• SEND speak

Daffodils, 3 Surveys & Help

Updated: Feb 17

Dear All

Lockdown, cold weather, snow if you are lucky/unlucky (delete as appropriate) and the world of SEND carries on, a bit slower than usual perhaps?

First off, a picture, a reminder from last year…

Do remember they can’t cancel the spring. David Hockney, March 2020

1. UK Disability Survey – the Cabinet Office

2. From the SEND Implementation people at the DfE (Dept. for Education)

3. ‘High Court finds Universal Credit childcare rules to be unlawful’

4. ‘Ofsted: Two-thirds of disabled children “disengaged” from remote learning, while less than half of schools offer extra help.’

5. SEND help during Lockdown – various articles

6. Case Law updates – 49 to 51

7. ‘How the National Tutoring Programme can be a powerful tool to help SEND pupils during lockdown’

8. Homeschool History – 13 minutes each

9. Children’s Social Care Review

10. Self-Care & Mental Health help – various articles

11. Online safety – from the NSPCC

12. Getting a Covid-19 Test – free social stories

13. How to Choose the Right Primary Setting for your Child with Down’s Syndrome

14. New magazine for the Down’s Syndrome (DS) Community

15. Simon Baron-Cohen: ‘Autistic people have really contributed to human progress’

16. ‘Silenced: The hidden story of disabled Britain’

17. Disability and dating: 'Why do people think I'm my boyfriend's carer?'

18. Hands Free Trainers (shoes)

1 UK Disability Survey – the Cabinet Office Closes 23 Apr 2021 - Opened 15 Jan 2021

“The Disability Unit at the Cabinet Office is developing a National Strategy for Disabled People. Publication is planned for Spring 2021.

To help the government with understanding the barriers that disabled people face and what it may need to focus upon to improve the lives of disabled people, we need to hear about your views and know more about your experiences.

This survey will ask about your life experiences either as a disabled person, a carer or parent or as someone who has an interest in disability issues.

Many people have had big changes in their lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and there will be an opportunity at the end of the survey to state if your life has changed notably due to COVID-19, and in what ways. However, please answer other questions thinking about yourself, your own experiences and your current situation.

There are easy read versions available.”

2 From the SEND Implementation people at the DfE (Dept. for Education)

Friday 12th February 2021

a) SEND funding 2021-22; b) HNFF Consultation; (high needs national funding formula) c) Supported Internships Access to Work funding

“Dear colleagues,

We would like to signpost the following items:

SEND Funding for 2021-22 - on Wednesday, 10 February, we announced over £42m SEND funding for 2021-22 to extend projects for children with SEND – further information is on Over £42 million to extend projects for children with SEND

High Needs National Funding Formula consultation - as part of our review of the high needs national funding formula that calculates high needs funding allocations to local authorities, we launched a six-week consultation on 10 February. We are looking for responses to questions on the proposed formula changes for 2022-2023, including questions relating to longer term developments. A link to the consultation is on High needs national funding formula – proposed changes

Access to Work has extended funding for Supported Internships outside of the work placement until August 2021 - confirmation has been received from DWP that students taking part in a supported internship who are unable to attend their work placements due to coronavirus (COVID-19) can apply for Access to Work funding until the end of August 2021 for work-related activities where: a job coach leads the activity; the activities develop employability skills. Access to Work funding is available for employability activities that are delivered face-to-face or via digital methods. Access to Work is not available to support academic learning activities such as English and Maths. You can contact the Access to Work helpline on 0800 121 7479, and further information is at: Get support in work if you have a disability or health condition (Access to Work) - GOV.UK (

Many thanks

Special Educational Needs and Disability Division”

14th January 2021

Special & AP guidance & open ministerial letter

“We would like to draw your attention to the additional guidance published today 14th January 2021 an open letter from Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families to children and young people with SEND, their families, and those who work to support them.”

