• SEND speak

TAG, Parent Participation, SEND Budgets & Things to See

Dear All

Lots to read, lots happening. Recommend items 8, 9 and 10 if your interest lies with the performing arts.

1 TAG Youth Club

2 Petition to cease PIP assessments for those with Life Long disability

3 Ten Things

4 Short Breaks Statement – Take Part

5 Parent Participation and me

6 PCF = Parent Carer Forum

6a Creating a new Department of Education (DfE) funded Parent Carer Forum

6b The Richmond Parent Panel

7 SEND Transport proposals and SEND Transformations

8 The SEND Inquiry – Tuesday 12th February

9 Stand Up for SeeAbility – 25th February

10 Cost of Living

11 A remarkable film - My Life: Locked in Boy

1 TAG Youth Club

Putting this up front… for those that have not heard of TAG before (yes, there are still some)…

“…are a youth club for disabled young people, who seek to provide a safe, stimulating and engaging environment for anyone with a disability to meet up with their friends, take part in fun activities and learn social and life skills.”

“We work hard to be as inclusive as possible and as such TAG is a parent free zone – we want our members to experience their youth club as their peers do.”

Junior Club – for 8-15 years old (fortnightly)

Youth Club - 15–25 years olds (weekly)

T: 07557 397 934



2 Petition to cease PIP assessments for those with Life Long disability

To: Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

“No more PIP [Personal Independence Payment] assessments for people with Life Long disability or conditions.

When a disabled person has a lifelong disability, or condition that will not change and will not diminish, they should not have to go through Light Touch Reviews at 10 years.”

3 Ten Things

Whatever your child’s disability, sometimes its helpful to remember to be kind to ourselves. This article does that beautifully.

“I had only just turned twenty when I gave birth to my daughter with Rett Syndrome. I frequently felt inadequate.

…I saw a picture of two-year-old Amber and I this week though that made me want to go back and shake myself. And give myself a big hug. If I could share what I know now, here’s what I’d say:”

4 Short Breaks Statement – Take Part

The law says that Achieving for Children (AfC) must publish a Statement about Short Breaks – and that’s because they must make their short break offers transparent and easy to understand.

If you can, take the time to comment on the Short Breaks Statement. If the Statement is too complicated, or doesn’t make sense, please say so (politely).

“Short breaks provide children and young people with disabilities with the opportunity to take part in social and leisure activities and also provide parents and carers with a break from their caring duties”

Take Part

To book your place at one of our 4 consultations, please complete the booking form in the link below.

…or you can indicate that you are unable to attend but wish to contribute via email or telephone rather than attending one of the consultations.”

Croft Centre, Richmond

Tuesday 26th February - 10am - 11:30am

Thursday 7th March 7.30pm - 9pm

The Moor Lane Centre, Chessington Tuesday 5th March - 7pm - 8:30pm

Friday 8th March - 10am - 11:30am

For any queries, please contact David Arrow, Inclusion Development Officer

T: 020 8547 6564


5 Parent Participation and me

Contact define Parent Participation thus: “Parent carer participation is when parents and professionals work together, recognising each other's expert knowledge, to design, develop and improve services for disabled children in the local area.” For four years, SEND Family Voices took this role.

#1 SEND Family Voices

I am immensely proud of the collective work done by SEND Family Voices – an organisation that I founded. I was, and still am, saddened by the change in direction the group took over the last seven months or so.

It’s true that the ideals of participation and co-production proved hard (at times impossible) to achieve; and the Kingston SEND Ofsted inspection made this clear. Achieving for Children are now tasked with doing this better. That’s good – providing they genuinely ‘want’ to do better and are not doing it because ‘they have to’.

The ending of SEND Family Voices came with multiple resignations, which forced a closure and much publicity was given to this. Now, some people are putting their energy into new campaigns which are borne of this frustration and anger and are, almost, vigilantism. This makes me question whether some people have just ended up in the same angry place as before the SEND Reforms?

SEND Family Voices took many, many hours to create and sustain; I stepped down during my sabbatical last March. The impact on participating parent/carers of the lost optimism of co-production, collaboration and partnership is awful to see.

I only hope that the next round of participation is done willingly by all parties, parents and carers included - and not because ‘they have to’.

#2 SENDspeak

Well, you’re here, so you know that I write and edit this, and as the website says…

SENDspeak talks about the world of Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities in Kingston, Richmond and beyond. SENDspeak includes signposting to local events, from local groups; and national news from the likes of the Council for Disabled Children, Special Needs Jungle and the Department for Education.

SENDspeak will also include information from the statutory service providers for our children and young people (eg the Clinical Commissioning Groups for children’s health and Achieving for Children for local children's services).

5 PCF = Parent Carer Forum

The role of the ‘official DfE funded’ Parent Carer Forum is to promote and take part in participation and co-production with the statutory services (eg Achieving for Children).

No one forum, group or panel can represent all parents. The statutory services should aim to reach as many parents as possible, through as many media, and as many groups as possible.

5a Creating a new Department of Education (DfE) funded Parent Carer Forum

Contact have published the results of the survey that they held last month and are now going to hold further meetings to explore further setting up separate forums in Kingston and Richmond. There were 136 respondents, of which 52.9% said they wanted to be a part of a new PCF. 3.68% of respondents said they would like to be involved in leading it (that’s 5 people).

