• SEND speak

Carers News, National News, Mental Health & a bit of Cheer? - 4th Dec 2018

Dear All

This issue includes more news on the SEND Inquiry and the steps being taken to create a new Parent/Carer Forum (PCF). It’s sometimes hard to come up with a pithy title…

1. The Post-16 Maze - is your pathway smooth?

2. Carers Rights and Entitlements Information Sheet

3. Kingston Council appoints first disability champion

4. Ofsted Chief: Missing special needs support 'a national scandal'

5. SEND Inquiry – Parents Panel – ongoing evidence

6. More from Contact on a new PCF

7. New data on children and young people’s mental health

8. “It is not just a process. It is a young person’s life now and their future.”

9. George (something more cheerful)

1 The Post-16 Maze - is your pathway smooth?

Here’s an invitation from a new group….

“We have set up a Parents Supporting Parents” group for those of us with young people with SEND who are in the complex world of post 16 (over age 16). We anticipate a broad range of topics for discussion such as social care and respite; education and training; benefit entitlements and access to a social life. We hope to share information, signpost each other, lend an ear and offer support by having monthly coffee and cake sessions.

We are kicking off with three Friday morning dates, all are 9.30 to 11.30am

Friday 18th January

Friday 8th February

Friday 15th March

Hosted by Me Too and Co. at The Crossway, 306 Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 2PD

No need to book and all very welcome!”

2 Carers Rights and Entitlements Information Sheet

”Caring can be very tough, and the struggle to access information and support can only add to a carer's anxiety. To mark Carers Rights Day on 30 November, Richmond Carers Centre has produced a short guide with details of assessments and allowances to which unpaid carers may be entitled, plus sign-posting to local support organisations.”

3 Kingston Council appoints first disability champion

Kingston Council has appointed its first ever disability champion to mark International Day of Disabled Persons, which falls on December 3. The appointment of Councillor Christine Stuart as disability champion for Kingston will be confirmed at full council on December 11.

4 Ofsted Chief: Missing special needs support 'a national scandal'

The report raises concerns about support for the 1.3 million pupils with special needs.

“Ofsted's chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, has today [4th December] published her annual review. And it has some very worrying things to say about provision for disabled children. Ms Spielman says: "Too often, children who have been assessed still do not receive the services they need." She uses her annual report to expose what she describes as a "bleak picture" of too many children "failed by the education system".

5 SEND Inquiry – Parents Panel – ongoing evidence

This goes on… and it appears thorough. Our thanks should go to all those that submitted evidence on our community’s behalf. There’s a lot to read, and I’ll aim to read and publish shorter versions as they become available. For now, here are the highlights…

A reminder of what this is “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.”

Education Committee – Oral Evidence #3 (4th December)

This selected clip of around 33 minutes shows Penny from SEND Family Voices, giving evidence on behalf of families in Kingston and Richmond.

You can pick up the entire 1.5 hours of the evidence given today here: Written Evidence

The requirement to provide oral evidence is called from the written evidence (submitted in June 2018). Using the link below, you can view the 440+ published ‘written evidence’ - from the 600 that submitted and gave permission for publication.

Within this, you can find (in the order they are listed):

· Achieving for Children = providers of children’s services for Kingston and Richmond

· Department for Education and Department for Health and Social Care = the key government departments

· Brian Lamb = Chair of the Lamb Inquiry into Parental Confidence in SEND 2008-10

· SEND Family Voices = previous parent / carer forum locally (two submissions)

· Kingston University London = a local university

· National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTI) = mostly age 16+

· Special Needs Jungle = national commentator Royal College of Occupational Therapists = a provider

· SOS SEN = national charity supporting families

· SEND IASS = government funded information service for families of children an dyoung people with SEND

· NNPCF = National Network of Parent Carer Forums

And throughout the list, there are close to 150 individual parent submissions = my rough count

…and many more

6 More from Contact on a new PCF

There has been some detailed challenge via e-mail from parents attending the first two meetings… to Contact’s request to hold the funding for a new Parent/Carer Forums (PCF) for Kingston and Richmond. In short:

The 37 parents that attended the two meetings (23 in Richmond, 14 in Kingston) were clear that all parents of a child or young person with an EHCP must be asked their views on a single forum for both boroughs, or separate forums, or a shared forum (one that shares resources).

Contact are to send out a letter with a short survey to all parents.

The views of the 37

In the meantime, Contact are seeking the views of the 37 attendees as to whether or not Contact may apply and hold the Kingston and Richmond funding for two PCFs. The reason for this is that like many government funds, if it is not used it ceases to exist (that is a very crude way of putting it!)

And, to quote Contact, they:

“…understand that we need to wait for results of the survey to come back in order to establish whether there is one forum for both areas, or one forum in each area, as this will determine how many meetings need to be set up – whether one in each area or one forum for both areas.”

I am very happy to forward Contact’s full e-mail and the parent challenges to anyone who wishes to see them.

Everyone has, or should have, a vote

In the meantime, when you get the letter, please take the time to respond.

7 New data on children and young people’s mental health

Whilst it’s fantastic that this is the first thorough set of data on children’s and young people’s health since 2004 - and how the world has changed even in terms of social media – this chart, made by data (table 7) on from the Trends & Characteristics document, is somewhat depressing. Perhaps not in any way surprising for us, as parents.

We now have firm, statistically valid evidence to work with, and challenge services with… our children & young people have a 50% likelihood of developing mental health difficulties, as opposed to approx. 12% for all others.

Yes - has SEND

No - does not have SEND

All - total population ages 0-19

{{image missing - to follow]]

The full set of data is here:

8 “It is not just a process. It is a young person’s life now and their future.”

RipStars - Disabled Young Researchers

This is a new group, and they have published two reports on EHCPs (Education, Health & Care Plans), one on their framework and another on their quality.

“We are a group of disabled young people aged 17 – 25 from Coventry, UK. We have been trained by Anita Franklin and Geraldine Brady (Coventry University) to be researchers. We lead our project – research by young disabled people for disabled young people. We have a voice and we want to give a voice to other disabled young people. We want to use research evidence to improve the lives of disabled young people.”

9 George (something more cheerful)

So… last week I mentioned Singing Hands (signed singing) Christmas songs, here:

Singing Hands made a recording in Clarendon Primary Centre (a special primary school) last Friday, and tweeted this on the way out:

{{image missing - to follow]]

And here is what one Year 3 boy in Clarendon did today; in the middle is a mosaic of George, his bear (who bears a striking resemblance to Peppa Pig). To the left is a flying submarine, to the right is a girl who has just lost her balloon. (The breeze blocks will be mosaic’d in solid colour.)

{{image missing - to follow]]

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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