• SEND speak

Covid & SEND, Free Stuff and Congratulations

Dear All

What a world we live in! It is hard to keep up with the changing rules and guidelines around Covid-19, so here is what is current today from sites that also provide constant up-to-date links.

Also, some free resources and things to watch or listen...

1. Covid-19: SEND families' struggles amplified in lockdown

2. Lockdown 3: What does it mean for the rights of children with SEND?

3. 95% of decisions in favour of parents, but nobody wins at the SEND Tribunal

4. Twitter folk… SEND and lockdown

5. Case Law updates

6. SEND services during COVID 19

7. Education Committee on Adult Learning

8. Free Webinar on EHCPs – Seashell Trust – 15th January

9. Free - Raise Resilience - London Parents

10. Free - Visual Story on home testing

11. Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination

12. Save Our Stables!

13. The BBC is bringing its biggest ever education offer from Monday 11th January

14. Operation Ouch!

15. Disability: A New History

16. Congratulations to Singing Hands!

1 Covid-19: SEND families' struggles amplified in lockdown

BBC News, 7th January 2021

There is nothing in this article that will surprise readers of SENDspeak, but it’s good to see it on the BBC!

“Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) say they feel "abandoned and let down" over lockdown provision.

Some are waiting to see if their child can still attend school, while others have been "point blank refused".

The SEND Action group said: "As in the last lockdown many are being turned away because they are not regarded as vulnerable enough." “

2 Lockdown 3: What does it mean for the rights of children with SEND?

Special Needs Jungle, 6th January 2021 - with Hayley Mason, SNJ SEND legal columnist

So here we are again, the whole country in full lockdown and back to those "heady days" of home education (although many never left).

Yesterday there was still no word on details from the Department for Education so below, our legal columnist, SEND solicitor, Hayley Mason, has popped by to explain.

Some schools were telling parents they would let them know what was happening with education in lockdown 3 when they themselves knew. One parent on our Facebook page said her child's boarding school had welcomed them back and kept them well informed. Another said their child's teacher had called twice and was dropping work off that evening. Another parent said their child's special school would be fully open tomorrow. So it certainly seems that some schools, at least, were expecting this and were prepared, while others closed for the day while they put plans into place.”

The link below includes a 13 minute video with Hayley Mason…

3 95% of decisions in favour of parents, but nobody wins at the SEND Tribunal

Special Needs Jungle, 11th December 2020. By Matt Keer

“If you’ve not come across SENDIST before – it’s a tribunal where individual families can appeal against a range of local authority SEND decisions concerning Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). Families can also go to SENDIST to appeal against particular types of disability discrimination too.

No winners at the SEND Tribunal

These latter figures are normally presented the other way round – with families ‘winning’ 95% of decisions at hearing. We think that’s the wrong way to look at it. What families have ‘won’ is the same right to an appropriate education that other families rightly take for granted.

We say this every year, and we’ll say it again this year. The SENDIST Tribunal isn’t there to help parents ‘win’ anything. It’s not there to arbitrate between competing claims, like some sort of high-end marriage guidance counsellor. What the Tribunal does is examine specific decisions that a local authority has made in an individual case, decide whether the LA has complied with its statutory duties, and order changes if they haven’t complied with those duties.

And 19 times out of 20, when a Tribunal panel examines LA decision-making, the panel decides that they haven’t complied with those duties.

Compared against SEND, there is no other area of the public sector where decision-making is so regularly and routinely exposed as flawed – not just through the SENDIST Tribunal, but also via the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO), which now upholds over 90% of the complaints it receives about EHCPs.”

4 Twitter folk… SEND and lockdown

If you are a Twitter user and follow SEND, you are probably familiar with Matt Kerr (see SNJ article above as @CaptainK77, also Steve Broach (see CDC article below) as @SteveBroach.

Someone fairly new to me is Adam Wagner @AdamWagner1

“Human rights barrister @DoughtyStreet. Founder/Chair @EachOtherUK. Visiting Professor of Law @GoldsmithsUoL. Host @bhumanpodcast. Views my own not of any orgs”

Adam has the uncanny ability to unravel and comment on the Covid legislation almost as fast as it appears! Here is a post from Adam today (7th January) – contribute if you can…


“I am making a video on the new lockdown regulations: what questions do you have? Please leave in replies”

5 Case Law updates

From the Council for Disabled Children (CDC)

“CDC’s case law digest service provides an essential update on the latest decisions affecting disabled children and young people and those with SEN. Our series of case law reviews on judgements relating to both special educational needs and disability are compiled by barrister Steve Broach from 39 Essex Chambers. Our digests provide a description of the case, the implications for children young people and their families, and how professionals might need to change their practice as a result of the judgement.”

