• SEND speak

Growing Up, Reviews & Jolly Events

Dear All

Details of some local events, and a round up of the national news (still not great, and as I’ve said before, thank goodness for Larry The Cat at #10

Good time events at the end…

1. Tomorrow! 14th Sept: TAG Local Offer & Transition Fair

2. The Post 16 Maze – Coffee ‘n’ Cake

3. Chat and Play Sessions - discuss your concerns with local experts

4. Helping Your Dyslexic Child with their Homework

5. Family Matters launches 1:1 drop in clinics for Richmond parents

6. The Children and Families Act: Five Years On

7. SEND Review announcement

8. And from the commentators at Special Needs Jungle (SNJ)

9. SEN Implementation Team mailing list

10. A potential No Deal Brexit – contingency planning over medicines and medical supplies

11. Reducing restraint and restrictive intervention

12. Home to school travel and transport (U16)

13. 21&Co's Fabulous Vegas Night

14. Express’ Comedy Night

15. Those with autism make good social psychologists

16. Accessibility at Kew Gardens

17. Singing Hands Christmas Show 2019

18. No art lover left behind: how galleries are finally welcoming disabled people

1 Tomorrow! 14th Sept: TAG Local Offer & Transition Fair

Things to do include a giant Operation game! Hope to see you there.

Saturday 14 September 2019, between 1 o’clock and 4 o’clock

Grey Court School, Ham Street, Ham, TW10 7HN

This drop-in event will be your opportunity to meet local providers and learn about their services for those approaching adulthood. Stall holders include education, day services, supported living, support groups, sport and leisure activities. Refreshments will be available throughout the event.”

More details here:

2 The Post 16 Maze – Coffee ‘n’ Cake

This is not a formal group as such – but very much a group of parents who get together, talk and share ideas…

“Please join us at our “parents supporting parents” group for anyone supporting a young person (16 plus) with SEND. We have informal but very helpful discussions on various topics including benefits, wills and trusts, mental capacity and how to get a social worker. More recently we have discussed the tricky issue of summer activities.

We share information, signpost each other and offer support by having monthly coffee and cake sessions. No need to book and all very welcome.”

Friday 20th September

Friday 18th October

Friday 15th November

Friday 13th December

…all sessions are 9.30am to 11.30m

at Skylarks at The Crossway, 306 Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 2PD.

3 Chat and Play Sessions - discuss your concerns with local experts

New from Achieving for Children’s Early Support people…

“Do you have concerns about your child that you would like to chat about with a friendly local expert?

Would you like to talk about to an expert about any of the following?

Portage, Early Support for your child in early years settings Early Education Funding and 30 hours childcare offer, the Young People's Hub, The Golden Binder.”

More information about these Chat and Play Sessions here:

4 Helping Your Dyslexic Child with their Homework

From the Richmond Dyslexia Association…

Tuesday 17th September – 7.3pm to 9pm

Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond

“Katrina Cochran has spent 14 years with Dyslexia Action as Principal and Southern Regional Manager. Following this, another four years with the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) as Head of Education and Policy. She has just finished writing the new Level 7 course for specialist teachers for the BDA. Katrina is an Associate Trainer and Assessor for the BDA. Katrina has co-written two books on Dyslexia and presented many training sessions and webinars.

£8 for members, £10 non-members. For more information go to our website:”

5 Family Matters launches 1:1 drop in clinics for Richmond parents

“We are delighted to announce that from October, our Family Matters service we will be running a 1:1 drop in clinic for families in the Richmond borough, who have children with additional needs.

The clinic will usually be held on the 2nd Monday of the month at the RUILS offices in Teddington. The first few one-hour sessions are now available to book (the first two dates are October 14th and November 11th).

Please use this link below to check availability and book your appointment. You will also find information on the Family Matters page of our website

We hope this new service will be of benefit to you all, and we look forward to welcoming you.”

6 The Children and Families Act: Five Years On

Below are a couple of extracts from the Council for Disabled Children’s (CDC) monthly digest. The full digest can be found here:

Whilst, like Christine, I believe the reforms were (and are) the right reforms, it’s saddens me that it may take a generation to embed them. This means that our children and young people now are testing these reforms as everyone around them (professionals and parents) get used to the implications of doing it right.

The best we can do, perhaps, is to keep in mind the law and the spirit of the reforms of “putting the child or young person at the centre” and work with this.

