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​Inclusive Learning North runs forums and courses led by:

 ILN Zena.jpg

 Zena Martin

 BA (Hons), PGCE, NPQH, PG Cert (SpLD)

 Educational Consultant and Director (Inclusive Learning North)


Inclusive Learning North provides high quality support, training and consultancy to schools providing for 3-11 year olds in the north of England. The Inclusion Forums are ever-growing, both in the number of schools taking part and the strength of voice it has to enable positive development in schools' inclusive practice and the products and services provided to support them.  As Director of Inclusive Learning North, Zena seeks to bring to the Forum the best research, practice, resources and expertise in both SEND and wider aspects of inclusion, from around the UK and beyond. Current projects include engaging with the Department for Education (DfE) in the development of ways of measuring progress of pupils on P-Scales, and engaging schools in the Own-voice Intensive Phonics (OVIP) project with Philip MacMillan from Exeter University. Zena will be working with Anita Devi, Consultant, and Optimus Education to deliver the SENCO Masterclass at their 15th Annual SENCO Update Conference in London in May 2017.​

Zena is also works as an associate SENCO and consultant to primary schools in the north, utilising her experience in both inclusion leadership and SpLD expertise. Working with her colleague, Eleanor Hick, of Inclusive Learning (Lancs), she delivers the very popular SENCO Forums to primary schools in Lancashire and Cumbria. She is an associate lecturer with Edge Hill University and, previously, Manchester Metropolitan University. She currently tutors on, and reviews, the National SENCO Award, as well as the Postgraduate Certificate in Inclusion and SEN.

Zena's extensive knowledge and experience enable her to maintain a perceptive working understanding of what schools require to meet the needs of all pupils. Equally, her relationships with schools allows her to knit together best practice for the benefit of all.

Zena has previously been involved in an EU project in Malta, training junior and kindergarten teachers in literacy and differentiation, and worked with an International School in Sweden. She has delivered training courses throughout the UK on a range of subjects in inclusion and SEND. Previously, Zena worked as a SENCO, Inclusion Manager and Deputy Head Teacher. During this time, she gained specialist teaching skills, in addition to the NPQH. Her primary school teaching experience was in Manchester, Rochdale and Salford.



Inclusion Forums and associated courses seek to develop the quality and impact of provision that is additional to or different from that which is otherwise available for pupils with special educational needs and disability, and other groups of pupils at risk of underachievement and marginalisation. Moreover, they seek to improve and develop the Quality First Teaching (QFT) that such pupils will experience. The vision follows Florian's (2007, p.15) call for re-imagining how we think about provision for pupils with SEND.    

'It is the process of providing something "additional to" or "different from" that which is "otherwise available" in school that defines special educational provision. The task is not to defend what is "special" about this kind of provision but to challenge complacency about what is not "otherwise available"'. (Florian, 2007).

"…as many as half of all pupils identified for School Action would not be identified as having special educational needs if schools focused on improving teaching and learning for all, with individual goals for improvement."  (Ofsted SEN Review 2010 pg. 5).

'… inclusion is concerned with all children and young people in schools; it is focused on presence, participation and achievement; inclusion and exclusion are linked together such that inclusion involves the active combating of exclusion; and inclusion is seen as a never-ending process. Thus an inclusive school is one that is on the move, rather than one that has reached a perfect state.' (Ainscow et al., 2006).


Ainscow, M., Booth, T., Dyson, A. (2006) Improving Schools, Developing Inclusion. Routledge.

Florian, L. (2007) 'Re-imagining special education.' In L. Florian (ed.) The Sage Handbook of Special Education. London: Sage.