Three parts inc PCFs & COVID-19
Today SENDspeak opens with local news about the Parent Carer Forums (PCFs) and then quickly moves into the realm of Covid-19… (parts 2 and 3)
I don’t know about you, but Covid-19 feels like information overload; the links below are all sources of collective information or jolly things to do!
If you really want to keep up-to-date minute-by-minute, then Twitter is the way to go. And it’s worth knowing that many groups are taking to Facebook to publicise and deliver their online activities.
1. Richmond Parent Carer Forum (PCF)
2. Kingston Parent Consortium/Parent Carer Forum
3. Single Source of local SEND / Covid-19 Info
4. From the Department of Education (DfE)
5. SCA’s View On The Coronavirus Bill
6. An Inquiry… The impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services
7. Coronavirus and the law (and the Bill Act)
8. Local SLT & OT
9. More SLT
10. 150 Homeschooling Resources for Parents
11. Updates from Express CIC
12. TAG Youth Club - online
13. Zooming with Singing Hands
14. Live Streaming from Dramatize
15. Free Stories from Audible
16. Fun Mail from Richmond Mencap
17. Practical support from Ruils
18. Phishing – keep safe!
19. On-Line Tours
20. Park Lane Stables
1 Richmond Parent Carer Forum (PCF)
(cribbing from NAS Richmond’s newsletter)… “Here's a newsletter for Richmond parents from Richmond PCF explaining why a questionnaire concerning making submissions to the auditors has not been sent out.
As you'll recall, Richmond Council/AfC is currently undergoing an audit of EHCPs following three complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman being upheld last year.
Richmond PCF very much understands that in view of school closures as a result of the coronavirus outbreak that the Local Government Ombudsman's audit may not be a priority to you. However, if your child or young person has an EHCP, an email address has been provided in this newsletter for you to share your experiences with the auditors as soon as you can.”
You can read the letter from Richmond PCF here, dated 20th March 2020:
The draft report is due to be completed by the end of March, so please do contact auditors with your experiences (Richmond only) here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scope of the audit
As I understand it, the audit is to cover (new?) EHCPs from the period of April 2018 to December 2019 – which is the timeline relating to the three complainants.
However, I can’t find this timeline in writing on the Local Offer, in the Brief to Auditors, or in the letter to parents. This timeline limits the scope to say the least.
This is what the Ombudsman asked for:
“I have now asked the council to undertake a full audit of its education provision and report back to me about what it finds. If the council finds other children have been affected, it should take steps to ensure they do not miss out on the services they are entitled to receive by law.”
The audit covers
· Delays in assessment and planning
· Gaps in educational or other provision
· Inadequate record keeping
According to the Brief to Auditors the draft report is due on 31st March 2020 – so please do contribute as per the letter from Richmond PCF ( email@example.com )
You can read Achieving for Children’s updates here (including the Brief to Auditors):
2 Kingston Parent Consortium/Parent Carer Forum Two parent/carer attended the last meeting; however all members of the Consortium/Parent Carer Forum had been invited to take part.
For any queries, please contact SEND Local Offer here:
You can read the minutes of their meeting here: https://5f2fe3253cd1dfa0d089-bf8b2cdb6a1dc2999fecbc372702016c.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/uploads/ckeditor/attachments/6231/Kingston_Parent_Consortium_20_March_2020__conference_call_notes.pdf
3 Single Source of local SEND / Covid-19 Info
COVID19 - resources and information
This is a thorough and accessible set of information on the huge amount of information and updates - and saves us all from sifting through it! All at the Local Offer continue to do so well on our behalf.
“We know that families, children and young people are worried and anxious at this time.
We have set up sections on the AfCinfo website and the SEND Local Offer to provide information.
We are adding and updating these pages frequently. This Frequently Asked Questions section contains answers to concerns that the Parent Carer Forums and others have been raising on behalf of families.”
COVID 19: latest information and advice
COVID 19: SEND updates and resources
Voluntary and Community Sector Support
4 From the Department of Education (DfE)
This is from the SEN Implementation people at the DoE… it’s worth nothing there will be plenty more communication from them.
If you would like to subscribe direct to their newsletter, please do so by e-mailing:
24th March 2020 “Dear colleague,
Please find attached an open letter to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), their parents, families and others who support them from Vicky Ford, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families. The letter signposts key Covid-19 guidance published over the past week.
SEND Implementation Team
Department for Education”
The full letter is here (dated 24th March 2020):
5 SCA’s View On The Coronavirus Bill SCA = SEND Community Alliance The Bill was passed today, without amendment… it is now the Coronavirus Act. There are rightly concerns, inasmuch that LA’s will not be penalised if they do not meet the provision as given in an EHCP, they must now only make “reasonable endeavours”
“While we appreciate these are unprecedented times, we are extremely concerned that the Coronavirus Bill strips away hard-won protections for disabled children, adults and their families for up to two years.”
6 An Inquiry… The impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services
The Education Committee, 25th March 2020
“The implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the education sector and the impact on children and young people will be examined in a wide-ranging inquiry by the Education Committee.
The inquiry will look at how the outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting all aspects of the education sector and children’s social care system and will scrutinise how the Department for Education is dealing with the situation.
It will examine both short term impacts, such as the effects of school closures and exam cancellations, as well as longer-term implications particularly for the most vulnerable children.”
