Page 1

NATSPEC BULLETIN OCTOBER 2012 Dear colleagues Welcome back to what will certainly be an interesting year. I am sure that you have all returned inspired by the Paralympics. Congratulations to the many participants who have links – both current and past - with specialist colleges. September is a time of new starts and moving on. We have a ‘new starter’ in Natspec and I want to extend a warm welcome to Jaine Barry who has recently taken up post as Director of Communications. She has already met or been in contact with a number of you, and I know she has much appreciated the support she has received. Not exactly moving on but relinquishing a role, Andrew Harris, Natspec Company secretary, has edited 55 issues of the bulletin over the last 5 years. I want to say a huge thank you to him for having undertaken this important task, which enables us to keep in touch with Natspec’s members and many others too. Jaine is now going to pick up this responsibility. The coming year is going to be a real challenge, as we prepare for major funding reforms and respond to proposals for significant reform to the SEN/LLDD systems. Natspec will work to ensure that following these changes, young people will continue to have the choice of attending a specialist college when this will most effectively meet their learning and support needs. We are also launching into a new inspection framework and process. Last year Derwen College retained its outstanding grade and National Star College moved from good to outstanding; overall, 74.5% of students in specialist colleges are in providers that are good or outstanding. We want to build on this strong position and promote on-going improvement across the sector. So a packed agenda for the next few months – but the real work is being done in colleges as new students settle in and those in their final year plan for the future. Best wishes to staff and students, old and new, Alison.

NATIONAL SECTOR NEWS What does the ministerial reshuffle mean for FE and the disability sector? The recent ministerial reshuffle has introduced some new faces to the government and Natspec has already begun to engage with these new government ministers about issues relating to FE, disability and learning disability. Information about newly appointed ministers in the DfE, and their responsibilities, can be found here: The main contact for specialist colleges, and the minister who will be taking forward the draft legislation, is Edward Timpson MP who becomes Parliamentary under Secretary of State (children and families). His responsibilities will include: -

adoption, fostering and residential care home reform


child protection special educational needs, family law and justice


children’s and young people’s services and school sport, CAFCASS and Office of Children’s Commissioner

Edward has been Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich since May 2008. Before joining the Government, he was a family law barrister in Cheshire courts, specialising in the cases of vulnerable children. His parents fostered 87 children over the last 30 years, many of whom he grew up with. He has two adopted brothers. At Westminster, Edward sat on the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights. Until his ministerial appointment he was also chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on

Adoption and Fostering, Looked-after Children and Care leavers. He was also vice chairman for the Runaway and Missing Children Group. In the DWP, Esther McVey MP becomes the Minister for Disabled People.

Her responsibilities will include: -

disability benefits - Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA)


Independent Living Fund, carers, DLA appeals and appeals reform


Government response to Liz Sayce’s independent review of specialist disability employment, Remploy, Access to Work and Work Choice


Employment support for social justice groups, including ethnic minority employment, substance misusers and ex-offenders, maternity benefits and child poverty


cross-government disability issues including disability strategy, Paralympics, personalisation and independent living and ‘Right to Control’

Esther is the Conservative MP for Wirral West and the only current Conservative MP in Merseyside. Esther graduated in law before becoming a graduate trainee with the BBC in 1991. She worked in the media for 14 years as a broadcaster before setting up a business providing office space for new start-up companies. She also set up the biggest business women’s network in the northwest. Esther was the first MP to employ an apprentice and got the House of Commons authorities to introduce the scheme. Her passions include: careers, youth unemployment, apprenticeship, investment and business growth and she has been nominated Merseyside Woman of the Year and Cheshire Woman of the Year.

Natspec celebrates successful Paralympics The Paralympics have been hailed as a great success and The British Paralympic Association (BPA) has announced it will host a ‘Paralympic Festival of Sport’ to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Britain’s Paralympic athletes, which is due to become an annual event.

In a press release celebrating this announcement, Natspec’s Alison Boulton, said: “The Paralympics have been a unique opportunity to showcase the talent and passion within Paralympic sport, breaking down stigma and stereotypes. Whilst revealing the dedication and commitment involved in producing world class Paralympic athletes, the games also highlight the importance of being able to take part in sport and physical activity for anyone with a disability regardless of age, ability or background. “By providing a well-rounded education that includes access to great sports facilities and specially trained staff, specialist colleges have a great role to play in opening up this opportunity. Our colleges give young people the chance to develop their skills and learning in a way that is exciting and stimulating. Many students take part in activities that range from football, swimming and horse riding to hydrotherapy and sensory treatments.” Natspec staff and students played a very active role in the Paralympics, taking part in some of the processions and putting together workshops and art exhibitions around the Paralympics. Two Natspec students, from The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) in Hereford, played for the GB Blind Football Squad at the Paralympics, whilst their coach was involved in training the British Blind Football squad.

