NW SEND Regional Network News Oct 19

The network is keen to profile effective practice developed in the North West and other regional contributions. Do please consider sending your examples for inclusion in future editions.

If there are particular areas of work or themes that you would like support with, activities or events then do let us know. We would also welcome any good news you have to share, or challenges you’d like to work with others to find solutions for, in order that we can share the learning across the North West. We welcome contributions to network activities, requests for connections for support, information about forthcoming events for future editions of this newsletter and new additions to the newsletter circulation list.

Also, do check out our website www.nwsend.network which has everything you might want to know in one place, including previous newsletters.

Dr Cathy Hamer

NW SEND Regional Network co-ordinator

Email: [email protected]  Mob: 0778 357 7284



18.11.19 From advice to action: Supporting Coproduction with children and young people in the North West. 10.30 for 11 – 2pm.

The Living Well, Willowbrook, Borough Road, St Helens WA10 3RN

One child/young person and one practitioner from each NW Local area are invited to this event to:

  • Learn how your voice can have the biggest possible impact
  • Meet with, and collaborate with, people from other areas
  • Share ideas and success stories
  • Use performance to explore coproduction

Lunch will be provided.

To book places as a pair please email Cathy Hamer: [email protected]


19.11.19 Early years/SEND Regional Action Learning Set 9.30 for 10 – 3.30

St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green N, Manchester M12 6FZ Lunch will be provided.

The Early Years SEND Partnership invite you to the third in our series of North West regional action learning sets (ALSs) to improve access and inclusion in the early years.

The third ALS is designed to support you with the review and development of local plans that were developed at ALS1 (December 2018) and reviewed at ALS2 (June 2019). We will also share information about the ongoing programme of training and continue to hear from local areas who have received specialist support to their local action learning sets from the EYSEND Partners.

For more information and to register please follow the link to the Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/improving-access-inclusion-in-the-early-years-als-3-north-west-tickets-66469988525

Please note: Part of the day will involve reviewing the development of local action plans. If you require a copy of your plan or a new copy of the toolkit, or need any further information please get in touch with Georgia Zimmer at [email protected]


20.11.19 Preparing for Adulthood network meeting 9.30 for 10 – 1

The Edge Conferencing, Riveredge, Wigan WN3 5AB

This session will focus on outcomes and working together to identify what indicates that we are making an impact across the four PfA Outcomes.

The session will provide some information, and an opportunity to share current practice. If you have a local PfA dataset, dashboard or Key Performance Indicators please can you bring these with you.

We will be sharing ideas how we can demonstrate impact in relation to the four PfA outcomes.

The session is aimed at the NW PfA network members, SEN leaders, Post 16-25 education and training providers and children and adult commissioners from across education, health and care.

To book a place: The password should you need it is: nwpfanetwork



29.11.19 SEND peer reviewer training, Manchester

To express an interest email: [email protected]


5.12.19 North West regional workshop: Exploring the building blocks of joint working to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND

10:00 – 15:30, DW Stadium, 15 Loire Dr, Robin Park Rd, Wigan WN5 0UH

The Council for Disabled Children invites strategic managers working across education, health and social care and parent carer forum representatives to attend this full-day workshop on how joint working can support improved outcomes for children and young people with SEND. Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Hear the most recent news and find out about best practice examples from across the country from Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, and Lorraine Mulroney, Senior Nurse Children and Young People and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Programme Lead (NHS England/NHS Improvement)
  • Consider different programmes related to SEND e.g. Transforming Care, Personalised Care, Mental Health
  • Participate in a deep dive on Aligning Different Programmes, drawing on:
    • The national context of Feedback from inspections
    • Specific examples of good practice
  • Consider the development of a regional action plan related to Aligning Different Programmes by focussing on specific issues affecting Looked After Children, out of area placements and exclusions
    • Sharing on-going work from across the region
    • Working with colleagues in local area or sub-regional groups
    • Consider establishing a community of practice for future work

Who should attend?

  • LA SEN leads, Disabled Children’s Service Managers, Social Care leads, Post-16 and Transition leads and Public Health leads
  • CCG commissioners with responsibility for SEND agenda
  • Designated Medical and Clinical Officers
  • Parent carer forum representatives

*In order to get the most out of this session it is recommended that attendees come along with at least one colleague from another agency and/or service area within your local area. If you have any questions please contact: [email protected]

Register for the event here:


13.1.20 The role of social care in embedding the SEND reforms

9.30 for 10:00 to 15:30 St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FZ

This workshop, delivered by the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) is for social care practitioners, managers and leads (children’s and adults’ services, mainstream and disabled children’s services) as well as SEN teams, those involved in EHC needs assessments and planning and regional parent carer forum representatives.

