• SEND speak

Partnerships, the Law, Meet the SEN Team & Cakes

Updated: Mar 30, 2019

Dear All

Much of the time, SENDspeak is compiled by searching the world of social media and #SEND. For this issue, a thank you to the parents and professionals who have also sent in items for SENDspeak 😊

1. The Local Offer; a change of web address

2. SEND Partnership Board - Richmond

3. Pupils push boundaries to complete Bikeability scheme

4. Autism Strategy – Richmond

5. Dramatize, Theatre and Makaton

6. Visual Impairment – report, inquiry and exam papers

7. Joint Ofsted and CQC local area SEND inspections - progress so far

8. Understanding the SEND Law

9. Meet the SEN Team Coffee Mornings

10. Learning disability and autism training for Health and Care staff

11. Clarendon Primary Family Mosaic Project

12. Jonathan's Cake Sale

1 The Local Offer; a change of web address

“Today (28th March) the website address for the Kingston and Richmond AfC info website changed to

This is preparation for the launch of the Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) AfCinfo website next week.

From 1st April will lead new visitors to a new landing page which will lead to either the existing Kingston and Richmond site or the new RBWM site.

Any existing links being used for the Kingston and Richmond website have been redirected so there should not be a loss of service.”

2 SEND Partnership Board - Richmond

“Renewed Partnership Commitment to Richmond's Children and Young People with SEND

The first meeting of the renewed Richmond SEND Partnership Board was held last week on Thursday [21st March] - with a great turnout from all those with responsibilities for supporting children with SEND across the borough.

Leadership of the Board rests with the statutory services, so the Board is Chaired by Richmond Council's Director of Children's Services, James Thomas, and the Vice-Chair is Richmond CCG's Managing Director, Tonia Michaelides; with strong support around the table from parent representatives, voluntary sector representatives, Achieving for Children, health providers, headteachers from special, primary and secondary schools, adult services, public health and elected members.

The Board will meet every two months to drive the improvement of services for children and young people. The main focus of this first meeting was to agree upon the values and vision underpinning our shared partnership approach, and to agree upon how partners will work together.

The Board began its meeting with a presentation of what children and young people have said about the support they receive, and this will be the starting point for each meeting of the Board.

· All partners made a commitment to ensuring that the Board makes a positive difference for children and young people.

· All partners made a commitment to work together as a joined up system, facing challenges together in an honest and collaborative way.

· We agreed both to build upon existing strengths and to learn lessons from past mistakes.

· The Board's next task is to establish a shared understanding of local need and how well needs are currently being met, as the basis for shared priorities where we will make measurable improvements for children and young people.”

James Thomas

Director of Children's Services

Chair of Richmond SEND Partnership Board

3 Pupils push boundaries to complete Bikeability scheme

published by Kingston Council - published 28th March

“Seventy children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from Dysart School saddled up and are now Bikeability trained thanks to our cycle trainers.”

4 Autism Strategy – Richmond

Alison and Kevin Sears have been stalwarts of the local National Autistic Society (NAS) for longer than many of us care to remember. They are well known for their quiet thoughtfulness and constancy. Here’s what they’ve been up to recently:

“In 2009, the NAS made history by leading a campaign to get the Government to recognise and support autistic adults through an Autism Act in England. This led to an Autism Strategy; the most recent update being called Think Autism. The big news is that the next Strategy update will cover not just adults but children as well!

The Government has published statutory guidance that tells local authorities and NHS bodies the actions they should be taking to meet the needs of autistic people living in their area. To monitor their progress in implementing the Strategy, each local authority completes an online self-assessment form and sends it to the Department for Health and Social Care; the most recent one for our Borough being sent in December 2018.

Our Branch was sent a copy and identified a number of gaps that we brought to the attention of the local authority. As a result of this, Alison and Kevin were invited to a meeting with one of the commissioners to discuss this further.

The gaps we identified included:

1. Not having local representation for the interests of autistic adults without learning disabilities. Locally, autism adult services have been grouped with learning disabilities, older persons' care and other disabilities.

2. Only including autistic people diagnosed and eligible for social care over the past year rather than the total number, as recommended by the NAS.

Because the next Autism Strategy update will include autistic children as well as adults, Alison

and Kevin stated that there will have to be joint working and information sharing between the children's and adult services.

A point raised was that autistic people without learning disabilities “fall through the cracks” of local services; being neither eligible for support from Adult Social Care nor the Mental Health Team unless they reach crisis point. The significant impact on their immediate family, should they be providing care, plus their rights as carers for support from the local authority was also mentioned.

