My Blog
Portsmouth - Have your voice heard
My Blog

Registering on a course at college when you have SEN?

What are young people and parents' experiences of registering on a course at a college if they have special needs? Were the college staff helpful? Did they understand what the young person's special needs were? Did the young person manage to register on the course they chose or were they put on a different course? Your views and comments would be very welcome in order to identify gaps in provision. You can email your comments to
Thank you.

John Williams blog on autism

Portsmouth City Council- Free swimming scheme

Portsmouth City Council- Free swimming scheme

Free swimming is a local, council-funded scheme which enables Portsmouth residents 12 years old and under to apply for a card giving access to swim for free at 3 council-run pools in the city.
For more information, please go to:…/l…/free-swimming-scheme.aspx

Portsmouth University Values and Behaviour in Healh and Social Care

The University of Portsmouth are seeking volunteers to support their values-based admissions process in health and social care courses, to help develop the next generation of health and social care professionals. 
Values-based admissions means recruiting students for health and social care courses who, alongside their academic achievements, demonstrate appropriate behaviours and values that we expect from health and social care professionals.
The university would like to invite members of the local community to be involved in defining these values and behaviours. There are two opportunities to be involved, and if you have transport costs these will be reimbursed if agreed with the university in advance.
Wednesday 19 August
10am - 3pm (lunch and refreshments provided). St Michael's Building, University of Portsmouth
Group sessions looking at the behaviours and values that you expect from health and social care students. This session will be split into two parts. In the first part you will be asked to develop a bank of questions that could be used as part of our interview process. Following lunch there will be the opportunity to meet with course leaders from a range of our programmes to discuss what is and what should be a part of the curriculum of these courses.
Thursday 20 August
30 minute slots from 9.30am - 4pm (refreshments provided). James Watson West Building, University of Portsmouth.
We would like to record members of the community talking about the behaviours and values that they want to see when they are engaging with a health or social care professional. We do not want you to talk about your personal experiences, but rather how you would expect/like to be treated in the most positive way. You will be allocated a time to arrive and will then be interviewed on camera. These films will be used for a variety of purposes including teaching, recruitment and some will be placed on the University’s Values web page.
If you would like to take part in either of these opportunities, please email or call 023 9284 3540 and leave a message.

Later in 2015, Whizz-Kidz is launching a campaign about travel - and we need YOUR help!

Please follow this link to take part in the survey:

Cut to mental health services

Worrying figures published today.

Interesting article regarding the inspection of mental health services

Interesting article regarding the inspection of mental health services

Statements of SEN and EHC plans

Statistics - national statistics
Statements of SEN and EHC plans: England 2015

A very interesting read!

Further Government advice for all to read and be made aware of...


Please click on the link below to read how Local Authorities are being advised on implementing the new 0 - 25 special needs system.

Although this has been directed at local authorities and their partners, it is essential reading for parents, carers and all those who care and support children and young people with a special educational need or disability...

...A letter from Edward Timpson MP, to parents...

Dear Parents 


This September we're making changes to the law for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The new law will result in changes to the way you and your child receive support from your local council, health and social care services and your child’s nursery, school or college. I therefore wanted to write to you with information about what this means for you. 

A better family centred approach 
Many parents have welcomed the changes the new law brings, particularly the greater focus on personal goals, increased family involvement and improved rights and protections for young people in further education and training. I know that some parents remain concerned about the changes and are nervous about the speed of change. I want to reassure you. This is not about cutting services but about creating a better system that puts you and your child first. It will take time and the changes will be gradually introduced over the next three and a half years. I can also reassure you that the current protections you and your child have will continue and, in many cases, be enhanced further. 

From statements to education, health and care plans 
We are replacing statements of special educational needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments with a single education, health and care (EHC) plan for children and young people with complex needs. The EHC plan will place much more emphasis on personal goals and will describe the support your child will receive while they are in education or training. We’re also introducing personal budgets to accompany this plan to give you more control over the support you and your child receive. The amount you would be given, and how it can be spent, is something that you would agree with your council. 

From School Action and School Action Plus to SEN support 
For children with less complex needs but who still require help we are introducing a new system called special educational needs (SEN) support which replaces School Action and School Action Plus (and the equivalent in nurseries). It will also be available in colleges. The process will be similar but it will be less about counting the hours or resources given to your child at nursery, school or college and more about what your child has achieved as a result. 

Moving to the new system 
If your child already has a statement or Learning Difficulty Assessment they will be transferred to the new system within the next three and a half years. The transfer is likely to happen around transition points in your child’s education such as when they move from primary to secondary school. Your local council will let you know when you are due to switch and there’ll be Independent Supporters on hand to make the transfer as simple as possible. The legislation relating to statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments will be withdrawn when everyone has completed the transition to the new system. 

If your child currently receives help at school through School Action or School Action Plus (or the equivalent at nursery) the transfer to SEN support will take place between September 2014 and spring 2015. It is likely to be during one of your child’s termly reviews. 

Concerns about losing support 
Some parents have expressed concern that their child will lose support because of the changes. I can assure you that no one will be left without support just because of the changes. We have not changed the definition of special educational needs or the basis on which councils determine whether a child needs a statutory assessment. 

Next steps 
I hope this letter helps answer some of your questions about the changes. I’ve focused on the aspects of the reforms that you are likely to be most interested in at the moment but there are lots of other changes being introduced to improve the system. This includes: improved coordination between local authorities, health, care and education providers; greater rights and protections for young people in further education or training; and more control for families. 

Your local council will shortly be publishing a ‘local offer’ which lists the support and services you and your child can access under the new system. If you’d like to get involved in developing this speak to your council or your local Parent Carer Forum. We’ll be issuing a parent and a young person’s guide to the new 0 to 25 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice later in the year and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners to help you and your child prepare for the changes. In the meantime you can speak to the Council for Disabled Children (who have published a guide for parents) Contact a Family, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums or your local council for advice. You can also find more information about the changes on 

Minister for Children and Families 
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