• SEND speak

SEND Futures in many forms, News & Advice

Dear All

As promised, a second SENDspeak this week – covering everything there was no space for at the weekend.

Yesterday evening saw the second Richmond Parent Panel meeting; what is so evident is that the system, and navigating it, continues to be difficult and distressing. There’s always more to learn and some of us are at the beginning. If we can work together to improve communications (especially utilising the Local Offer website), that will help many more parents and professionals.

The idea and spirit of the SEND Reforms is that we should all have the same information – as equals in the care of our children and young people.

1. SEND Inquiry: “Poor leadership and SEND law ignorance fails disabled children”

2. SEND Futures Conference – Kingston & Richmond

3. Reminder - Kingston Parent Consortium

4. SEND Consultation Hub

5. SEND Keep In Touch

6. Moving to a new school

7. EarlyBird – places available

8. Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

9. SENDIASS - how can they help me?

10. Welcome to the SEND Local Offer for Kingston and Richmond

11. “Creating a PDA coping system, after CAMHS’ strategies failed my son”

12. Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity - Talk for Parents

13. Jessie and Friends (ages 4 – 7)

14. Liaison and Diversion

15. Neurodiversity Celebration Week

1 SEND Inquiry: “Poor leadership and SEND law ignorance fails disabled children”

The last SENDspeak covered the national SEND crisis and the SEND Inquiry met with Inspectors and Legal types. Now, one week on, here is an article from Special Needs Jungle on the last oral evidence session from the SEND Inquiry. For me, one of the key messages is that good local authorities work well with parents and carers (“excellent co-production”).

“Anyone who has had to grapple with the SEND system to get their child’s needs acknowledged and met knows that the system is not currently working as it should. Not only have the SEND Reforms introduced in 2014 not fixed the problems of the old system, a whole new set of problems has now emerged alongside. The influential House of Commons Education Select Committee could not have had this spelled out more clearly since it began taking evidence on SEND last year.

2 SEND Futures Conference – Kingston & Richmond

Following Achieving for Children’s SEND Future’s event last year… they have just announced the date for this year:

Thursday 27th June - 9.30am to 4pm

The Stoop, Langhorn Drive, Twickenham, TW2 7SX

The event is open to all – parents, carers and professionals. I’m pleased to report that the planning meetings for this conference includes two parents from the Richmond Parent Panel (Kingston parents tbc). Details are:

“Our conference is an all-day event at which delegates will:

Listen: Hear the voice of stakeholders, including parents, children, young people and young adults

Learn: Access opportunities for personal development through the programme of talks and workshops

Lead: Develop their understanding of how to drive improvements in their own areas of responsibility

We have secured some fantastic influential speakers this year including:

· Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond upon Thames Council

· André Imich, the Department for Education’s SEN and Disability Adviser

· Ian Thomas CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Borough Kingston upon Thames

The conference will be open to all stakeholders contributing to the SEND systems in Kingston and Richmond. This includes parents and carers of children and young people with SEND as well as professionals in social care, health, education and the voluntary sector across 0 to 25 years.”

Places are free, but you must book a ticket through this link:

3 Reminder - Kingston Parent Consortium

A spot check indicates that the Richmond Parent Panel currently has 27 members. So far, for Kingston, only 10 have replied. Please take this opportunity to participate as much as you have time for…

The letter from Cllr Diane White is on the Local Offer, here:

Information has gone out to invite Kingston parents to meetings on:

Tuesday 21st May - 7pm to 8.30pm

Thursday 23rd May - 10.30am to 12noon

both are at the King Charles Centre, Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, KT5 9AL

4 SEND Consultation Hub

Here is the current list of local SEND related online consultations; follow the link below.

· Help Shape the SEND Futures Plan for Richmond

· Consultation on a statutory proposal to establish a specialist provision at Barnes Primary School

· Dysart School - consultation on expansion

5 SEND Keep In Touch

Achieving for Children are creating their own newsletter: “We are working to improve our methods of communication directly with more stakeholders and parents and carers and young people ( over 16 ) particularly. One way people can keep in touch is by signing up here:”

6 Moving to a new school Another helpful resource on transitions between schools… “…parents, carers and young people may have concerns about the way this support is delivered and whether and how the student will be supported in the new environment. Check the setting’s website for information about the special educational provision they typically provide: the SEN Information Report which maintained schools, nurseries and Academies must produce is a good starting place.”

7 EarlyBird – places available

“The National Autistic Society (NAS) EarlyBird programme has been developed to support parents of pre-school children who either already have or are ‘on the road to’ a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.

Achieving for Children currently offer this programme to parents who reside in the boroughs of Kingston or Richmond. It is hosted at various venues including The Moor Lane Centre, Chessington and Barnes Children’s Centre, Mortlake.”