There are currently a total of 48 case law updates in this directory, you can view them here:

6 SEND services during COVID 19

AfC Local OFFER, 6TH January 2021

Jonathan Rourke of the Kingston & Richmond SEND IASS (Information Advice Support Services) has kindly collated these questions picked up from other voluntary and support groups.

Whilst these questions come from groups in Richmond & Kingston, please remember that the local SENDIAS Service is somewhere you can contact direct to seek answers for your own questions.

“We have answered the the following questions which were asked by Jonathan Rourke, SENDIASS Manager.”

7 Education Committee on Adult Learning


“We published our report, A plan for an adult skills and lifelong learning revolution, on Saturday 2nd January.

You can read the report here:

Watch our Chair @halfon4harlowMP discuss our key recommendations to the Government. “

1.07 minutes

8 Free Webinar on EHCPs – Seashell Trust – 15th January

“Does your son or daughter have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)? Would you like an opportunity to find out more?

The Seashell Trust is offering a free a webinar to the parents of children and young people with an Education Health and Care Plan in a school setting.”

Date: Friday 15th January 2021

Time: 10.00am to 12.00pm via Zoom

Facilitator: Elizabeth Murray, Spotlight Education Support

To book a space, visit EHCP Webinar.

Alternatively, please call Family Services on 0161 696 9379.

For further information, please email

9 Free - Raise Resilience - London Parents

“You want to support your children now and beyond the pandemic. You are a little unsure and know that your children will need resilience to deal with the uncertainty and bounce forward in the best way possible – and we’re here to help.

To date, Raise Resilience has supported over 2,000 parents, up and down the country last year. So many of you told us how useful, practical and worthwhile the course was.

Each course is six 1 hour sessions. Choose date and time options and click the link below to register your place.”

The first set of 6 sessions begins on 14th January, with other sets beginning January 22nd and February 22nd.

10 Free – Visual Story on home testing

The Kingston Parent/Carer Forum post a lot of useful, well dug out links on their facebook page ( ). Just ‘like’ the page to receive their posts.

This is one that appeared this morning:

“A very useful visual story explaining the Coronavirus home testing kit from Ambitious about Autism

11 Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination

30th December 2020

This has caused some conversation on social media – not least the likelihood of carers being prioritised to receive vaccinations…

From page 8

“Other groups at higher risk, including those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination alongside these groups.”

The full document is here:

12 Save Our Stables!

Park Lane Stables in Teddington need help to keep horses in London and continue their work with disabled participants…

“Sad News from Park Lane Stables

Park Lane Stables landlords have unfortunately decided not to renew their lease which is due to expire on 30th May 2021. This is very sad news for the team at Park Lane and the horses, riders, Pony club members, RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) participants, volunteers, and the whole community that have support them through everything.“

And the crowd funder

“Sorry to beg but it seems there is no other way to save the stables. We have set up this crowdfunder for pledges. No money will be taken if we do not hit our target. We are grateful for any support & please rt if you can to spread the word far & wide.”

13 The BBC is bringing its biggest ever education offer from Monday 11th January

“The BBC is to deliver the biggest education offer in its history across more of its platforms. It will bring together BBC Two, CBBC, BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and online to deliver a new education offer to children, teachers and parents as a third national lockdown begins.”


CBBC will have a three-hour block of primary school programming from 9am.


BBCTwo will cater for secondary students with at least two hours of content each weekday.

BBC delivers biggest Education offer in its history - including devoting significant airtime to Education on BBC Two

14 Operation Ouch!

Do Try This at Home: 1. Bones

Dr Chris and Dr Xand have brought their lab into Xand’s kitchen! In today’s episode, the doctors look at bones, and show you an experiment to make them bendy. 13 mins

15 Disability: A New History BBC Radio 4

Peter White is a visually impaired presenter who has been presenting on Radio 4 for over 30 years. These 15 minutes radio programmes were originally broadcast in 2013.

Whilst there is a focus on physical disabilities (they are talking about the 1700’s and 1800’s society), the programmes work hard to walk a line in presenting the context between what is and was acceptable then and now. Truly fascinating.

“Drawing on new research, Peter White presents a history of disability in the 18th and 19th centuries.”

16 Congratulations to Singing Hands!

And finally, well deserved congratulation to Susannah and Tracey who founded and run Singing Hands – they have each been awarded MBE’s in the New Year’s Honours! (and they have kept going all through 2020)

Hugely exciting news - the two of us have been awarded MBEs in the 2021 Queen’s NY Honours List for Services to Children & Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities! We are totally shocked and humbled. Thank you to everyone who has been part of our journey.”

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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