Another point raised was that there is evidence that girls and women may be under-diagnosed because they don't fit with the profile usually associated with men and boys when they're assessed. This means that such girls and women aren't included when it comes to planning autism services, nor are their particular needs considered.

The commissioner will be refreshing the local Autism Strategy later this year, looking into the Branch's concerns and has asked us to keep in contact with any information and suggestions.”

The Richmond NAS website is here:

You can subscribe to their regular newsletters using their Contact Us page:

5 Dramatize, Theatre and Makaton

“Dramatize aims to break barriers within mainstream theatre, we strongly believe theatre should be accessible to all”

“As part of the Down's syndrome awareness week, one of our students, Chloe has launched her new social media (Facebook and Instagram) page to promote Makaton sign language and encourage others to take the journey learning it as she did. She is now qualified to teach others in Makaton signs. Her page is under Chloesignz and it would be fantastic if she can be supported by liking, tagging, commenting etc on her pages. “

“A group of young adults with Down's syndrome accessing our services has published a video to campaign for individuals with this condition and to show that they are as anyone else can be and will be successful in life. The video is fun, loud and shows their personalities well. Please watch, like, share it for them.” (4.32 mins)

Dramatize run a variety of activities in both Ashford and Twickenham (all are on the Local Offer). You can also find out more here:


T: 07785 187 748


6 Visual Impairment – report, inquiry and exam papers

For some children and young people, Visual Impairment may be their primary disability. For many others, it comes alongside other difficulties. There is interest here for many.

This campaign is supported by the Young Vision Alliance (YVA); made up of parents, young people with vision impairment and major sight loss organisations.

“Among the issues raised in the report is the high level of errors in modified large print and Braille GCSE exam papers used by vision impaired students, plus the lack of availability of (and possibly error-filled) past papers.

The Royal National Institute for Blind people (RNIB) has been briefing members of the Education Select Committee on the YVA report. As a result, the Education Select Committee quizzed Ofqual on how they are making sure that exams are accessible for children and young people with vision impairment.

The chair of the Select Committee, Robert Halfon, used RNIB’s 2016 research on the quality of modified GCSE exam papers (see below) to press Sally Collier (Chief Regulator) and Roger Taylor (Chair) from Ofqual about what they were doing to tackle this and improve the quality of modified exam papers.

Robert Halfon also asked what Ofqual were doing to improve the availability of modified past papers which students need for revision. Ofqual agreed these issues need to be addressed and said they are investigating and raising these issues with exam boards. RNIB will be providing their expertise to inform part of this investigation and have promised to follow up with the MPs on the Committee too, to help ensure the pressure is maintained.”

Here’s a link to the committee questioning the regulator (approx. 12mins):

Young Vision Alliance report

RNIB Report on errors in exam papers

7 Joint Ofsted and CQC local area SEND inspections - progress so far

Gaynor Roberts, Senior HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector), London region

In the last SENDspeak, we included a link to Kingston’s recent inspection and their WSOA (written statement of action). One of SENDspeak’s readers attended the recent SEN Law Conference arranged by IPSEA and has sent this presentation with a particular query on Slide 17

Requiring a written statement of action

A reminder – page 6 of the Framework:

Subject to HMCI’s determination, a written statement is likely to be required where inspectors identify significant weaknesses in relation to one of the following:

· illegal practice

· failure to meet the duties under the Act.

Inspectors will use their professional judgement to assess whether the overall evidence gathered causes them sufficient concern to recommend that a written statement of action be produced.

The question was is this an admission of illegal practice? Well, I’m not a legal expert, but it would appear that it could be? Central Government makes laws that Local Government are often ill equipped to implement (whether through capability and the funding to provide adequate training and resourcing, or sometimes just plain complacency). Hence, we are where we are.

The accountability is with the SEND Ofsted inspectors.

That and families having the energy and where-with-all to challenge and test the law in the courts. The UK has no constitution, so all laws are tested in the courts, which then makes for an organic and, at times, bizarre result (eg case law that can contradict itself).

You can read the presentation here (25 slides, all easy read). The link is simple and works; please note it is the first time I’ve uploaded a document to the website:

8 Understanding the SEND Law

We’ve talked about SEND Ofsted, here is a set of fairly straightforward resources for parents and carers:

Case Law Directory

“CDC’s case law digest service provides essential updates on the latest judicial decisions affecting disabled children and young people and those with SEN.

Please see below for a list of all our case law updates, sorted by topic.”

