• SEND speak

News, Events & the Lighter side of SEND

Dear All

This newsletter has been a week in the making… power lines blew down last weekend, so no electricity. And another storm this weekend!

Welcome too to all new subscribers to SENDspeak! 😊

1. Council news relating to SEND

2. SEND Futures 2020 - 30th June

3. SEND Local Offer newsletter

4. Meanwhile, in the wider world of SEND

5. Health – Access all Areas

6. Express Autism Conference 2020

7. NCB podcast #1 - growing up with autism

8. Sensory Rooms at Heathrow Airport

9. Aiming High draw for activity…

10. Disco - Sunday 23rd February

11. Finally, some articles to cheer…

1 Council News relating to SEND

(in date order)


Full Council meeting held on Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 7.00pm

This report from a parent/carer attendee. The “…Council meeting was packed to the rafters, given that the LGSCO report was an agenda item. Here is the link to the Council meeting’s webcast: .

Section 7c is in our estimation well worth watching, although the volume quality is very poor. It is in effect a public apology to the SEND community and during Councillor Hodgin’s address, you’ll notice him turning round to speak to the public gallery.”


The SENDspeak page on documentations has the transcript of both the Council Debate (item 7c) statement and the Questions asked and Responses. Items 4 and 5 on this page:

Updates from the SEND Local Offer newsletter

“Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) Report - updates

The Ombudsman's report was presented and discussed at the full Richmond Council meeting on 28 January. You can read the committee report, minutes of meeting and live broadcast of the meeting on the Richmond Council website. ​“


Children's and Adults' Care and Education Committee held on Thursday 30th January 2020 at 7.30 pm

This from Kingston council’s twitter:

“In 5 years, Kingston will have more than 4,500 children with SEN - the current funding is not enough. The Children's & Adults' Care & Education Committee looks at how we’re improving #SEND services in a challenging financial environment tonight at 7:30pm:

There is no video feed, but the documents can be found here:

2 SEND Futures 2020 - 30th June

Achieving for Children have announced their third SEND Futures conference. To keep up to date on this event, including booking details, please use the link below.

“Our event is aimed at all those involved in the special education needs and disability system in Kingston and Richmond, including parents, carers and professionals working across the education, health and care sectors.”

3 SEND Local Offer newsletter

As always, to keep up to date in Kingston & Richmond, I recommend subscribing to the SEND Local Offer newsletter. The most recent issue contained details of the World of Work Roadshow to be held on 11thMarch; this event is for all young people who are starting to think about their options post-education.

To subscribe, please use the link below:

4 Meanwhile, in the wider world of SEND

(in date order)

Eye care and people with learning disabilities: making reasonable adjustments

from, published 27 January 2020

“People with learning disabilities are more likely to have serious sight problems but less likely to be able to successfully access eye care services than the general population. Good eye care helps people to live healthier, more active and independent lives.”

SEND funding is trapped in a vicious downward spiral, we need a national strategy

Munira Wilson MP, House of Commons, published 29th January 2020

“The money announced by the Government last year isn’t enough to make the SEND funding crisis go away, we need to make government, schools, health and social services work more effectively, writes Munira Wilson MP.”

Munira Wilson is a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Twickenham and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health and Social Care. The full article is here:

Plight of SEND families shames me, admits Halfon

Freddie Whittaker for SchoolsWeek, published Friday 31st Jan 2020

“Ministers must issue a “serious response” to the education committee’s landmark SEND report, Robert Halfon has said, as he admitted the plight of families had “shamed” him.”

R Halfon MP is the newly re-elected chair of the Parliamentary education committee and, as such, he chaired last year’s SEND Inquiry. The full article is here:

Show me the evidence – parts 1 & 2

from Special Needs Jungle, published 6th and 7th February 2020

“In part one of this blog, we explained why parents are pivotal to driving the use of evidence-based practice in SEN. Our experience informs our view that parents should be empowered and equipped to ask questions about the effectiveness of the provision their child receives and the veracity of the assessments on which it is based.”

Part 1: Why parents are pivotal to driving evidence-based practice in SEND

“In this second part, we look in detail at SEND assessment and provision and set out some questions parents should ask professionals and practitioners about the evidence on which their judgements and decisions are made.”

