• SEND speak

#SENDCrisis Funding, Good News & Signing Colours

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

Dear All

Last week included lists of events this week coming and a ‘who to call’ on Mental Health. You can read it here: dated 25th February 2019.

This week, a focus on the crisis in funding, including What You Can Do (items 1-6). Followed by a look at some of the more positive news out there…. (items 7 to 14)

1 Increase SEND funding for schools – petition (and debate)

2 School funding Westminster Hall debate

3 Demand Action for SEND Funding

4 #SENDNationalCrisis - march in London

5 Parent/Carer Forums, Parent Panels and SEND Partnership Boards

6 SEND Ofsted new inspection framework

7 Barbie in a Wheelchair

8 The Autism Friendly Guide to Periods

9 Autism and Driving

10 Famous and with ADHD

11 Radical Beauty Project (Downs Syndrome)

12 Made By Dyslexia

13 Word of Mouth – Dyslexia and Conversation

14 Makaton Colours

1 Increase SEND funding for schools – petition (and debate)

“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.”

105,515 signatures as of now. Parliament will debate this petition on 4th March 2019.

The petition is here:

2 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 (tomorrow!):

3 Demand Action for SEND Funding

From Richmond Councillors - 26 February 2019

This letter is addressed to all member of the CYPwDLD Partnership Forum (see last week’s SENDspeak), with the request that it is shared widely:

“We are writing to you to enlist your support in our efforts to get the Government to address the crisis in funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in this borough.

As you may know, the pressure on SEND provision in Richmond upon Thames is growing year by year. Demand for educational support is increasing whilst the funding gap from central government balloons from £5 million this year to a predicted £12 million in 2022.

In spite of this, our schools continue to deliver extremely high-quality educational support, but we know they are facing unprecedented challenges which is making that provision increasingly hard to deliver.

The Government cannot continue to rely on teachers, parents, children and the Local Authority to plug this funding gap for them. There is only so much belt tightening that can be done before the services our children rely on are severely impacted.

For a number of months now, we have worked with our local Members of Parliament to lobby the Government to address this crisis in SEND funding. So far our pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

We now are turning to you to help us, if this Government won’t listen to us maybe they will listen to you. Our school communities are the ones that will be most impacted if this Government’s chronic underfunding of SEND isn’t addressed. Please write to Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP and tell him enough is enough.

Join our call for adequate funding by visiting:

and use this page to send the Secretary of State a letter imploring the Government to adequality fund SEND for our borough’s children.

Kind Regards,

Cllr Penny Frost

Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools

Cllr Robin Brown

Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance

And a video - 1.35minutes

Published on 27 Feb 2019

“There are 3,500 children and young people attending schools in Richmond upon Thames with special educational needs. A further 1,360 children and young people in the borough require Education Health and Care Plans.”

Use the email template on this page to write to Damien Hinds:

4 #SENDNationalCrisis - march in London

This group is run by parents of disabled young people. “Our aim is to tackle the failing SEND and EHCP process by linking with others in our situation.”

30th May 2019

A national event, with co-ordinated local events

“On 30th May 2019 #SEND families, friends, teachers and many other SEND supporters will be taking to the streets for the National #SENDCrisis March. There will be a series of co-ordinated local marches all over the UK.”

You can join the Facebook page by pasting this into Facebook: SEND National Crisis March

5 Parent/Carer Forums, Parent Panels and SEND Partnership Boards

There seems to be plenty of attention on working with parent/carers (some might wonder if it has anything to do with Kingston’s recent SEND Ofsted). By asking a few questions, this is as much as I understand:

Parent/Carer Forums (PCF) Last week, Contact held two meetings, one in Richmond and one in Kingston to discuss progress on setting up new Parent Carer Forums for each borough (these are funded by the Department for Education)

Richmond (26th February):

Six parents attended and agreed to ‘give it a go’ in setting up a new forum. Contact will share some governance documents and arrange a second meeting.

Kingston (27th February):

Eight attendees; there was a sense that no-one felt comfortable in setting up a forum. As I understand it, it was decided that a way forward would be to have a groups’ meeting to explore the possibility of the groups having representatives who could be part of a steering group. (NB: not those who run the organisations themselves). The parents who have shown an interest will also be invited.

Parent Panels This is a version of a parent/carer forum, organised by the Councils and Achieving for Children, which aims to be representative and ensure some parent/carer input in the absence of a forum.


This is still in the planning and will be ‘similar but different’ to Richmond’s panel.

Richmond: This is ‘in progress’ with a meeting planned for later this month. So far, around 20 parents have registered an interest.