Better information about cancer care for people with a learning disability, thanks to ‘Change’ CHANGE, is an organisation led by disabled people to improve human rights and inclusion for people with a learning disability.

The organisation employs people with a learning disability to work on campaigns about health issues, accessibility and learning. The organisation also produces accessible health books and the CHANGE Cancer Series has recently been

awarded the British Medical Association (BMA) Patient Information Resource of the Year Award, 2012, at a ceremony in London.

The books were developed by people at CHANGE both with and without learning disabilities, in collaboration with health and cancer professionals from Macmillan Cancer Charity and the NHS.

The books give clear, easy-to-read read information about the prevention of cancer through screening and health awareness and diagnosis. They also discuss cancer treatment, palliative care and bereavement. BMA Head Librarian, Jacky Berry, said: “The books are clearly laid out and consistent, with easy to understand information about all aspects of cancer from screening, symptoms and staying healthy to palliative care, end of life and bereavement. This series is a well needed and excellently written resource.�

New group to advise Welsh Government on learning disability issues The Welsh Government has set up a new group to champion learning disability issues and provide specialist advice to ministers on issues affecting people with a learning disability. Dr Roger Banks, from Betsi Cadwaladr University’s Health Board, and Sophie Hinksman, Vice-Chair of ‘All Wales People First’, have been appointed as co-chairs of the group. The group will include members of voluntary organisations, working in the learning disability field, as well as health professionals and representatives of the Association of Directors of Social Services. The Learning Disability Advisory Group will help the Welsh Government develop its learning disability policies around sustainable social services, health inequalities, social integration and inclusion. Sophie Hinksman said: "I am so pleased to have been appointed co-chair of the new Learning Disability Advisory Group and to make sure that the voices of people with a learning disability are heard." Dr Roger Banks added: "People with a learning disability have a lot to offer society. As a group, we will be highlighting and supporting the contribution they make to life in Wales. We will also be advising the Welsh Government on how its strategies and policies can meet the needs of people with a learning disability".

Important updates to legal guide to fighting disability cuts A guide aimed at helping disabled people and disability organisations fight cuts to services in their local area has been updated. Using the law to fight cuts to disabled people's services now reflects recent changes to case law and the growing list of solicitors willing and able to take on these cases. Public spending cuts are expected

to increase in the coming year, so disabled people and disability organisations may need to challenge more potentially unlawful situations.

NATSPEC COLLEGE NEWS Inclusive Skills Competitions – an opportunity to excel!

WorldSkills UK say competitions can improve individual and organisational success and we agree. Natspec, colleges have run a number of successful competitions recently that have challenged our learners in a productive and exciting way. Six Natspec specialist colleges, representing a wide range of disabilities, have decided to host a national skills competition in 2013 that will enable students to showcase their skills in a range of vocational areas.

The six competitions being run by the colleges are: 1. ‘Cloud 9 Film Festival, 2013’, will be hosted by Beaumont College. The college is asking for four minute films that explore ideas, thoughts and stories. Films should be submitted and delivered on a CD/DVD by Friday 8th March 2013

2. The ‘Display your Wares’ competition will be hosted by Derwen College. Displaying your wares creatively in a shop is important if you want to sell your goods. Students taking part in the retail module at independent colleges learn

about visual merchandising and this competition will help students showcase their skills.

To enter, teams must submit a plan–o-gram, which outlines their merchandising design to by Friday 7th December 2012. Application forms will be available from the college from 8th October 2012. 3. The ‘Introduction to Gym Equipment’ competition will be hosted by RNC. An Introduction to the gym environment is a vital part of preparing customers for what can seem a challenging and sometimes daunting prospect. This competition allows students to showcase their skills in this area. Teams wishing

to enter should submit their interest by Friday, 7th December 2012.

