• SEND speak

New Schools, Summer Activities & SEND with Politics

Dear All

Phew! Summer is busy whether you have young people to entertain, or you’re going on holiday or perhaps (like me) you’re moving home.

So, here is a round of more Summer Activities, plus the national outlook and a few jolly items at the end.

And, of course, welcome to new subscribers!

1. Welcome to Capella House

2. Application for a new special school

3. 8 more Summer Activities

4. Hidden Disability Lanyard

5. Recent articles on SEND funding… in date order

6. “I had special needs help in school. But the doors that were opened for me are closing”

7. Children and Young People on the Local Offer

8. Local SEND Communications – parent/carer engagement etc

9. Department for Education SEND Newsletters

10. It takes leaders to break down silos: CDC's new report on integrating services

11. Improving continence in children and young people with neurodisability

12. Home to school travel and transport: statutory guidance

13. Richmond CAMHS has moved to Barnes Hospital

14. 50 pink autistic pounds!

15. Things people with Down's Syndrome are tired of hearing...

16. Religious Sisters with Downs Syndrome: the joy of shared contemplative life

1 Welcome to Capella House

Hear our Voices, See us Shine

This school opens in September this year (they are already full for this academic year) and their website has just become available (it is still a new website and will change as the school grows).

“Capella House School is a new specialist provision for pupils with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) in Twickenham, West London. Communication is key to the lives of these young people and will underpin all aspects of school life. Our young people will develop their skills and abilities whilst gaining the necessary independence to engage in the opportunities on offer.”

2 Application for a new special school

Ella, from the ABA parent group in Richmond, sent me this request…

“Brent Specialist Academy Trust is one of the trusts bidding for the newly approved free special school in Kingston upon Thames. As you know, I represent the parents who have been lobbying AfC for an ABA provision in the boroughs. We are great supporters of BSAT’s bid.

Details about BSAT and the provision they propose for Kingston can be found below. The trust is also collecting evidence about the type of provision parents want for the new school.“

Please contact Ella, on if you have any queries.

The Application

Details about the application, and a short evidence collecting survey, can be found here:

“The school aims to open in early 2021 on a site on Moor Lane, Chessington, for 90 children from Reception to Year 13. Our Trust will propose that The Kingston Free School (TKFS) will be an inclusive school for children who have Autism and additional special needs. Specialist teaching will provide a personalised education programme for every pupil with some classes providing teaching programmes based upon the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behaviour (VB).”

3 8 more Summer Activities

More to do this summer – these are in addition to those covered in the last SENDspeak (date 17th July). And with particular thanks to Sue from the Post-16 Maze group for sharing her list.

SEND Carers’ Coffee & Chat

Get together in the park… at Castlenau Recreation Ground in Barnes. This is a small residential park both traditional and natural play facilities, a hugely popular padding pool as well as a multi-use games area (... if the weather is poor, then the Castelnau Community Centre might be open as well).

10am onwards on

Monday 12th August


Monday 26th August

Completely free and everyone is welcome !


“My name is Steph and I am the Playleader at Yorda Adventures. In case you haven’t heard of us, we are a non-profit organisation who specialise in working with families who have children with learning disabilities, difficulties, SEN and complex health needs.

We are based in Chessington and run our projects out of our Yorda Playhouse. We are located behind house number 88, Devon Way, Chessington (use KT9 2RH for sat nav)

The Yorda Playhouse and forest has lots of play areas including sensory room, bouncy castle, sunken trampoline, chill out sofa rooms and soft play. We also have a changing bed and portable hoist and a variety of toilet seating systems for you to use if needed. All our areas are fully accessible with no steps!

We are really excited that this summer we are running a variety of projects for children with disabilities to come along with their families in our fun and safe Playhouse space.

SEN Family Days 11am to 1.30pm:

Tuesdays - all ages under 18

Wednesdays - children aged primary and under

Thursday - Secondary school aged

You can drop in any time without needing to book and everyone is welcome from any borough/ location

£5 for 1 child, £8 for 2 children, £10 for 3 children

For any further info please contact us on:

T: 07590 622437


We are also running sibling only afternoons on Thursdays between 2.30pm-5pm for the siblings of children with disabilities to have a fun parent free afternoon to get to know some peers!”

With thanks to Sue for the following…

Holly Lodge

In the restful setting of Richmond Park, the Holly Lodge Centre offers a range of educational activities for groups of children, young people and adults - particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities - focused on the nature and Victorian heritage of the Park.

Companion cycling, Bushy Park

Companion Cycling is a scheme which enables people who are unable to ride “solo” cycles for whatever reason, to enjoy the pleasure of cycling with a companion in the delightful and traffic free surroundings of Bushy Park. Saturdays between 11am to 1pm.

