• SEND speak

Little Dreams, Exclusions, Dentistry & Drag

Updated: May 27, 2019

Dear All

A mixed set of articles this week. There has been so much on the Exclusions Review…

1. Our Little Dreams

2. The Parent Consortium (Kingston) and Forum (Richmond)

3. Landmark Exclusions Review published (many articles)

4. Off-rolling

5. School Exclusions and SEND

6. SEND Crisis March – 30th May (London)

7. A Job Description for SEND Parent

8. Dysart School - consultation on expansion

9. MeToo&Co becomes… Skylarks

10. Positive Dyslexia – 21st May 2019

11. The Big Thank You coffee morning for Richmond's Volunteers

12. An Extra Chromosome Is Never A Problem

13. Drag Syndrome

1 Our Little Dreams

Lovely short film (6 minutes), well worth watching…

“Our Little Dreams is a film made [with and] for Clarendon school. Originally, we just wanted to make a film that was fun for the children to be involved in. But the children were amazing and we wanted to share this and uploaded it here.”

2 The Parent Consortium (Kingston) and Forum (Richmond)

Richmond Parent Carer Forum (PCF) There are a (growing) number of parents meeting later this week to formally begin setting up a new forum for Richmond borough. If you would like to attend this meeting, the details are:

Thursday 16th May - from 10am

Richmond Library Annexe, Quadrant Rd, Richmond, TW9 1DH

Catherine Ratcliffe, Contact Associate


Kingston Parent Consortium

A reminder that there are meetings to discuss the creation of a Council organised Parent Consortium:

Tuesday 21st May - 7pm to 8.30pm

Thursday 23rd May - 10.30am to 12noon

both are at the King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, KT5 9AL

If you are interested in being part of the consortium please email:

The Local Offer link with the full details is here:

3 Landmark Exclusions Review published (many articles)

Published 7th May There have been a lot of articles on this. This is unsurprising given the forthcoming Government Spending Review in the autumn. Here is a selection of articles, plus highlights.

Published 7th May, by Gov.UK

“Schools will be made accountable for the pupils they exclude and there will be a clampdown on off-rolling, as part of Government measures taken in response to the Timpson Review of exclusions.

The review, published today (7 May), makes 30 recommendations to Government as it highlights variation in exclusions practice across different schools, local authorities and certain groups of children. The report concludes that while there is no optimal number of exclusions, there needs to be action to ensure permanent exclusions are only used as a last resort, where nothing else will do.

Analysis shows 85% of all mainstream schools not expelling a single child in 2016/17, but 0.2% of schools having expelled more than ten pupils in the same year.”

Published 7th May, by The Guardian

The long-awaited review of exclusions in England, carried out by a former minister for children and families at the Department for Education, Edward Timpson, and published on Tuesday, found that 78% of expelled pupils either had special educational needs (SEN), were eligible for free school meals (FSM) or were “in need”.

It found that boys with social, emotional and mental health difficulties were 3.8 times more likely to be permanently excluded than a child without SEN, and children from the most disadvantaged families were 45% more likely to be excluded than other pupils.

The review was broadly welcomed across the sector, but school leaders said it failed to address the funding crisis in schools, which they say is contributing to increased exclusions. The Department for Education (DfE) is currently preparing its bid for more funding in the autumn spending review.

Published 7th May, by The Times

Edward Timpson, a former education minister who wrote the report, said that it was bizarre that schools washed their hands of excluded pupils, handing them over to the council with no accountability for what happened next.

Mr Timpson, who studied the system for a year, was not “confident that every exclusion is legal, fair and reasonable”, and recommended big changes.

Published 8th May, by Special Needs Jungle As you would expect, Special Needs Jungle published a thorough analysis of the Exclusions Review. For SENDspeak, I’m highlighting just a couple of quotes. The full article is in the link below.

“Today’s report is welcome recognition of this unacceptable situation. The Government’s own figures show that children on the autism spectrum are three times more likely to be formally excluded than children without special educational needs. On top of this, others face being informally excluded or off-rolled. This is unlawful and must stop.”

Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society,

“I'm disappointed that they've swerved the opportunity to look properly at the review process. Simply saying that the DfE must do more to help parents won't change the fact that the procedures and legal requirements themselves are daunting, and I can't see their recommendations making any appreciable difference to the numbers using the appeal process. More importantly, it means that in reality schools will still not be adequately accountable for exclusion decisions.”

Eleanor Wright, SOSSEN

4 Off-rolling

Published 10th May, by Special Needs Jungle

“No sooner had the Exclusions Review announced that off-rolling of pupils is “rare”, Ofsted comes along with research that indicates quite the opposite.”

Well, this got Tania at Special Needs Jungle going and you can read the full article via the link below. For clarity, here is a definition of the practice:

“Off-rolling is the practice of removing a pupil from the school roll without using a permanent exclusion, when the removal is primarily in the best interests of the school, rather than the best interests of the pupil. This includes pressuring a parent to remove their child from the school roll. While it may not always be unlawful, Ofsted believes off-rolling is never acceptable.”