You can find a copy of Vicky Ford MP’s letter here:

3 ‘High Court finds Universal Credit childcare rules to be unlawful’

Contact newsletter - 27th January 2021

“The High Court has found that the Universal Credit rules requiring a working parent to pay for childcare upfront before they can get help with those costs are unlawful.

Instead, the Court accepted that working parents should be able to get help with childcare costs from Universal Credit so long as they can show that they are liable for the childcare costs, rather than needing to prove they have already paid for the childcare.”

4 ‘Ofsted: Two-thirds of disabled children “disengaged” from remote learning, while less than half of schools offer extra help.’

Special Needs Jungle - 25th January 2021

“New research from Ofsted has revealed that fewer than half (46%) of teachers surveyed said their school offered any additional remote learning arrangements for pupils with SEND. Nearly two-thirds of parents of a child with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) said they had been disengaged with remote learning, compared with almost 40% of parents of children without additional needs, according to the new report.

The report covers remote education for all pupils, but in this article, I'm concentrating on the experience of children with SEND, as you would expect.”

5 SEND help during Lockdown – various articles

January & February 2021

Special Needs Jungle – 6th January 2021

Special Needs Jungle have put together this informative article and video which you may find useful during this Lockdown 3. It covers the rights at school of children with SEND:

ISPEA (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice) – model letters

“Did you know we have a range of model letters on our website available to download and amend for your own purposes?

Lockdown update:

We've recently added a model letter for making a complaint when a school is not using their best endeavours and/or refusing attendance for a vulnerable child during the national lockdown.”

Hampshire PCF & SENDIASS – 25th January 2021

The video is a slide presentation from the Hampshire SENDIASS; the information within covers the national duties and guidelines for those with EHCPs and those on SEN Support.

“SENDIASS share what schools should be doing to support children and young people with SEND through lockdown.”

10.36 min video

6 Case Law updates – 49 to 51

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.”

All case law updates are held in this directory, you can view them here:

The most recent are numbers 49 to 51…

Case Law Update 49 - Haringey v A and B – systemic child protection failures in relation to a disabled child

In this update the Family Court found that a local authority had made fundamental errors and fallen considerably short of their obligations to safeguard and protect the children in this case, one of whom was severely disabled.

Case Law Update 50 – SH v Norfolk – discriminatory adult social care charging policy

In this update the High Court held that changes to Norfolk County Council’s adult social care charging policy discriminated against severely disabled people, contrary to Art.14 read with Art.1 of the First Protocol (A1P1) to the ECHR.

Case Law Update 51 – RG and GD v Horizon Primary – guidance on disability discrimination claims against schools

In this update the Upper Tribunal upheld the decision of the First-tier Tribunal that a school’s decision to place a pupil on a part-time table was not discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010. Although the FTT decision involved errors of law, the UT decided not to remake the decision.

7 ‘How the National Tutoring Programme can be a powerful tool to help SEND pupils during lockdown’

Special Needs Jungle with Robbie Coleman, Secretariat Director, National TutoringProgramme - 15th January 2021

“You are almost certain to have heard of the National Tutoring Programme, set up to help pupils catch up after the lock coronavirus lockdown school closure of 2020. Now, here we are again in lockdown 3.0 and it is likely to double down on the damage done. This time, however, there are resources aplenty - see the ones we've gathered here [ ] . The government has also given schools guidelines for how and how much remote education should be delivered.

Technically, all children with EHCPs should be allocated an in-school place. But of course, many parents prefer to keep their child at home anyway and let's not forget most children with SEND do not have the legal protection that an Education, heath and Care Plan brings (or is supposed to bring).

So how can the National Tutoring Programme help children with SEND catch up on missed learning? Today on SNJ, Robbie Coleman, Secretariat Director of the National Tutoring Programme is here to explain more about it and how it can help. If you are a parent, please pass this on to your child's school.”

8 Homeschool History – 13 minutes each BBC Radio 4

Short podcasts approx. 13 mins long on a variety of subjects from William Shakespeare to Pocahontas to the Space Race. All are downloadable.