“Cycles range from side-by-side pedal cycles suited to those with good mobility but limited co-ordination, through to a wheelchair ‘rickshaw’ suited to riders with severe mobility problems.”

Park Lane Stables

Teddington based riding stables with a very good reputation for supporting disabled people.

You may have seen Park Lane Stables on BBC1’s Countryfile this weekend:

“The Park Lane Stables Riding for the Disabled team reached the RDA National Championships for the first time ever this year, with all seven riders bringing home a rosette earlier this month. The team also met RDA Patron, HRH Princess Anne and were interviewed by John Craven for BBC's Countryfile, aired on 28 July.”

T: 07796 842328



Thames Valley Adventure Playground (TVAP)

Based on a 2.5 acre site adjacent to the A4 in Taplow, near Maidenhead, the Playground is open to children and adults with all types of special need, however, mild or profound, their siblings and parents/carers.

Open Tuesday to Saturday all year round, Fridays are reserved for adults with special needs.

Booking is essential. The cost is £8 per child.

Guildford Spectrum

Bowling, swimming, ice skating – loads of activities. Fully accessible with a hoist to access pools. Wheelchairs are allowed on the ice. Concessions are available if you receive DLA or PIP, but you will need to provide evidence. There’s a lot of information about facilities for disabled people under the About Us tab.

Hounslow Urban Farm

Lovely little farm where the children can get up close to the animals. Open pretty much every day with animal encounter opportunities times throughout the day – check the website. £5 per child, £6.50 per adult – usual concessions.

Note – this is near to Heathrow airport, so ear defenders may be helpful for those with sound sensitivities.

4 Hidden Disability Lanyard

Now on the Local Offer, a reminder of how this lanyard can help you with air travel:

5 Recent articles on SEND funding… in date order

SEND funding “completely inadequate,​” says Education Select Committee report

19th July 2019, Matt Keer for Special Needs Jungle

“For well over a year now, the House of Commons Education Select Committee has been running an inquiry into the state of special educational needs in England… We’re still waiting on the final report from the SEND inquiry – but it’s not the only inquiry from this Committee that’s relevant to SEND families.

In parallel, the Education Select Committee’s been looking into the state of school and college funding in England. This inquiry’s report was published today, and it doesn’t mince its words.”

Dear Damian Hinds, you didn’t need a ‘fresh look’ at special needs funding

23rd July 2019, Michael Rosen in The Guardian

“Parents, teachers, carers and children have been telling you for years that there’s a crisis.”

“Let me put it this way: children with special educational needs are not a separate category. They aren’t a problem. They’re not an extra-terrestrial event we have to make allowances for. They are not even a “they”. They are us.”

The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson

24th July 2019, from

“The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP was appointed Secretary of State for Education on 24 July 2019.

He was Secretary of State for Defence from 2 November 2017 to 1 May 2019. He was Chief Whip (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury) from 14 July 2016 to 2 November 2017.”

What next for SEN Education Mr Johnson?

25th July 2019, Dan White’s web blog

“Damian Hinds, the now ex-Education Secretary, has been the focal point over the last few months of our combined anger of the Governments SEN cuts to our children's education. SEN, or special educational needs, has seen its budget ruthlessly slashed and our children left floundering with no school place, transport or supportive educational care. This ruthless and somewhat cruel series of cuts has seen families resolve to repair this ignorance by taking action through the High Court.”

Dan White, About Me: “My daughter is a 12-year-old Wheelchair user, who, like me, is frustrated with the treatment and stereotypes around disability. This needs to change... “

First-time minister given one of the toughest jobs in government: Fixing the #SENDcrisis

30th July 2019, Catriona Moore for Special Needs Jungle

“The last week has brought a succession of big changes at all levels of government. The appointment of a new prime minister was followed by a more wide-ranging purge of existing ministers than many had expected, including a move away from education for Nadhim Zahawi and the arrival – eventually – of a new Children and Families minister, with responsibility for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Naturally enough, the first reaction of parents and SEND-watchers at a time like this – and this is our third minister in two years – is to search for details of the new incumbent’s background, parliamentary contributions, interests and general reputation, to try to get a clue about what they think and how we might get their interest.”

6 “I had special needs help in school. But the doors that were opened for me are closing”

An article from The Guardian a fortnight ago (and with thanks to the parent that sent this to SENDspeak). There is a depth to this article that considers the ultimate cost of the funding crisis.

My own children are now young adults and, whilst the world and schools have become more accepting (a good thing), the funding is squeezed to the bones. So, does that mean children are effectively in the same place they were 15 years ago?