SEND Partnership Boards

This is an idea that came as a result of Achieving for Children’s SEND Transformation Plan. There is little information available currently, although I understand that both Boards will eventually include members from the forums and panels.


This Board has had its first meeting, although it lacked parent/carer representation as neither of the Panel or Forum have been set up. The Board was chaired by Ian Thomas, Chief Executive for Kingston Council.


This Board is due its first meeting during March. James Thomas, Director for Children’s Services, Richmond will chair the meeting.

6 SEND Ofsted new inspection framework from Special Needs Jungle

“Parents of disabled children have voiced their anger over Ofsted's new draft education Inspection Framework for England, that's under consultation until April 5th 2019. The framework covers early years, maintained schools and academies, non-association independent schools and further education and skills.

We'll be soon running a post from SEND leader, Malcolm Reeve, about the ins and outs of the draft framework. However, I also want to bring to your attention a group of parents of children with SEND, "Parents Alliance for Inclusion", who have voiced their unhappiness with the draft in the form of an open letter to Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman.”

7 Barbie in a Wheelchair

“ ‘Owning a Barbie in a wheelchair made me feel accepted’ - Hannah Cockroft Paralympian and world champion in wheelchair racing It’s been 22 years since I hit the headlines for becoming the first girl in Britain to own a Barbie doll in a wheelchair.”

8 The Autism Friendly Guide to Periods

“Written by autistic author Robyn Steward, this is a detailed guide for young people aged 9 to 16 on the basics of menstruation. Created in consultation with young people, an online survey and a group of medical professionals, this is a book that teaches all people about periods, which can be a scary and overwhelming issue. Promoting the fact that everyone either has periods or knows someone who does, the book reduces the anxiety girls face in asking for help. It offers direct advice on what periods look and feel like and how to manage hygiene and pain. It also breaks up information using flaps and step-by-step photos of how to change pads and tampons, it discusses alternatives to tampons and pads, and gives information about possible sensory issues for people with autism.”

Available for pre-order (publication mid-April 2019)

9 Autism and Driving

“The National Autistic Society (NAS) is challenging a decision by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to force autistic people to inform them of their diagnosis even if it does not affect their driving.

The surprise change in policy – which was not communicated to any autistic people, charities or medical professionals – emerged after a person with autism contacted the NAS and told them the DVLA website said drivers must disclose if they have an autistic spectrum disorder.

Until recently, the website has simply said that drivers must tell the DVLA if they have an autistic spectrum disorder “and it affects your driving”. This is standard for many conditions. The final clause has been removed and is now in a separate paragraph warning of the risk of a £1,000 fine or possible prosecution if these drivers are involved in an accident.”

10 Famous and with ADHD

Richmond and Kingston ADHD group have a page on those who are famous and/or successful – and who also have a diagnosis of ADHD (my favourite is Lee Mack, the comedian diagnosed in 2012 then age 44)

11 Radical Beauty Project (Downs Syndrome)

Changing focus: people with Down's Syndrome in a remarkable art project

“Shot by leading fashion and art photographers, it’s a unique proposition: all of the models have Down’s syndrome. But this isn’t some uplifting charity coffee-table tome: creative director Daniel Vais wants to make high art. Which means the images are provocative, unsettling and, at times, difficult. “I didn’t necessarily want crowd-pleasing images,” Vais explains. “Some people find that disturbing. They don’t want to empower people with Down’s syndrome. They don’t see them as powerful people. So they resist it.” “

12 Made By Dyslexia “Film 1 - Celebrities including Sir Richard Branson, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom and Maggie Aderin-Pocock-Pocock join expert teachers from two world leading dyslexia schools to share their wisdom and expertise in these inspirational Dyslexia Awareness Training films produced by Made By Dyslexia.” 6.20 minutes

13 Word of Mouth – Dyslexia and Conversation

Being a bit of a Radio 4 fan… these programmes popped out as useful for SEND; note the reference to ‘helping excluded children’ in the second listing below.


“Michael Rosen talks in depth about dyslexia: what it is, how to understand it and useful advice for parents and teachers, with expert Professor Maggie Snowling CBE, President of St John's College, Oxford.” 28 minutes

Listen and learn: how to make better conversation

“Michael Rosen talks to Eddy Canfor-Dumas and Peter Osborn about how improving our dialogue is good for everything, from helping excluded children to resolving conflict.” 28 minutes

14 💙💚💛 Makaton Colours 🧡❤️💜

From Singing Hands… “We get asked about colour signs all the time so thought you might like them all together” 3.11 minutes

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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