The workshop will cover:

  • The Legal framework for SEND and social care
  • The role of social care in EHC needs assessment and planning
  • Good quality social care advice and information
  • Information sharing and consent
  • Role of the designated social care officer (DSCO)

There will be exercises and opportunities to put theory into practice throughout the day, drawing on examples CDC has gathered, as well as through colleagues sharing their practice on the day.

Please register for free here

For more information please contact Dan Martin at CDC [email protected]

16.1.20 Preparing for Adulthood/Transition network meeting 9.30 for 10 – 12.30

The Edge Centre, Riveredge, Wigan WN3 5AB

To book a place email [email protected]


26.3.20 Preparing for Adulthood/Transition network meeting 9.30 for 10 – 12.30

The Edge Centre, Riveredge, Wigan WN3 5AB

To book a place email [email protected]



St. Vincent’s School for Sensory Impairment in Yew Tree Lane, West Derby is offering a variety of activities to support visually impaired young people and their families . Please contact the school on 0151 228 9968 or  [email protected] for more details.  Current activities include:

  • Swimming sessions for children and young people with Vision Impairment – every Friday 1 pm to 3 pm
  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – Thursdays 4 pm – 5 pm
  •  Scouts (Every Tuesday 6pm -7.30pm)
  • Enrichment activities on offer every Wednesday afternoon from 1.15 pm to 3.45 pm. Activities include sport, ceramics, ICT, horticulture, food technology and more.

6.11.19 Embedding Motivational Interviewing within service practice.

4-6pmThe Atrium, Progress House, Westwood Park Drive, Wigan, WN3 4HH
Find out about the development of motivational interviewing practice in Wigan, and then think about it within your own professional context.
Tickets (free) are available at https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eventbrite.co.uk%2Fe%2Fembedding-mi-within-service-practice-tickets-77107116461%3Futm_campaign%3Dnew_event_email%26utm_medium%3Demail%26utm_source%3Deb_email%26utm_term%3Dviewmyevent_button&data=02%7C01%7C%7Cad47b55fc3ed48d5a9c908d7523e6f93%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637068300416866488&sdata=f3NDGc9T%2BDqyfwxkGs28kcOkb%2FdL6s5CGATlexoEiIQ%3D&reserved=0

10.11.19 & 11.11.19 2 day Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training Manchester



12.11.19 Autism, a hands on approach, 16th Annual National Conference Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport

This year’s topics include:

  • How to make Hospital Admissions and Procedures work for people with Autism
  • The Neurobiology of ASD
  • Ways to improve early intervention into childhood continence problems
  • Developing a Sens of Self in Schools for Autistic Pupils
  • Intensive Interaction: focusing on fundamental social communication
  • Creating Attachment and Trauma Sensitive School Culture

as well closing remarks by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

Further details: Tanya Farley: 07966 399 709 Email: [email protected]


14.11.19  Kidz to Adultz Exhibition      

9 – 4.30 Event City, Manchester https://www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk/kidz-north/


27.12.19 Jack and the beanstalk 1pm Southport Theatre

A special performance tailored to those on the autistic spectrum, those with learning difficulties or a sensory/communication syndrome. Elements of surprise will be reduced and there will be no pyrotechnics or loud bangs. The house lights will stay on and the audience are able to make noise and move around if they wish to. These changes help to provide a comfortable atmosphere so that all audience members can feel welcome and included

To book visit www.imaginetheatre.co.yk


22.1.20 Dealing with difficult people and situations, courageous conversations, Warrington



Motivational Interviewing Training course

January – April 2020 (see course information for specific dates)
This at-cost, six session training programme gives practitioners the opportunities to train to a level of proficiency in MI. For further details, please click here https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.wixstatic.com%2Fugd%2F79e42a_ccdc50f31bcc4a099b65671ad3987ec7.pdf&data=02%7C01%7C%7Cad47b55fc3ed48d5a9c908d7523e6f93%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637068300416866488&sdata=UiFieYqHY9%2F3SHo2hlgC%2Fh3Y4WZ7AmtNr6ppXMEqBRA%3D&reserved=0 for further details.