Part 2: The questions parents should ask about SEND assessment and provision

“You don't have to be rich or clever to go to the SEND tribunal”

from The Autistic SEND Mother Uncut, published February 9th 2020

Whilst I wouldn’t want anyone to go through the additional trauma and stress of going to a SEND Tribunal, this article does offer a set of useful links, for instance…

“If you want some advice before contacting the tribunal? Simpson Millar (education solicitors) answer questions for free on Facebook in their group:

Full article here:

5 Health – Access all Areas

“Do you receive Richmond borough health services and have you used any of them over the past year? Have you had a good or bad experience that you want to share? If so, then maybe you would like an opportunity to share your experiences? If you do, you might be interested in attending the Health - Access All Areas event that's taking place next month.

This is a listening event organised by local voluntary sector organisations in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. They want to hear from people with long term health conditions or disabilities, carers and people that have access needs, including people with learning difficulties, autism, or mental health conditions.

You will sit with other local people and professionals and you'll be asked about your experiences of health services. Everyone's experiences will used to help improve local services.”

Thursday 26th March - 10.30am to 4.00pm

Clarendon Hall, York House, Twickenham. TW1 3AA

This is a working event and so is free to attend and lunch is provided. To book a place, please use the link below:

6 Express Autism Conference 2020

Express cic are holding their 8th annual conference…

Thursday 26th March – 10am to 3pm Glenmore House, Surbiton

Registration from 9:45am First talk 10am. Each talk will include time for Q&A.

There will be stalls for you to browse and speakers during the day. Speakers include:

· Dean Beadle - Autism, Education & Me

· Hannah Clements & Helen Ralston - Flourishing at school: Promoting the well-being and mental health of our whole school community

· Amy Walker - Neurodiversity in work, reasonable adjustments & the benefits of creative differences

Tea, coffee, biscuits and a light lunch will be provided all included in the ticket price. Please let us know of any dietary requirements.

7 NCB podcast #1 - growing up with autism

Joe is a young adult from the borough of Kingston.

“In January 2020, Joe Fautley spoke to us about growing up with autism and how he hasn't let him hold him back.” 10.38 mins

8 Sensory Rooms at Heathrow Airport

Having done this survey, I can tell you that it’s short and easy to do…

“Heathrow are looking to introduce Sensory Rooms into the terminals. We would welcome your feedback on this proposal. Your response will be anonymous and will be treated with strict confidentiality. The survey should take only 5-10 minutes to complete. Thank you for your time in advance.”

9 Aiming High draw for activity…

First of all, what is Aiming High? I like this definition from Sefton council near Liverpool:

“Aiming High for Disabled Children is there to make sure disabled children, young people and their families have the same access to fun, fulfilling activities and life chances as those without disabilities”

And here are details of the draw for Kingston & Richmond:

“Aiming High Funding is giving children and young people who live in Kingston and Richmond the chance to enter a draw to receive a voucher for an activity. The deadline for draw entries is Friday 21st February 2020.”

The link to the application form which contains full details:

10 Disco - Sunday 23rd February

Richmond Mencap “…have a disco for 13 to 24 year olds on Sunday 23rd February at the OSO in Barnes. It is 5-8pm, cost £5 and we will have a meal. The discos are good fun and usually well attended so you must book a place in advance. If you haven't already booked a space and you would like one you can contact me on 020 8744 1923” Richard Ferriday

11 Finally, some articles to cheer…

(in no particular order)

First-ever standing wheelchair designed in India is shockingly affordable

The first-ever standing wheelchair designed in India allows people to independently reach a standing position. Expected cost is a little over $200 1 minute video

Service dog was ready to help the moment he sensed trouble

This service dog was ready to help the moment he sensed trouble! 3 minute video


The short excerpt on Twitter is lovely in itself…

“New Pixar short film on Disney Plus has a non-verbal, autistic girl of colour as the lead

'Loop' tells the story of a non-verbal, autistic girl and a chatty boy who are partnered on a canoeing trip.”

You can see a short excerpt here:

More information here:

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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