• SEND speak

Parent/Carer meetings, Who to Call & the Politics of SEND

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

Dear All

The week before half-term was Mental Health Week so item 3, covers ‘Who to Call’ on this subject and other family matters.

1. Polite request

2. Reminders – parent/carer meetings this week and next

2a Creating a new Department of Education (DfE) funded Parent Carer Forum (PCF)

2b Short Breaks Statement - Take Part

2c ADHD Richmond & Kingston – PDA talk and coffee morning

2d SEND Hour - at the World of Work Roadshow

2e Coffee Morning for Parents of Children with Dyslexia

2f Local Information Morning (open to all)

3. Who to Call? Mental Health and other family matters

4. Grants for Individuals - white goods, fuel bills, education, activities

5. Stop treating school refusal as truancy - petition

6. “Keeping up with the politics of SEND”

7. School funding Westminster Hall debate

8. More from the CYPwDLD

9. BAPS SEND Blog Awards

10. Autism and girls

1 Polite request SENDspeak is authored and edited by me on a volunteer basis; each issue takes anywhere between 6 to 10 hours to research and put together. Whilst I’m happy enough for people to lift the text, a credit to would be both courteous and appreciated.

2 Reminders – parent/carer meetings this week and next:

There are a lot of meetings over the next two weeks – some on the same day (there are three tomorrow). The details below are in date order, by topic – soonest meetings first.

2a Creating a new Department of Education (DfE) funded Parent Carer Forum (PCF)

Contact have published the results of the survey that they held last month and are now going to hold further meetings to explore further setting up separate forums in Kingston and Richmond. You can read more here:

Richmond Tuesday 26th February - 11am to 1.30pm Richmond Library Annex Quadrant Road, Richmond TW9 1DH

Kingston Wednesday 27th February - 10am to 12.30pm The King Charles Centre Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT5 9AL

Please confirm your attendance by emailing:

2b Short Breaks Statement – Take Part

The law says that Achieving for Children (AfC) must publish a Statement about Short Breaks – and that’s because they must make their short break offers transparent and easy to understand.

If you can, take the time to comment on the Short Breaks Statement. If the Statement is too complicated, or doesn’t make sense, please say so (politely).

“Short breaks provide children and young people with disabilities with the opportunity to take part in social and leisure activities and also provide parents and carers with a break from their caring duties”

Take Part

To book your place at one of our 4 consultations, please complete the booking form in the link below.

…or you can indicate that you are unable to attend but wish to contribute via email or telephone rather than attending one of the consultations.”

Tuesday 26th February - 10am to 11:30am

The Croft Centre, Richmond

Tuesday 5th March - 7pm to 8:30pm

The Moor Lane Centre, Chessington

Thursday 7th March 7.30pm to 9pm The Croft Centre, Richmond

Friday 8th March - 10am to 11:30am The Moor Lane Centre, Chessington

For more information, please follow this link:

2c ADHD Richmond & Kingston – PDA talk and coffee morning A talk, followed by a coffee morning. Open to all families of children/young people with ADHD and/or autism.

Tuesday 26th February, 11am to 1pm

The Venue, Heatham House, Twickenham, TW1 1BH

“At 11am Sally Russell OBE, Chair of the Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) Society, will be giving an introduction to PDA, a co-morbidity of ADHD. After Sally’s talk and questions, we will break for coffee.

At 12.15 there will be a parent forum where parents will have the opportunity to discuss pertinent issues and talk with each other about the challenges and triumphs they face as parents/carers of children and young people with ADHD.”

For further information, please contact:

2d SEND Hour - at the World of Work Roadshow

This annual event organised by AFC is aimed at young people aged 15-18 in the borough of Kingston and Richmond and we have around 60 exhibitors who are from local and national organisations and companies who will be available to talk to the young people (some with interactive activities and displays) and give them information on careers and apprenticeships in their organisations.”