19th July 2019, Gerry Hart in The Guardian

“Without support, I would have floundered. The squeeze on school funds today means children’s potential is being squandered.”

7 Children and Young People on the Local Offer

The SEND Local Offer pages have a new leaflet inviting children and young people to submit content. Perhaps something to do in the long holidays if they are so inclined…?

How to share your story or message

You can share your story or message in:

· Words

· Pictures or photos

· Video clips

· Voice recordings

Find out more in this leaflet which was designed and developed with young people:

“When we receive your story or message, we will check it is ok to publish on the Hub, then ask you to sign a permission form. If you are under 16, your parent or carer will need to sign the form too. You can send your story or message here:”

P: Local Offer Manager (Hub), The Moor Lane Centre, Moor Lane, Chessington KT9 2AA

T: 020 8547 6541



8 Local SEND Communications – parent/carer engagement etc

In the last 10 months, each borough has created their own:

· SEND Partnership Board (providers, partners, children & young people and parents)

· Parent Panel (Richmond) or Parent Consortium (Kingston)

· fledging Parent Carer Forums

Confusing…? Well, yes. The good news is that the meeting notes, terms of reference or constitution and contact details are all to be published on the Local Offer in the autumn (it would be sooner, but lots of people are on holiday!)

That doesn’t necessarily make it any less confusing, but all these new routes to engagement, participation and coproduction will hopefully yield visible fruit; and then settle down to support the best services possible, with the limited funding available, for our children and young people.

9 Department for Education SEND Newsletters

July 2019 – available on the Council for Disabled Children’s website.

The most recent newsletter is at the bottom of the page – just scroll down the page in the link below. Also, please note that anyone can subscribe to these newsletters, just send a request to:

“This edition features:

· Guidance and a consultation on the use of restraint

· Further Education and Training Centres for Excellence in SEND

· Guidance on Relationships and Sex Education

· The NHS´s long term plan implementation framework

· New government initiative to tackles injustices faced by disabled people

· Guidance on teaching online safety in schools

· Plus development opportunities and resources.”

10 It takes leaders to break down silos: CDC's new report on integrating services

CDC = Council for Disabled Children

I’m forever banging on about services being commissioned in silos; whilst families receive services across the board and can see how joined up service are NOT. Hooray for this report!

“Children and young people with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND) and their families have a consistent request: that they are supported to achieve the best possible outcomes through access to the right services at the right time.

For this to happen, they need the people who commission and deliver services to coordinate their work so that their care can be ‘joined up’ and personalised according to their needs and aspirations.”

11 Improving continence in children and young people with neurodisability

“The NHS wants to improve toileting services for children and young people with #SEND. Help them inform #health and #care services for children in the future and complete their survey.

Taking Part

Are you a young person aged up to 25 with special educational needs and/or a disability?


Are you a parent or carer of a child or young person aged up to 25 with special educational needs and/or a disability?


Do you have experience of working with children and young people with special educational needs and disability, and/or toileting difficulties?”

Take part here:

12 Home to school travel and transport: statutory guidance

This is from the Department for Education (DfE)… so not local, but national…

The consultation closes on 31st October 2019


“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.

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.”

13 Richmond CAMHS has moved to Barnes Hospital

CAMHS = Children’s & Adolescents Mental Health Services

Richmond CAMHS has now moved site from Richmond Royal Hospital to Barnes Hospital. The full address and telephone number is:

A: South Worple Way, Barnes, SW14 8SU

T: 0203 513 3238

14 50 pink autistic pounds!

Former #Hampton resident, Alan Turing has recently been announced as the new face of the 50 pound note – did you know he lived at Ivy House in the High Street between 1945 and 1947”

“It’s been announced that Alan Turing will be featured on the new £50 bank note.

This is glorious news for us autistic folk. One of us only went and made it onto the bloody money!! HUGE! In a world where we autistics are often misunderstood, undervalued and mistreated this is a huge step forward for representation and indeed recognition of autistic ability and skill. Overjoyed”

Dean Beadle on Facebook

15 Things people with Down's Syndrome are tired of hearing...

Last time I put this in a newsletter was probably 6 years ago – still good fun! You may spot the superb actress Sarah Gordy in the video (recently starred in Jellyfish at the National Theatre)

“From being spoken to as if they are children, to assuming they can't work or have relationships… These seven statements are guaranteed to annoy people with Down's Syndrome.” 4.44 mins

16 Religious Sisters with Downs Syndrome: the joy of shared contemplative life

29th July 2019 – The Vatican News29/07/2019

“The Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb live in the centre of France. They are the first contemplative community in the world to welcome into consecrated life people with Down Syndrome, or trisomy 21.”

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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