“Fun history lessons for all the family, presented by Horrible Histories' Greg Jenner. Full of facts and jokes, the series brings to life a broad range of historical topics.”

9 Children’s Social Care Review

Below are a couple of articles on this review… the first is an overview and I’ve extracted the part relating to SEND. The second article is a call to action – to contribute – from Special Needs Jungle.

1. Long-awaited Mental Health Act overhaul bids to empower patients and tackle racial disparities

Community Care – 13th January 2021

“The White Paper sets out plan to implement much of 2018 review of act including enabling people to nominate a person to help with care decisions and express advance preferences for treatment

The government today unveils its long-awaited plan to replace the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA), which pledges to empower individuals to control their care and treatment and tackle racial disparities.

Impact on people with learning disabilities and autism

The paper also aims to reduce the detention of people with learning disabilities or autism, following longstanding concerns over the stubbornly high numbers of them in mental health hospitals.

It said the requirement that care and treatment should always have the purpose of therapeutic benefit would prevent the “warehousing” of people – often those with learning disabilities or autism – in hospitals without benefit.

The government also proposes ending the detention of people with learning disabilities or autism under section 3 (detention for treatment) unless they have a co-occuring mental health condition. They could still be detained under section 2 (for assessment, for up to 28 days) but only if there is substantial risk of significant harm to self or others and a probably mental health cause to the behaviour.

Councils and NHS commissioners would also be under a duty to provide sufficient community services for people with learning disabilities or autism.

The proposals were welcomed by Mencap and the National Autistic Society but both stressed that the community services duty needed to be backed by investment, particularly in social care.”

2. Can you help Josh fix children’s social care? His review is calling for your advice

Special Needs Jungle – 8th February 2021

“Last month, the long-awaited review of children's social care was launched. It is being led by 'social entrepreneur', Josh McAlister, the founder and chief executive of the charity, Frontline, a former Manchester secondary school teacher.

Still in his early thirties, Josh, a native of Rochdale, Frontline was established "with a mission to create social change for children who do not have a safe or stable home, by developing excellent social work practice and leadership".

But the review must look not just at children in care, but also at disabled children. As many parents of disabled children know, it can be a battle, one often lost, to get a children's social care assessment. I tried to get one for my youngest as part of the EHC assessment process. I failed. The Education, Health and Care Plan is all too often barely an education plan - the H and C are the stuff of dreams.

Will he do what needs to be done? It’s up to us to tell him what that is, and what families’ experiences are, so don’t be shy (as if).”

10. Self-Care & Mental Health help – various articles

Activities from The Art Room

“For 25 years, Place2Be has been providing in-school emotional support to children and young people.

At Place2Be we believe that art is a creative tool to develop resilience and connect with others. Our Art Room team are specialists in using art to support and enhance children and young people’s wellbeing. During the lockdown period, the team created a series of free projects for primary aged children to make at home or school together with parents, carers or teachers.”

Coping Strategies from Preparing for Adulthood – February 2021

“This is a new tool that we have developed to support young people to think about returning to education after the lockdown ends. It helps to express anxieties and other concerns and to think about ways to help address these.”

Coping with the uncertainty of Coronavirus from Autistica – March 2020

“At the moment, we are experiencing very uncertain times, with the rise of Coronavirus or COVID-19. We know that uncertainty is a major cause of anxiety for autistic people. This page helps you to understand the feelings and behaviours associated with uncertainty and gives some tips for managing them. We also have a simpler easy read PDF version of this guide.”

Department for Education - 1st February 2021

“Mental health resources for children, parents, carers and school/ college staff. …we have put together some useful links and sources of support so that children, parents, carers, and school and college staff can get the advice and help they need. We have also added a new module to the RSHE curriculum for primary and secondary schools specifically designed to focus on mental health. This important addition will enable much-needed conversations about mental health to happen inside the classroom.

The list below is not exhaustive, and many other useful organisations and services exist, but it is hoped that these will help children, young people and adults navigate the key resources and get the support they deserve.”

