• SEND speak

Andre, Parent/Carers, Dentistry (again) & Music

Dear All

Andre Imich (a pleasant fellow that I have met several times) gets several mentions this week…

1. SEND Futures Conference – Kingston & Richmond

2. SEND Inquiry rolls on… the MPs and the architect! (tomorrow)

3. SEND inquiry takedown: Parents vs DfE

4. “I just want to be like everyone else”

5. SEND Transport

6. Richmond (unpaid) Carer Strategy Consultation

7. Making the most of your Networks (all welcome)

8. Thinking Ahead – preparing for adulthood

9. Dentistry – call for advice

10. Open Mic night…

11. …and BandEd

1 SEND Futures Conference – Kingston & Richmond

There are still some places available for this open event… but not many… it’s free…

Thursday 27th June - 9.30am to 4pm

The Stoop, Langhorn Drive, Twickenham, TW2 7SX

“Our conference is an all-day event at which delegates will:

Listen: Hear the voice of stakeholders, including parents, children, young people and young adults

Learn: Access opportunities for personal development through the programme of talks and workshops

Lead: Develop their understanding of how to drive improvements in their own areas of responsibility

We have secured some fantastic influential speakers this year including:

· Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond upon Thames Council

· André Imich, the Department for Education’s SEN and Disability Adviser

· Ian Thomas CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Borough Kingston upon Thames

The conference will be open to all stakeholders contributing to the SEND systems in Kingston and Richmond. This includes parents and carers of children and young people with SEND as well as professionals in social care, health, education and the voluntary sector across 0 to 25 years.”

Places are free, but you must book a ticket through this link:

2 SEND Inquiry rolls on… the MPs and the architect! (tomorrow)

“In 2014, the Government introduced wide-reaching changes to the SEND system, with the intention of offering simpler, improved and consistent help for children and young people with SEND. The Government claimed these changes would give families greater choice in decisions. The Committee’s new inquiry is intended to review the success of these reforms, how they have been implemented, and what impact they are having in meeting the challenges faced by children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.”

Tomorrow, Tuesday 21st May at 10am in the Palace of Westminster there will be another Oral Evidence Session. These can be watched live via Parliament TV:

Tomorrow, the witness(es)are:

· Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families

· The Rt Hon Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards

· Dr André Imich, SEN and Disability Professional Adviser, Department for Education

Personally, I would like to see ex-MP Edward Timpson included as a witness. Edward is the minister who took these reforms through parliament; my recollection is that he is a ‘good egg’. Edward is a man whose parents fostered countless children, many with SEND; my sense is that he understood our world. The current MPs have inherited the reforms (although Andre if oft called the architect of these reforms and has been there throughout).

3 SEND inquiry takedown: Parents vs DfE

Published 19th May, by Tania Tirraoro, Special Needs Jungle

The MPs need no introduction (and see the text above). Andre Imich is an Educational Psychologist by trade. Tania takes the reader through the Inquiry, step by step…

“There have been close to 700 pieces of evidence (and counting) sent in to the SEND Inquiry. Tomorrow, the Department for Education will be giving evidence to the Education Select Committee in person(s). In the grand finale of the oral evidence sessions, Nadim Zahawi MP, the SEND minister; Nick Gibb MP, schools minister, and long-time DfE SEND Adviser, André Imich will all be under the committee spotlight.”

4 “I just want to be like everyone else” Reasonable Adjustments

So, writing about Andre reminds me that he is a fan of the local work on Reasonable Adjustments; led by myself, with Sarah Herbert and Grace Over from Achieving for Children (AfC).

In particular, the booklet ‘I just want to be like everyone else’ and the film from young people in their own words – the film is just over 10 minutes and really is young people in their own words.

“The Equalities Act 2010 requires schools to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with additional needs so they are not at a substantial disadvantage, and covers the provision by a school of auxiliary aids and services. The object of the duty is to avoid as far as possible by reasonable means, the disadvantage which a pupil experiences because of their additional needs.”

5 SEND Transport

SEND Transport - Richmond

“Following the consultation carried out in November and December, the Council has made some changes to the SEND Transport policy for Richmond. You can find a summary of the changes and a link to the main policy on the Local Offer website at: “

SEND Transport - Kingston

My recollection is that the Kingston Transport Policy is not far behind. Best bet is to keen an eye on the latest news on the

If you have any questions, please contact Eamonn Gilbert:


6 Richmond (unpaid) Carer Strategy Consultation

We all know that being a Parent is difficult, being a Parent/Carer where we are caring for our children is often harder still and affects our mental and physical health.

