• SEND speak

Reminders, Money, Ofsted & Comedy

Dear All

There is definitely a theme in these SENDspeaks; local news, national news and hopefully something cheerful!

1 Anxiety

Anxiety is something that many of our children and young people have to deal with. Following a workshop in a primary school last week, this is just a brief recommendation for a simple book that explains a lot to and for young people.

2 Reminder – meetings on a new parent/carer forum

Some readers will know of the closure of SEND Family Voices (SFV), previously the parent carer forum for Kingston and Richmond. Some readers may also know that I founded SEND Family Voices’ in 2014, but for personal reasons I resigned in May 2018. I was sad that the steering group chose to close the charity at the end of September.

As the author of the SFV newsletter I was very aware of how valued this was as a source of information so have continued this through SENDspeak

‘Contact’ is the manager of the DfE grant that supports parent carers forums nationally (and funded SFV) and they are leading the local consultation to inform what parents/carers want from their local parent carer forum and how they want to be involved; they are keen to hear from you.

Detailed information here:

Introduction from Contact on the whys and wherefores:

Key dates here:

For RICHMOND parents:

Thursday 8th November - 10.30 to 12.30

Richmond Library Annex, Quadrant Road, Richmond TW9 1DH

For KINGSTON parents:

Friday 9th November, 10.30am to 12.30pm

Surbiton Library Hall, Ewell Road, KT6 6AG

Contact details:

Catherine Ratcliffe, e-mail

3 Money Matters

Contact have updated their Money Matters guide for families of children with SEND:

“You'll find a checklist of the entitlements to benefits and other financial help you may be able to get if you are the parent of a disabled child in England, Scotland and Wales.

You can download the guide here:

Alternatively, call our helpline on 0808 808 3555 to order a free printed copy.”

4 “The Little Extras”

Just in case you’ve missed this humdinger from the budget last week…

The sums:

£400m in-year bonus to help our schools buy the little extras they need…

…a one-off capital payment directly to schools…

… averaging £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per Secondary School.

One article:

Twenty-four hours after giving schools a £400m budget bonus to “buy the little extras they need”, Philip Hammond appeared to have done little to assuage the anger of headteachers, despite a busy round of media interviews.

5 Video: Where can we make cuts, where can’t we make cuts? (Richmond)

A reminder that this survey for families in the borough of Richmond is still open. There is likelihood of a similar survey in Kingston, but no details yet.

Full details are on the Local Offer, here:

And you can see a Video from the Richmond Councillors here (1.59mins). With…

Cllr Penny Frost - Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools

Cllr Robin Brown - Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance

6 Amanda Spielman (HMI Chief Inspector) letter to the Public Accounts Committee

“Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, wrote to the Public Accounts Committee on 30 October 2018 about what Ofsted considers to be major risks to the quality of education and school effectiveness. These include funding, the narrowing of the curriculum in schools, education structures, unregistered provision and off-rolling. There is also a literature review and research proposal on school funding.”

Published 31 October 2018

Letter from Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI)

Some Quotes:

“Further to the committee’s [Public Accounts Committee] request, I am writing to share with you what Ofsted believes are the major risks to the quality of education and school effectiveness.”

“There is no doubt that funding is a major topic of concern in the sector.”

Clearly there are problems with funding, and this letter describes Amanda’s intent to re-define the Ofsted inspection framework. In particular to look at intent and long term impact, rather than exam results.

“Under the new framework, we are proposing a new ‘quality of education’ judgement.”

“Teachers tell us that they feel they have been turned into data managers.”

On exclusions…

“I will always stand up for the right of headteachers to exclude pupils where it is necessary. However, the illegal off-rolling of pupils, driven by a desire to boost results, is not acceptable in any circumstances. Such an approach, harms children for life.”

On how Ofsted measure schools…

“By shifting our focus away from performance measures in isolation, we will empower

schools to put the child first.”

”Since 2011, outstanding schools have been exempt from routine inspection. As a result,

some schools have not been inspected in over a decade. This is unpopular with

parents and even with teachers.”

Alternative Provision (AP) covers a wide area, and it’s something that our young people in mainstream may move to if neither mainstream nor special education works for them:

“As I am sure you are aware, I have repeatedly expressed my concerns about the

number of children disappearing from the formal system and into unregulated,

unregistered provision. That includes much alternative provision (AP), which does

not always have to be registered and therefore is subject to no independent scrutiny

– despite the fact that a lot of AP caters for some of our most vulnerable children.”

And a strong description of unregistered schools: “We have, for instance, found books that say it is acceptable for men to use physical violence against their wives, texts that say it is unacceptable for women to refuse sex to their husbands and literature calling for the death of gay people. These texts have no place in young people’s education.”

7 SEND Ofsted and an Ofsted blog (you can comment direct)

Kingston recently underwent a SEND Ofsted inspection and the results are due to be published any time now on this website:

The Blog The ‘blog’ below explains how SEND Ofsted want to work with families and provides the opportunity for readers to post their queries on the process directly to Ofsted.

“Jonathan Jones, HMI, Specialist Adviser, SEND, on how Ofsted engages with parents

Posted by: Jonathan Jones, HMI, Specialist Adviser, SEND.” HMI = Her Majesty’s Inspector.

Posted on: 31 October 2018

8 Anti-Bullying Week – ‘Choose Respect’

The theme for Anti-Bullying Week 2018 is: ‘Choose Respect’ and Anti-Bullying Week runs from 12th - 16th November

“A set of free teaching resources, including lesson and assembly plans and films on bullying, ideas for Odd Socks Day and Stop Speak Support resources about cyberbullying will be available in the run-up to Anti-Bullying Week”

9 An easy read guide to the free flu jab for those with learning difficulties

Uploaded to the Local Offer, you can find it here:

Also on this page is the link to the Cbeebies videos. If your child or young person is a fan of Strictly, you might mention that Doctor Rani is (still) on Strictly!

10 Express CIC Comedy Night

A night of stand-up comedy and laughter raising funds for Express cic. Express is a 'not for profit' community organisation supporting autistic people and their families.

22nd November 2018, doors open 7.30pm

The CornerHouse, 116 Douglas Road. Surbiton, KT6 7SB

Book your tickets here:

“Your evening will be compered by our wonderful patron Mr John Williams (My Son's Not Rainman)! Acts include:

Nathan Caton

Multi award-winning comedian Nathan Caton has been active on the UK comedy circuit since the tender age of 19.

Chris McCausland

Chris is a British stand-up comedian and actor from Liverpool. Chris is blind, has been performing stand-up since 2003”

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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