The Children and Families Act: Five Years On

Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children

“One or two of you who are blessed with a good memory may recall that at the time the

Act came into being, I gave a few thoughts on the new legislation. We can all recognise the

significant flaws of the previous system, how it too often let children and their families

down and left practitioners facing too many barriers to support them in achieving their

best outcomes.

We said then that it would take a generation to embed the legislation. I suggested that

the key issue we faced in September 2014 was how to make what we have work for the

children, young people and families. So now we reach the Act’s 5th anniversary, I think it

is important to reflect on the progress have we made so far.”

The DCO/DMO (Designated Clinical Officer/Designated Medical Officer)

Another extract from the Digest is this, plus the link to their resource pack.

To my mind, the DCO/DMO is critical in bringing together the essential, but not always (?) aligned Health services with Education. For instance, why should each budget holder argue about who pays for the special toilet seat in school… and should there be a hoist at home and at school…?

“One of the most beneficial outcomes from the reforms was the introduction of the role

of Designated Clinical Officer/Designated Medical Officer (DCO/DMO). CDC are proud

to have created a wide range of resources, and to host the DCO/DMO forum. The forum

supports the sharing of knowledge and peer support across the country. You can find

resources and the forum here: DCO/DMO Resources.”

There is a local DCO/DMO, currently held by an interim. My understanding is that the permanent post holder will begin this autumn.

7 SEND Review announcement

This announcement was made on 6th September 2019, days before a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) published it’s SEND audit that scrutinised government spending. Both these came hot on the heels of the additional £700 million funding for SEND.

The key parts of the announcement is reproduced below, and link to Special Needs Jungles’ commentaries follow.

6th September 2019

“Dear Colleagues

Today, the government has announced the launch of a cross-cutting review of SEND Five years on from the Children and Families Act, it is time to review how the reforms it introduced are supporting children and young people with SEND and make sure they are being implemented as well as possible.

The internal review will look across education, health and care to consider:

· The evidence on how the system can provide the highest quality support that enables children and young people with SEND to thrive and prepare for adulthood, including employment;

· Better helping parents to make decisions about what kind of support will be best for their child;

· Making sure support in different local areas is consistent, and that high-quality support is available across the country;

· How we strike the right balance of state-funded provisions across inclusive mainstream and specialist places;

· Aligning incentives and accountability for schools, colleges and local authorities to make sure they provide the best possible support for children and young people with SEND;

· Understanding what is causing the demand for education, health and care plans; and

· Ensuring that public money is spent in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner, placing a premium on securing high quality outcomes for those children and young people who need additional support.

The government also announced today that Tony McArdle, Lead Commissioner in Northamptonshire County Council, will be the new chair of the SEND System Leadership Board, which brings together sector leaders across Education, Health and Social Care to drive improvements. He will act as an independent advisor to the review, alongside Education Endowment Fund Chair Sir Kevan Collins and Anne Heavey, National Director of Whole School SEN.

[quotes removed]

The review will inform and support the government’s commitment to revise and update the SEND Code of Practice before the end of 2020.

With best wishes

SEND Implementation Team

Department for Education “

8 And from the commentators at Special Needs Jungle (SNJ)

What does ‘£700 million for SEND’ actually mean in reality?

By Matt Keer, 2nd September 2019

Is the £700 million ring-fenced for SEND?

There’s no way of knowing right now. Assuming that the £700m is headed for the High Needs Block, then the answer is ‘yes, it’s ringfenced for SEND’ – but that’s a civil servant’s ‘yes’, and the definition of ‘ringfenced’ is comically broad.

SEND Review: A game-changer or playing politics with vulnerable children?

By Catriona Moore, 9th September 2019

“Everyone wants it to work. Everyone wants to make the most of this recognition by ministers that all is far from well in the reformed SEND system and children are not getting the help and support that the Children and Families Act promised.”

SEND audited: Is the system affordable? What’s the alternative?

By Tania Tirraoro, 11th September 2019, with additional reporting from Matt Keer

“As expected, it’s not comfortable reading for the Department for Education, with its headline that while “some” children with special educational needs and disabilities are receiving high-quality support, “many others are not getting the help they should”. It's pretty savaging as well about the quality of the DfE's research and evidence base for funding and outcomes of children and young people with SEND.”

9 SEN Implementation Team mailing list

Even as I type this, the good people at the SEN Implementation Team have sent another NEWSFLASH (see items 10, 11 and 12 below).

If you would like to be added to the SEN Implementation Team’s e-mail list, please contact and ask to be added.

