• SEND speak

The Therapies Review, Local Activities, Funding & Cats

Dear All

I believe that most people who chose to work in the area of SEND are there because they want to make a difference; any critique I offer is intended to question and develop understanding, not to damn.

1 The Therapies Review – a summary and constructive critique

2 Kingston & Richmond – New Year activities with dates

2a Richmond Mencap

2b Dyslexia - Pop Up Roadshow - Kingston

2c Richmond Dyslexia Coffee Morning

2d Post-16 Maze

2e SEND Carers Coffee & Chat

2f Will, Trusts and Deputyship

2g Turtle Key Arts

2h Save the date - SEND Futures Conference 2020

3 SEND Local Offer newsletter

4 Aiming High Short Breaks

5 Charitable grants and funding to help families

6 Free - How to Save Energy Costs and Still Keep Warm

7 The Fairy Godmothers of SEND (Portage)

8 ‘Signing’ – teach everyone…

9 Holding this Government to Account

10 The .gov page for all things SEND…

11 CBeebies for Parents – on SEND

12 Guide Cats for the Blind

1 The Therapies Review – a summary and constructive critique

Therapies = Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech & Language Therapy (SaLT) and Physiotherapy.

I doubt anyone would argue that therapies in Richmond and Kingston need an overhaul – so this review is welcomed. But…

…it’s not an easy read because the language is so obscure. ie it’s not accessibly written and took me some while to read through the superfluous wording to interpret the points made. It’s not obvious what will actually be different or why. As a parent/carer reader this makes me cross and not a little alienated… remembering the changes in law that are the SEND Reforms (see item 9) are all about recognising families as equal partners.

So, how will the Balanced System Model affect the end user (the family). For example, page 6 begins “General reflections on the current model of delivery would indicate that:” How about writing ‘the review tells us that:’ (5 words instead of 11 and more specific!)

The full document is here, 17 pages:

Page 6 also has the ‘Case for Change. Simply put, the Case is limited money combined with statutory expectation, combined with the (oft said) fact that families and professionals sensibly want consistency

Page 9 onwards describes the recommendation; a ‘Balanced System Model’ which is “a whole system, outcome-based framework that can be used to understand, plan and evaluate services to support children and young people.” An accessibly written version of that sentence might say ‘we’ll all work together to deliver the best services for the child/young person’ (that, obviously, includes the families themselves). That said, such sentiments are rarely combined with the necessary overhaul of siloed infrastructures (ie staff are expected to keep following the same pre-ordained processes they always have done).

So, what do all these words mean in reality; when you a) ask for an appointment or referral to therapies? b) receive the service? c) talk to your GP or school about it? etc etc

Page 10 is the page we, as parent/carers, should perhaps focus on. It’s short and these are the bullet points for “How will the system be improved?”

Overall the executive summary says a lot, and nothing. Perhaps, and to be fair to the authors, now we’re comfortably out of purdah and into 2020 the “full public report” and “key decisions” that are to be published in February might be a lot clearer (and perhaps even come with a timescale…??). See the text from the Local Offer below.

“This paper provides an executive summary of the joint therapy review which has been conducted by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Achieving for Children (AfC) on behalf of Richmond and Kingston councils. Extensive consultation has been undertaken with families which has informed this review. Due to the prohibitive factor of Purdah, key decisions are yet to be made. This will take place in early January 2020. A full public report will be published by the end of February 2020, however, this document sets out the key findings of the review.”

2 Kingston & Richmond – New Year activities with dates

2a Richmond Mencap

“We are very pleased to be able to tell you about our Children and Young People’s services for 2020. We have a year-long programme for young people aged 8-17 years old with mild to moderate Learning Disabilities, Social Communication Conditions, ADHD and other additional needs. This service is for people living in the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames.

The activities for the first two months (January and February 2020) are:

Sunday 19/01/2020 - Trampolining

Sunday 26/01/2020 - Bowling and Laser Quest

Sunday 02/02/2020 - Kidzania

Sunday 23/02/2020 - Disco for 13 to 17 year olds

We hope that there will be something that everyone can enjoy over the year. This will be an ongoing programme of weekend trips and discos and we will send out information about the next block of dates soon.

