• SEND speak

Voting, Local Activities, National News & Laughter

Dear All

“What is going on in British politics….?” Is how the ‘World at One’ news on BBC Radio 4 opened yesterday. Can’t really add to that! Perhaps, if you need cheering up, skip straight to the last item.

Otherwise, lots to read as it’s been a couple of weeks since the last SENDspeak…

1. Register to vote

2. From the Disabled Children's Partnership (DCP)

3. Kingston and Surbiton Joint Hustings

4. From the CYPwDLD

5. Bridging the Gap – mental health services

6. The Post 16 Maze – Coffee ‘n’ Cake (& the Local Offer)

7. Kingston’s Communication Big Day

8. RM Activities November and December 2019

9. New from Ruils

10. SEND Team Coffee Morning (Yr 8 and under)

11. Richmond upon Thames Inclusive Sport and Exercise Consultation 2019

12. Dyslexia - Pop Up Roadshow - Kingston

13. From the Council for Disabled Children’s newsletter

14. Independent Provider of Special Education Advice = IPSEA

15. From the DfE’s SEND Implementation newsletter

16. Special Needs Jungle on the extended trial

17. Launching the SEND Community Alliance: An independent campaign group

18. Stardust and Snow

19. Laughter is the best medicine

1 Register to vote

This general election is important, and it’s important that everyone uses their vote (see stats from DCP below).

If you’re like me, you may booby trap your young person’s advent calendar to remind them to vote on Thursday 12th December 2019. (yes, really!)

If your young person is 18 on or before 12th December, they will be able to vote at this general election so long as:

• You are a British, Irish or Commonwealth Citizen

• You have registered to vote by 26 November

Your young person can do this online at

They will need their national insurance number to hand. If they can’t find their national insurance number, they can still register and they'll be contacted to provide proof of identity (such as a copy of your passport) instead.

If they want to vote by post, then make sure they are registered to vote and then fill in a postal vote application form (see link on the same website ) and return it to your council's election office by Tuesday 26 November 2019.

For more information go to your local council's website:

2 From the Disabled Children's Partnership (DCP)

Picking these up on twitter…

@DCPcampaign · Nov 2

“Some maths...

On average, there are 1,700 disabled children living in each Parliamentary constituency.

In the last general election, 80 MPs won their seats with majorities of less than 2,000 votes.

Can you see where we're going with this... #MakeDisabledChildrenAPriority

@DCPcampaign · Nov 4

“There are 1.1 million disabled children in the UK. They have parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who will be voting in on 12 December.

Just something for parties and candidates to think about...



3 Kingston and Surbiton Joint Hustings

Express CIC invite you to join them for…

“An opportunity for you to meet and ask questions of your prospective parliamentary candidates.

Aphra Brandreth (Conservative)

Ed Davey (Liberal Democrat)

James Giles (Independent)

Scott Holman (Brexit Party)

Sharron Sumner (Green Party)

Leanne Werner (Labour Party)

Tuesday 3rd December - 7.30pm to 9.30pm

Surbiton Hill Methodist Church

Join us, take part, make sure your voice is heard! Ask about SEND, Carers, Disability, Mental Health, Social Care, School Funding & more.

There will a roaming microphone on the night or if you would prefer you can submit your question to be read by the chair for the evening - email or

Please book your tickets here:

4 From the CYPwDLD

From the minutes of the Children & Young People with Disabilities and Learning Difficulties (CYPwDLD) Forum in Richmond.

Something to ask your local MP about perhaps?

“The Director of Children’s Services [Richmond] informed the meeting that there had been discussions with elected members and the Council’s Chief Executive, following the presentation at the previous Forum by Heather Matthew on the potential for Richmond to become a disability friendly borough, and this had been received positively. It is proposed to take this forward through seeking agreement for the first member task and finish group under the new committee system to take this forward.”

Item on CAMHS (Children & Adult Mental Health Services)

The Lead Children’s Health Commissioner (Doreen Redwood) from the Kingston & Richmond CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) presented plans to date. I’ve selected this sentence... (given so many of our young people have mental health difficulties)

“While politicians raised the profile of mental health issue nationally, funding was not in place to match their ambition”

You can read the full minutes of the Forum here:

5 Bridging the Gap – mental health services

“Just over 6 months ago a group of short and long term service users approached Ruils with an idea. They had struggled to negotiate their way through the complex web of mental health services and wanted to create a guide to help others who were in a similar circumstance to themselves. Inspired by an information booklet they had seen, working with Charlie and Linda (at Ruils), they set about on creating a pocket guide to mental health - Bridging the Gap.”