The St Helen’s neurodevelopmental pathway

The St Helen’s Neurodevelopmental pathway has been redesigned over the last few years and was launched in its current format in 2018. The pathway is designed to support children and young people up to the age of 18, and their families where neurodevelopmental difficulties have been identified. It takes a multi-agency approach to identifying and meeting needs and includes an offer of support for families to access at its core. The pathway can lead to a formal diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), global developmental delay (GDD) and difficulties with attachment. Importantly, the offer of support to families is accessible before, during and after the pathway journey and also when no formal diagnosis is made.





DfE consultation on school transport

The Department for Education is carrying out a consultation about updating the statutory guidance for local authorities on home to school travel and transport.

The consultation runs from now until 31 October. You are encouraged to share more widely with people with an interest in the implications for pupils with SEN, disabilities or medical conditions to submit responses.

School transport generally is clearly of major importance to pupils with SEND. In addition, specific issues touched on in the guidance and the consultation document include:

  • Travel training
  • Behaviour during travel
  • Support for pupils with medical conditions

DfE have asked for your help to ensure that the decisions that will be taken by Ministers following the consultation are informed by consideration of the full implications for pupils with special educational needs, disabilities and medical conditions.



CDC Survey

The Children and Families Act came into force in September 2014, heralding the biggest reforms to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in a generation.
At the time, CDC’s Director Dame Christine Lenehan said changes would take another generation to embed.
As we reach the Act’s fifth anniversary, CDC want to hear your views in their annual survey on the experiences, successes and challenges, and get your feedback on future priorities for SEND.

Click here to take part.


Toileting survey

The ICoN research project at Exeter University is currently running a survey for school and care staff about toileting and continence support for young people with special educational needs and disability and is keen to hear from as many sector professionals as possible.





Guidance for mental health professionals

The Carers Trust has published a new guide for mental health professionals working with children and young people. The guide sets out how professionals can apply the “Triangle of Care” approach to ensure carers, professionals and children accessing mental health services can work in equal partnership to improve treatment and wellbeing. The report highlights key issues for carers and sets out six standards to help improve care.


Good career guidance – Perspectives from the SEND sector, Gatsby Foundation July 2019

Gatsby, in collaboration with The Careers & Enterprise Company and Disability Rights UK, has released a new publication on how the Gatsby Benchmarks are being used with students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Good Career Guidance: Perspectives from the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities sector aims to inspire and give confidence to practitioners in special schools, specialist colleges, alternative provision and mainstream schools and colleges that are developing careers programmes for students with SEND.

The publication gathers together the views and experiences of 12 leading practitioners and national experts, who describe how they, or those they support, have successfully used the Benchmarks to deliver better career guidance for students with a wide range of needs and disabilities.

A hard copy has been mailed into special schools and specialist colleges in England and a new SEND section has been built into the good career guidance website.



Opportunities for Children and Young People


RCPCH &Us are offering a chance for young people to help choose the 2020 RCHPC &Us youth led project.

The topics have been chosen based on consultation responses at RCPCH &Us events over the last year from over 1000 children and young people.

RCPCH &US would now like children and young people to choose one topic area that they would like to see developed into a child/youth led project in 2020.

To support your children and young people to take part, please share the ballot paper either:



Recruitment for a new young people’s advisory group

National Children’s Bureau are working with health organisations National Guideline Alliance and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to improve healthcare experiences for children and young people in England. They need young people to share their views and experiences so they can understand what young people think good healthcare is, and how to improve it.

All that’s needed is fill out an application form, a video clip, audio recording or another way that suits them, telling us a bit more about themselves. Here is the link to the application form and more information: 

The deadline for applications is 1pm on Friday 1st November 2019 and a young person needs to be available to go to the first meeting in London on Saturday 9th November 2019.




Home education – A choice or last resort?

Children leaving secondary school to be home-educated often have complex needs and some make the move as a last resort rather than a preferred choice, new research by Ofsted has revealed.


Not going to plan?

This new report looks at the common problems the Ombudsman is finding when investigating parents’ concerns.

The Ombudsman is now investigating more complaints than it has ever done before. In 2018-19 it received 45% more complaints and carried out 80% more detailed investigations about EHC plans than in 2016-17.

The report highlights a number of case studies from real investigations the Ombudsman has carried out in the past two years since the EHC plan system came into force, and offers councillors and senior council staff guidance and suggested ways they can scrutinise the services they offer families and the complaints they receive about those services.