10 A potential No Deal Brexit – contingency planning over medicines and medical supplies

“The government is working closely with the NHS and its suppliers to help ensure that supplies of medicines and medical devices can continue to flow into the UK without significant delays if the UK were to leave the EU without a deal. Schools should continue with their normal arrangements for medicines and medical supplies to support pupils with health conditions.

If schools have any concerns about being able to meet statutory duties relating to SEND, health and safety, or safeguarding, they should work with their local authority or academy trust to ensure there are robust contingency plans in place.”

For more information read the guidance on planning for a possible no-deal Brexit:

11 Reducing restraint and restrictive intervention

“In June the Department for Education (DfE) published, jointly with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), non-statutory guidance on reducing restraint and restrictive intervention in health and social care services and special education settings. The guidance aims to help settings adopt a preventative approach…


At the same time, the DfE published a consultation to gather views on whether there is a need for guidance on reducing restraint and restrictive interventions for mainstream schools, mainstream post-16 settings and Alternative Provision; and whether guidance should apply to a wider cohort of children and young people with SEND.“

The consultation closes on 17 October 2019.

12 Home to school travel and transport (U16)

“We are seeking views on revised statutory guidance for local authorities on home to school travel and transport for children of compulsory school age.

Why We Are Consulting

The Department for Education is consulting on revised statutory guidance for local authorities on home to school travel and transport for children of compulsory school age (5-16). The guidance was last updated in 2014. There have been no changes to the law.

The revised guidance seeks to clarify local authorities’ statutory duties in relation to home to school travel and transport policy, in response to feedback from local authorities and other interested parties.

NB: The policy for transport to post-16 education and training is different from that of children of compulsory school age, and as such is not included within this consultation.”

The consultation closes on 31st October 2019

13 21&Co's Fabulous Vegas Night

Give yourself a fantastic night whilst raising funds for 21&Co. Start to invite your friends and family and book your tickets with

Saturday 28th September - 7.30pm to midnights at Hampton Court Palace Golf Club

“We've planned a fabulous evening full of fun and entertainment. Come and play your hand on the tables, enjoy amazing entertainment from the leading Elvis impersonator, relax with delicious food and drink and dance the rest of the night away on the dance floor. You never know, you could also walk home with one of our wonderful auction prizes.”

21 & Co is a parent run support group based around South West London and Surrey dedicated to giving support to families who have children and young people with Down's syndrome.

14 Express’ Comedy Night

Come and join Express for a great night of comedy for a great cause! These are always popular, early booking is recommended.

Friday 18th October - Doors 7.30pm Show 8.00pm

The Cornerhouse, Surbiton

Express is a 'not for profit' community organisation, supporting autistic people and their families.

15 Those with autism make good social psychologists

By Bill Hathaway, Yale University, 10th September 2019

Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me…

“Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by the inability of individuals to gauge the emotions and mental states of other people. However, if the lens is widened to include the behavior of people in general, those with ASD traits are as good or even slightly better social psychologists than people who do not have traits of autism, Yale researchers report Sept. 9 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

16 Accessibility at Kew Gardens

“We want everyone to have an enjoyable time at Kew, so we aim to provide accessibility support across the Gardens.”

There is free entry for essential carers accompanying visitors with a disability, registered blind and partially sighted visitors. All visitors with a disability qualify for a concession ticket.

More information here:

17 Singing Hands Christmas Show 2019

“Come and kick-start your festive season with Singing Hands at the Annual Christmas Charity Singalong on:

Sunday 17th November - 11.30am and 2.30pm

The show will feature an eclectic mix of Makaton-signed Christmas carols, festive rhymes, vintage tunes and the odd Christmas pop classic. The amazing Dave Benson-Phillips will be joining Singing Hands and the repertoire will be suitable for ALL ages and abilities.

There will be a feast of ugly Christmas jumpers, reindeer antlers, snowmen, Father Christmas……plus the odd Hippo, Italian Donkey, Clarendon Signing Choir and the Ukulele players. If you can, bring a jingle bell or tambourine to make some noise and if you fancy dressing up or wearing a Christmas jumper, please do!

Singing Hands have hired a Mobiloo Changing Places van for any audience members who require accessible changing facilities.”

Wheelchair seats must be booked over the phone; please call 020 8783 4418

All other tickets:

18 No art lover left behind: how galleries are finally welcoming disabled people

By Claire Armitstead for The Guardian, Friday 6th September 2019

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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