Michelle Davey, a teacher at Highfield Ely Academy, has been recognised for her positive impact on children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), being nominated for a prestigious industry award.

The National Association for Special Educational Needs (nasen) is a charitable membership organisation that exists to support and champion young people with SEND. Nasen held its seventh annual awards ceremony recognising schools, individuals and organisations for their outstanding work to support young people with SEND. 

Michelle is a class teacher at Highfield Ely Academy, a special school that supports children and adults with a range of additional needs. All students have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and range from 2 to 25 years of age.

Along with her friend Christelle, Michelle produces and hosts a popular podcast called ‘Let’s Talk Autism’. The podcast was created by the two best friends during lockdown with the aim of raising awareness about Autism and other complex needs. 

Michelle described the podcast as “a friendly chat between parents of autistic and neurodiverse children and neurodiverse and additional-needs adults, sharing our journeys and experiences. 

“The profile of the podcast has really grown in the last three years, and we’ve been lucky enough to have some wonderful and well-known guests, such as Christine McGuinness, who shared her own experiences with our listener community” she added.

The hosts have raised money for the National Autistic Society by completing a podcast marathon where they recorded seven episodes per day during Autism Awareness week. They are known for their non-patronising, approachable style and even hosted online zoom parties for their community during lockdown. 

Lynsey Holzer, CEO of Active Learning Trust said: “I am delighted to hear that our colleague Michelle has received further recognition for the ‘Let’s Talk Autism’ podcast.  Her work, both with her podcast and at Highfield Ely Academy, continues to make a huge difference to the lives of neurodiverse children and young people, and also inspires and supports their parents. Well done Michelle!”

The nasen awards ceremony was held at the Grand Hotel Birmingham on 6th October (2023), was officially sponsored by ‘tes’. The podcast was nominated for ‘The David Ryan Award for Positive Media Impact’ award and landed the ‘runner up’ position on the evening. 

Michelle said: “The nomination itself is a proud achievement and we’re honoured to have been recognised in such inspiring company. It was a great night!”

Passionate about raising awareness and understanding of Autism, both in her teaching job at Highfield Ely Academy and her role as podcast host, Michelle is no doubt a huge asset to the SEND community, both locally and nationally.