It is vital that PATOSS members meet and share knowledge of developments in the field of Specific Learning Difficulties and personal experience of helpful working practices. Spreading an understanding of SpLD to the wider audience of other professionals who will encounter SpLD in the course of their work is also of great importance, as is learning from those who work in related fields. In recognition of this, PATOSS, the National body, provides a range of events and services for its members and other professionals. However, not everyone is able to take advantage of all these opportunities and this is where the importance of Local Groups lies.
Local Groups are a vibrant part of the PATOSS network. They are individually constituted bodies, using the PATOSS name under licence, and because they are locally based, they can adapt themselves to meet the needs of their local members. For the SpLD specialist, they are not an alternative to National Membership, as their work is more limited, but they do offer a range of benefits to their members.
All Groups allow any PATOSS National Member, of any category, to join. Nearly all Groups also offer membership to a wide range of other individuals with a professional interest in Specific Learning Difficulties and some offer membership to non-professionals.
Every Group aims:
- To give professional support to its members
- To provide a forum for members to exchange ideas and information
- To encourage links between teachers and with other professionals working in the field of specific learning difficulties
- To promote fuller understanding of specific learning difficulties.
To meet these aims, Groups hold meetings for their members which offer a professional level of Continuing Professional Development. Attendance at these CPD events can be counted towards CPD requirements in relation to Assessment and Teaching Practising Certificates. Non-Group members are usually allowed to attend meetings, too, though Group members and National PATOSS members may receive special concessions.
Many Groups provide an advice service to members and to their local community. Some Groups produce their own newsletters or web-page. Some have built up a library of books and resources which can be used by members and, in some cases, by non-members.
You can see if there is a Group near you by looking at the list below. If you click on the link, you can find out what activities they have planned and whom you can contact. Your Local Group will be pleased to hear from you and new members are always welcome.
If there is no Group in your area, you might like to consider starting one up. It only needs two National Members to be willing to serve on the Committee for a Group to be set up. The Local Groups Development Officer will help you to get in touch with National Members in your area and will support you through the setting-up process. Once your Group is up and running, she is also available to help you at any time, using knowledge gained from her own experience of running a Group and from working with all the other Local Groups.
Considering the benefits of membership of a Local Group, if you’ve not become involved in one before, NOW is the time to take that step!
Anyone wishing to start a new Group should contact the Local Group Development Officer, who provides help throughout the process.
Anni Wilton-Jones, Local Group Development Officer
Contact details: Local Group Development Officer, Anni Wilton-Jones, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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