Find out more on the Local Offer website

8 Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

“Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is the main benefit for children with a condition or disability. Any disabled child or ill child might qualify. DLA helps to meet the extra costs that you might have as a result of your child's disability.

You can claim DLA even if your child does not have a diagnosis. It is sufficient that they have some form of disability even if this has not yet been formally diagnosed.

It’s a myth that your child needs a diagnosis before you can claim support, such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

You can claim DLA so long as it is clear that there is some underlying condition - whether physical, mental or behavioural - as a result of which your child needs extra care or help in getting around. You don't have to wait for the condition to be diagnosed.”

Find out more about DLA:

9 SENDIASS - how can they help me?

Don’t you love those Central Government acronyms…? SENDIASS used to be known as ‘Parent Partnership’ (nice and clear). A few years ago, this was changed to Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities Information & Advice Support Services = SENDIASS. Parent Partnership makes so much more sense….

EHCPs (Education, Health & Care Plans)

The Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) in Kingston and Richmond offers advice and support across a wide range of subjects. This may include help with personal budgets and how to use the Local Offer plus:

· support with understanding reports and letters, attending meetings and preparing for assessments and reviews

· information and signposting to support services in your area

· support with Transition and Preparing for Adulthood

· support with and signposting to mediation

· advice and support on benefits


“SENDIASS is able to provide support and advice to families around applications for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for young people aged 18 and under. We can help complete forms to request these benefits, renew applications and, if necessary, support Mandatory Reconsideration. While we are not able to support Tribunal work due to the size of the service, we will soon be able to refer clients who need this support to the “Free Representation Unit” who may be able to support tribunal applications.

The service is available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday’s. To book an appointment contact SENDIASS on 020 8831 6179 or, for the outreach service book via the MeTooandCo website. There is currently approximately a 2/3 week wait for an appointment however if you call the DLA helpline to order a form on 0800 121 4600 they will backdate any funding agreed to the date of the telephone call.”

Evening Helpline

“SENDIASS provide an evening telephone helpline service two evenings a week on a Tuesday and Wednesday between 5 and 10pm. If you need to speak to someone about a SEND issue please call the office number 020 8831 6179. Your call will be forwarded to one of the teams’ mobiles and a member of the team will be available to speak to you. If you can’t get through, please leave a name and number and we will return your call during the evening. You can also schedule a call by emailing

10 Welcome to the SEND Local Offer for Kingston and Richmond

“This section of the website provides information on local services and support available for families including children and young people aged 0 - 25 years with special educational needs or disabilities.”

11 “Creating a PDA coping system, after CAMHS’ strategies failed my son”

More from the excellent Special Needs Jungle…

“We’re hearing much more in the last few years about Pathological Demand Avoidance, a condition on the autism spectrum, although many parents are still finding it difficult to get PDA recognised as an official diagnosis.

We have personal experience of PDA, and let me tell you, it doesn’t stop at 18. So, I know it is incredibly difficult to manage, because techniques designed for autistic children can be much less likely to be successful. It can be very frustrating for both parent and the child themselves.

Today on SNJ, parent blogger “The Indulgent Mother” who believes her son to be PDA, has written a guest post about her experience and some tips she’s learned along the way from dealing with Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).”

12 Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity - Talk for Parents

“Help is at hand with reading, spelling and homework. All welcome even if not parents with a child at Collis School. Presenter is Claire Hughes, an experienced specialist teacher and educational consultant with Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity.”

Friday 7th June - 9am to 10.30am

Collis Primary School, Fairfax Road, TW11 9BS

There is limited seating so please reserve your ticket by email to:

13 Jessie and Friends (ages 4 – 7)

CEOP = Child Exploitation and Online Protection command. Sounds scary doesn’t it? But they have some really good resources for both parents and professionals alike – and many of us have very vulnerable children. Here is one of CEOP’s most recent offers:

“CEOP armful Practices have launched “Jessie and Friends” their new online safety and education resource for 4-7 year olds featuring three fun age appropriate animations that help them to understand how to stay safe online.”

14 Liaison and Diversion

Not sure that this is available locally (yet) – but a really good idea ! “Our aim is to identify vulnerable people early on to help improve health and criminal justice outcomes.”

15 Neurodiversity Celebration Week

This invitation came via the SEND Implementation Team at the Department of Education (DfE); the idea is that you recommend your child/ren’s school takes part:

“Celebrate neuro-diversity week with neuro-diverse student Siena Castellon. She is championing a week in May (13-17) to recognise the skills and attributes of young people like her. Schools and colleges are invited to join her at…” .

“We are the dreamers. The pioneers. The change-makers. The future business leaders. We are the trailblazers. The adventurers. The discoverers. We are the Einsteins and Bransons of tomorrow.”

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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