University of Northampton’s partnership with the Village Education Centre helps children and young people in Thailand with special educational needs

Date 23.12.2015

The School of Education at the University of Northampton has been instrumental in supporting children and young people in Thailand with special educational needs and disabilities by working in partnership with the Village Education Centre based in Bangkok.

A non-profit, non-governmental organisation, the Village Education Centre’s main aim is to support the development and inclusion of children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities. The University of Northampton works with teachers and support staff by developing specific expertise through its MA in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion programme and by offering professional development workshops for those who work in support roles.

Julian Brown, Subject Leader for Special Education Needs and Inclusion, said: “The 12 students who have so far completed the programme have commented on the value of the professional development being offered face-to-face opportunities as opposed to distance-led approaches which they had experienced before.

“The taught sessions, not only provide them with knowledge, but also help them develop their network of support with other colleagues and to look beyond their own working context. This widening ‘lens’ helps them to gain a more holistic understanding of special educational needs and inclusion beyond their own setting.”

Olga Sara, Academic Partnership Development Manager at the University of Northampton, commented: As a result, the collaboration between the Village Education Centre and the University of Northampton has made an important contribution to educational practice and support for some of the most vulnerable learners in the multicultural cities of Bangkok and Pattaya.”

Feedback from one of the students stated: “This programme is particularly great because you get to have discussions with other colleagues working in the region. If it was completely online you wouldn’t have that feeling of being part of a group or a community.’ –

Harshi Sehmar, the founder of the Village Education Centre, commented: “When I came out to Bangkok about 16 years ago, there was very little provision for children and young people with special needs within international school settings. I quickly realised that there was much more support needed than these children were getting.”​​