4. ‘Housekeeping for Hens’ competition is being hosted by Westgate College, gives students the chance to learn all the skills they need to look after a chicken coop or hen house. The competition will be held on Tuesday 19th March 2013. 5. ‘The Band’ competition will be hosted by Hereward College. If you are passionate about music and can sing or play a musical instrument THE BAND 2013 Popular Music Performance Competition is the event for you! Bring your band and demonstrate your performance skills before a live audience to claim the national title Bands/groups wishing to enter should submit the following on a

CD/DVD by Friday 1st March 2013 6. ‘Gift of the Gab’ competition will be hosted by National Star College and will test students’ abilities to present themselves. They will be asked to demonstrate initiative, imagination, persuasiveness, customer service, individuality and team working skills. Individuals or teams will be asked to submit a

presentation on a CD/DVD by Friday 8th March 2013

For more information about how to enter the competitions visit:

Students from Hereward and Henley Colleges take on disability hate crime by saying ‘I’m hating it’ Disability hate crime is a problem that students in our colleges may come across at some point in their lives, either personally or through a friend or loved one. Students from Hereward and Henley Colleges have been working alongside Coventry Grapevine’s ‘Get in Project’ to create a resource pack, called ‘I’m hating it’, to help raise awareness of the problem in schools, colleges and youth projects. The group activities in the pack aim to help young people explore how a situation can escalate into a disability hate crime using real-life scenarios. The pack also looks at the law around disability hate crime and how best to deal with and report it. Coventry City Council's Community Safety Team got funding for the packs from Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS), who felt they helped achieve ‘outstanding teaching and learning’. Coventry City’s Community Safety and Equalities Councilor, Phil Townshend, said: "It's really important to make sure young people are aware of what disability hate crime is and the impact it has on victims. We are pleased that LSIS commissioned Coventry City Council's Community Safety Team to develop a resource to be used as a teaching resource across the country.” The Grapevine Project, which worked with the colleges to develop the resource pack, was set up by the mother of Gemma Hayter, who was a victim of disability hate crime. Grapevine works with people with a learning disability to help them get the life they want by making their own choices and playing an active role in their local community. For more information visit: .The resource pack is

available nationally; you can find more information at by contacting:

Join the ‘flushmob’ as part of Mencap’s ‘Changing Places’ campaign, to make your local loo more disability friendly Mencap has campaigned hard for better toilet facilities for the 40,000 people in the UK with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) as part of its ‘Changing Places’ campaign. The average disabled toilet doesn’t provide the right facilities for people with PMLD and many families have to change the person they care for on a cramped and dirty toilet floor.

To raise awareness of the issue, and to celebrate the 400 Changing Places toilets that have been installed across the UK, Mencap is organising a ‘flushmob’ at Trafalgar Square, Thursday 11th October at 2.30pm. Mark Grainger, Mencap’s Regional Campaigns Officer (London) said: “Changing Places is a campaign that liberates people with a learning disability and their families. The campaign has received national support and has been responsible for installing over 400 new Changing Places toilets. “At the sound of an air horn people will freeze for three minutes, posing and holding a new toilet brush. At the end, everyone will clap, cheer and turn to face the National Gallery to mark the end of the event. The event will be filmed and uploaded to Youtube that evening.”

Everyone is welcome to take part in the flushmob, but Mencap asks that you bring a brand new toilet brush. Toilet brushes can be bought from Wilkinsons for 50p.

All of the 400 Changing Places toilets across the UK have a height-adjustable changing bench, a hoist and plenty of space; the toilets have helped to give people

with PMLD the ability to travel further afield without having to worry about where or when they will be able to find a suitable toilet.

2.30pm Thursday 11th October, Trafalgar Square, London.

Mencap wants to reach the 500 toilets mark soon. To learn more visit: or contact: Mark Grainger, Regional Campaigns Officer (London,) Mencap. Mobile: 07789 720406

The East Midlands E-Safety project JISC at The Higher Education Academy at York’s Science Park have been involved with The East Midlands Peer Review Development Group’s e-safety project. The project was funded by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) as part of their Flexibility and Innovation Fund. The purpose of the project was to: 

involve learners in the production of support and guidance materials that they feel comfortable using;

produce training materials for staff;

produce guidance for parents and carers.

The group have developed a vibrant and welcoming website that reflects the sector and client group, who have contributed to the content and evaluation of the project.

Rich media content on the website includes a great video of the Learner Conference in March, some excellent sound bites from teaching staff and an animated video to remind students and staff of e-safety issues. The site will be maintained and updated for at least two years, until 31st August 2014. And funding is being sought to extend and expand the project. The site is now live now at more information about the project please contact –

CONFERENCES, TRAINING AND REPORTS Personal Health Budgets for Continuing Healthcare: The 10 features of an effective process Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) will come into practice in 2014 and with them personal budgets in education.

