First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Advertisements

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

post

Can anyone else see the elephants in the room with the ivory towers?

Literally speaking the ivory towers would be made from the elephants tusks. Thus if the elephants were not dead they would have been disabled.

Metaphoically speaking the room in question can be any room but especially the largest room in the world.

The room for improvement. The ivory towers metaphorically represent the people who refuse to see the disabled elephants.

2004 was quite a momentous year for me. I visited Kenya with a Tearfund Transform Study Group.

All volunteers, some of a more advanced age than others.

We did see some elephants and on one of the farms I asked the lady who was planting beans what the men did. Her answer was that all the men guard the fields at night to stop the animals destroying the crops. The animals are the wonderful animals that roam free in Africa like Elephants and Giraffes.

It made sense that the hard work of hand planting each bean in a whole field needed guarding at night so that a crop could be harvested and the large animals could roam away from these hand planted fields.

 

Scan0001

There were many children who lived a long way from any school so education was often later rather than at 5 years old.

In the UK churches,dame schools,ragged schools, workhouses and charities provided education for the poor and working class children back in the 1800s.

Great strides were made for all children to be entitled to a basic primary education and my Grandma was one of those children. Born in1876 she attended the local school.

At age 12 she went into service in the nearest town.

I don’t know much about her early life and never knew my grandfather as he died 3 weeks after I was born.
I do know that she valued education and 2 of her children were able to go to the local grammar schoolas they were awarded scholarships. This meant that many sacrifices would need to be made by the rest of the family.

My father was one of those children who went to Grammar school but he helped a local farmer with his milk round before he caught the train to school.

My grandmother was 70 years old when I was born and had seen many changes.

She died 6 months before my wedding.

Her daughter was the other child who went to Grammar school. She then went on to train as a nurse, midwife and health visitor. She didn’t have any children and married just before she retired a few years after my wedding.

My visit to Kenya was just after I retired and it was a steep learning curve.

In the mornings there were many people walking miles into Nairobi to work and then in the evenings walking back to their homes.

For many children education was provided by charities.

I met a lady who was doing a lot of work with adults and teaching adults to read and write.

She didn’t believe me when I said that in the UK there were adult basic literacy classes.

She said “You have had state education for over a hundred years.”

Over a decade since that visit I know Nancy Munyi and the RareGem school.

Nancy and her sister Phyllis have a school for dyslexic children in Nairobi.

There are some excellent private schools in the UK for dyslexic children but there is no provision in many State primary schools.

Many local councils are cutting Children’s services and many teachers are leaving because of the stress and paperwork.

The focus is on Secondary schools but Early Years provision and Sure Start centres are being closed.

20170831_131812898472038.jpg

 

20180207_104138-1787524142.jpg

20170916_084913-2029512669.jpg

Many unanswered questions and still no real provision for dyslexic children

 

 

 

SEND Funding

There are many conversations that concentrate on money as the most important element in SEND provision,

Certainly the provision does not match the spirit of the Children and Families Act 2014 requirements.

There are many families and teachers and health workers and social workers who find the lack of provision frustrating.

In Leicestershire The Children’s Social Services were judged to require improvement in all areas

 

20170306_0945591137905424.jpg
Ofsted report

 

 

but the council cut the funding by £4 million and proudly put this as a front page saving on their Newsletter Leicestershire Matters with the heading A tale of 2 budgets.

 

20170831_131812898472038.jpg

They did put £2million back later in the year but some of this was to fund 2 more solicitors.

There seems to be a little more focused attention on the requirements needed to improve and one of these is the requirement to present an annual report of Complaints and compliments.

This report was presented to the Leicestershire Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 10th September 2018.

Although the words written did say that lessons had been and were being learned from the process of reporting complaints, the amount being spent on stage 2 and stage 3 of the complaints process did seem to indicate that more lessons needed to be learned extremely quickly if the current years budget was not going to be swallowed up with paying for complaint investigation and subsequent compensation.

Scan

 

Way back in February, I think, I attended a peer group review for the Ofsted process.

I realised that this was very much stage managed which is why I made sure my concerns were also in a blog form as well.

 

20180207_104138-1787524142.jpg

 

One of the concerns that came out was that families do not feel that they are listened to.

Well no change there as Sure start centres have been closed, parents still have to request meetings and continually get fobbed off. Only the most persistent will get their voice heard but this is at an emotional cost, a severe cost in time and energy as well as the inevitable financial cost.

Is Leicestershire learning lessons?

Time will tell and I am following several parents stories with interest.

In the meantime I can still recommend Special Needs Jungle and their considerable contributions to initiate change for all these vulnerable families.

