• SEND speak

NHS Plans, SENCo’s and “a little bit extra”

Updated: Jan 27, 2019

Dear All

A mixed bag of local and national news; never a shortage of events in the discrete world of SEND. The SENCo Workload report (item 8) is 34 pages worth reading….

1. Saving Marble Hill Play Centre

2. Health – Calling Kingston Parent/Carers (reminder)

3. PfA SEN Coffee morning – 2019 dates for the diary

4. Changes to Universal Credit

5. The NHS Long Term Plan

6. Why become a social worker?

7. News from Express and Our Barn

8. It’s about time… (the SENCo’s time)

9. From a SENCo to the parent…

10. 40-year research programme… and still going

11. “A little bit extra”

1 Saving Marble Hill Play Centre

Marble Hill Play Centre have a new committee that are vibrant and committed to giving Marble Hill Play Centre a future. They are looking to "reimagine the buildings", to upgrade the equipment and work with other local charities to expand what they offer to the local community.

There has been a very long-standing session for disabled children on a Saturday morning, and that throughout its 40 years they have tried to be inclusive.

Please take the time to complete this short survey (and encourage your child too as well!)

2 Health – Calling Kingston Parent/Carers (reminder) Organiser: SENDspeak

Do you have a child or young person with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)? Would you like to discuss your experiences of the health services near you? Come and meet the Lead Children’s Health Commissioner and talk about what could work better (and what works well).

Wednesday 16th January 2019 - 9.30am for 10am start Old Malden Children's Centre

100 Lawrence Avenue, New Malden, KT3 5NB

Please rsvp to to book your place.

3 PfA SEN Coffee morning – 2019 dates for the diary Organiser: Achieving for Children

Preparing for Adulthood Team (PfA) coffee mornings dates for the diary.

Wednesday 16th January - 9.30am to 11.30am

York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AA

Thursday 16th May - 9.30am to 11.30am

York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AA

Wednesday 17th March - 9.30am to 11.30am

King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, KT5 9AL

Monday 1st July - 9.30am to 11.30am

King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, KT5 9AL

Eventbrite pages for booking places will be available approximately one month before each coffee morning. Should you have any questions in the meantime, please contact the SEN Team on

4 Changes to Universal Credit

Announced 11th January 2019

A summary of the proposals from Contact…

And you can read Contact’s response in terms of disabled children here:

“Una Summerson head of campaigns at Contact, the charity for families with disabled children says: "While we welcome Amber Rudd's commitment to make Universal Credit fairer, 100,000 families with disabled children will still be worse off by more than £1,750 a year per child. This is because of an unfair 50 per cent cut to the lower child disability additions under Universal Credit.”

5 The NHS Long Term Plan

“As medicine advances, health needs change and society develops, the NHS has to continually move forward so that in 10 years time we have a service fit for the future. The NHS Long Term Plan is drawn up by frontline staff, patients groups, and national experts to be ambitious but realistic.”

From this link, you can download the plan or watch a short (2.39mins) video on the same page

Special Needs Jungle have taken a look the plan, and at what charities and others have been saying about it regarding mental health and disabled children in general, and have brought all the current commentary together in one place, here:

6 Why become a social worker? Frontline social worker on BBC TV - excerpt

If there is a lot of stress or concern, families may have a social worker – for our SEND community family support workers are more common (social workers are often there where the concerns are very serious). The newly qualified trainee in this clip worked for Kingston and Richmond (ie AfC) during her training.

“The government has announced funding for 900 places on the Frontline children’s social work training programme. Achieving for Children has had several Frontline social workers. One, Sophie Buckler, appeared on BBC TV and radio to talk about her experience and the positive impact of having a supportive manager and team.”

7 News from Express and Our Barn

Express - based in Kingston

Congratulations to Express who have secured a grant to pay a small salary to support their extensive work with families of children/young people with autism.

“Set up in 2012, Express has grown and grown over the years with 2018 seeing even more expansion to services and more families being welcomed. 2019 is set to be even bigger!”

You can read their January 2019 newsletter here (which also lists their many support programmes).

If you have been helped by Express in the past, please contact them and let them know – especially now as they need these testimonials for a new funding application:

Our Barn Community - Our Futures – based in Richmond

News of a free programme:

“…15 week Personal Development course for young people aged 16-35 who have a disability or Autism. Teams usually consist of about 6 members. It is a programme designed to give young people experiences that they can use to reflect upon and improve their employability skills, gaining social and practical skills in the process.”

8 It’s about time… (the SENCo’s time)

“In September 2018, Bath Spa University, nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs) and the NEU (The National Education Union) launched the National SENCO Workload Survey. The survey aimed to understand the nature of the SENCO workload across varying contexts in order to capture the breadth and depth of the SENCO role. The survey sought to explore the key activities of the SENCO role, particularly post the 2014/15 SEND Reforms. Questions focused on how the role was managed, specifically exploring the time and support SENCOs were able to access to enable them to effectively facilitate their role. The survey received over 1900 responses.”

34 pages – worth reading

It’s a 34-page document and, to be honest, worth our while reading as parents/carers. Most often, SENCo’s are on the side of the child; they are the child’s advocate within the school setting. So… read this and see the world from their collective point of view – with the intention of helping SENCo’s to help our children.

Key findings are:

“• Nearly three-quarters (74%) of SENCOs stated that they do not have enough time to

ensure that pupils on Special Educational Needs (SEN) Support are able to access the

provision that they need.

• Less than a quarter (23%) of SENCOs felt that they had enough time to ensure that

pupils with Education Health Care Plans (EHC plans) accessed the provision that they

need, with 59% of SENCOs stating that they did not have enough time to ensure

provision at this level.

• 95% of SENCOs think that they should have legally protected time to enable them to

fulfil the demands of the role.”

And the very first recommendation is: “• The SENCO role should have legally protected time to enable SENCOs to effectively

manage the demands of the role. This should be in addition to time allocated to other

responsibilities which the SENCO may hold.”

You can download the full report here:

9 From a SENCo to the parent…

“I’m a SENCo in a primary school where we support children with many differing Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. If your child is due to start school, my advice would be:

· Put together two files of information on your child’s condition (one for you to keep and one for the school).

· Be very honest about how your child is affected by their special educational need and/or disability and what you do to help them at home.

· Make a list of all the services currently involved, with email addresses and phone contacts.

· Buy or download guidelines for teachers, often offered by charities, and pop this in the folder. The more information a school has the better they can support the child.

· Ask to meet with the class teacher and SENCo and go through the file with them.

"With the best will in the world, schools will make mistakes and teachers don’t get taught how to support disability, they need to learn and what you and your child will teach them will be invaluable for other children.”

The above is an extract from today’s post from Special Needs Jungle; you can read the full article here:

10 40-year research programme… and still going “In 1978, researchers at The University of Queensland recruited a Brisbane-born group of babies with Down syndrome for a world-first study that would follow their growth and development from infancy to adulthood.

The study coincided with the end of the practice that saw these children routinely institutionalised, and therefore set out to follow the first generation of people with Down syndrome to be cared for by their families, educated at school, and eventually living in the adult community.”

11 “A little bit extra”

Colette and Katie Lloyd highlighted the importance of societal acceptance, bringing our concerns to wide public attention. Colette stressed how important is it that we 'recognise the value of diversity' #dontscreenusout (1.25 minutes)

You can view the entire BBC Big Questions programme 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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