The Resolution Foundation (an independent research and policy organisation) has put together the following paper, Personal Health Budgets for Continuing Healthcare: The 10 features of an effective process. The paper was commissioned by ‘In Control’ on behalf of the North West Transition Alliance (local Government and NHS in the North West working together). %20final.pdf

The report looks at how to effectively manage the move to PHBs, drawing on lessons learnt from pilot sites, regionally and nationally, to outline 10 features of an effective PHB process. The report recognises that the current pilot programme has not been developed as a blueprint for how PHBs should be implemented. This means there have been variations in how the process has been run in different areas and the outcomes that have been achieved. The 10 features help to identify better ways of implementing the process for young people and their families.

The Department of Health has also published an easy read leaflet on personal budgets:

National Autistic Society (NAS) runs Autism in Education conference The National Autistic Society (NAS) has developed a free conference, for teachers and professionals working with young autistic students. The Conference ‘Good Practice in Working with Students with Autism’ on 22nd and 23rd November 2012 and aims to develop the tools and strategies needed to support children with autism effectively, in a learning environment. The event is at The Hilton Leeds City Hotel, Neville Street in Leeds.

The two day conference will include workshops on topics useful to head teachers, teachers and teaching assistants from specialist and mainstream backgrounds. Expert speakers will also be at the event providing crucial insights into how to support pupils with autism. For more information or to book a free place at this conference, visit:

EasyRead training Inspired Services are holding basic and advanced training events on 14th November, 2012, in London. The advanced EasyRead training will include detailed, technical design issues, such as:  technical tips on text, such as how to structure an EasyRead glossary  how to design your EasyRead pages effectively  using different types of picture files  what kind of software to use EasyRead training (Basic and Advanced) costs £129 per person (plus vat) or both classes for 199 (plus VAT). The advanced course is reduced to £99 for anyone who has already attended a course. For more information or to book a place contact: or call - 0800 0430 980

Setting up a social enterprise with people with a learning disability Building Bridges Training is running a one day workshop in Birmingham on setting up a social enterprise with people who have a learning disability. The course covers the business basics when planning a micro enterprise or social enterprise. Building Bridges Training also offers accredited awards with the OCN, entry level three for people with a learning disability and level two for staff. To achieve this level, students must prepare additional work and a portfolio after the course. For more information visit: or telephone 0121 559 9197

Learning Disability Research: Past, Present and Future The Open University Psychological Society in Cambridge is holding a one-day conference on Saturday 24th November 2012 University of Cambridge The event will be chaired by Professor Tony Holland of the University of Cambridge, Health Foundation Chair in Learning Disabilities. Speakers include: •

Professor Jan Walmsley, visiting Professor in the History of Learning Disabilities at The Open University

Professor Tony Holland of the University of Cambridge, Health Foundation Chair in Learning Disabilities

Dr Mick Finlay, Anglia Ruskin University

The booking fee is £25 for members and £35 for non-members. Online booking is available at: For enquiries contact

Help on making your organisation Autism friendly ‘Aukids’ magazine has published the following advice on how to make your website autism friendly. You can find further information at: or email for more information:

Do you ‘Know Your Rights’? It can be difficult to keep on top of the help and support that you are entitled to as somebody with a learning disability. The Association for Supported Living (ASL), Housing Options and the Campaign for a Fair Society have developed a website to answer some commonly asked questions. The website includes: housing; social and health care; making decisions; money; fair treatment; protection and liberty. It helps to unravel some of the complicated pieces of the law, explaining what help, treatment and support is available to people with a learning disability.

Accessible information Cheshire and Wirral NHS partnerships have produced the following easy read leaflets about health, care and wellbeing issues. flets.aspx

Stepping Hill Hospital hosts autism event Stepping Hill Hospital is running a conference, aimed at people working with people who have autism. Autism, a hands-on approach, will take place on at Tuesday 20th November 2012, Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport Speakers include: 

Professor Christopher Gillberg (University of Gothenburg, expert in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr Sue Fletcher Watson (Nuffield Fellowship, Edinburgh University) from CLICK-EAST computer-based learning project on the role of IT in non-verbal communication

Professor Ann Le Couter (co-lead of the Autism Research Team at Newcastle University) has 20 years’ experience of ASD and associated mental health issues, focusing on Repetitive Behaviours and Anxieties.