6 points in the latest blog for the Autumn budget to be taken on board and delivered.

 

A walk round Wigston or’What awareness week?’

28th September2018

Today is a special day in the family.

But I want to tell you about yesterday:-

I walked to Wigston to meet someone in the Library.

On the way I met A and her grandchild and told her that I had been able to give 5 dyslexia friendly books of the Bible to some people on Tuesday. I then met J and told her.

I got to the library and met the person I had gone to meet. This person has many skills and is articulate but also has problems that stem from childhood and the lack of provision for Dyslexia inclusion and teaching.

I am aware that this is written in a font that is not dyslexia friendly but I am not sufficiently skilled in modern technology to change it.

We walked around the library and noticed that many of the official Leicestershire notices were not dyslexia friendly so not really accessible for dyslexics.

The staff are extremely helpful and always have been but Libraries are fewer now than 6 years ago

I want to add a photo here of a library group I used to run at Syston Library called Writing Stars. Roger James came as avisitor and brought his book. He is still a facebook friend.

Leicestershire committed to become Dyslexia Friendly by 2009. Unfortunately they didn’t register with British Dyslexia Association as it was going to be too expensive.

By not registering they saved £2,000

I seem to remember reading in Driver Youth Trust report that it costs £45,000 to remedy each illiterate adult.

Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE is working in Doncaster and has to spend time bidding for funds.

There is no doubt about how transforming the holistic, family atmosphere as well as the teaching that happens at Cascade for adults who have been through many traumas.

Back to the Library at Wigston and the staff are very helpful and want to work with each person so Pluck up courage and just go and ask while we still have some libraries in Leicesteshire.

There were 2 posters advertising the event at County Hall on 2nd October

#21stcenturydyslexia.

I wonder if any of the 14 Primary schools in Oadby and Wigston have told the parents as there was only 1 that was planning to do an assembly and other activities.

Others said ‘What awareness week?’

I will ring you back but as several forgot to ask my name and number I don’t really expect them to get back to me.

One did go and ask the Head who confirmed they had received the electronic fliers for the event but they already did everything they needed to do,

I guess parents from that school may get to know about the event through Libraries,or social media or perhaps talking to other parents.

It is a school centred initial teaching school and I have had many parents contact me from that school.

Again I would like to display the poster but again my tech skills are lacking.

The event at County Hall is on Eventbrite and is a free event for everyone so you might be able to find it #21stcenturydyslexia.

I am certainly looking forward to the Keynote speech by Arran Smith but know it will take me time to assimilate the information and put it into practice.

I did take the poster with me in my bag and several people did take photos including a youth worker from an Oadby Church.

The lady I met at the Library also went to Festable UK so it was wonderful knowing we knew many of the same people,

SEND, Local Offer and primary school websites in Leicestershire

11th August 2018

The Children and Families Act came into force on !st September 2014.

Each school must publish their local offer for SEND children.

Parents from local schools continue to cntact me regarding lack of provision for their children, I have just checked all my local primary schools websites and they all say that they have an open door policy or that they listen to parents concerns.

Clearly this has still to be communicated to the parents.

I looked for certain information on the websites:-

SEND Policy

Named SENDCO

SENDCO Qualifications

Named SEND Governor

Mention of dyslexia, autism, downs,                                                                                          hearing ,sight, SALT

Special Unit

Local Offer

SCITT/academy trust

Out of 14 local Primary schools 4 had out of date policies, 4 stated SENDCo qualifications, 7 stated named governor, Most mentioned some of the different SEND needs that I had chosen. and 7 mentioned the SCITT/ Academy Trust.

One school, helpfully explained in their up to date and signed policy,

“Diagnosing Dyslexia

Where there is a concern that a child may have dyslexia this will initially be raised with the SENco and parents. If the child is in Year 3 or below a record of concerns will be kept and additional resources, such as coloured overlays, trialled to see if this makes an impact.  Once the child reaches Year Four they will be screened using software which highlights the existence of dyslexic traits.  If this highlights that it is likely the child does have dyslexia the school will endeavour to diagnose this using a qualified professional in Year Five.  Many of the approaches already used in school are dyslexia-friendly but we understand that a formal diagnosis of dyslexia can be useful when applying for extra time in statutory tests or when transitioning to high school.

Diagnosis of other special needs

If we have concerns that a child may have a particular special need which requires a medical diagnosis (such as ADHD or ASD) the school may advise you to contact your GP or we may contact specialist services ourselves.”

ALL schools claimed that quality first teaching was happening in their schools.

the websites may not have been up to date and I had to check some in multiple ways to find out the information so my data may be incomplete and inacurate but do children really have to wait until Year Five to diagnose dyslexia?

