• SEND speak

Mental Health, News & Comedy Pictures

Dear All

NB: This issue of SENDspeak was first published on 15th September - it's only just made it to the website... Hopefully we are all getting the chance to enjoy these last beautiful days of summer. Meanwhile, in the world of SEND...

1. Mental Health

2. Parent Carer Needs Assessments

3. MoodJuice Guides

4. The Wild Mind Project

5. Richmond Parent Carer Forum – 10am Thursday 17th September

6. CYPwDLD meeting – Richmond – this evening 15th September

7. Education Committee – 10am, Thursday 17th September

8. SOS!SEN joining SCA

9. Supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities to return to school

10. Some thought about Panorama: Fighting for an Education (SEND) – with a note for Robert Halfon

11. Guidance for full opening: Special schools and other specialist settings

12. Coronavirus guidance: What mainstream settings should do to ensure the inclusion of disabled children

13. Returning to school - support resources

14. Sixteen-year-old Dara McAnulty wins Wainwright prize for nature writing

15. Comedy Wildlife Photography awards 2020 finalists – in pictures

1 Mental Health

Every time I sit down to write one of these, I plan to have a theme and then find myself distracted by the SEND news articles out there. Mental Health is a theme I’ve wanted to cover for some time… and I wonder if being distracted by the SEND articles is easier than writing about mental health?

Maintaining good mental health, for both our young people and ourselves (as parent/carers) is significant! Recent data (2017) shows that 50% of young people with SEND will develop mental health problems - it’s just very difficult having SEND.

Likewise, we as their parent/carers suffer as we navigate the system.

I spoke to a parent just last week – their experience was as awful as many others. They have an 80K legal bill as a result of fighting for their children – and no, they cannot afford it, they just have a home that is barely functioning. It really doesn’t have to be like this… the authorities essentially ‘messed them around’ and gave in at the last minute (which will also have depleted the authority’s budgets in their own legal costs).

And, you know what… all this parent wanted was for someone to acknowledge the pointlessness of this and say ‘Sorry’.

That’s not unusual. I know from the many, many parent/carers I’ve spoken to over the years that they don’t mind the fight (errr, perhaps they’ve accepted it), but they do want to know What That Fight Is – so they don’t have to waste precious time (and money) on fighting red herrings.

We’ll return to this subject soon. In the meantime, any thoughts, stories, top tips or just anything you might like to share… are welcome! E:

2 Parent Carer Needs Assessments

Your entitlement to a Parent Carer Needs Assessment (PCNA)

“Parents and carers have a stand-alone right to assessments and services under the Children and Families Act 2014. This is called a Parent Carer Needs Assessment (PCNA). Very simply, a PCNA is about parents and carer's needs - assessing what parents and carers need to enable them to carry on caring. It is your chance to consider your role as a carer and what help you may need to support you, to maintain your own health, as well as balancing your caring role with other aspects of your life, such as work and family.”

3 MoodJuice Guides

Here are a useful set of resources and guides passed on to me by a young person who has found them helpful themselves… These originate from NHS Scotland.

“Please note that from time to time the guides are updated, so always access the guides through the Moodjuice site to ensure you are using the most up-to-date copy.”

Anger – Anxiety – Bereavement - Chronic Pain – Depression - Obsessions and Compulsions – Panic - Post-Traumatic Stress - Shyness and Social Phobia - Sleep Problems - Stress “

4 The Wild Mind Project

from Achieving for Children, 12th August 2020

“The Wild Mind Project have a programme funded by The National Lottery, that offers free places for 13-25 year-olds to take part in a 5-weekly half-day programme, starting in September 2020 at various locations in Richmond, Kingston or Hounslow Boroughs.

Wild Minds uses a combination of outdoor art therapy, plus nature activities and mindfulness, to help alleviate anxiety and symptoms of depression. These are designed not only for young people but also for parents and carers and communities. Their programmes are supported by Achieving for Children and several local mental health charities including Off the Record and Action-attainment.”

T: 020 897 79989



5 Richmond Parent Carer Forum – 10am Thursday 17th September

An invitation to all Richmond parent/carers…

“…we are an independent group run by parents for parents/carers. Our purpose is to ensure that the voices of parents, children and young people are heard in the planning and implementation of SEND services in Richmond.

We currently have a dedicated core team, however, we would love for new members to join our Steering Group and expand our team.

We hold monthly Steering Group Meetings – our next one is: Thursday 17th September at 10am

Zoom link for the meeting:

Meeting ID: 857 0800 7333

We look forward to hopefully seeing you on Thursday. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me should you require any further information.

Kindest Regards,

Farmeen Kapadia

Administrator, Richmond Parent Carer Forum”

T: 07572 837 310


Hours of Work: Tuesday & Thursday (9.15am – 2.15pm Term Time)

6 CYPwDLD meeting – Richmond – this evening 15th September

CYPwDLD stands for Children & Young People with Disabilities and Learning Difficulties Partnership Forum. It meets three to four times a year with representatives from the voluntary sector support groups, the authority (Achieving for Children) and Councillors. Even if you can't dial in to listen to the virtual meeting this evening, you can listen to a recording on the same web page.