You can download a copy of Bridging the Gap here:

If you would prefer a printed copy, please contact Ruils on 0208 831 6083 or email

6 The Post 16 Maze – Coffee ‘n’ Cake (& the Local Offer)

“Please join us at our “parents supporting parents” group for anyone supporting a young person (16 plus) with SEND

Our next meeting is:

Friday 15th November - 9.30am to 11.30am

Skylarks, The Crossway, 306 Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 2PD

…and we are delighted that Karen Lowry from AfC will be with us. She is putting together a Transition document and is keen to discuss its content with us.

Karen wants to hear about our experiences both negative and positive to help inform her research. This will be an opportunity for us to ensure that this document reflects reality and is useful to all parents in the future. We know from our personal experiences that transition is

both difficult and different for everyone and we hope that Karen’s document will be an informed and helpful guide.

We really hope lots of you will be able to attend. It will be our usual informal format.”

7 Kingston’s Communication Big Day

“This communication drop in event is for everyone, adults with a learning disability (18+), their family carers and support staff. It is an opportunity to meet local providers and learn about their activities, clubs, and services. Stall holders will include day services, advice and support groups, sports and leisure activities, charities and supported living. There will be Tea, coffee and cake.”

Tuesday 19th November - 2:00pm to 6:30pm Searchlight Community Centre, Kingston

For more information email Michelle at or call Michelle on 0208 5462837

8 RM Activities November and December 2019

RM = Richmond Mencap

“This 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 funded for people in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames.

Discos /Parties

For groups aged 8-12 years old and 13-17 years old at various times throughout the year.

These offer the chance to socialise, play games and dance. There is no cost but we ask for a contribution towards food of £5.00

Weekend Day Trips

These are a range of activities and visits designed to meet a range of interests and abilities. These take place on regular weekends throughout the year. Places are £15 per day and free for those in receipt of the Pupil Premium Grant.

Social Group

This is a social group aimed specifically at young people who are moving from young people’s services into adult’s services. This is a size limited group for people who are 14-17.

If you are interested, please contact us for further information.

We will be happy to talk to you about the needs and requirements of your child or young person. We need to be sure that every young person we provide a service to, can be supported safely within the scheme, and fit within the criteria these services are funded for.”

Richard Ferriday, Projects Leader

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

T: 020 8744 1923


9 New from Ruils Ruils Children's Services Newsletter

“This quarterly newsletter aims to bring you all the latest news and information about the services we offer, as well as details of events happening in and around the boroughs in which we operate – Kingston, Richmond and Hounslow. We hope to provide some insights, tips and advice from our expert support workers from across our Family Matters, Sitting and Befriending service, and SEND Advice service.”

Please contact Tora Sykes at Ruils if you would like to be added to the distribution list:

10 SEND Team Coffee Morning (Yr 8 and under)

The SEND Team coffee morning is an informal event for families with children in Year 8 and below.

Friday 6th December - 10am to 11.30am

Heatham House, Whitton Road, Twickenham, TW1 1BH

“There will be an introduction at the beginning to introduce the team. Following feedback from parents at previous events, we will also at this event be giving information/guidance about Annual Reviews, the process and the expectations of the schools, parents and the Local Authority.

Following this there is an opportunity for you to network and to meet with your EHC Coordinator over a cup of tea or coffee. We would really like to see as many of you as possible, so in order to help us plan for this event, please book a place through our coffee mornings Eventbrite page:

If you are unable to book online please contact our SEND Team on 020 8547 5872 or email: and we would be happy to book a place for you.”

11 Richmond upon Thames Inclusive Sport and Exercise Consultation 2019

“After our consultations in 2008 and 2013 we responded to points that came out of the survey to develop inclusive and disability activities in the borough. We are keen to evolve our plan and delivery, led by demand and respond to feedback from individuals and groups to make sure that the activities developed and offered are meeting demand.”

For more details, please follow this link:

12 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.



13 From the Council for Disabled Children’s newsletter

Ombudsman complaints about special educational needs at alarming level

“In its latest report about the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan process, the Ombudsman has revealed it is now upholding nearly nine out of every 10 (87%) cases it investigates - a startling figure compared with its uphold rate of 57% across all cases it looks at, discounting SEND cases.”