Please contact me if you would like to know more about the activities or have any questions.”

Richard Ferriday

N.B. I am available in the office Monday to Thursday’s until 1.00pm.

T: 020 8744 1923



2b Dyslexia - Pop Up Roadshow - Kingston

“The British Dyslexia Association are delighted to visit your area with our Parent Roadshow. Our presenters include Helen Boden, John Hicks, and SEN Legal.

Saturday 25th January - 1pm to 4pm

Kingston Quaker Centre, Kingston

What will be covered?

What is dyslexia? Supporting your child’s needs; BDA CEO, Helen Boden

Navigating the SEN maze: entitlement, provision and appeals; Sen Legal

How does my child’s dyslexia affect me?; John Hicks

Join us for this special pop-up session, ask questions, meet other parents and find out more! Book your space using the link below.



2c Richmond Dyslexia Coffee Morning

“If you are a parent or carer of a child with dyslexia, please join other local parents and specialist teachers for advice and support and coffee at our new venue:“

Friday 7th February - 9am to 11am.

Cote Brasserie, 24 Hill St, Richmond TW9 1TW

Sophie Camilleri

T: 07495 648025



2d Post-16 Maze

Do you have a young person nearing the transition from children’s services to adult services? Would you like to come along to an informal meeting and join in, or just listen, to other parents who are in a similar position – of are further down this road?

All parent/carers are welcome to attend the Post-16 Maze drop-ins. The the dates for the next few months are:

All Fridays: February 7th

March 13th

May 1st

June 5th

July 3rd

All from 9.30am to 11.30am

At Skylarks, The CrossWay Centre, 306 Richmond Rd, Twickenham TW1 2PD

NB Currently “We are in discussion with AFC re transition (to adult services) for Richmond and so more relevant for Richmond parents but Kingston welcome. “

2e SEND Carers Coffee & Chat

This warm and informal group meet regularly at the Castlenau Centre, 7 Stillingfleet Road, Barnes, SW13

Three parent/carer volunteers organise these groups; Lou, Liz and Anna. Sign up to their facebook page to keep up to date with what they’re up to (they organised a Christmas lunch and summer picnics last year – as well as the coffee groups).

All are welcome! 2020 dates in the flyer below:

2f Will, Trusts and Deputyship

From Ruils… “Our next Family Matters workshop is on Wills, Trusts and Deputyship, and will be held on Tuesday 28th January at 10.30am.

Places are free of charge and can be booked by visiting the link below:

Tuesday 28th January - 10.30am – 1pm

Disability Action & Advice Centre, 4 Waldegrave Road, Teddington, TW11 8HT

The talk is for parents, carer or relatives wanting to safeguard the financial future of a loved one who has a learning disability, who may be vulnerable or might lack capacity. It will be delivered by solicitors Victoria Ward & Nicola Hawkins from legal firm Irwin Mitchell LLP and will focus on:

· Why you should make a will;

· What happens if you don’t have a will;

· Trusts; and Protecting assets for vulnerable beneficiaries

· Court of Protection – Property and Affairs Deputyships

· Personal Injury Trusts – what they are and how they are used”

2g Turtle Key Arts

“Turtle Key Arts was formed in 1989 as a unique and ground-breaking accessible space; and accessibility for all continues to be a key philosophy of the company. We have played a committed role in advancing participation in the arts by disabled, disadvantaged and socially excluded people, and are widely recognised as a leader in this field, often charting new territories, such as Turtle Song for people with Dementia, Key Words for young people with Dyslexia and Turtle Opera, The Key Club, and Musical Portraits for young people on the Autism Spectrum.”

Find out more here:

2h Save the date - SEND Futures Conference 2020

for Kingston & Richmond

“Planning will be starting for the 2020 conference which will be held at The Stoop in Twickenham on 30th June. We will be working with parents, carers and young people to design the day.”

If you want to make any suggestions or get in touch about the event you can do so by emailing

3 SEND Local Offer newsletter

I can’t recommend this enough. This is a key part of what the Local Offer is there to do – if parent/carers don’t subscribe and offer feedback, and providers don’t send in their data we’re all missing an opportunity to make things better for the future.