More details and reports packs here:

7 Education Committee – 10am, Thursday 17th September You can watch this live, or watch the recording – use the URL below…

“Subject: Accountability hearings

Witness(es): Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State, Department for Education; Susan Acland-Hood, Permanent Secretary, Department for Education; Michelle Dyson, Director for Qualifications, Curriculum and Extra-Curricular, Department for Education

Purpose of the session:

The session is likely to focus on the Department for Education’s oversight, decision-making and communication with Ofqual, in relation to exam cancellations and calculated grades.

The Committee may also explore the Government’s handling of the return of pupils to schools and its response to learning loss that has occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Secretary of State could also be asked about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and the Government’s response to the previous Committee’s report.”

8 SOS!SEN joining SCA

15th September 2020

“SEND Community Alliance (SCA) are delighted to announce that SEND charity, SOS!SEN is joining the SCA steering group as a full member.

SEND Community Alliance are a collaborative, founded in 2019 by the country’s three leading independent SEND groups; Special Needs Jungle Ltd (SNJ is a non-profit social enterprise), SEND National Crisis and SEND Action.

SOS!SEN is a registered charity that provides advice, information and support to families of children and young people with disabilities, to help them secure the education they are legally entitled to. Its CEO, Eleanor Wright, is a qualified solicitor.

SCA leaders met virtually with Eleanor earlier in September, to discuss the objectives they have in common. They agreed their goals could be amplified by joining together.”

Read more here…

9 Supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities to return to school

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, 31st August 2020

This is a short article and I’m not sure it says very much beyond ‘we should support children’…

"Now schools are reopening, it is vital that children with SEND are all supported to come back to school, and that the right help is in place for children to catch up academically and manage the social and emotional aspects of the return to school." - blog by Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, on supporting SEND pupils as they return to school.”

10 Some thought about Panorama: Fighting for an Education (SEND) – with a note for Robert Halfon

By Katherine RC, 8th September 2020 “The SEND system has been failing for over thirty years and it has often received little attention beyond the community of children and families who are directly affected by it. I was delighted to see these issues finally being aired on prime time television.

Sadly, the programme itself left me feeling disappointed, a bit frustrated and hoping for more. And after a night’s sleeping on it, here are the reasons why:”

11 Guidance for full opening: Special schools and other specialist settings

from SEN Implementation, 10th September 2020

“Dear colleagues,

We would like to draw your attention to an updated version of the Guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings to reflect the actions special schools and other specialist settings need to take to support full opening from the start of the autumn term. The main updates are listed at the start of the document and include:

· changes to SEND legislation

· use of face coverings in settings

· the framework for supporting transport to and from settings

· pupils who are shielding or self-isolating

· actions for all schools and local authorities with regards to recording attendance and absence

· employer health and safety and equalities duties

· support available for schools with regard to supply teachers

· performance management and appraisal for teachers

· health and safety

· music, dance and drama in school

· wraparound provision and extra-curricular activity

· physical activity in schools

· new resources available for pupil wellbeing and support

· behaviour expectations

· primary assessment

· additional resources available for delivering remote education

· health and safety risk assessments for those with an EHC plan “

12 Coronavirus guidance: What mainstream settings should do to ensure the inclusion of disabled children

from Special Needs Jungle, September 14th 2020

Trying to keep up with the government's latest coronavirus education guidance can seem like a full-time occupation. There is guidance for schools for re-opening and separate guidance for specialist settings. There's also guidance for safety and much more.

Mainstream schools may, reasonably, think the specialist settings guidance doesn't apply to them. But they would be wrong. Because the government has not so helpfully, put all the information for children with SEND in here, seemingly forgetting that most children with special educational needs are indeed in mainstream schools.

SEND education consultant, Lorraine Petersen, who is a former CEO of nasen, has written for us today to explain what's missing from the mainstream guidance and why schools need to also read the specialist document to be able to support all the children in their school.”

13 Returning to school - support resources

from Achieving for Children

“AfC have gathered a range of resources alongside information prepared by Achieving for Children teams and partners on this page on the Local Offer website here:”

14 Sixteen-year-old Dara McAnulty wins Wainwright prize for nature writing

Sian Cain, The Guardian, 8th September 2020 “McAnulty started his wildlife blog, Young Fermanagh Naturalist, when he was 12. He started writing Diary of a Young Naturalist at 14, documenting the year from spring equinox to spring equinox, from his 14th to 15th birthday. In it, he recounts his life as his family moves across Northern Ireland, transporting him away from his beloved local forest, changing schools and dealing with bullying. McAnulty, who is autistic along with his two siblings and his mother, seeks sanctuary in nature as he juggles school, friendships and environmental campaigning.”

15 Comedy Wildlife Photography awards 2020 finalists – in pictures

Matt Fidler. The Guardian, Friday 11th September

Something jolly…. “Take a look at some of the light-hearted images of wildlife submitted by finalists from this year’s Comedy Wildlife Awards”

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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