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New school places, Funding & Things to Do 9th February 2018 Dear All Lots to read, lots to do. All the best for half-term week...

Meeting and Consultation: on New Richmond and Kingston school places for children with SEND AfC are planning to increase the number of local school places for children with SEND in mainstream schools, both at primary and secondary level, and in Kingston and Richmond boroughs. They are seeking parent feedback to further shape their current plans, and we will be holding a public meeting for parents to hear these, and to comment upon them directly to Matthew Paul, the AfC Manager running the project. There will be additional opportunities to comment on the plans before and after the meeting via an online consultation process. We have been told that the current proposals cover Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Complex Learning Needs, MLD/ASD, SEMH (social, emotional and mental health), and SLCN (speech, language and communication needs), plus, to a lesser extent, Hearing Impairment/Communication with Associated Learning Needs, Social Communication Needs, and SpLD (specific learning disabilities e.g. dyslexia). If parents feel that there are groups that are not included that should be then it would be very helpful to feed this in as part of the consultation. The final details of the meeting are yet to be confirmed but the current plan is: Thursday 1st March – 10am to 12noon at the Doubletree Hilton, Kingston (close to the Seven Kings car park) We will provide more detail on the meeting and consultation as we have them.

Purdah Small but important – the period of time before an election affects a lot of Council decisions locally. The local elections are on 3rd May 2018; the latest date the pre-election period (purdah) could start is 27 March 2018. “It is important to note that pre-election rules restrict activity wider than just publicity. Use of council facilities and resources; the member’s code of conduct, developing new policies and holding of events - including some meetings - featuring elected officials should all be carefully considered during a period of heightened sensitivity.”

School Funding: What secondary school students in Kingston have to say… Headteachers are being forced to make decisions that are not in the best interests of children because of cuts to funding. Here, young people in Kingston, speak eloquently about the effect on them…

“As the funding crisis in Kingston schools escalates, secondary students from across our borough joined together to make a mini-documentary to explain their concerns about the impact that funding cuts will have on their future and why their education is important to them. Thank you for taking the time to look at and listen to what they have to say.” Click here to watch the School Funding Video (6.17minutes)

What Matters to You? As volunteers we would like to know that we are using our time in a way that best serves our community. We would really appreciate your views on what matters to you. The results will be used to define what we focus our efforts on for the coming year. There are 5 multiple choice questions in total, the first two are mandatory (you have to answer these), the rest are optional. We’d value your comments as well! Oh… and when you get to the end, there’s a prize draw for one of three £50 vouchers!

Things to do Magic, Fun & more There are still a few spaces left for our free, deliberately fun, event. Please note: Booking for this event is essential. We cannot admit anyone who has not booked a place. Sunday 25th February at DoubleTree Hilton,1 Skerne Road, Kingston, KT2 5FJ Booking:

Hydrotherapy from MeToo&Co “We have booked exclusive use of Teddington Hydrotherapy Pool on Sunday afternoons for a 6 week course, mainly aimed at children with Cerebral Palsy and other physical and mobility difficulties. This course will take place on Sundays from 13.30 to 14.30, starting on Sunday 25th February and finishing on Sunday 29th April. We are limiting this course to 4 children and are asking parents to express an interest in their child taking part in this course. Places will be allocated according to need. Places will be confirmed once places have been allocated and payment will then be requested.”

Swimming with Phyz Phyz arrange swimming with carers in the hydrotherapy pool (there is no qualified therapist in attendance). Sometimes, if the child has a hydro programme, that the carer is able to do with them, then that’s possible (and many do) For more information, please contact

From the Local Offer We’ve included some recent additions to the Local Offer, and it’s always worth checking the calendar regularly: “Walking for Health is England’s largest network of health walks with over 400 active schemes, helping people across the country lead a more active lifestyle. Our walks are short and over easy terrain and are open to everyone but are especially aimed at those who are

least active.” The walks are all free, and the contact details are in the links below. Kingston Richmond “Nearly 100 children and adults with physical, sensory and learning disabilities will soon be able to take part in horse carriage driving in the local area, thanks to funding from Richmond Council’s Civic Pride Scheme” Sensory cinema screening of Lady and the Tramp – 12th February Art Project - Creating Your Story. For over 16’s – an eight-week project.

Growing Up From express “Are you worried about losing essential services and support when your child turns 18? The transition to adult services can be a stressful time. Tom Keville, an Adult Mental Health Social Worker, has kindly offered to be our guest speaker at the next TYA (parents of teenager/young adult group). He will offer advice on issues such as: employment and benefits, accommodation, education.” Wednesday 21st February - 7.30 to 9.00pm the express office, 452 Ewell Road, Surbiton, KT6 7EL. Please contact Helen May at if you would like to attend.