Wednesday 6th March - 11am to 4pm

The Stoop, Langhorn Drive, Twickenham, TW2 7SX (there is plenty of parking available)

SEND Hour – 11am to 12noon “The first hour from 11am - 12noon will be specifically aimed at young people with SEND and will be less busy during that period. We have asked organisations who have SEND provision to make this information available during this first hour.

We will also be hosting the travel training awards in the first hour for young people who have completed their SEND travel training in the last year - and for their families and friends.

The Mayors for both Richmond and Kingston boroughs will be attending too.”

2e Coffee Morning for Parents of Children with Dyslexia

“If you have a child with dyslexia or think you might, then come and join us. We have a coffee morning coming up on:

Friday 8th March – 9.30am to 11.30am Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park

These are usually very well attended; and parents enjoy getting advice and support from each other and the specialist teachers, Educational Psychologist and SENCo that usually attend.

All are welcome, we look forward to seeing you there.”

For further information call the Richmond Dyslexia Association: 07495 648 025

2f Local Information Morning (open to all)

MeToo&Co, based in Twickenham, are hosting an information event for parents and carers new to the world of SEND. MeToo&Co provides activities and therapies for children with disabilities and additional needs.

Friday 8th March – 10am to 12noon The CrossWay Centre, 306 Richmond Road, East Twickenham

3 Who to Call? Mental Health and other family matters

With many thanks to Heather Mathew at Richmond CVS for her help and advice with this listing. The listing is broadly in ‘national’ then ‘local’ order.

The Helpline Partnership

The Helpline Partnership is an extensive database of helplines. The information is themed and includes helplines that support children and young people, disability, DV (domestic violence) and emotional health. It really proves the theory that for whatever need there is, there will be a charity out there that can offer help and advice.


Family Lives This is a national family support charity providing help and support in all aspects of family life. From the very early years through to teenagers, to parents’ divorce and separation.

Whilst this is not a SEND specific site, anxiety, depression and teenage violence are sadly not unusual with young people on the autistic spectrum.

T: 0808 800 222 (Helpline)


Samaritans “Whatever you're going through, call us free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

We're here round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it's best to call us on the phone. This number is FREE to call. You don't have to be suicidal to call us.”

T: 116 123 (24 hours)

Young Minds

“Did you know? 3 children in every classroom have a mental health problem. We’re here to put them at the heart of tackling the problem.”

“More children and young people than ever before are reaching out for help with their mental health. But for those who take that brave step, help is much too hard to find.”

Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544

Young People’s Textline: If you need urgent help text YM to 85258


Papyrus UK - HOPELINEUK A national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide.

“HOPELINEUK advisers want to work with you to understand why these thoughts of suicide might be present. They also want to provide you with a safe space to talk through anything happening in your life that could be impacting on your or anyone else’s ability to stay safe.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned for a young person who might be you can contact HOPELINEUK for confidential support and practical advice.”

T: 0800 068 4141

Text: 07786209697 or

E: W:

Place2Be Offers services to schools, however they also have a page for parents and carers. Each title is a clickable link to further information:

Homestart - Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow

Support for families with children under 5, provided by trained volunteers

T: 0208 487 8500



Achieving for Children’s Emotional Health Service

“The Emotional Health Service (EHS) is a team of therapists that work with young people who have mild to moderate mental health difficulties, and their families.

Off the Record (Richmond borough) Walk in information, counselling, sexual health services for young people based in Church Street Twickenham T: 0208 744 1644

E: W:

Relate (Kingston and Richmond) Commissioned by Achieving for Children to provide counselling for young people in Richmond and Kingston. Based in central Richmond T: 020 8940 8578 or 020 8549 3318

E: use the contact form via the link below


4 Grants for Individuals - white goods, fuel bills, education, activities

More from Heather Mathew… The Local Offer includes a page of funding for children with disabilities and their families that Heather put together, and was recently updated:

Heather also recommends the Turn2Us website which includes a benefit entitlement checker and a search engine for grants for individuals W:

5 Stop treating school refusal as truancy - petition

I may not be the only parent who’s received several letters from a school, all on the same day, all in separate envelopes, with conflicting messages… Surely this area is worth some investigation?

