• SEND speak

Activities, Local News & the SEND Inquiry week 2

Dear All

Let’s start with some good stuff, then back to the SEND Inquiry… and a bit of BBC Bitesize on SEND to finish (item 14)

1. New funding for Dramatize

2. Challengers Kingston and Richmond Play and Youth Schemes

3. Educational Psychologists (EPs)

4. Who are Achieving for Children? (AfC)

5. News and surveys from AfC’s Local Offer for SEND

6. The SEND Inquiry report – one week on

7. Robert Halfon MP, for The House (Parliament’s Magazine), 24th October 2019

8. SEND Inquiry report Part 2: No more reviews, it’s time to ACT

9. Paradigm Shifts

10. ‘A paradigm shift is what is required’

11. Schools to take bigger share of funding pressures

12. Schools 'failing to diagnose at least 80% of dyslexic pupils'

13. Donald Grey Triplett: The first boy diagnosed as autistic

14. BBC Bitesize on SEND

1 New funding for Dramatize

“Dramatize, a Theatre Company for individuals with learning disabilities, has successfully gained funding to expand into Richmond. Dramatize’ main base is in Ashford, Surrey, where they run 3 full time Pathway courses, workshops, performances, and events exploring different theatrical mediums to inspire a lifetime of creativity.

The recent funding has enabled the charity to run workshops in Kew, Richmond and Twickenham!

Give it a go for free

Each workshop runs on a weekly basis. Individuals can sign up for the course or pay as you go; all workshops are fully accessible to all levels of ability. Free taster workshops are available for those that want to give it a go.

The workshops

Acting, Mondays 1.30-2.30pm, Ages 18+, Ham Youth Club, Ham

Creative Movement, Tuesday 10-11am, Ages 18+, Studio Kew

Zumba, Tuesday 11am -12pm, Ages 18+, Studio Kew

Acting, Tuesdays 4.30-5.30pm, Ages 13-18, Cambrian Community Centre, Richmond

Zumba, Tuesdays 5.30-6.30pm, Ages 13-18, Cambrian Community Centre, Richmond

Physical Theatre, Thursdays, 5-6pm, Ages 16+, The Exchange Theatre, Twickenham “

Contact details To sign up for a free taster session, go to:

or contact Karen on:


T: 07785 187 748

2 Challengers Kingston and Richmond Play and Youth Schemes!

“Challengers are looking to reach out to families with children and young people living in the Kingston and Richmond Boroughs, who would be interested in attending Challengers Play and Youth Schemes. They include every child; including children who have complex impairments and who need 1:1 support. “

For more information and/or to book a first visit please visit their website

T: 01483 230 930


More information here:

3 Educational Psychologists (EPs)

Achieving for Children (AfC) provide EPs via schools, and it’s dependent on the school’s chosen funding arrangements.

Occasionally I’m asked to recommend an EP and I suggest going through the BPS = British Psychological Society ( ) and make a search on their website, here:

If there are other ideas from readers, I’m happy to publish them!

4 Who are Achieving for Children? (AfC)

Families still ask ‘who or what are AfC’, so here are the links to their company website.

“Our mission

To provide children and their families with the support and services they need to live happy, healthy and successful lives.

Who we are

Achieving for Children champions children and families, putting the wellbeing and education of children first. As a social enterprise, we can take a business approach to delivering our social aims. We have the independence and flexibility to tailor innovative solutions to the needs of children and their families, whilst maintaining our strong bond and deep commitment to society and public service.

Information for families

If you are a parent, carer or young person looking for information about our services for you, you will find it on our AfCinfo website, covering Kingston, Richmond and Windsor & Maidenhead boroughs.”

An organisation chart is always popular… here is one of the senior leadership at AfC. You’ll have to download it to read it clearly.

5 News and surveys from AfC’s Local Offer for SEND

Here is a mix of the latest local news items… and it’s definitely Survey Season!

How was the Annual Review? (survey)

This survey is from Achieving for Children…

“The purpose of this feedback form is to seek the views of parents and carers on their experience of the annual review process to help us make continued improvements to our service.”

Therapy Review (survey and news)

“We are continuing our consultation with parents, carers and young people to ensure that we reach as many people as possible:

· To ensure that we are focusing on the right areas to improve our local therapies offer.

· To make sure that the new therapies offer will improve outcomes for our CYP with SEND.

· Our service delivery model is aligned across Kingston and Richmond and across all therapy provision.

· To identify system wide actions that will have the most impact in the context of the financial challenges.

You can find out how we have consulted so far and what you have told us and you can take part in the consultation here (consultation closes on Tuesday 5th November)”

About SEN Support… (survey)

SEN Support might be the help a school gives when a child or young person is not progressing as expected; it is characterised by the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle. If your child or young person receives SEN Support, or you know of a family who does, please complete this survey.

“Thank you for taking part in this survey, we would like to hear your views on your child/young person's progress at his or her school. Achieving for Children will use your feedback feed into continued improvements to best support families moving forward.”

Richmond Parent Carer Forum (RPCF) are seeking an umbrella organisation

“The Richmond Parent Carer Forum (RPCF) is pleased to announce that they are seeking an Umbrella organisation that can host the administration relating to this group, and support the delivery of its activities in Richmond, working with the RPCF steering committee. The attached Recruitment of An Umbrella Organisation file outlines what is sought. Please note that the umbrella organisation will need to provide a hot desk space. The RPCF has allocated a 5% management fee against the budget in addition to the salary for the worker.”