Charlotte Moore, Journalist and author of 'George and Sam' returns to chair and share more of her experiences at the 2012 conference. Parent speakers will also share their experiences and the conference fee includes: delegate pack, lunch and refreshments throughout and a CPD Certificate (if required). To register visit: For further details contact: Tanya Farley on 07966 399 709.

Support and Aspiration: Government reforms and the impact on FE for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities Responding to the changes and taking the work forward – joint NIACE, Association of National Specialist Colleges (Natspec) and Disability Rights UK partnership seminars The aim of the seminars is to provide an opportunity to learn more about how these changes will affect learning and skills providers and discuss: 

the proposed reforms in the draft Children and Families Bill;

arrangements for young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities with complex needs attending colleges and other providers;

progress of the SEN and Disability Pathfinders and the Preparing for Adulthood programme which is supporting the work of the Pathfinders;

Supported Internships trials;

work of phase 1 of the LSIS SEN and Disability clusters and early plans for phase 2

There are places available at the second seminar, which takes place on 17th October at The Signing Tree, Deaf Cultural Centre, Ladywood Road, Birmingham Arrival, registration and sandwich lunch is at 1:30pm for a 2pm start. The event ends at 4:30pm. The fee is £99 per person for members of NIACE, Natspec and Disability Rights UK members (includes sandwich lunch, tea/coffee) Further information and booking details here:

LETTERS AND USEFUL CONTACTS Care Quality Commission news and consultation The new Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has written a letter, extracts of which arde below. Natspec will be responding to the consultation, and many of you will wish to do so too. Dear colleague, It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself to you as the new Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission. As I begin my role, we also enter a new phase in CQC’s development, with the launch of a public consultation on our strategic direction.

We are now in our fourth year and a lot has changed in the health and social care landscape since CQC was created. It is a good time to step back and take a

thorough look at what we do in the light of economic context, a health and social care system that is in a period of transformation, and changing patterns of demand. Our proposed role and purpose is to drive improvements in the quality and safety of care people receive. We will do this by checking that health and care services meet national standards of quality and safety, by highlighting what works well, and by taking swift action when standards aren’t being met. We will put people at the centre of what we do, listen to their views and experiences and use them to inform when and what we inspect and the judgements we make. We will provide better information to help people make choices and we will comment on the quality of care nationally. We will tailor the way we regulate different types of organisations based on what has the most impact on driving improvement.

We recognise that we need to work more effectively with others, for example with Monitor and OFSTED. We have a common goal with other organisations to drive improvements to care services and by sharing information and acting together we will be more effective in achieving that goal.

We will continue to carry out thousands of regular unannounced inspections and inspect at any time when there are concerns about poor care. We will make sure that providers know what good looks like and what is unacceptable so that their services improve.

You can view a full copy of our proposals, and details of how to let us have your views, on our website here. Our role and purpose is a vital one and your feedback will help us to define, clarify and strengthen that role.

David Behan Chief Executive Care Quality Commission

Consultant offers help within the Independent Specialist College sector I am an independent education consultant for post sixteen educations (since 1996). I have extensive experience in successfully working to improve provision for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities in a range of educational settings. I recently concluded a five and a half year contract (self-employed) as acting Principal (part time) in an Independent Specialist College (ISC) for young people with Autistic Spectrum Condition and additional learning difficulties and/or disabilities. I was previously the Principal of an ISC for learners with a wide range of learning difficulties and/or disabilities including sensory, physical, acquired and complex learning difficulties. I also work, and have worked, successfully at all levels in GFE, in ISC’s, with local and national bodies e.g. the LSC, some LA’s and have significant inspection experience. Consultant - Chris Pickup can be contacted on: 01845 577533/ 07860 401968 or email:

Situations Vacant If you wish to advertise posts on the Natspec situations vacant web page, please send them to: Jaine Barry, The cost is a mere £25.00 to cover administration. This service is only available to Natspec members.

To request a Natspec directory please contact: Queen Alexandra College, 0121 428 5050 or email: . Or contact Derwen College on: 01691 661234 or

If you would like an update, news story or training event included in the November edition of Bulletin, please email Jaine Barry, Communications Director, Natspec, at:

Important disclaimer: events, consultants or programmes advertised in this bulletin are not necessarily endorsed by Natspec.

Natspec Bulletin  

Natspec Bulletin

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you