“Create a new legal attendance/absence code that will measure the scale of school refusal, ensure a consistent school response and alleviate parents from the threat of prosecution.”

6 “Keeping up with the politics of SEND”

by Tania Tirraoro, Special Needs Jungle

Last weekend, SENDspeak covered some of the national news about SEND and the SEND Crisis ( dated 16th February). Special Needs Jungle have provided a neat summary of activities to date:

“Oh, it’s all going on in the world of politics isn’t it? Labour Party defections, Brexit shenanigans… it’s almost as if nothing else is going on in Parliament. And yet through it all, the SEND inquiry plods on and nothing changes for the better. Even as a procession of professionals, SEND or otherwise, troop through the committee room of the Education Select Committee, disabled children are still getting denied support, excluded, or are in limbo as their parents take up arms and fight for their rights to an education.”

7 School funding Westminster Hall debate

“Children only get one chance at their education and the current school funding crisis means this generation of young people are not getting the education they deserve.

NAHT [National – the largest trade union representing school leaders – is calling on all MPs to fight for the future of their young constituents, beginning with attending the Westminster Hall debate on school funding on 4th March at 4.30pm

More information here:

You can also watch the debate live on Parliament TV. Follow this link on the day:

You can sign the petition here:

Increase funding for schools

Schools are having to make difficult choices on how to spend their limited funding as their income has not kept pace with the rise in costs since 2010. All schools are working very hard to “make ends meet” but this is becoming increasingly difficult and verging on almost impossible.

8 More from the CYPwDLD

CYPwDLD = Children & Young People with Disabilities & Learning Difficultions partnership forum)

At the beginning of February, SENDspeak covered the last CYPwDLD meeting. There is no equivalent meeting in Kingston, but as the children’s services are provided by the Achieving for Children (AfC) in both boroughs – there is plenty of overlap.

The minutes of the last meeting on 29th January 2019 can be found here:

9 BAPS SEND Blog Awards BAPS = Bloody Awesome Parents

“About the Awards

We know, we know – there are loads of blogging awards, so why do we need another one? Well, none of those awards recognise parents and carers of children with additional needs. This needs to change. If mainstream blogging awards do include SEND bloggers, they tend to be put into the ‘inspiring’ categories. Honestly, most parents tire of being inspirational.”

Below are the summaries from one of the categories ‘Blog post with the biggest impact’ and the link to read the entries (you can vote here too).

“Blog post written within 12 months of the nominations opening which has made an impact. It could have made you cry, laugh or take action but it stays with you long after reading it.

Faith Mummy – The reasons I don’t like people

Some people like lots of friends and team sports and doing lots of activities with others. I am not like that at all. I quite like my own company. I don’t really like people at all to be honest.

MS Parent Advocate – Inclusion

A decent Plan, when used appropriately, reduces the guesswork, ensures as close to a smooth transition as is humanly possible and has the potential to improve the prospects of the child immeasurably.

The Learning Curve – The Principles of a No Demand Approach

I stopped asking my 10 year old son to bath or brush his hair or eat or telling him when to go to bed. I stopped demanding please and thank you, be good, talk to relatives. We talk and we share, and we make the effort to understand each other and work collaboratively.

Down Right Joy – If the cap fits

Today I went into battle. On the front line. I pushed back into enemy territory. My efforts were resisted but I persevered. I took ground that was being strongly defended. I claimed it for my severely Dyspraxic child who needed a service that was being denied.”

10 Autism and girls

Gareth Morewood may be familiar if you follow SEND related Tweets (@gdmorewood ) Gareth is a SENCo and one of the authors of SENCology – and an awful lot of other stuff! (

Autism & Me - Gareth Morewood interviews Pooky

“I learnt so much from the fab @PookyH when I hijacked her YouTube channel” 16.09 minutes

If you have any questions at all, please ask and I'll do my best to find an answer.

With best wishes, Romany



Image from Westminster Hall Debate:


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