Dan Owen HMI, Specialist Adviser for school inspection policy, Ofsted

5 School Exclusions and SEND

Should you have any questions on the current laws regarding exclusions and SEND, the link to the Local Offer (below) covers what you can expect following the latest exclusions guidance (July 2017). On this page is also a film and a downloadable booklet; it’s all still up to date.

6 SEND Crisis March – 30th May (London)

Now is the time to protest. Government plans a spending review this autumn, make sure that the voices of families, children and young people are heard.

“There are planned marches across the UK on 30th May to raise awareness of failings to those with SEND, their families and education providers who are expected to provide an appropriate education on continuous budget cuts.

We would like to invite parents, carers, young people, families, school staff and anyone else who supports this to take part in the London March.

Petition to be handed in at 12noon to 10 Downing Street and walk to rally at Parliament Square at 13.00 with guest speakers.”

If you’d like to attend, or get in contact with the organisers, follow this Facebook link:

The Petition

“Here is our petition devised by our Admin Nadia Turki. Please continue to sign and share! We currently are over 11,800 signatures (10.000 will ensures a response from parliament!)”

7 A Job Description for SEND Parent

Published 9th May, by mummytosix

So this is a blog not about the skills that are required to care for a SEND child this is about the skills that you need to do the other side of the job, the meetings, the admin, the liaising with professionals, the annual reviews, the statutory processes, standing up and challenging things when you think they are wrong. What skills would a person need to do that? What would a job description look like?”

8 Dysart School - consultation on expansion

“Dysart School [Kingston] is undertaking a consultation on a proposal for the School to educate additional children with special education needs across the existing year groups at its current site and at a proposed additional site. The overall increase across both sites would provide a further 29 places above the school’s current Funding Agreement of 96 places bringing the total school capacity to 125 places by 2020.”

The consultation lasts until 23rd May and details can be found here.

9 MeToo&Co becomes… Skylarks

Since the rise of the #MeToo movement, MeToo&Co have been confused by some as a part of the campaign to end sexual harassment. As a result, and after thirteen years, MeToo&Co have taken the decision to rebrand as Skylarks.

Everything remains the same… and they will continue to provide services from their base in Twickenham. The website and e-mail addresses automatically re-direct.

“Skylarks is an independent Richmond-upon-Thames based charity that provides activities and therapies for children with disabilities and additional needs. We also support and provide therapies, courses and information for their whole families.”

10 Positive Dyslexia – 21st May 2019

The Richmond Dyslexia Association are looking forward to hosting Professor Rod Nicolson at their AGM on:

Tuesday 21st May - 7pm The Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond, TW9 1TP …and they do hope you will join them. If you are a member, there is no charge and you are welcome to invite non-members, who can buy a ticket for £10.

“Professor Nicolson spoke recently at the PATOSS talks in London about Positive Dyslexia and we thought it would be a good idea to have a speaker to come and celebrate the strengths and positives that can come out of being dyslexic. The talk will be suitable for parents and teachers of learners with dyslexia and adults with dyslexia. As he quotes in his book 'Positive Dyslexia' 'given the right opportunities- dyslexic people have distinctive and important strengths to be nurtured rather than an affliction to be tolerated.'”

You can find all the details of the talk and how to book via their new look website:

11 The Big Thank You coffee morning for Richmond's Volunteers

Richmond CVS are hosting a celebration for Richmond's volunteers to say thank you for making a difference and giving their time so generously.

Thursday 13th June - 10.30am to 12noon

Queen Charlotte Hall, RHACC, Parkshot, TW9 2RE

“We are delighted that Sian Thomas will be joining us as our guest speaker. Sian won the Community Volunteer of the Year Award 2018 for organising the Christmas Day Dinner in Richmond for 50 young adults who had recently left the care system. The Christmas Day Dinner also won the Community Project of the Year Award. Sian is passionate about volunteering and the mutual benefit that it brings.

It will be a fun, informal event with coffee, tea and cakes and networking and even the chance to sing!!

Spaces are limited and booking is essential. We would love to see you there. To join us please book using the link:”

12 An Extra Chromosome Is Never A Problem

From one extreme…

“I am Sader Issa, a Syrian dentistry student, and the son of a man with Down Syndrome. Happy memories are all that I have with my father. As a child I grew up with a man who knows only to love, and a man who worked hard so I can have a normal life. He pushed me to study hard, to be on top of my class so he can be proud of me as I am proud of him.

It is a beautiful adventure to live with a person with down syndrome you can learn from them how to love, give, and spread happiness without anything in return.

I am very proud to be the son of that man and I hope that one day your kids with Down Syndrome can be parents too.”

13 Drag Syndrome

To another… “Meet Drag Syndrome - the outspoken performers with Down's syndrome who are creating a stir on the drag scene.

These drag queens and kings were brought together in 2018 by choreographer Daniel Vais, to provide a platform for performers with learning disabilities and to challenge stereotypes.

They have received criticism along the way, but with a performance at Glastonbury coming up, could they be about to hit the big time?”

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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