House of Commons Education Committee Special educational needs and disabilities First Report of Session 2019–20

A Select Committee report examining the implementation of the SEND reforms.


Inclusive Practice: The role of mainstream schools and local authorities in supporting children with SEND

London Councils recently published a report which looks at the role of mainstream schools and local authorities in supporting children with special educational needs and disability (SEND).  It also explores concerns about inclusion across schools across the city and puts forward some recommendations, including updates to the SEND Code of Practice and the introduction of a specific inclusion fund to facilitate greater inclusion in schools.



State of Care 2018/19 – CQC’s annual assessment of health care and social care in England

This report looks at the trends, highlights examples of good and outstanding care, and identifies factors that maintain high-quality care. Some of the findings of this year’s report include:

“Too many people with a learning disability or autism are in hospital because of a lack of local, intensive community services.

We have concerns about the quality of inpatient wards that should be providing longer-term and highly specialised care for people.

We have shone a spotlight this year on the prolonged use of segregation for people with severe and complex problems – who should instead be receiving specialist care from staff with highly specialised skills, and in a setting that is fully tailored to their needs.

Since October 2018, we have rated as inadequate 14 independent mental health hospitals that admit people with a learning disability and/or autism, and put them into special measures.”

You can read the summary online and download the full report here:



State of the nation 2019: children and young people’s wellbeing

A report on wellbeing in children and young people including psychological health in teenage girls.



Understanding child and adolescent well-being: a system map, Department for Education

A report on the factors that influence children and young people’s wellbeing from the perspective of practitioners, shown as ‘systems maps’: visual representations of the main contributing factors:

  • The nature of the overall educational and school environment
  • The development of a range of appropriate intrapersonal and interpersonal skills – here there is recognition of the contribution of language, communication and relationship
  • A stable and safe family environment.





Every Mind Matters

Public Health England’s new Every Mind Matters campaign launched on 7 October, full of practical tips for achieving good mental health. Campaign materials can be used locally and an NHS-approved tool can complement existing services and wellbeing programmes. Check with your communications team on the best ways to get involved. For more help or support sign up to the ‘PHE Campaign Resource Centre’.


Mentally healthy schools

Mentally Healthy Schools has launched the first in a series of practical toolkits supporting good mental health in primary schools. Designed by leading child mental health and education experts, working with The Royal Foundation, the curriculum linked resources focus on issues such as helping pupils settle into the new school year, bullying, the importance of kindness, alongside teachers’ wellbeing. Register on the site for automatic updates.


Safeguarding children in education resources

SCIE has developed a new safeguarding in education resource which offers support to help schools, colleges and educational establishments to keep children and young adults safe, and improve how they respond to safeguarding concerns.

The resource includes help for teaching professionals to recognise types and indicators of abuse and neglect.



Assessment and diagnosis of autism: what to expect

This quick guide will help young people and their families to understand what they can expect from the autism assessment process and what should happen if an autism diagnosis is confirmed.



Looking After My Eyes

Adults with learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to have serious sight problems than other people, yet research shows (https://www.seeability.org/eye-care) that 50% of adults with learning disabilities haven’t had a sight test for at least two years.

Most will need extra support to recognise and report changes in their vision, and also to access the eye care services to which they are entitled. For this reason, publishing charity Beyond Words and disability and sight loss charity SeeAbility, teamed up to launch a new resource, carefully designed to open up conversations, improve awareness and understanding, and support informed decision-making around eye health.

The wordless story, Looking After My Eyes, raises awareness of the importance of regular eye tests and everyone’s right to good quality eye care that meets their own particular needs. It demonstrates the reasonable adjustments that eye care service providers are legally required to make to ensure their services are accessible.

Looking After My Eyes tells a story completely through pictures which anyone can follow, whether or not they can read words. The pictures follow the journeys of two characters – one who gets her first pair of glasses and a second who undergoes surgery for cataracts. Professional best practice is demonstrated throughout and the characters’ emotional responses to their experiences are central to the story. Supplementary text at the end of the book gives useful background information on eye health and eye care, and signposts other relevant resources.

The book is printed in a larger landscape format to make it easier to see and can be used to prepare someone before having an eye test, hospital visit or operation. It can also be used to help someone to understand the adaptations that are available for people with sight problems. Eye care professionals will find it an invaluable communication tool during consultations and before treatments.



Girls and Autism: Flying Under the Radar

A quick guide to supporting girls with autism spectrum conditions’, first published in 2016 by Nasen. The guide aims to identify key issues for girls with autism spectrum conditions (ASC), provide practical school-based support strategies, and share family, professional and academic perspectives.