20th September 2018

I have phoned each of these schools asking what they are doing for Dyslexia awareness week 2018 #21st-century-dyslexia

Many asked me ‘what awareness week’

Others promised to ring me back but some forgot to ask my Name and contact details.

Some did ask my name and one school seemed to have a problem with the phone line as it suddenly went dead.

 

Is the culture fostered by the school leadership team the most important intervention a child can receive?

Checking primary schools websites and Ofsted visits for my immediate local area, I have discovered many do not have up to date SEND information.

Some have had recent Ofsted visits and now require improvement.

cherrytreecornucopia

This is a question I have been pondering for some time. For very, many years schools have depended on their OFSTED rating to be the indicator that parents look for when choosing a school. Many of the ones that received an ‘Outstanding’ rating are now academies and also SCITT schools (School Centred Initial Teacher Training).

If the Head and SENCo have moved on and the Leadership team changed it is also very possible that SEND (Special Education Needs/Disability) are not given the priority that is needed for all children to thrive and achieve.

It is very noticeable that many primary schools now place Quality First Teaching as being a statement in their SEND policy. What exactly does that term mean?

Do all the teachers in the school have qualifications in SEND?

Do all the teachers in the school have an ‘Outstanding’ endorsement for their teaching?

Does every SCITT school have…

View original post 227 more words

SEND local offer 2018

4 years after Children and Families Act 2014 came into force parents might reasonably expect to choose schools based on all the data available.

My local area is Oadby and Wigston Leicestershire so I checked the websites of the local primary schools.

Many of these schools belong to the Oadby Learning Partnership and many are also School Centred Initial Teacher Training Schools.

AS parents from many of these schools contact me, I thought it might be useful to know the names of the SENDcos and SEND governors for these schools.

My understanding is that following the Children and Families Act 2014 this is a basic requirement for school websites.

The results were extremely varied. Few had photographs and it was difficult to find on many of the websites.

Many were out of date with one helpful website showing a SEND governor but other information showed the term of office had ended in 2017. Another had a SEND policy that they were hoping to review each year but either it hadn’t been reviewed or the website had not been updated. Either way it was not much use.

One website had a photo of the SENDco and a list of qualifications. The SEND governor was also shown with a photograph.

This particular school also had celebrated Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017 and boasted dyslexia friendly and autism friendly classrooms.

It would be fair to assume that parents from that school have not needed to contact me but that assumption would be incorrect as my blog on SATS concerned parents from that school.

As well as WHOLE SCHOOL SEND REVIEW guide there is now SEND GOVERNANCE REVIEW GUIDE.

The DRIVER YOUTH TRUST has copies of this guide to download now that it has been launched.

My thanks to Starlight Mackenzie blog also on WordPress for alerting me to this.

Is the culture fostered by the school leadership team the most important intervention a child can receive?

This is a question I have been pondering for some time. For very, many years schools have depended on their OFSTED rating to be the indicator that parents look for when choosing a school. Many of the ones that received an ‘Outstanding’ rating are now academies and also SCITT schools (School Centred Initial Teacher Training).

If the Head and SENCo have moved on and the Leadership team changed it is also very possible that SEND (Special Education Needs/Disability) are not given the priority that is needed for all children to thrive and achieve.

It is very noticeable that many primary schools now place Quality First Teaching as being a statement in their SEND policy. What exactly does that term mean?

Do all the teachers in the school have qualifications in SEND?

Do all the teachers in the school have an ‘Outstanding’ endorsement for their teaching?

Does every SCITT school have a qualified SENDCo as a member of the Senior Management Team?

Academy chains often offer training but what is their expertise in SEND training?

I am asking these questions because parents contact me about provision for their children with SEND.

Last year I went to the WHOLE SCHOOL SUMMIT in London and there was clear evidence that there are some Academy Trusts who are committed to providing for SEND pupils.

2017 first 3 months

20170922_080603-1-1803889719.jpg

Since then many parents have contacted me as they are having problems with communicating with the school where their children attend. They get very frustrated as they feel they are fobbed off by the Headteacher ,SENDCO, Chair of School governors and find it very difficult to access information about provision for SEND.

Increasingly there are parents who are very concerned for the mental health of their children and some of these children are still in foundation stage or key stage 1.

It was very refreshing to spend time at a conference in Llandudno on 30th April 2018.

http://www.stdavidscollege.co.uk

 

20180430_094045

This was clearly a school where the culture fostered by the School Leadership Team is one that does enable children to flourish.

There are going to be others that I could recommend but I am still looking for any in the East Midlands. Please let me know of any schools,academies, Trusts that are inclusive/SEND proficient.

