• SEND speak

Summer News & Resources

Dear All

As the title says… oh, and the role of the DCO is important (item 7)

1. Open Ministerial Letter re SEND

2. Thousands of new special school places announced

3. SEND Information & Advice Support Service (SENDIASS)

4. Join Richmond PCF – website and membership

5. The Audit – Richmond PCF Survey

6. Kingston's SEND Transformation Plan

7. The DCO and a Health Services update

8. Summer Holiday Zoom Sessions

9. Returning to school: some useful resources

10. Love Your Lido: Where To Go Outdoor Swimming In London

1 Open Ministerial Letter re SEND

Published 21st July 2020

“Please find attached joint open ministerial letter from Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary-Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, and Helen Whately MP, Minister of State for Care, to children and young people, their families and those who support them”

You can find the letter here – it is the first item on the page:

2 Thousands of new special school places announced

BBC News – 20th July 2020

“Thousands of new school places will be created for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) with 35 new free special schools, the government has announced.

They will provide tailored support and specialist equipment such as sensory appliances and communication aids.

The schools are expected to be built by September 2022, the Department for Education (DfE) said.”

More here:

Kingston & Richmond new special schools

You can find the press releases on the carousel of the home page of the Local Offer, here:

3 SEND Information & Advice Support Service (SENDIASS)

SENDIASS revised hours during the Summer Holidays

“Richmond and Kingston SENDIASS will be operating slightly different hours during the school holidays.

Beginning on 23rd July 2020, at least one member of the team will be working every day, but we will be working slightly more restricted hours and will not be providing our usual Evening Telephone Hotline on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please contact on the telephone via on 020 3793 9596 and or via email to and if someone is unable to answer someone will get back to you.

If you need an evening call, please request this when you contact us and we will try and accommodate this.

Thank You


4 Join Richmond PCF – website and membership

Richmond Parent Carer Forum (PCF) website is now up and running…

“Richmond Parent Carer Forum is an independent group run by parents for parents or carers of children/young people (aged 0 – 25 years) who have any form of special educational need or disability. Your child does not need an official diagnosis for you to become a member and we support families of children with any type of additional need including learning difficulties like dyslexia.”


“Membership is open to all parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (aged 0-25 years) who live in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

Please note: We will not pass any of your details on to any third parties.”

5 The Audit – Richmond PCF Survey

The last issue of SENDspeak (dated 1st July) covered the audit as it was presented to Richmond Council’s Education & Children Services committee. Now…

“Richmond Parent Carer Forum have launched a Post Audit Survey for all parents of children with SEND to ask them how they feel about the audit, SEND services in general and what they think should happen next.”

A link to the survey is here:

You can find the background here:

6 Kingston's SEND Transformation Plan

“In July 2020 the SEND Partnership Board considered a draft updated version of the SEND Transformation Plan previously approved by the Council in Feb 2019. This draft update can be found here:

Draft Kingston upon Thames SEND Futures Plan 2020/21 to 2024/25 - July 2020 (opens a pdf)

Easy Read version (opens a pdf)

The draft will be considered by Schools Forum in September 2020 and by the Health and Wellbeing Board and Council committees in the autumn. We welcome comments / feedback on the draft, and ask that these are received before 15th September 2020 “


7 The DCO and a Health Services update


The DCO is the Designated Clinical Officer and one of the most important new roles that came into being as a result of the SEND Reforms (2014). Very simply put, the DCO has ano oversight and strategic role that brings together the Education, Health and Care and, as a result, highlights gaps in provision. Having this role within Kingston and Richmond has been a long time coming, but its here now.

More detail here:

Health Service Update

“Alison Stewart, Designated Clinical Officer for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities has provided an update about current provision of heath services including therapies. “

8 Summer Holiday Zoom Sessions

“As you know, we have not been running our usual Zoom sessions this week as we have been planning our delivery for the summer holidays. For the next five weeks, we will be returning with a Summer Holiday Club on Zoom.

These will be 2 hours long and there will be two a week. The times of these zooms will remain the same for this five-week block. The sessions will be on Thursday and Saturday at 2-4 pm.

Below is the timetable with details of how to access the sessions. If you have any questions at all, please contact Richard at Richmond Mencap:” T: 020 8744 1923


9 Returning to school: some useful resources

With thanks to Alison & Kevin Sears at Richmond NAS (national autistic society) for these resources:

Reaching Families

A series of animations on a number issues related to children who have special educational needs. Includes Coronavirus and Going Back to School, plus Coronavirus and the New Normal.

College of Occupational Therapists: Returning to school after lockdown

Guide to preparing your child for returning to school.

Special Educational Needs Resources blog

Resources to help children settle back into school after lockdown.

Contact details for Richmond NAS:

T: 07810 505982



10 Love Your Lido: Where To Go Outdoor Swimming In London

From The Londonist

Its sunny (as I write this) and the holidays are beginning. Of course, Hampton Pool and Richmond’s Pools on the Park are listed below with many more…

“We're giving London's Lidos some love this summer. Whether you're an outdoor swimming fanatic or are yet to dip your toes into the water, there are plenty of options for an al fresco swim all over the capital (yes, even one in central London). So cossies on, keks off and let's jump right in. Enjoy.”

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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