• SEND speak

Meet the SEN Team, Parent Forums, News & a Galaxy

Dear All

A reminder of the forthcoming Meet the SEN Team coffee mornings – it’s always helpful to put a face to a name!

If you’re puzzled by the various formal parent/carer forums/panels/consortiums, then Item 3 is for you.

And of course, a mix of articles which I hope is helpful…

1 Meet the SEN Team Coffee Mornings

The SEN Team are the home for the EHC Plan Co-ordinators; this is a chance to meet the people that you e-mail or perhaps talk with on the telephone. They are real people and nothing beats face-to-face meetings to build a good working relationship.

“The Coffee Morning is an informal event, however there will be an introduction at the beginning to introduce the team members.

These events are held regularly, and you will be able to see more dates in the Local Offer calendar as they are arranged.” Please let the SEN Team know you are coming by booking through the events pages on the Local Offer

SEND Team Coffee Morning - Preparing for Adulthood (Year 9+)

Tuesday 16th May - 9.30am to 11.30am

York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham

SEND Team Coffee Morning -Year 8 and below - Richmond families

Monday 20th May - 9.30am to 11am

Hyde Room, York House, Richmond Road

SEND Team Coffee Morning -Year 8 and below - Kingston families

Wednesday 29th May - 9.30am to 11am

King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton

SEND Team Coffee Morning - Preparing for Adulthood (Year 9+)

Monday 1st July - 9.30am to 11.30am

King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton

SEND Team Coffee Morning -Year 8 and below - Richmond families

Thursday 11th July - 9.30am to 11am

Clarendon Hall, York House, Richmond Road

SEND Team Coffee Morning -Year 8 and below - Kingston families

Friday 19th July - 9.30am to 11am

King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton

If you have any questions regarding these meetings, please do get in contact with:

T: 020 8547 5872


2 The DfE’s out of SEND Funding ideas. Can you help out?

By Matt Keer, published by Special Needs Jungle - May 6th 2019

This is an excellent article – really clear and accessibly written. Take the time to read this, with a cup of tea perhaps… you don’t have to answer any surveys unless you really want to…

“Last week, the Department for Education put out a call for evidence about SEND funding. What are they asking about, what are they asking for, and why are they asking now?

The SEND reforms – the 2014 Children & Families Act – were the largest single change to the SEND landscape in a generation. But they weren’t the only significant change that happened. In April 2013 (eighteen months before the SEND reforms kicked in) the government made big changes to the way they fund education at local level. These funding changes had a big impact on SEND too.

In reality, many of the challenges that parents and professionals experience with the current system are not really down to the SEND reforms, they’re a by-product of the way that SEND funding works.

So, six years after these funding changes, the Department for Education (DfE) is taking a look at whether it needs to ‘tweak' the current SEND funding setup. Whether you’re a parent, professional, young person, MP or civil servant, if you’re reading this you’ll probably have noticed that SEND funding is not in the best of health right now (and that’s putting it kindly). So what does the DfE want to hear about from us, and why?”

The full article is here:

3 Parent Panel / Consortium / Forums; explained

So…. once upon a time there existed a Department for Education (DfE) funded Parent/Carer Forum (PCF) for Richmond and Kingston called SEND Family Voices. This PCF ran for the length of the implementation period of the SEND Reforms (Summer 2014 to Spring 2018). The closure of this PCF is now history.

However… the DfE want each borough to have their own PCF and commission Contact to make this happen. It’s been a slow process to say the least. Because of this, each Council has set, or is setting up, its own route to parent/carer participation and engagement.

Here is the current status for each.

Richmond Richmond has a Council organised Parent Panel which has met twice.

The DfE commissioned PCF is underway with 6 parents agreeing to sort out the initial governance and funding applications.

The Parent Panel and PCF might merge in the future – these are discussions to be had with the members of each group (the Panel and the PCF).


Kingston have a Council organised Parent Consortium which is to meet for the first time on:

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

The DfE commissioned PCF planning meeting on 9th May has been cancelled due to ‘lack of interest’; local groups were to try and recruit parents to join, but apparently no one came forward.

Progress is slightly slower in Kingston, but perhaps the Consortium will apply for the PCF funding (just an idea…!?)

4 A selection of Newsletters

Keeping up to date can be hard work… here’s a selection of national pan-disability newsletters:

Council for Disabled Children (CDC) Quarterly Digest

“April’s Digest includes:

· Successful conferences on a wide range of topics, from sex and relationships education to young people's participation

· Webinars and case studies added to the resource hub

· Three new case law updates from Steve Broach *

· CDC's take on the latest news, blogs and reports from across the SEND sector”

* Steve Broach’s Case Law Updates follow the format ‘Case Overview’, then ‘What this means for children and families’ and ‘Implications for Local Authorities’. These Updates are on pages 18-27 in the link above.

IPSEA Monthly Updates

IPSEA = Independent Parental Special Educational Advice

You can subscribe to their monthly newsletter using the link below – scroll down to the bottom of the page and on your way down you will also see their most recent news items.

