Specialist SEN Solicitor
28th June 2021
I think that we probably need to learn to communicate properly again..
True communication, unfortunately, seems to be a bit of a dying art these days. Ironic isn't it, when the world that we now are currently living in has given us so many new forms of communication, like email, social media, etc.
I sometime feel that people seem now to be drowning in so much communication 'noise' that they probably currently find it incredibly hard and time-consuming to actually find the 'signal' that they truly want to hear.
Communication is also a two-way thing. Unfortunately, too many people see it (probably subconsciously) as a one-way thing, by truly believing that another person is going to be more interested in listening to what they have to say, than what the other person is saying to them. Really listening to someone (people often call it 'active listening') is more than just letting someone say to you what they want to say and then telling them what you want to say to them, especially if you actually have really been spending your time formulating in your mind what you want to say whilst they have been speaking and therefore not listening to them properly at all!
Also, be careful not to always respond too quickly to something that someone else is saying to you - please be very wary of this, as they may, in fact, be going in a completely different direction than you at first thought and so then be ending up in a completely different place to where you think they were at first going. So what you were thinking about saying in response to them would be wrong anyway.
And let me leave you with just one final thought today - remember that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason - it shows that we should be listening twice as much as we should be speaking!
In this week's SEN Update, you will find sections entitled:
I know how busy everyone always is, so please feel free just to read the sections that are of interest to you or read everything; the choice is always yours.
Don’t forget, to ensure that you never miss one, you can get my SEN Updates personally by completing your email details above,
or by following me on one of the social media platforms I use (i.e. Twitter/Facebook).
You can also share this SEN Update with others (please only do so if it may be relevant to them) by using one of the icons,
usually to the right or at the bottom of this page.
ANNUAL SEN STATISTICS
As you may know, it is about this time of year (a bit later I think this year) that the Department for Education (DfE) publishes its national statistics on SEN.
It is again entitled: 'Special educational needs in England' and says in its introduction:
"This publication combines information from the school census, school level annual school census, general hospital school census and alternative provision census on pupils with special educational needs (SEN).
The publication includes breakdowns by type of SEN provision (either SEN support or EHC plan), type of SEN, age, national curriculum year group, gender, ethnicity, English as a first language and free school meal eligibility.
While schools were only open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers on census day, schools were asked to record pupils on roll as if in normal circumstances.'
It helpfully highlights two headline facts and figures for 2020/21 as:
There are 5 files you can then download, as follows:
Or you can download:
There are also separate individual sections on:
If this is something of interest to you, you can read everything here.
Again, Vicky Ford, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, has this week written: 'An Open Letter to Leaders Of Special And Alternative Provision Schools' about summer schools , which says:
As we approach the end of one of the most challenging and extraordinary academic years in recent history, I wanted to write to you to extend my thanks for your continued dedication. The dedication and adaptability which you and your staff members have shown in uncertain circumstances never fails to amaze me. It has been invaluable in enabling some of the most vulnerable children and young people in special settings and AP across England to attend and re-engage in education, spending as much time in school as possible.
As we look ahead to the summer holiday, I am sure that many of you will all be looking forward to the opportunity for a well-deserved rest. I wish you all the best and hope that you and yours have a pleasant time wherever you choose to spend it.
I am, however, conscious that many of you are already thinking about how the children and young people that attend your settings can be best supported throughout the summer holiday. I want to use this opportunity therefore to remind you of two key areas of support which the government is offering this summer to pupils in your settings and ask for your cooperation:
1. Summer schools - Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the £200m of funding which is available for secondary schools to deliver face-to-face summer schools this year to support children with their mental health and wellbeing and to catch up on missed face-to-face learning. For pupils in your settings (special schools, AP or special units in mainstream schools) funding is £1791 per pupil (3x the standard rate) for a two-week summer school (or £179.10 per day). This is in recognition of the importance and increased costs of providing high-quality support for pupils with additional or complex needs and ensuring that they can access the same opportunities as their peers in mainstream settings. Funding for your settings has now been calculated on the basis of 50% of your year 11 cohort, in recognition that your settings generally have few year 7 pupils. For any special settings or AP whose year 7 cohort is larger than their year 11 cohort, those schools’ initial funding allocations will stand.
If you haven’t yet decided whether your setting will be running a summer school, I recommend visiting the GOV.UK page, where you can find published guidance and the funding allocation for your setting. The guidance also includes links to potential sources of support in planning and delivering a summer school. You can then confirm whether you will be running a summer school and secure your funding allocation here by 30 June.
2. Holiday Activities and Food – Secondly, I want to remind you of the Holiday Activities and Food programme which will be running once again this summer. We have made up to £220 million available to local authorities to coordinate free holiday provision, providing nutritious food, as well as activities like arts and crafts, sport, and music.
The programme offers free places to children in receipt of free school meals in every local authority in England. Local authorities have flexibility to expand the reach of their programme beyond children who are eligible for free school meals, by using their funding to provide subsidised holiday club places. This may include children who are considered by the local authority as vulnerable or in need of this provision.
Please contact your local authority for further information and consider advertising this to children and young people in your settings. I myself saw first-hand how local partnerships helped to deliver these excellent schemes last summer.
Finally, I would again like to express my appreciation for your continued support, patience and dedication whilst we navigate through these challenging times.
Vicky Ford MP
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families"
ATEST NEWS ONLINE
In terms of the other news, here are a few articles that I found of interest:
Is the DfE deliberately ignoring pupils with SEND?
Quarter of a million children in England missed school last week due to Covid
Our defences are not ready for this tsunami SEND referrals
Again, aside from clicking on the relevant links for more information, I would also remind you of the very useful resources and information provided on the following websites:
- Council for Disabled Children
- Special Needs Jungle
I would also highlight again the fact that you can now get a digital copy of the magazine: Autism Eye which is very helpful to any parents or professionals involved with children/young people with Autism.
Keep safe until next week.
With best wishes
P.S. I understand that there are many educational items, news articles, or other useful resources on the web, so I would be very grateful if you could let me know of any that you find that you think that others may find useful, so that I can direct people to them.