The guide discusses possible explanations for the gender discrepancy in ASD diagnosis (the ratio of females to males is typically reported as 1:4), such as:

  • Gender bias in existing screening and referral processes, diagnostic criteria and tools;
  • Protective and compensatory factors in females;
  • Different gender specific ASC profiles.

The guide also discusses misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis and lack of diagnosis of ASC in girls, and looks at the impact this can have on girls’ emotional wellbeing. Several insightful case studies are used to illustrate the discussion points in the guide.

The guide will be particularly useful for those who work in the education sector, but is relevant for anyone who works with/for children and young people.




Developing and sustaining effective local SEND systems

An LGA regional workshop in Manchester on 15.10.19 focused on fostering effective partnership working and joint commissioning across education, health and care. Information about the event is available at



Looking for funding?

​Local groups and organisations with great ideas to make their communities even better places to live are invited to apply for funding to turn their ideas into reality.

Active Communities is a funding programme for community groups and not-for-profit organisations, with an income of less than £350,000 a year or an average of £350,000 over two years, seeking investment of between £5,000 and £40,000 for projects lasting up to two years. People’s Health Trust are looking for small and local projects, genuinely designed and run by local people. By small, they mean just a small group of people on an estate, in a few streets or villages. These ideas could be based in one neighbourhood, or cover a wider area, but they must live close enough to each other to meet up regularly.

They’re also looking for great ideas from communities of interest. By this they mean a group of people who have things in common and wish to come together to address something that is important to them. These ideas could be based in one neighbourhood, or cover a wider area.

​Applying couldn’t be easier. It’s an online process with a step by step guide from start to finish. ​​Using money raised by society lotteries through The Health Lottery, Active Communities is currently open in the following areas:​

  • Health Lottery North West- Active Communities is open in parts of Wirral, Wigan, Chorley and Rossendale. Applications opened on 23 October 2019 and the application deadline is 20 November 2019 at 1pm

To find out more an apply https://www.peopleshealthtrust.org.uk/apply-for-funding


The Restraint Reduction Network Training Standards 2019

The NHS has been working with arm’s length bodies on a cross-sector improvement programme to reduce reliance on restrictive practice. As part of this work, the Restraint Reduction Network was commissioned to develop standards for training for the prevention and, where necessary, use of restrictive interventions. These standards were published in April 2019 and are available on the Restraint Reduction Website  Training services can be certified as complying with the standards.

It is likely that use of the standards will be a contractual requirement for mental health providers from April 2020, and it would be good practice for other health and social care providers to comply.


FOCUS: Education Endowment Fund (EEF) trials


New EEF trials: 400 schools wanted to test impact of programmes aiming to support disadvantaged pupils

EEF have just announced three new trials, including a large-scale trial of an EEF Promising Project and two focused on improving outcomes for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND):

GET INVOLVED! Click here to view all EEF trials currently recruiting

SEND Review aims to help 150 mainstream secondary schools to evaluate the effectiveness of their SEND provision and then implement a bespoke improvement plan.

Click here to find out more about our ‘SEND Review’ trial

Headsprout is a targeted literacy programme aiming to build fluency in essential early reading skills for children with SEND in over 100 special schools.

Click here to find out more about our ‘Headsprout’ trial


FOCUS: Lancaster University ‘All Inclusive’ project

The ‘All Inclusive’ project is aimed at young people in Year 10 – Year 13 (other age ranges can be considered) who have a disability, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty and/or who are on the autism spectrum.

The aim of All Inclusive is to provide young people (and their parents and guardians) with information, advice and guidance regarding higher education/university, to enable them to make informed choices about their futures. One way in which this is done is through an interactive and educational day visit to the Lancaster University campus which includes sessions on what it is like to study at university and the support available for students at university through the Disabilities service and Transitions team. The Outreach and Student Success team can also deliver sessions on the university application process and student finance etc. Lunch is provided for those who are attending these visits and all of the day’s sessions, activities, refreshments and food are free of charge.

For further information contact Sarah Riding, Outreach Officer, Lancaster University. Tel: 01524 593880




Achievement For All newsletter:


Afasic news: September



Afasic: October update



Council for Disabled Children September news:



Making Ourselves Heard news


NAS Criminal Justice newsletter:



Ofsted news: September news


Positive about autism news;


Whole school SEND / nasen news







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