• SEND speak

Community Painting, Respite, SEND Inquiry & #NewVoices18

Dear All

Welcome to all new subscribers to SENDspeak and this, the second issue. As before, somethings local, somethings national…

1. Community Painting Day – can you help?

2. New respite centre – your views please

3. Half-term activities

4. First airport sensory room

5. Read Aloud

6. SEND Inquiry - Oral Evidence: Published July 2018

7. Why the Warnock Report matters today

8. #NewVoices18

9. Remarkable!

1 Community Painting Day – can you help?

As part of the Civic Pride funded 'Project Sunshine' Clarendon Primary Centre are having a Community Painting Day on:

Saturday 27th October - 10.30am to 3pm

Clarendon Primary Centre, Hampton

Clarendon is a day community special school for pupils aged 4-16 with moderate learning difficulties and additional complex needs (including Autism). Project Sunshine is a voluntary, community project to both mosaic and paint the re-purposed breeze blocks on the school's new buildings. The mosaics are well under way, and Brewer's Decorators have donated 140ltrs of masonry paint!

Can you help? Even if it's just to paint for a couple of hours?

If yes, please contact Angela Mason on:

2 New respite centre – your views please

…from Achieving for Children

“Parents, carers and their children and young people in Kingston and Richmond are invited to give their views on the new respite centre provider specification.

Achieving for Children, with Kingston Council, are constructing a new, purpose-built overnight respite facility at the Moor Lane site in Chessington. The building will provide short break care for children and young people who may have multiple disabilities, complex medical needs and challenging behaviour, and who are aged 8 to 17 years. The building will have eight bedrooms, two lounges, an accessible kitchen, and secluded outdoor space.

We involved parents, carers and young people in the project in the early stages and your received feedback has helped shape and influence the design of the building. We are now at the stage where we are preparing the service specification for the new centre. We will be inviting suppliers to bid to deliver overnight short break care from Moor Lane as a single contract which will include the existing Croft Cottage in Richmond. By aligning the two services into a single contract, we will be better placed to secure a sustainable future for both facilities.

Please give us your views through our survey:

The survey will be open for two weeks from the 10 October until the 24 October 2018.

How to keep up to date: We anticipate that the new contract will be ready to start from September 2019. In the meantime, we will continue to provide overnight short break care through Croft Cottage, High Ashurst and Warren Park.

We have launched a page on the Achieving for Children Local Offer website, here...“

3 Half-term activities

Sadly there is no complete list of half-term activities for our children; this is, in part, because the Local Offer relies on organisations to upload their events themselves – and not many do! That said, it’s still worth looking to the Local Offer and a few options are listed below:

The Activity Station

“Richmond Mencap will be running a spooky and shockingly fun Halloween Disco at the OSO Arts Centre after our Activity Day on Sunday 28th October. The Disco is for 13 – 25 year olds who live in the London Borough of Richmond with mild/moderate learning disabilities and social communication difficulties.

To book this activity, please contact Richmond Mencap direct. Tel: 020 8744 192”


“Dramatize is a theatre company for individuals with learning disabilities. We run theatrical workshops, performances & events exploring different theatrical mediums, breaking barriers within society.”

Heatham House (not SEND specific)

“During the October half term, Heatham House Youth Centre will be putting on a number of open days for young people aged 10 to 16 (Years 5 to 11). These days are completely free!”

Our Barn

“At Our Barn we run community-based activities providing learning, life skills and social interaction for young people aged between 16 to 35 with learning disabilities or autism.”

4 First airport sensory room

Just in case you are travelling, and happen to be doing so through Gatwick…

“Gatwick is the first UK airport to open sensory room for passengers Gatwick Airport has opened a sensory room to help calm people who feel overwhelmed in busy and unfamiliar airport surroundings. The new space in the North Terminal has been designed for passengers with autism, dementia, cognitive impairment or other special needs to make them feel at ease before their flight.”

5 Read Aloud

Karen Lowry, the Local Offer manager, has received lots of feedback about the Read Aloud feature on the site… “We know it is not ideal and are looking at it with our web developers. The current feature was a free solution. It is likely that improving this will take development and come at a cost. Once we have our findings we will explain the options. There is no need to report this via the website anymore as we have the message and are investigating.”

6 SEND Inquiry - Oral Evidence: Published July 2018

There’s a lot on this subject – here are some edited highlights and links for you to read more.

“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.”

The witnesses:

Stephen Kingdom – Campaign Manager, Disabled Children’s Partnership (current)

Brian Lamb OBE – Inquiry into Parental Confidence in SEND (2009), Chair of Achievement for All (current)

Baroness Warnock – Chair, Committee of Inquiry on SEND (1978)

The content:

This document (and video on the same page) translates to around 20 pages of A4. The witnesses are people whose previous work had informed and/or led the SEND Reforms. It’s both heartening and sadly familiar to hear their views:

Q6 …parental engagement has increased and parental confidence in elements of the system has increased but we still have a long way to go” Brian Lamb

Q13 “I have long felt that Ofsted is playing a contradictory role because they are looking for academic excellence, yet officially they ought to be giving acknowledgement to those schools that are genuinely inclusive and take real pride in what they do for children with special needs.” “Ofsted does need to take a look at itself and see what it is really inspecting.” Baroness Warnock

Q21 “On the Ofsted area reviews, as a concept they have been a brilliant success. I totally agree with Stephen that they need repeating. …many local authorities were beginning to take their foot of the pedal in 2014… The inspections have really refocused that.” Brian Lamb

NB: The SEND Ofsted inspection are brand new – previously there was no inspection on local SEND provision. The current format is that each local authority will be inspected once only. That’s it. There is not currently a published plan to repeat these inspections.

You can find the full transcript, and details of the next Oral Evidence in the link below. Note that Matt Keer, regular tweeter, parent and contributor to the Special Needs Website will be a witness.

7 Why the Warnock Report matters today Given the academic tone of the Oral Evidence, it’s perhaps worth remembering how far we’ve come since 1978. The world for our children is getting better - just very slowly!

“Baroness Warnock’s landmark 1978 report on special education sparked legislation that enshrined the policy of inclusion, and it changed the way we talked about disability.” TES

8 #NewVoices18

This is something I came across on Twitter… the comments on the day read well (to me as a parent). I’m looking forward to hearing more in the future. For now, here’s a brief overview and a blog…

The New Voices was an initiative set up by HeyMissSmith because she felt that the speaker circuit was dominated by a few voices and she wanted to create an opportunity for other voices, and responses to the dominant voices as well as give people a chance to practice. It was hugely well supported; about 180 attended and Mark Lehain (Director of Parents and Teachers for Excellence) and Amanda Spielman (HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills) also came along.

#NewVoices18 – Why offering new voices in education matters

And here’s a blog from one of the attendees which will tell you more…

9 Remarkable!

Some Japanese escalators can turn into a wheelchair lift!

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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