You can read more here:

The dates for your diary are:

Richmond 26th February - 11am to 1.30pm Richmond Library Annex Quadrant Road, Richmond TW9 1DH

Kingston 27th February - 10am to 12.30pm The King Charles Centre Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT5 9AL

Please confirm your attendance by emailing:

5b The Richmond Parent Panel NB: there are also plans to do something similar in Kingston.

The original letter to parents and carers resident in Richmond stated: “While Contact complete the establishment of a new Forum, which may take some time, it is important that the Council and Achieving for Children [AfC] continue to hear the views of parents and carers of children with … SEND.” And: “Having an effective and constructive way to communicate and consult with parents and carers in the SEND community will be increasingly important as we make decisions about how to deliver services, and particularly how we respond to the current financial challenges”

So far, there have been several expressions of interest; now Richmond Council and AfC want to take a more proactive approach to reaching parents and carers. Groups that are currently likely to be under-represented are:

· ADHD and ADD

· Specific learning difficulties

· Moderate learning difficulties

· Hearing impairment

· Social, emotional and mental health conditions

Please register your expression of interest, or any query, to the Local Offer by 28th February:

6 SEND Transport proposals and SEND Transformations

Local news on these policies…. plenty to read…


The discussions on SEND Transport roll on… and the Richmond policy goes to Cabinet on Thursday 14th February. It is item 10 on the agenda and the full proposed policy is Annex A.

The link to the Cabinet meeting is here:

And the full papers - pages 37 to 110 for SEND Transport – here:

Some people have created a group called Richmond SEND Crisis (RSC). RSC’s tone is to challenge; they are planning to challenge the proposals at the Cabinet meeting. If campaigning in this way floats your boat, you can contact RSC here:

And a news release:

“Students, parents and teachers in Richmond upon Thames should know that Richmond Council is doing everything within its power to protect special needs education in the borough.”

Kingston The SEND Transport Policy for Kingston can be found in this link. It is Agenda item 6. The introductory text says: “To consider two travel options within the existing Home to School Travel Policy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) ie collection points on selected school routes; and targeted independent travel training. To agree a minor amendment to the existing policy in relation to an enhanced Parent Pay offer to those parents and carers who organise their child’s own transport to and from school.”

Kingston’s SEND Transformation proposals were discussed last week. This link will take you to the agenda and papers for the meeting, item 6 is the SEND Transformation:

And you can watch the meeting here:

And a news release:

“The council would like to ensure the facts are clear about the recent SEND consultation which was carried out between 13 December 2018 and 20 January 2019.” For more detail, follow the link:

7 The SEND Inquiry – Tuesday 12th February

The next meeting given oral evidence from ‘witnesses’ to the SEND Inquiry appear to be leaders of children’s services. They are:

· Richard Flinton, Chief Executive, North Yorkshire County Council,

· John Henderson, Chief Executive, Staffordshire County Council

· Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive, Rochdale Borough Council

· Councillor Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of Children and Young People’s Board, Local Government Association,

· Chris Harrison, Director, SEND4Change,

· Charlotte Ramsden, Chair of the Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee, Association of Directors of Children’s Services,

· Andrew Reece, British Association of Social Workers representative

Should you wish, you can watch the meeting here (it’s expected to last just under an hour and a half):

The homepage for the Inquiry is here, and all publications may be found here:

8 Stand Up for SeeAbility – 25th February

“SeeAbility provides extraordinary support and champions better eye care for people with learning disabilities and autism, many of whom have sight loss”

To celebrate SeeAbility’s 220th birthday, they’re hosting a jam-packed evening of comedy and

performance at New Wimbledon Theatre (London) on the 25th of Feb. Performers include:

· Chris McCausland - the only blind professional comedian in the world.

· Tanyalee Davis -At 3’6″, Canadian-born Tanyalee is the Ferrari of comedy, describing herself as “low to the ground and kind of racy”…

· Andrew Self - The student who brought Cheryl Cole to tears on BBC’s current Saturday night extravaganza, The Greatest Dancer.

Tickets start from £11.40 and can be purchased here:

Access Booking line: 0800 912 6971

9 Cost of Living

Playing until 9th March – at Hampstead Theatre, London NW3

This Pulitzer prize winning play has received fantastic reviews! The performances of all the actors, Adrian Lester, Emily Barber and also Katy Sullivan (US ex-Paralymipan) and John Hunter (an actor with cerebral palsy) are described as ‘magnificent’.

“John, a wealthy, brilliant, and successful PhD student with cerebral palsy, hires Jess, a recent graduate who has fallen on hard times, as his new carer. Across town, truck driver Eddie attempts to support and re-engage with his estranged wife, Ani, following a terrible accident that has left her quadriplegic. As four very different lives collide and entwine, roles are unapologetically flipped, reversed and exposed - who is actually caring for whom?

Martyna Majok’s exquisitely original, honest and deftly funny new play explores our need to connect and be loved regardless of the gulfs that disability, race, class, and wealth place between us.”

Access tickets are £16 each

10 A remarkable film - My Life: Locked in Boy

28minutes – available until Saturday 9th March

“I know my life is going to be short, but I have a lot to accomplish to give other children like me a voice.' This informative, moving film is authored by Jonathan, an extraordinary, smart, funny, ten-year-old, who for the first eight years of his life was locked in his body - unable to speak or communicate. This is the first My Life film authored by a non-verbal child.”

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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