More information here:

New free school set to open in Kingston (news)

“Green light has been given for the King Charles Centre in Surbiton to be sold to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Subject to planning permission, the site will be home to a new primary free school - the GEMS Surbiton Primary Academy - which will be a two-form entry and provide much needed primary school places in the local area. The new school will open in September 2022 and mean local children don’t need to travel outside their local area to other schools across the borough.”

More information here:

Local Government Association (LGA) SEND Review in Richmond (news)

“Richmond Council have commissioned a review of SEND provision within the borough from The Local Government Association (LGA). Conducted by professionals from other authorities over three days, the process is designed to provide the Council, Clinical Commissioning Group, Achieving for Children and partners with an independent assessment of strengths within the local SEND system, and areas requiring additional focus and improvement.

The LGA review team will be speaking with both young people and with parents.

The findings of the review will be considered by the Council's Education and Children's Services Committee on 12th December.”

6 The SEND Inquiry report – one week on

“The Department [for Education] did not need to preside serenely over chaos for five years to see that things were not quite going as planned”

Things must change…? Unfortunately, until we get past Christmas (the general election, more Brexit etc etc) it may be that precious little will change.

As parents, carers and professionals, we can keep our eye on the ball and not let go of the momentum. So, when would be politicians knock on your door to canvas for your vote over the coming months… talk to them about the SEND Inquiry!!

7 Robert Halfon MP, for The House (Parliament’s Magazine) 24th October 2019

“Extra funding will fail to make a difference unless ministers correct the flaws in this dysfunctional system, writes Robert Halfon MP”

The article is a summary of the reports’ recommendations, and the closing paragraphs are very clear…

Children with special educational needs are being let down

“More money is needed, and while we welcome the Government’s SEND review and the additional funding, simply throwing more cash at the problem would be like topping up a bath with no plug. Until the flaws in the system are corrected, the Government may as well pour the cash straight down the drain.

The Education Committee shares the ambition of parents for their children. Action is needed now; children cannot afford for the Government to delay. Ministers must take control and ensure children really are at the heart of the system as they intended in their 2014 reforms.

If they fail to act, generation after generation of children will be let down, missing out on opportunities to thrive, to succeed and ultimately failing to fulfil their full potential in life.”

Robert Halfon is Conservative MP for Harlow and chair of the Education Select Committee

8 SEND Inquiry report Part 2: No more reviews, it’s time to ACT

By Catriona Moore for Special Needs Jungle, 24th October 2019

“You would think we’d have learned by now not to get our hopes up by reports and reviews. But there is something about the urgency of this one that invites a little optimism – as well as justifiable rage, of course. The select committee has so thoroughly taken on board the experiences of young people and families; they state so unambiguously that things have gone badly wrong with the way children with special educational needs are supported in this country; and they demand nothing less than immediate action from the Government.”

9 Paradigm Shifts

The Cambridge dictionary defines a paradigm shift is defined as ‘a time when the usual and accepted way of doing or thinking about something changes completely’ and I recall a quote from me using the words ‘paradigm shift’ being used by the Department for Education (as a parent soundbite) when discussions on the SEND Reforms kicked off in 2012.

So much optimism and some good work done, but sadly we’ve only just started. The ideals are solid, the implementation has been awful. So perhaps we are only just at Paradigm Shift Part II – which we all know is not at all fair or right for our young people.

10 ‘A paradigm shift is what is required’

Ian Thomas CBE, chief executive of Kingston upon Thames, 29th October 2019

“The special needs and disabilities (SEND) crisis today is long in the making. It pertains to practice quality issues, sufficiency of provision, timeliness, and critically, a shortfall in funding.

The financial crisis is a reflection of the historical inequity of allocations within the high needs blocks of councils’ Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), increased complexity of need, scarcity pricing and rising demand. According to the Local Government Association, the national funding gap will be between £1.2bn and £1.6bn by 2021 and whilst the additional £780m announced recently is welcome, it’s akin to using a sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound.”

11 Schools to take bigger share of funding pressures

By Charlotte Santry for TES, 25th October 2019

“Exclusive: Cash-strapped councils plan to bring more pupils out of alternative provision into mainstream education. Schools may be expected to do more to support vulnerable pupils as councils struggle to address major funding gaps, documents seen by TES reveal.”

12 Schools 'failing to diagnose at least 80% of dyslexic pupils'

BBC News, 25th October 2019

“Schools in England are failing to diagnose at least 80% of pupils who have dyslexia, according to a report. It said families were paying up to £1,000 for help and pupils from poorer backgrounds were being left behind. The British Dyslexia Association said diagnosis and support was the worst it had seen since government funding started in the 1980s.”

13 Donald Grey Triplett: The first boy diagnosed as autistic

“Donald Grey Triplett was the first person to be diagnosed with autism. The fulfilling life he has led offers an important lesson for today, John Donvan and Caren Zucker write.

After Rain Man, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, the next great autism portrayal the stage or screen might want to consider taking on is the life of one Donald Grey Triplett, an 82-year-old man living today in a small town in the southern United States, who was there at the very beginning, when the story of autism began.”

14 BBC Bitesize on SEND

This page includes case studies and articles on choosing a school, deciding to home school, understanding SEND (for those new to our world)…

If you have any questions at all, please ask and I'll do my best to find an answer.

With best wishes, Romany



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