Disabled children: a legal handbook is an authoritative yet accessible guide to the legal rights of disabled children and their families in England and Wales. The handbook navigates the many, often overlapping, sources of law, explaining the difference between what public bodies must do to support disabled children and that which they may do. The handbook is published by Legal Action Group and CDC is delighted to make it free to download here”

“The Noddy Guide”

By David Wolfe QC, Matrix and Leon Glenister, Landmark - March 2019

65 pages, with lots of case history references – however, this is all in a table format so is fairly easy to follow (the law is never completely easy!)

Statements of Special Educational Needs, Education, Health and Care Plans and a bit more

Training for parents and local authorities - IPSEA

IPSEA = Independent Parental Special Educational Advice “Why families need IPSEA

By law, children with SEND are entitled to educational support that meets their individual needs. Since IPSEA was formed in 1983, we have helped to improve educational support for thousands of children with all kinds of SEND. We do this by providing free and independent legally-based information, advice and casework support.”

Planning the move to a new school for children with SEND

“SEN Support and transfer; maintained nurseries, schools, Academies and FE colleges have a duty to use their best endeavours to secure that the special educational provision required by a pupil/student’s special educational needs is made (s.66 Children & Families Act 2014, “CAFA 2014”). So, support should continue as the student moves through the different phases of their education and training.”

SEND Workshops – Monday 1st April

Our workshops are designed for parents, carers and professionals who support children and young people with special educational needs. They aim to empower and enlighten you, so that you feel confident in advocating and supporting a child(ren) who need a little extra to enrich their life and learning experiences.”

9 Meet the SEN Team Coffee Mornings

The SEN Team are the home for the EHC Plan Co-ordinators; this is a chance to meet the people that you e-mail or perhaps talk with on the telephone. They are real people and nothing beats face-to-face meetings to build a good working relationship.

“The Coffee Morning is an informal event, however there will be an introduction at the beginning to introduce the team members.

These events are held regularly, and you will be able to see more dates in the Local Offer calendar as they are arranged.” Please let the SEN Team know you are coming by booking through the events pages on the Local Offer

SEND Team Coffee Morning - Preparing for Adulthood (Year 9+)

Tuesday 16th May - 9.30am to 11.30am

York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham

SEND Team Coffee Morning -Year 8 and below - Richmond families

Monday 20th May - 9.30am to 11am

Hyde Room, York House, Richmond Road

SEND Team Coffee Morning -Year 8 and below - Kingston families

Wednesday 29th May - 9.30am to 11am

King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton

SEND Team Coffee Morning - Preparing for Adulthood (Year 9+)

Monday 1st July - 9.30am to 11.30am

King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton

SEND Team Coffee Morning -Year 8 and below - Richmond families

Thursday 11th July - 9.30am to 11am

Clarendon Hall, York House, Richmond Road

SEND Team Coffee Morning -Year 8 and below - Kingston families

Friday 19th July - 9.30am to 11am

King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton

If you have any questions regarding this meeting please do get in contact with us

T: 020 8547 5872


10 Learning disability and autism training for Health and Care staff

Open consultation from Central Government

The Department of Health and Social Care is currently consulting on mandatory learning disability and autism training; to find more information about the planned training, please follow the link below.

“The government wants to know how we can make sure that health and social care staff have the right training to understand the needs of people with a learning disability and autistic people; and make reasonable adjustments to support them.

The consultation considers issues around the training and development staff need to better support people with a learning disability or autistic people.

We want to know what people think about our proposals on:

· the planned content of the training

· how the training should be delivered

· how to involve people with a learning disability or autistic people in training

· how we can mandate, monitor and evaluate the impact of training

The consultation will be of particular interest to:

· people with a learning disability or autistic people

· the families and carers of people with a learning disability or autistic people

· patient groups

· providers of health and social care services

11 Clarendon Primary Family Mosaic Project

Clarendon Primary Centre is a special school in Hampton, for young people with moderate to complex needs. They have an ongoing ‘Civic Pride’ funded Project Sunshine (with mosaics), here’s the latest part of that project:

12 Jonathan's Cake Sale

“I am raising money for Ambitious about Autism because they are an amazing charity

I am a Youth Patron for Ambitious About Autism which is the national charity for children and young people with autism. They provide services, raise awareness and understanding, and campaign for change. It is our ambition to make the ordinary possible for more children and young people with autism.

I am having a cake sale to raise money for Ambitious About Autism at The People's Hive in Twickenham on Saturday 30 March from 10-2. Venue: The People's Hive, 8 Heath Rd, Twickenham TW1 4BZ

If you can't make it please donate to this page instead:”

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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