Mentally Healthy Schools – February 2021

From children’s mental health week 2021, this resource is aimed at primary schools:


“Caring for a disabled child/young person is often difficult - alongside a lockdown feelings, emotions and stresses are heightened. The following resources may have some helpful pointers and techniques to promote good mental health.”

Young Minds - Guide to CAMHS

“A beginner's guide to the NHS's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for young people and parents.”

11 Online safety – from the NSPCC National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

“It can be hard to know how to talk to your child about online safety. From setting up parental controls to advice on sexting, online games and video apps, we can help you to understand the risks and keep your child safe.”

12 Getting a Covid-19 Test – free social stories

Social Stories to help prepare young people for a Covid-19 test

“Widgit have collaborated with Aaron King from to produce two social stories preparing young people for what to expect when receiving a Covid test.

One version outlines the procedure for a young person self-swabbing and a second where adults can assist with swabbing. We hope that these social stories will help set young people’s minds at rest.”

13 How to Choose the Right Primary Setting for your Child with Down’s Syndrome

Live Webinar on Zoom taking place on Tuesday 2nd March -10.00 to 12.30

“Choosing the right primary school for your child is one of the most exciting and important decisions you face as a parent. Having a child with Down’s syndrome means there are lots of things to consider. On Tuesday 2nd March at 10am, 21&Co will be hosting a webinar on How to Choose the Right Primary School Setting for your Child with Down’s Syndrome. Guest speaker Educational Psychologist Dr Jemma Levy will look at the various factors to consider when assessing your child’s needs, what to look out for when visiting schools as well as the different school placement options.

Parents Marie-Claire Lakin, Louise Beattie and Tatty Bowman will share their personal experiences with their children at Mainstream, Mainstream + Unit and Special School in the primary years respectively. The event is hosted on Zoom and there will be a break as well as time for Q+A.”

Tickets £5 available from Eventbrite

14 New magazine for the Down’s Syndrome (DS) Community

With thanks to 21&Co for advertising this…

“There is a fantastic new magazine being published for the DS community by our friends at Making Chromosomes Count. It brings together 48 pages of news and articles about our DS community. This is how to receive your copy.”

15 Simon Baron-Cohen: ‘Autistic people have really contributed to human progress’

inews – 12th January 2021January

“A lifetime’s research has led the newly knighted Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen to conclude that autism and invention are intimately related, he tells Etan Smallman

The cognitive neuroscientist Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen – newly knighted for his “remarkable, innovative” research into autism – contends that humans alone have a systemising mechanism in the brain that seeks out “if-and-then” patterns. It’s these thought processes – such as, “if my boat is stationary, and I hold a sail perpendicular to the wind, then my boat moves forward in the same direction as the wind” – that allow us to invent.”

16 ‘Silenced: The hidden story of disabled Britain’ BBC2 – Wednesday 3rd February 2021 - 59mins

“For more than a century, one group of people in Britain has been shut out of society, denied basic human rights and treated with fear and prejudice. Now, in this shocking, moving film, writer, actor and presenter Cerrie Burnell is going to uncover the hidden story of how disabled people fought back – and won their freedom.

Cerrie was born without the lower part of her right arm. As a presenter on CBeebies, Cerrie was astonished to learn that some viewers thought her appearance would scare watching children. Now, she wants to find out where these attitudes to disabled people come from and why they persist today.”

17 Disability and dating: 'Why do people think I'm my boyfriend's carer?'

BBC3 Friday 8th January 2021 Dating is complicated at the best of times, but social stigma means dating someone with a disability is rarely discussed. After Hannah and wheelchair user Shane Burcaw spoke out over online comments dismissing their relationship, we spoke to other couples about their experiences.”

18 Hands Free Trainers (shoes)

I saw this on Channel 4’s Last Leg… the story goes that a customer with cerebal palsy wrote to Nike asking why they didn’t make a trainer that they could get on easily – without using their hands…. Nike took up the challenge and made the FlyEase.

The FlyEase proved so popular that it is now part of their mainstream range – and it is still a hand-free trainer.

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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