7 Coronavirus and the law (and the Bill Act)
Special Needs Jungle
As you might expect, Special Needs Jungle have been working overtime and some! Rather than highlight all their articles, please go direct to their home page where you can pick and choose…
You can also subscribe to their regular newsletters if you haven’t done so already.
8 Local SLT & OT
SLT – Speech & Language Therapy OT = Occupational Therapy
Locally SaLT is still available, although working remotely and are providing advice and approaches to support your child - contact your allocated SLT worker for information. Currently this is available up to 3rd April, which is the possible redeployment date to the frontline for suitably qualified trained staff.
Similarly, OT are offering a service. Contact your OT or Alison Danks (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information.
Both therapies are developing resources which will be available via the Local Offer to support the needs of children at home.
If you are not sure how to make contact with SLT or OT, please go via the Local Offer where they will do their best to help:
9 More SLT
From ChatterPack, 22nd March 2020
List of FREE Speech, Language, communication and SEND resources for schools and parent/carers
10 150 Homeschooling Resources for Parents
“An American resource but so what?”
“I don’t know about you, but last week I was just completely overwhelmed. Our new reality was announced and to be honest, and really it’s a lot to digest. But, as soon as we learned that we would have to be homeschooling our disabled kids, social media and email started to flood with possible resources.”
11 Updates from Express CIC
The ladies at Express are working hard… still offering support and sending out regular newsletters. Their newsletters are thorough and have some hints & tips you won’t find elsewhere.
You can subscribe to their newsletter here:
“Our email and telephone support will continue (please email email@example.com to arrange a telephone appointment)
Keep up to date with us on Social Media
Join our Express CIC Forum to support each other and share advice”
12 TAG Youth Club - online
A lot has changed in the last week for all of us and we are all adjusting to this new way of living and working. We want to reassure you that our priority remains to support all our young people in whatever way we can. We will be running our session this week via the Zoom app (ZOOM Cloud Meeting). We will be sending out the unique link for the 'meeting' later. We will be playing bingo, having a quiz, games and sensory story between 7.30 - 8.30pm, then between 8.30 - 9.30pm you will be able to contact us if you need or want someone to talk too - the main phone number will be 07557397934.”
13 Zooming with Singing Hands
March 19 at 12:57 PM ·
From next week - Mon-Fri 10.30am join us either on FB, YouTube or Zoom for some daily #Makaton fun. See FB post for details.
“Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Please read, share & donate.
We're really devastated to be asking, but even establishing the online classes aren't going to help save the situation. Thanks, S&T xx “
14 Live Streaming from Dramatize
“Please find information below on the online support open to all to use! Hopefully it can be of help to as many as possible.
Dramatize shall be live streaming and uploading videos onto our website to provide an activity/ entertainment whilst in isolation.
Every day there will be both a live stream and video uploaded at the following times (please be patient if we are running a bit late)…
9am – Morning Mix-Up Live Stream on Facebook
10am – Video Upload on our website
1pm – Exercise session Live Stream on Facebook
3pm – Video Upload on our website
The videos can be found via this link – http://www.dramatize.co.uk/online-workshops.html
Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/DramatizeTC/?ref=hl
Hopefully it will be of help to as many as possible! “
15 Free Stories from Audible
“For as long as schools are closed, we're open. Starting today, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids.
All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.
Explore the collection, select a title and start listening. It's that easy.”
16 Fun Mail from Richmond Mencap
“This is Laura, Richard and Rupert at Richmond Mencap here. We all miss catching up with you guys. So, to keep in touch, we will be sending our FUN MAIL with games, videos and funny tales to keep you chuckling over the next few months.”
To subscribe, go to https://richmondmencap.org.uk
A pop-up subscription form will appear on the right hand side of the screen.
“We know that some of you might find it difficult that we are not able to have any trips or activities at the moment..
Good news! - We are able to make short video-calls to anyone who might want them.
A note for parents and carers - please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to schedule a call for your young person. We can only schedule a call to a parent or carers account and the call must take place in a public part of your home. Do let us know if you have any questions.”
17 Practical support from Ruils
“If you are a single parent or family who is self-isolating, you may be able to benefit from our shopping service. Please email Halliebanish@ruils.co.uk for information. Please note this service is only for families who have no other support.
If you struggling to pay for essentials e.g. food, electricity etc. please contact us and we can support you to get essential items or funding.!
18 Phishing – keep safe!
Not such good news…
There is a significant increase globally in the use of Coronavirus-themed Phishing attacks by criminals impersonating themselves as HMRC and the World Health Organisation (WHO), with the end goal of stealing individuals Personal Data, infecting our technology with harmful viruses and stealing money.
Attempts have been widely reported within the media, including via email and text message:
· Advising individuals they can claim a tax refund to help protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic;
· Advising individuals they can claim a ‘goodwill payment’ via HMRC if they click on the embedded link.
Further examples of emails and text messages impersonating HMRC can be found on the HMRC Government Website.
19 On-Line Tours
Many museums and galleries are offering free on-line tours. You can enquire just by googling the museum or gallery. Here is just one example:
“The British Museum’s remarkable collection spans over two million years of human history and culture. Over 6 million visitors every year experience the collection, including world-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies.”
20 Park Lane Stables
Meanwhile, Park Lane Stables in Teddington have been cheering up families with visits.
“Would a visit to your window from this little fella cheer up your day? Just let us know 07796842328 “
If you have any questions at all, please ask and I'll do my best to find an answer.
With best wishes, Romany