From Richmond Challoner 6th Form “Richard Challoner School would like to invite you to an Open Coffee Morning on 2nd March. We would like to take this opportunity to show you our new ‘SFX Centre’ which opened in September 2016 and welcomes students aged 16-18 who have an EHCP and have Moderate Learning Needs. The Coffee morning will give you a chance to view the whole school, the centre itself as well as observe the current students in a lesson.” The agenda for the morning will be informal, however the timings are: Friday 2nd March - 10am to 12am 10:00-10:30 SFX staff and students welcome visitors and serve refreshments and a chance to see SFX students running their weekly “Tuck Shop” as part of their BTEC Work Skills course. 10:30-11:15 Visitors are invited to tour the Centre and the school and observe current SFX students in a lesson. 11:15-12:00 Visitors will have a chance to talk to teachers and parents of current SFX students To ensure we have an estimation of how many people are expected to come, please can you send an email before the 1st March to

From AfC “As part of National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship week, this event is aimed at

promoting a wide range of careers, apprenticeships, courses and other opportunities to 15 to 19 year olds in the London Boroughs of Kingston and Richmond.” Wednesday 7th March from 11am

@SENDFamilyVoice Everything you need to know about SEND parents - what a great blog If you have a non-verbal child or young person, have a look at this Bill of Communication Rights, 'to have and to use my speech system at all times' Why specificity in an EHCP matters - an Upper Tribunal's ruling France is fifty years behind on autism - still stuck in the 'refrigerator mother' era House of Commons Education Committee's enquiry into alternative provision Fantastic to see the hopes, fears & lives of parent carers of SEND adults featured on BBC Breakfast this week. Huge report out too from SENSE, 'When I'm Gone:

Community coffee mornings Just come along, have some cake and talk. We will listen and offer help where we can. Whatever you talk about is confidential and will help us plan what else we could do to help our community. At all our coffee morning we will have information and advice available on these areas: • The EHCP process and transferring from a Statement to an EHCP • Accessing SEN support in mainstream schools • Reasonable Adjustments • Post 16 Options • New to Autism • Online safety • Local knowledge of schools and activities • An understanding of how to navigate the organisations we all have to deal with • Local disability specific groups In addition to the above, the different SEND Family Voices hosts at each meeting will have specific areas of knowledge and experience, below is a guide: Monday 19th February – 10am to 12noon at Searchlight Centre, New Malden, KT3 3RX

ASD the complete spectrum * ASD and ADHD * ASD and mental health (anxiety, depression) * School Exclusion * Severe learning disabilities (including girls with ASD) * AAC (Makaton, PECs and proloquotogo/iPad communication) * Out of borough schools Tuesday 27th February – 10am to 12noon at Castlenau Centre, Barnes, SW13 9AQ Physical disabilities * Home adaptations * EHCP process (incl. transfer) * Inclusion in mainstream school * Exam access arrangements * Moderate Learning Disability * Down syndrome * Clarendon School * Fragile X * ASD related co-morbidities * Language impairment * Paper tribunal * School transition

Good Mental Health for all of us! #1 Real Talk launched in Kingston and Richmond on 7th February. Real Talk is a free confidential counselling service for children and young people aged 5-18. The service will be delivered by Relate London South West. #2 A 5-week course for teenagers and young adults with special needs focusing on all areas of keeping safe. (although oddly the chosen venue is not wheelchair accessible) #3 On 19th February at Meadlands School, Broughton Ave, Ham, TW10 7TS, there will be a mental health forum for parents. The event will be from 7.30 to 9.00pm and is a chance to talk to fellow parents about challenges faced by children in school and to share ideas about the types of services they would like to see in relation to children’s mental health. Representatives from Achieving for Children and other schools will also be there. Please email to register your interest in attending this meeting.

Home assistance? “There’s a lot of buzz these days about home assistive devices, like Amazon Echo and Google Home. But did you know that these tools can serve as forms of assistive technology for kids with various learning and attention issues?”

Best ever good news story? Watch 'Locked-In Boy' on CBBC on Monday 5 February: and more on FC (facilitated communication) 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, Romany (for Richmond) and Caroline North (for Kingston) Phone: 07469 746 145

New School Places, Funding & Things to Do  
New School Places, Funding & Things to Do