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Change? Money? & More Questions 14th January 2017 Dear All Some good news for optimists, plus opportunities to have your say on national and local services. And a couple of jolly bits at the end…

The times they are a changin’… (we hope) SEND Family Voice' (SFV’s) mission is to: "Bring people into a community to improve services, share support and strengthen our common voice" To this end, we submitted a report last May, which resulted in Achieving for Children (AfC) undertaking a full review of the services that provide short breaks, respite, specialist social workers and family support workers. (also known as the Integrated Services for Children with Disabiliites = ISCD) From our understanding, the review team have been thorough in their investigation of process and people’s experiences. This has included going through files and e-mails, meeting with managers, meeting with randomly selected families and meeting with staff.

Where are we now? Yesterday, Ian Dodds (Deputy CEO, AfC) also met with eight parents and carers (invited by SFV) to explore their personal experiences of these services. These meetings aimed to answer these questions….  How well are services joined up?  Is the service compliant with the law and best practice?  How well does the service work?  How well does the service communicate?  How well led is the service? Specific topics included the implementation of the Parent Carer Needs Assessments (PCNAs), short breaks, respite, data protection. Unsurprisingly, the group touched on other subjects such as the seemingly impossible implementation of the new Education, Health & Care Plans. These will be subjects for another day.

And… What became rapidly clear (again), is the gap in understanding between those at the top and the reality of the services at the front end (our end). The distance between the top and what actually happens on the ground is immense – and is the source of many frustrations. That’s not to say there aren’t excellent people who go the extra mile – but why should anyone have to go the extra mile to augment what should happen anyway? We expect to be able to give you more news next month; and we are optimistic that Achieving for Children are listening to families (ie their customers!)

More Money – a good thing? 1. The News item… Multi-million pound investment to support children and families with special educational needs and disabilities.

2. What the commentators said… From Special Needs Jungle “Just a quick post on SEND Inspectors (we have been asked for a right of reply by Ofsted and are happy to do so, so watch this space).” From LKMco; on SEND and Further Education: From Contact a Family; DfE funding for parent forums and Contact a Family helpline From the Council for Disabled Children; further investment for Independent Support is confirmed for 2017/2018

3. What does this mean for us? In brief… The SEND Reforms and the change from Statement to SEN to Education, Health & Care Plans (EHCPs) continue to be very, very difficult. For families and providers alike! It’s not going to get better, faster or easier any time soon – but SEND Family Voices will continue to challenge, to support and to navigate on behalf of families. SEND Family Voices receive the bulk of our funding from the Department of Education (DfE) – this pays for our participation work, booklets, film, website domain etc. (we are volunteers, and none of us take a salary) The announcement means we can apply for this funding for Kingston and Richmond next financial year. All good – and we will spend wisely. The Independent Supporters will continue to be funded to provide advice; either by the Independent Support Partnership (via Richmond Aid & Ruils, funded by the Council for Disabled Children) or KIDS SENDIASS (via KIDS, funded by Achieving for Children).

What can a school do to support your child? And what can't it do? Update - You can find full details of these workshops on our website; we’re pleased to add another date, in another borough. Tuesday 28th February Morning: 9.30am to 11.30am Evening: 7pm to 9pm Trafalgar Junior School, Elmsleigh Rd, Twickenham, TW2 5EG

Tuesday 21st March Morning: 9.30am to 11.30am Evening: 7pm to 9pm Grand Avenue Primary School, Grand Avenue, Surbiton, KT5 9HU

Dates for your diary… WAAM 2017 = World Autism Awareness Month - 2017 Express CIC are planning a full day on 27th March at The Rose Theatre. Timings for attendees is 10:30am - 2:30pm, speakers are confirmed and they are just working out the details. Check in to their website for updates: NAS Richmond are in the process of arranging an NAS Richmond committee meeting; WAAM being one of the agenda items; look out for news on their website:

Have your say on Kingston Hospital “Kingston Hospital is producing a Quality Account to set out their key priorities for improvement in the coming year, based on their performance in different areas of patient care over the 12 months. To identify their quality priorities, they would like their members, staff, patients, volunteers and local stakeholders to vote on the areas they should focus on in the next year. From reviewing their data and holding discussions with staff and stakeholders, they have identified a list of potential areas to focus on. Select your 3 quality priorities from each domain!” The closing date for the survey is Sunday 22nd January.

Can you help make NHS information accessible? “The NHS Accessible Information Standard sets out requirements for making NHS information accessible. The NHS is now reviewing the Standard to ensure that it is ‘fit for purpose’, and have a survey for patients and service users to fill out.” Child and family social work national assessment and accreditation system

Government consultation on Social Workers “Overview: Consultation on the introduction of a new national assessment and accreditation system for child and family social workers. Why We Are Consulting: We would like your views on how we intend to deliver a national assessment and accreditation system for child and family social workers as part of our wider reforms of children’s social care.” The consultation closed on 14th March 2017

Does the leader of Richmond Council understand SEND? Make the most of this opportunity, whether it be going to a question time, or accompany the leader of Richmond Council on a walkabout – with your children… Dates and details in the link below. “As Village Planning moves to the next stage in your area, you are invited to attend an engagement event to find out more. There will be a variety of opportunities for you to have your say including drop in consultations, walkabouts and Leader's Question Time events.”

What’s new on the Local Offer? Remember to keep an eye on the Local Offer Event’s listings (includes SEND Family Voices free Music & Magic afternoon on 4th February). An invite to the World Para Athletics Championships – London 2017 Free gala production about preventing bullying… Cycle training update: Having done some research, the Local Offer confirms that there is nothing currently available in Richmond. In the meantime, this page has been updated to include more information on road safety in general.

Jolly stuff and videos Risque? “Maltesers marks World Braille Day with London a billboard as it continues inclusive disability campaign.” Their advertisements are entertaining…

Good News Meet Argentina’s First Teacher with Down Syndrome - a 1minute video As ever, if you have any queries at all, please ask and we'll always do our best to find an answer. With best wishes, Caroline North (for Kingston) and Romany (for Richmond) Phone: 07469 746 145

Change, money & more questions  
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