Specialist Educational Needs (SEN) experts gathered at a Carlisle conference to share developments and best practices.

The two-day Cumberland Annual SEND Conference, carried out on January 11 and 12, attracted more than 80 guests each day.

The conference, organised in conjunction with the University of Cumbria by Cumberland Council, included delegates from differing educational, social and health care backgrounds across Cumbria.

Several nationally renowned speakers took up keynote speaker roles, including Professor Neil Mercer from the University of Cambridge, who was raised in Cockermouth.

He stressed the necessity of oracy and the crucial role teachers play in equipping students with the language skills required for learning and later life.

Ellie Costello, director of Square Peg, and National SEND Leader Malcolm Reeve, who is part of the National Association for Special Educational Needs, also delivered speeches.

The attendees benefitted from the chance to participate in workshops and visit exhibitions from 11 local and national organisations.

The conference provided a platform for networking, discussion and exchange of thoughts on best practice.

On the event, Sophie McCabe, headteacher of Mayfield School, said: "It’s been a fantastic event to attend, and it’s wonderful to see an event of such scale about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities held in Cumbria.

"The workshops have been very insightful and informative, and it’s been brilliant to meet so many colleagues.

"We so rarely have the opportunity to meet in such a large group and share experiences, it’s been a really valuable few days."

Cumberland councillor Elaine Lynch, said: "The keynote speakers and workshop hosts have all provided incredibly valuable information and insight to our attendees surrounding SEND, as well as practical approaches and skills, which we will hope we will see disseminated throughout schools and education settings in the Cumberland area."