 

 

Is the culture fostered by the school leadership team the most important intervention a child can receive?

This is a question I have been pondering for some time. For very, many years schools have depended on their OFSTED rating to be the indicator that parents look for when choosing a school. Many of the ones that received an ‘Outstanding’ rating are now academies and also SCITT schools (School Centred Initial Teacher Training).

If the Head and SENCo have moved on and the Leadership team changed it is also very possible that SEND (Special Education Needs/Disability) are not given the priority that is needed for all children to thrive and achieve.

It is very noticeable that many primary schools now place Quality First Teaching as being a statement in their SEND policy. What exactly does that term mean?

Do all the teachers in the school have qualifications in SEND?

Do all the teachers in the school have an ‘Outstanding’ endorsement for their teaching?

Does every SCITT school have a qualified SENDCo as a member of the Senior Management Team?

Academy chains often offer training but what is their expertise in SEND training?

I am asking these questions because parents contact me about provision for their children with SEND.

Last year I went to the WHOLE SCHOOL SUMMIT in London and there was clear evidence that there are some Academy Trusts who are committed to providing for SEND pupils.

2017 first 3 months

20170922_080603-1-1803889719.jpg

Since then many parents have contacted me as they are having problems with communicating with the school where their children attend. They get very frustrated as they feel they are fobbed off by the Headteacher ,SENDCO, Chair of School governors and find it very difficult to access information about provision for SEND.

Increasingly there are parents who are very concerned for the mental health of their children and some of these children are still in foundation stage or key stage 1.

It was very refreshing to spend time at a conference in Llandudno on 30th April 2018.

http://www.stdavidscollege.co.uk

 

20180430_094045

This was clearly a school where the culture fostered by the School Leadership Team is one that does enable children to flourish.

There are going to be others that I could recommend but I am still looking for any in the East Midlands. Please let me know of any schools,academies, Trusts that are inclusive/SEND proficient.

 

 

A week of women who have inspired

Sunday 4th March

Statue of Alice Hawkins a suffragette was unvelied in Leicester City Centre

Monday 5th March 2018

Leicestershire Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Meeting.

As usual I had submitted yet another question to be answered formally ,using the legal, democratic procedure.

Another parent met me in town and we caught the same bus to county hall.

Very surprised to see another lady and her husband. This lady was a councillor and she was handing in a petition about the threatened closure of the Sure Start centre in her ward.

2 other ladies also came and they were there because of the campaign to Save our Children’s Centres. A question from them had also been submitted but the member of their group, who had submitted the question, was not able to be there. The chair had very graciously decided to table the question and read it out.

There were some very good questions from some of the councillors. This has to be the best Leicestershire children and families overview and scrutiny committee meeting I have attended since the one where a large group of ladies had created an online petition because of the threat to remove/close the residential provision at Maplewell Hall.

Councillors engaged with this but more of this later in the week.

Tuesday 6th March and not only was it Jackie Hewitt-Main’s birthday but also the day she collected her OBE at Buckingham Palace.

http:// http://www.thecascadefoundation.org

An amazing lady and truly inspirational.

Wednesday 7th March 2018

Professor Diana Kuh signs many birthday cards and has arranged some special celebrations in past years for the longest running longitudinal population study in the world.

http://www.nhsd.mrc.ac.uk

Thursday 8th March 2018

International Women’s day and many ordinary women gathered in many countries around the world to pray.

Friday 9th March 2018

Royal visitor to Leicester and Leicestershire. Her majesty Queen Elizabeth the second’s daughter The Princess Royal.

Her royal highness opened the new A and E department at Leicester Royal Infirmary and then other engagements in the county.

Meanwhile, the councillors at county hall decided to close the residential provision at Maplewell Hall and cease to fund transport for children with Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND ) under the age of 5 and between 19-25 years of age. Many upset parents attended the meeting as well as tv and other media coverage.

Saturday 10th March 2018

Leicestershire and Rutland Federation of Women’s Institutes Centenary at Bruntingthorpe Aircraft hanger

Not just 1 but 3 inspirational speakers.

1st speaker was Lady Gretton the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire. A very busy lady and a very inspiring and informative presentation.

2nd speaker was Mandy Hickson and an extremely appropriate speaker in an aircraft hanger.

http://www.hicksonltd.com

This was just before lunch and had us all so enthralled by her motivational speech that we gave her a standing ovation.

After lunch the third speaker presented prizes and certificates before her speech.

Edwina Currie had been signing her books during the lunch break and gave a very entertaining speech with a short question and answer session at the end.

Later that same evening she was reviewing the Sunday papers on Radio 5 live.