Karen at the Local Offer is preparing the first SEND Local Offer update of 2020. So, if you would like to receive news about SEND Services for children, young people and their families in Kingston and Richmond direct to your inbox - here's how

4 Aiming High Short Breaks

“All children and young people who meet the following eligibility criteria can apply for short breaks under the Aiming High scheme.

Find out more about the Aiming High Local Offer

We are also growing a list of leisure and social activities on this page Making Friends and Having Fun

Don't forget you could claim from the Activity Fund for activities of your child's choice.

5 Charitable grants and funding to help families

I include this fairly regularly but things like this are always worth a reminder…

“This is a list of organisations that offer grants or funding that can be used towards short breaks, equipment and other things. If you have any suggestions to add, please let the Karen at the Local Offer know:

6 Free - How to Save Energy Costs and Still Keep Warm

Not directly related to SEND, but helpful!

“SWEN (South West Lond Energy Network) offer residents in the London borough of Richmon free Home Energy Visits to look at ways to save money. The visits are arranged to suit your preferred times and are undertaken by two of our energy advisors.

We we also help you to find a grant to cover the costs of larger impreovments such as isulation.

We look at energy usage, heating systems, insulation, lighting – we can lend you energy saving equipment and fit, at no cost, insultation materials and low energy lights.

The service is completely free.

To book a visit, or to get more information, please contact our Energy Coordinator, Susan Chappell on or call on 07764 194 619 “

7 The Fairy Godmothers of SEND (Portage)

I’ve come across many families who’ve used this pre-school service – and without exception, these people are described as akin to Fairy Godmothers.

As parent/carers already in the system, we are occasionally asked to share our hard-earned knowledge – it’s worth noting that a family can self-refer to Portage…

“Portage is a home teaching service for pre-school children whose learning and development is significantly delayed.

A trained Portage home visitor will visit the home on a weekly or fortnightly basis and work alongside parents and carers to provide structured activities that will stimulate their child's development and support early learning.

The Portage service for Kingston and Richmond has an open referral policy. Parents and professionals can refer children for consideration. All families receive an initial home visit to explain the service in full.”

8 ‘Signing’ – teach everyone…

Sounds like a good idea to me! I wish I and my children had the opportunity to learn signing at school.

“Make it compulsory for all schools & early years to teach basic signing of some form

This can be simply done through a sign of the day/week shown in assembly or registration & doesn’t need to take up precious time/money.”

9 Holding this Government to Account

Whatever happens next in the saga of The SEND Reforms (the change in law in 2014), following the SEND Inquiry ( ) we must hold this new government to account for the funding (or lack of it) for SEND. It was a Conservative government, under David Cameron, that initiated the SEND Reforms after all.

Here are a couple of articles from Special Needs Jungle on this topic.

Join us in the fight ahead to defend the rights of disabled children

By Tania Tirraoro, for Special Needs Jungle – 16th December 2019

The 2019 SEND Advocates’ Stampede

By Tania Tirraoro for Special Needs Jungle – 29th December 2019

“2019 culminated for us in the joining together of SNJ with SEND National Crisis and SEND Action under the umbrella SEND Community Alliance. In 2020, we’ll be working out what this means in practice.”

10 The .gov page for all things SEND…

Support, Funding, SEND code of practice, extra SEND help, P scales for attainment targets, free school transport.

On this page

· Services

· Guidance and regulation

· News and communications

· Research and statistics

· Policy papers and consultations

· Transparency and freedom of information releases

· Organisations

· Explore sub-topics

11 CBeebies for Parents – on SEND

“At CBeebies we believe passionately that what we do should be enjoyed by all children, including those with additional needs. We believe that it’s important for children a disability to see themselves positively represented on the channel, so we make every effort to do so. We also produce shows, activities and parenting resources for children with a range of different needs.”

12 Guide Cats for the Blind

10 out of 10 for Peter Purvis keeping a straight face in 1971 - bizarrely this was not broadcast on 1st April!

“Blue Peter features a guide cat, and in the process proves that guide dogs won't be made redundant any time soon.”

2.28mins - Originally broadcast 15 March 1971

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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