November 2020 Issue 27
Supporting staff and students to achieve their full potential
(Est. 1968)

Dear CENMAC Community,

This month we are thrilled to be launching ‘The NHS strikes Back!’ the fantastic animation completed by the girls' club during the first lockdown.

Digital Illustration of a hospital waiting
Still from NHS Strikes Back

Our Animation Project
with Southwark Park Primary School and Rainbow Collective

Well done to Regina and Myzat for finishing their brilliant animation – The NHS Strikes back! Link: NHS Strikes Back 

The project began with an inspiring masterclass from Shareefa Eneragy, a multitalented spoken word poet, writer, mentor and workshop facilitator. The girls then produced their own poem, which they went on to use as narration in their final animation. Myzat and Regina have taken their experiences and thoughts from COVID-19 and created a fantastic animation to share their message.

A huge thank you to Richard and Hannan from the Rainbow Collective in adapting the project to a virtual space. We hope this is the first of many online workshops in which we can bring young people together to share their experiences, especially those using alternative communication and assistive technologies.  

Pupil Voice:
Rainbow Collective:         
Shareefa Energy: 

Kathryn Stowell
Head of CENMAC

Road sign electric avenueLockdown 2

Another lockdown began on 4 November, but this time schools and colleges will remain open. However there will be occasions when individual students, whole classes or entire bubbles have to stay at home and isolate. In these situations, the CENMAC team have found over the last half term that schools are now more able to deliver home learning. School staff have been adapting their usual methods when holding meetings and whilst the technology is not always reliable, staff have been more able to troubleshoot difficulties with wifi, audio and vision when using video conferencing.  

Students have also adapted and become accustomed to the idea that sometimes their learning might need to be completed in non-conventional ways. Online learning is becoming the norm with students able to dip in and out of content at short notice and continue their studies in an asynchronous manner. Many schools are also providing synchronous learning experiences for students in the classroom and those who may be at home. 

Whichever way works, schools need to remember there is a huge amount of content already available and growing by the day. Schools also need to remember that with so much content to choose from, and students who are used to spending time online watching very short and very engaging content, that any home learning needs to be appealing and hold the attention of the students. One way of doing this is to make more interactive content, for example using tools like Quizizz to design games, quizzes and flashcards or ‘Flipgrid’ to begin class discussions around a topic, including everyone in the class, whether they are learning at home or still at school. 

For students with an interest in space travel, or to simply liven up a regular story time slot, try theseStories from Space’ which take online content to another level with a selection of stories read by astronauts as they orbit the earth. 

For a helpful overview and advice for teachers and leaders, take a look at theGovernment guidance on remote learning which has recently been updated to include a selection of example lessons for remote teaching. 

Teaching Assistant Award | November 2020

In our work supporting students with assistive technology we meet some amazing teaching assistants and we would like to acknowledge the extra effort and skills of those individuals. 

Portrait photo of a blonde womanCongratulations to Brooke – November 2020 Teaching Assistant Award

'I joined Woolwich Poly Sixth Form in 2017 and I felt so overwhelmed with the help, support and guidance I was given from all my teachers - especially from the Learning Support Department. This gave me the motivation to want to become a Learning Support Assistant. 

I joined the Learning Support Department in September 2019 as the youngest member of staff. I quickly grew in confidence because I was enjoying my role. In class I have supported pupils with a range of needs. I have worked collaboratively with teachers to ensure our vulnerable students have the opportunity to access the curriculum.  I am now confident to share ideas and this makes me feel like a valuable member of the team. Working with a pupil using a CENMAC computer, gave me the opportunity to learn about the support CENMAC provides and how it helps the pupil to access their work.  The training I have had from CENMAC has been invaluable.' 

Brooke has been an outstanding teaching assistant who has embraced the skills needed to support pupils using the Surface Pro computer. She has learned how to use the software and has trained other Support staff. Brooke also helped the students understand how to manage their work and structure their saved documents, in short, she has had a significant impact on the learning of the students she supports. 

If you know a Teaching Assistant who goes above and beyond to help a student with their Assistive Technology, please email your nomination to your CENMAC link. 

CENMAC Training

Blue graphic with text Clicker Writer Training

Online Clicker Writer for iPad Training

Date: Wednesday 18 November 2020
Time: 1-2pm
Trainer: Katie Fitch, Crick Software
Eventbrite Link: Online Clicker Writer for iPad Training

CENMAC Training

Blue graphic with text  scanning pens training

Online Scanning Pens Training | Primary

Date: Wednesday 25 November 2020
Time: 2-3pm
Trainer: Quin Chandler, Scanning Pens
Eventbrite Link:
 Scanning Pens | Primary CM10


CENMAC Training

Blue graphic with text  scanning pens training

Online Scanning Pens Training | Secondary

Date: Wednesday 2 December 2020
Time: 2-3pm
Trainer: Jim Bowen, Scanning Pens
Eventbrite Link:
 Scanning Pens | Secondary CM11


illustration of a computer screenCENMAC's Virtual Visits and Remote Reviews

The CENMAC team have also been adapting our usual ways of working and we will be continuing with ‘Virtual Visits’ to support students and staff, and also carrying out some of the yearly reviews remotely.

This has been working well so far and has meant that we have been able to ‘see’ a greater number of students as our travel time has been hugely reduced. 
However, we acknowledge that in some cases, the work that we need to do can’t be completed remotely, perhaps when setting up new equipment or working with a student with more complex needs. In these instances, we are following the guidance from schools regarding their visitor policies, and trying to communicate as much as possible by email and telephone before any actual visits take place. 

Illustration (c) Pen Mendonça

Staff Recommendations

  • Discovery – Anatomy of Touch – Digital Touch: A short podcast about the sense of touch and whether this can be replicated digitally. 
  •’s handbook of AAC buzzwords. 
  • : Text BBC (c) -  BBC is marking the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act with a range of content across television, radio and online. The civil rights law, which was passed on 8th November 1995, makes it unlawful to discriminate against people in respect of their disabilities in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, education and transport.


What's New

Image of device and back of a person
The release of teen and adult vocabulary within Super Core: 

The updated version of Super Core introduces age-appropriate vocabulary in addition to leisure and independence activities for the more mature learner:

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