Learning Disability Newsletter: Issue 9

Don’t be put off by the 38 pages, this newsletter is in an accessible format so is pictures and large text:

“In this issue of the learning disability newsletter you can find out about the NHS Long Term Plan; looking after your eyes; Summary Care Records; learning from people’s deaths; getting medication right for children and young people; personalised care; getting support in the criminal justice system and the NHS 11 helpline.”

Special Needs Jungle (SNJ) Whilst I often reference articles from SNJ it is, of course, open to all. Here is their home page, with the subscribe to option at the bottom:

SEND News from Central Government These newsletters appear from the SEND Implementation Team at the Department for Education. There are regular newsletters and often Newsflashes for important announcements (usually over a weekend…). These are targeted at Local Authorities, but subscription is open to all – just send an e-mail to the address below and ask to be added:

5 Twitter and Facebook news posts

Many other organisations, such as SOSSEN or the National SEND Crisis people, don’t produce a newsletter, but rather publish news via their Twitter and Facebook pages.

SEND Action …only use Twitter

“We are a UK national network of families of children with special education needs/disabilities committed to upholding their legal rights.

On 30 May we are marching with @SendCrisis for funding and accountability for disabled children. On 26 June we are taking the government to court.”

The story to their court case is here:

SOSSEN …use Facebook to publish their up-to-date events and workshops on navigating the SEND system:

National SEND Crisis

…have a closed Facebook group (this just means you have to fill in a form to join the page). Search for: SEND National Crisis March and there are also local pages for London.

You can also find them on Twitter:

“A parent led campaign to raise awareness of the failures of the current system for children & young people with SEND. We’re planning a national march 30 May 19.”

6 Richmond Mencap (& free trips) Local organisation also have newsletter too of course! The link below will take you to the News pages for Richmond Mencap.

At the top of the page are two links; one for where you have a choice of linking to their newsletter and/or their events and activities:

“Our activities are usually small groups consisting of a mixture of young people who attend both mainstream and special schools. These activities offer young people the chance to socialise and do some fun and interesting things at the weekend and during the school half term holidays. These programmes are for young people aged 8-17 years old with mild to moderate Learning Disabilities, Social Communication Conditions, ADHD and other additional needs.”

Mencap’s half-term Energise (free trips)

Of particular note is Energise in the May half-term holiday. These trips are free, but please return the forms to Mencap by 9th May.

Please contact Richard on 020 8744 1923 /

7 Kingston Mencap

Each borough has a Mencap, in Richmond they offer services to both children and adults. Kingston is adult focussed.

“Kingston Mencap is a local registered charity which supports adults with a learning disability, and their families and carers. The charity always offers a warm welcome to new people. “

8 Park Lane Stables Open Day

Lots to do including pony rides, face painting, cake eating and fair rides. No need to book - just turn up. This event raises money for Riding for the Disabled (RDA) and 21&Co (Downs Syndrome).

Saturday 18th May – 1pm to 6pm Park Lane Stables, Park Lane, Teddington, TW11 0HY

For more information contact:

T: 020 8977 4951

M: 07796 842 328

9 News from TAG Youth Club

“The TAG Management Committee met on tonight [2nd May] to discuss what has gone well and talk about how things can be done differently to improve our offer. We have some really exciting plans for 2019/20 to find out more come to our AGM on Monday 1 July at Ham Youth Centre starting at 8.15pm.”

10 Frazzle Café

Slightly random… this item has little to do directly with SEND, but it's such a good title! The radio article is Ruby Wax talking about mental health...

...and I feel the title Frazzle Cafe could be used as an events programme to reach out to parent/carers.

11 The Maori word for Autism is “Takiwātanga” (I asked why?)

It translates as, “In his/her/my own time and space.” I’ve seen this on a number of Fb posts and similar and decided to look into this… it seems that it is the development of Maori language with the intention of supporting work in the areas of mental health, addiction and disability. There were simply no words to describe certain conditions – so they were created:

“Te Reo Hāpai – The Language of Enrichment. Updating and creating Māori language used in the mental health, addiction and disability sectors. Throughout the development of Te Reo Hāpai, it was evident there was no Māori equivalent for many words, such as autism.”

“I have a close friend who has autism,” says Mr Opai (strategic lead for the programme). “In my experience, people with autism tend to have their own timing, spacing, pacing and life-rhythm. That’s why I interpreted autism in te reo as ‘takiwātanga’ – ‘his or her own time and space’.”

‘Disabled’ has been translated into ‘whaikaha’ which means to have strength, to have ability, otherly abled, enabled. This word was created with the Māori disabled community and has a deliberate emphasis on gaining strength and ability.”

If you would like to see the full glossary, it’s here:

12 Galaxy Mosaic

The pupils at Clarendon Primary Centre have completed their mosaics on the school’s new building (much of it was re-purposed breeze blocks). There will be a One Year On celebration in due course. For now, please admire some of their work…

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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