In Richmond, there is a public consultation currently open to inform and improve the Richmond Carer Strategy; traditionally Carers needs are focussed on those caring for the elderly, this is vital, but is not the whole picture. So… this consultation could be a really good opportunity to raise the profile of parent carers, and our needs.


The draft Richmond Carer Strategy sets out the priorities we will tackle together to support, recognise and value unpaid carers.

Unpaid carers are an integral element of the health and social care system. They provide an invaluable service that ensures the continued health and wellbeing of those they care for, and act as experts-by-experience who deliver vital services that are nationally worth the annual budget of the NHS.

Our vision is for unpaid carers in Richmond to be able to achieve their full potential, live their lives with confidence and resilience, and access circles of support and quality services that promote independence and deliver value for money.

The draft strategy identifies three priorities that have been developed based on local engagement with carers and other stakeholders, the recently completed Richmond Carer Needs Assessment and national strategic initiatives.”

For any queries please contact

7 Making the most of your Networks (all welcome)

This is a free workshop for parents and carers of young people who have learning difficulties and/or autism. The workshop is being provided by Kingston Mencap during National Carer’s Week; there will be a sandwich lunch provided after the session.

Tuesday 11th June – 10.30am to 1pm

Kingston Mencap at The Searchlight Centre, Kingston Road, KT3 3RX

“Come along to this exciting workshop for parents and family carers on to find out how building networks to support your relative. The workshop will be led by Karyn Fitzpatrick, CEO of “. Keyring’s “…work began in 1990 to set up the first network in London to support people to live in their flats, with a strong focus on community connections and participation, alongside paid support as needed.

Networks can be helpful to everyone regardless of ability, age or where they live - so come along and find out more.”

To find out more or to book your place, please contact Christine Towers:


M: 07931 727 367

8 Thinking Ahead – preparing for adulthood

“Together Matters is a small organisation built on the belief that talking and working together help to make better things happen in the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families.”

Together Matters offer a number of free resources to help families plan for the future:

9 Dentistry – call for advice

Last week I published an article about a young man studying Dentistry; the young man is the son of a couple where one parent has Downs’ Syndrome.

This prompted a couple of e-mails about places to go for children and young people with SEND (too often, the ‘best’ route is to sedate the child). Any advice on SEND sympathetic dentists or prompts would be welcome and will be published….


10 Open Mic night…

Details of Dramatize’s Open Mic Night event for adults (18+) with learning disabilities and emerging artists. Loving this…

“Our Open Mic Night Club is a nightclub to showcase different artists who happen to have a disability, running on the last Friday of every month at Shepperton Studios.

Dramatize has recently been funded to start up a new Open Mic Night, a nightclub for emerging artists to perform and test their work in front of a safe audience. The Open Mic Night was created due our student ambassadors asking for a club night and a place to perform as artists. Due to the project being thought up by our student ambassadors, we then created our events management team, to organise and run the events.

Here are a few words from the team:

Why are we running the Open Mic Night?

Lee: To let others have time on the stage to perform.

Kate: To meet new friends.


What is your role on the events team?

Lee: I think I am in charge.

Josh: To create the poster and have a voice.

Holly: To organise everyone and collect everyone’s money. MONEY!

Kate: To make sure it runs ok.

Who are our acts (performers) for our first Open Mic Night?

Lee: Holly's dancing her Zumba number.

Holly: Yer that's me. Holly's Zumba Rumba.

Holly: I love thunder band! I know them.

Kate: DJ Oli and he might sing.

Do we want more acts (performers) for next months event?

Josh: Yes. Holly has done a video.

Lee: We want different acts so please email us! ( )

Kate: We will reply to your email every Thursday when we have our planning session.

Holly: We need you?

Lee: It can be a dancer, singer, jokes, comedy, DJ

Josh: Lee!

Lee: Anything. We are adults.

Where is our event?

Holly: Shepperton Studios

Lee: Where all the films are produced!

Anything else you want to say to everyone?

Kate: Come and join us for a fun night.

Holly: Bye

Lee: Put your dancing shoes on.

If you have any artists interested in performing at a future event please get them to email”:

T: 07785 187 748


…and BandEd

…and if your child is between ages 9 to 18, then BandEd might be for you. The short video below gives more information.

If your child, with SEND, has a keen interest or ability in music then I know, from personal experience, this is no barrier to participation with the BandEd people.

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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