NHS Taskforce To Drive Improvements In Young People’s Hospital Mental Health, Learning Disability And Autism Care

“NHS chief Simon Stevens has today (Thursday October 10th) announced that a new taskforce will be set up to improve current specialist children and young people’s inpatient mental health, autism and learning disability services in England.

Specialist taskforce delivery teams will be made up of doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and other medical professionals. It will seek to: make a rapid set of improvements in care - over 18 months - but starting immediately agree a set of recommendations for next steps.”

Information, Advice and Support Services: animation

“The Council for Disabled Children has produced a 5-minute animation that provides an introduction to SEND local Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS).

IASS are a statutory function of local authorities and provide support to children and young people with SEND, and parents, about matters relating to SEND. We hope you find it useful and informative, and that it is a communication tool.”

You can view the animation here (5 mins):

14 Independent Provider of Special Education Advice = IPSEA

A reminder of IPSEA…

“Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (known as IPSEA) is a registered charity (number 327691) operating in England. IPSEA offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We also provide training on the SEND legal framework to parents and carers, professionals and other organisations.”

15 From the DfE’s SEND Implementation newsletter:

DfE – Department for Education

NatSIP (the National Sensory Impairment Partnership) updated guidance on public examination access for children and young people with sensory impairments

“This updated guidance is to help teachers of children and young people with hearing impairment (HI), vision impairment (VI) and multi-sensory impairment (MSI) understand the key principles underpinning reasonable adjustments for public examinations and the main access arrangements that may be appropriate for candidates with sensory impairment. It also includes examples of specialist reports written to support applications for access arrangements. Much of the content can be applied to all forms of summative assessment, but the primary focus of the guide is on general qualifications, i.e. GCSE and A level.”

You can access the guide here:

Extension of national Trial to extend powers of SEND tribunal to 31 August 2020

“In April 2018, the Department for Education began a national Trial to extend the powers of the SEND Tribunal to hear appeals, and make non-binding decisions about, health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care plans. The Trial was due to end on 31 March 2020. The Department is extending the Trial until 31 August 2020 and we have today written to Directors of Children’s Services to inform them and provide further details.”

A copy of the letter is available from here:

16 Special Needs Jungle on the extended trial

(see article from the DfE above)

"Going forward, I would like to see the Tribunal have the power to decide on the health and social care needs and Order recommendations that are mandatory, not optional as with the current trial.”

Plus, of course, post-general election, there must be investment to make it work…

SEND Tribunal trial extended – but it needs more than just time to be a success

“Plans have been announced to extend the current trial that gives the SEND Tribunal powers to make non-binding directions for appeals against EHCP health and social care decisions as well as those for education.

The Trial is testing a "single route of redress" to include appeals to both health and social care decisions in EHCPs, instead of just education. In the last few days before parliament is dissolved for the General Election, the stand-in SEND Minister, Michelle Donelan, has written to Directors of Children's Services across England to extend the current trial until 31 August 2020. It was originally due to run until 31 March 2020,”

17 Launching the SEND Community Alliance: An independent campaign group

November 1st 2019 By SNJ’s Tania Tirraoro with SNJ's Renata Blower, Gill Doherty (SEND Action) and Nadia Turki & Poppy Rose (SEND National Crisis)

After a very busy year for a number of SEND parents’ groups, including the national march and the action to take the DfE to court over SEND funding, we have got together and decided that we are stronger when we campaign together.

Therefore, our three volunteer parent-led organisations, SEND National Crisis and SEND Action and us at Special Needs Jungle, have come together under the banner of “SEND Community Alliance”, the independent SEND campaigners group. This post is co-written by all three groups.

Although still remaining three separate organisations, we will use the alliance to unite and amplify our message for government, local areas and political parties.

18 Stardust and Snow

A lovely gentle, and true, story about the time a young man with autism met David Bowie.

“When he was a kid, Daniel won a competition and he went off to London to meet David Bowie at Christmas…

He was a quiet kid, a shy kid, and the crowds were alarming. He took his grandma with him and she was grumpy all day.

But when they met David there was magic and glitter and stardust in the air as well as snow, and he taught the boy all about magic and the wearing of invisible masks…”

19 Laughter is the best medicine

No reason to put this here other than it’s topical (?) and funny (?). A short video - 45 seconds – and If the content doesn’t make you laugh, CNN journalist’ response is surely infectious?!

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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