• SEND speak

Welcome to SENDspeak

Dear All

Welcome to the first newsletter from SENDspeak! We begin with an introduction to SENDspeak, then move on to local news and national events…

1 What is SENDspeak for?

SENDspeak is for keeping abreast of local news and local events across the world of disabilities (pan-disability). The system is difficult to navigate, and our parenting experience is unique to each of us. As parents, we are often each other’s best resource.

The intention is to empower families to navigate this difficult system and to support each other where possible.

What does SENDspeak look like?

Let’s start with the link to the website. If you are receiving this e-mail, it’s because you have either asked to subscribe via a tick-box or subscribed yourself. Here’s the link:

Currently the website is divided into two sections, News and Forum. The News is where you’ll find copies of this in a blog format.

The on-line forum

The on-line forum is new* and something I’ve had in mind for a while. Why? Because what’s been very clear over the past few years is that Peer Support (ie parent to parent) is the most powerful support for our community. Whether that’s making friends with someone else who ‘gets it’ or having a ‘Golden Person’ you call from time to time.

*The on-line forum is not fully open yet as I’d like to get to grips with the technology and confidentiality first (if anyone has done this before using Wix, I’d love to hear from you!).

Why an on-line forum when we have the Local Offer?

The Local Offer ( ) is an excellent repository of information; but cannot trade opinions or personal comment. The SENDspeak digital forum may, hopefully, become a place where you can ask questions like:

· How do I get a lift put into my house? Has anyone else done this?

· How do I separate my teenager’s adolescent behaviour from his/her additional needs?

· Can anyone recommend a private occupational therapist / tutor ?

· Is there a local school that really understands visual impairment / hearing impairment?

· My son/daughter is being threatened with exclusion. Help!

· I’m new to the area, what can other parents tell me about the local parks / swimming facilities?

By being an on-line forum, the answers can be stored under their subject headings and so remain available for some while. I have no idea yet if this will work – and there’s no substitution for meeting other parents at coffee mornings and the like – but this is worth a try.

Can I contribute?

SENDspeak is a new venture and one that I would like to share with others. If you are interested in doing more for our SEND community, please contact me on

2 Croft Cottage (Richmond) to remain open!

Croft Cottage is Richmond borough’s only overnight respite provision. For the past two years a keen band of parents known as The Friends of Croft Cottage have fought to keep this provision open. And they succeeded! 😊 Details in the announcement below:

3 Short Breaks for half-term and after

There are a number of new short breaks, including Challengers, Energise and after school clubs on the Local Offer. Follow the link below and scroll through the carousel pages on the left-hand-side.

4 Capella House This school is worth keeping tabs on, especially if you have a child who suits the profile below and is due to go to secondary school in or after September 2019.

“Capella House is a new specialist school which will open to secondary pupils in September 2019 and to primary pupils in September 2020. It is part of The Auriga Academy Trust’s range of specialist provision including Clarendon School, Strathmore School School and he Gateway Centre.

Capella House will be a day, co-education special school for pupils within the average or lower average range, aged 4-19 whose primary or main presenting needs relate to difficulties with speech, language and communication.”

If you would like more information, please contact Lynn Majakas on:

5 The Opps Pack – post 16

For young people over 16 or at the end of Year 11, The Opps Pack is a summary guide (of 48 pages!) which aims to set out the options available to you locally – whether in learning or apprenticeships and provides links for you to access further information. The new edition is in the link below:

6 The SEND Emergency

Few of us will have missed the headteachers’ march last week and perhaps the Surrey parents judicial review of cuts to SEND spending? Consider too SEND Family Action Group’s crowdjustice funding programme and it’s clear there is energy building across the country. Follow the links below to find out more, and perhaps get involved.

Who are SEND Family Action Group?

“We are a group of families whose children have special educational needs/disabilities (SEND). Over the last few years we have seen the catastrophic impact of cuts to funding for our children.”

You can read about SEND Family Action Group here:

SNJ joins the campaign of the UK’s biggest teaching union to fight the cuts

This article from Special Needs Jungle (SNJ) neatly brings together the national pressure being placed on the Department for Education:

“The pressure is mounting on Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary to act now to solve the crisis in SEND funding. Not only have parents crowdfunded (and easily hit their target) to try to Judicially Review the Government's SEND funding, teaching professionals are making their own stand against the cuts that have left many unable to support their most vulnerable pupils.”

7 Videos to cheer us all up… each a 1 minute long

Gemma had enough of people telling her that her child was ‘weird’ so she decided to make a place where all autistic children could be themselves. This is Spectrum Festival.

The brilliant dance group from Cornwall changing the way people think about Down's syndrome.

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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