidence with speaking in short sentences which was a real highlight.

Mary providing Clicker 8 face-to-face training
Mary providing Clicker 8 face-to-face training

Mind Express 5 training 

Sarah McPoland, Advisory Speech and Language Therapist, particularly enjoyed attending the Mind Express 5 interactive training day in November. The course began with an overview of the Jabbla devices and their functions before providing participants with the opportunity to explore the unique features of the Mind Express 5 page sets. She was particularly interested in The Simple Auditory Scanning System (The SASS 2) and impressed by the options available to refine user access embedded within the software.  

New members to the CENMAC team…

Vicky Annan

New Advisory Teacher Vicky Annan came on board in the autumn term and has thoroughly enjoyed her first term as part of the CENMAC team and feels very proud to be part of it. She’s learnt so much in such a short space of time and has met so many fantastic children across London. She also really enjoyed exhibiting at the TES SEND Show and sharing the important work we are doing. She also had the opportunity to support Mary in running Clicker training for staff and parents at Friar’s Primary School.

Maureen De Longhi

My first full term as part of our CENMAC family and I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute. I’m so grateful for the chance to meet so many wonderful students and to be able to see such a significant difference in them just by having helped them use some technology.

One of my highlights was when I visited a student in college who had pretty much given up on ever being able to get any sort of qualification because even though he was clearly very able, his severe dyslexia meant he couldn’t write. His distress and frustration were palpable and quite heart breaking.

I spent half an hour with him showing him how to use some word prediction and read aloud software and watched as he painfully struggled to have a go. And then suddenly a breakthrough … He looked up and said, “oh, it’s like the predictive text on my phone!” It was a light bulb moment for him. And although it was a very small success, it meant he would now be able to keep moving forward.

It’s the little moments like these that make my new job so rewarding.


Supporting new students with assistive technology

Advisory Teacher Wayne McCullough has really enjoyed meeting new students and their schools, and supporting them with their equipment to enhance their learning. There have been some positive training sessions within schools on using Docs Plus to support literacy skills and Inspiration to create mind maps to support the planning and development of their work and revision. The staff could see the potential and benefits of the software programs to support the students. It has been really wonderful to see all the different schools, staff and students in person.

Khamani’s series of YouTube video interviews

Our CENMAC student ambassador Khamani was busy with video interviews and spoke to some inspirational people including Paralympian and AAC advocate Beth Moulam, Abdi Omar our wonderful CENMAC AAC Consultant, motivational speaker Toby Hewson, documentary maker Georgina Studd and CENMAC student Daisy. You can watch his interviews here.

Beth Moulam competing at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games
Beth Moulam competing at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games

New referrals, technical support and new animal friends! 

It was also a very busy term for Amorel our fantastic Administrator with lots of new referrals coming in, so much so that we now have some new team members to support us in the admin and technical support team. We will introduce them to you in the new year. She’s also now a new mother to a little rescue kitten who needed a good home. She came into the office this week for a visit and here she is… 

James Joseph who provides amazing technical support to so many CENMAC students during the term is not to be outdone by Amorel as he has a new Cavapoo! 

Amorel with her new kitten
James' new cavapoo
James’ new cavapoo

Best wishes for the festive season!

These are just a few of our highlights! We’ve all had a great autumn term and are now looking forward to spending a few weeks relaxing with friends and family.  

The team at CENMAC wish you all a restful and relaxing break and a very Merry Festive Season and Happy New Year!