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In November last year the Special Needs Jungle asked that parents submit their top ten questions for the DfE about their experiences of the new SEND System. After working through all the submissions they sent 10 'themes' with all the questions categorised under each theme so that the DfE could get a good look at the range of concerns being raised. 

They have now received a response from Stuart Miller, Deputy Director of SEND at the DfE and published the response on their website. As the answers were quite lengthy they have published the responses in 2 parts.

Part 1 answers questions on:

  • SEN Support
  • Inclusion
  • Training
  • EHCP assessment
  • Transition to EHCP

Part 2 answers questions on:

  • Provision
  • Post 16
  • Appeals
  • Personal budgets
  • Alternative Provision

To view please click on the links below:

The DfE answers your top 10 questions on the changes to SEND education - Part 1

The DfE answers your top 10 questions on the changes to SEND education - Part 2

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Does your child have Dyslexia, or a learning difficlulty and finds spelling and reading difficult? TTRS is a structured phonics program that aims to develop literacy skills, confidence, self­-esteem and motivation through a modular course. It is available both for home and school environments, and may be a way to enhance and improve your child's learning, whilst giving them the skills to touch type.

For more information click HERE

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Posted by on in SEN - Personal Experience

Last night 12 young people attended the second ever Dynamite Pizza evening.

Dynamite are different to other groups for young people.

This is because Dynamite are all about young people having a say in how services for young people are run.

Last night we were talking about the support available to help young people get into work.

We sat in two groups of 6 young people and talked about 4 different things.

First we talked about our experiences of support to get into employment including work experience and careers guidance.

There were lots of different types of support that people had received, this included:

National Citizens Service.
Reed employment agency at Highbury.
One to one meetings with careers advisers
Support with preparing for work actually on the course (including how to behave, how to go to someone with a problem, hygiene, having good body language at work Role playing selling Christmas cards)
volunteering (including in a nursery and in charity shops)
Group sessions which get young people used to teams and discussions
Leaflets to take away

next we talked about what had been good about our experiences.

Some of the good things had been:

Staff that spoke but also listened.
Staff that helped young people with learning new things and skills.
Having fun.
Staff that can say whether you would get a job.
Visiting different places of work.
Help with getting a good CV.
Having the option for parents to come to meetings too as they know young people well but also being able to say that you don’t want parents involved.
Support to be more confident and make a good impression, mock interviews were useful and advice on how to conduct yourself.
Feeling safe.
Not just career but life advice.
Friendly staff.

Then we talked about things which weren’t so good or could have been better.

These things were:

Videos how to interview
Being told about health and safety issues
Tasters of different work and work experience was helpful but more choices are needed.
Help with the social side of work
Not everyone had been on work experience at school and it was thought that work experience should be there for everyone.
Information you are given should have pictures.
Bigger, bolder, print.
Open minded support
allowing opinions (letting you have a say)

Finally we took some time to imagine what a perfect career support service would look like.

These are some ideas that we had:

From a careers interview young people should improve their chances of getting qualifications.
Young people should have tasters of different jobs
Education should be part of helping young people get into work.
There should be videos on the internet to learn from.
There should be extra support for young people with disabilities as it is harder for them to find work.
Support to understand dress code and how you present yourself.
It’s also important for young people to be committed and want to work.
Allowing tasters for jobs over a weekly/monthly period
Staff being more available
Note taking during meeting – it would be good to be able to have a third person to scribe in meetings.
Wider knowledge of disabilities in employment – mainly from employers who are sometimes not good understanding disability.
Shouldn’t try to push people in a certain direction. 

The event was attended by some professionals who work helping young people to get into work.

The were Julie Laws, Kath Constable and James Mahon.

Julie and Kath are careers advisers and James teaches on the Foundation Prospects at Highbury College.

During the event we were able to ask some questions to Julie, Kath and James.

Over the next month we are going to write up the things that were talked about at the Pizza evening and we are going to use the information to film some interviews with other professionals.

These interviews will be put on the Young Persons IASS website and the Local offer website. 

If you'd like to hear more about future Dynamite events then please get in touch dynamiteportsmouth@gmail.com

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Posted by on in Activities

Dynamite are having another one of our pizza evenings where young people get to have a say on how services for young people should be run for young people in Portsmouth.

At the event we will be talking about ‘employment’.

We will be talking in groups about what we think would help young people with a disability to find work.

There will also be a chance to meet some of the people who help young people in Portsmouth to find jobs and to ask those people questions.

The event is free and there will be free pizza for everyone attending.


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SeeAbility are a charity who work to help make sure that people with disabilities get the best treatment possible when they go to the opticians.

They have put together a survey to find out if people with learning difficulties are getting good help to look after their eyes.

There are questions about having an eye test and about wearing glasses.

When lots of people have completed the survey SeeAbility will write a report to show how they have listened to young people.

The report will be on their website but I will also post it here.

Click on the link below to do the survey.



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IOY December 2015 The December issue of 'Impacting on You' produced by Portsmouth Parent Voice is now available and includes lots of useful information. 

Please click on the link below to view:



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childcare-affordability-trapsocialmedia 499x635While many parents with disabled children juggle jobs with complex care arrangements against the odds, too often they are forced to cut hours or give up careers due to childcare problems.

Although there is a noticeable political focus on childcare more generally, the issue of childcare for disabled children remains neglected. 

Contact A Family are asking you to help them improve the Childcare Bill by writing to you MP.

Contact a Family want

  • Disabled children to be able to access childcare that helps them to progress, learn and make friends, and enables their mums and dads to work as much as they want.
  • The cap on eligible childcare costs for disabled children via tax credits and Universal Credit to be lifted to £300.
  • No disabled child to be stopped from accessing their free early years entitlement at two, three and four years of age.
  • Childcare providers and local authorities to work together to offer good quality, flexible childcare for every disabled child.
  • Information to enable families to make choices about the childcare available to them locally that meets their individual needs.

To find out more about their campaign and how you can write to your MP please visit their web site:


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Are you thinking about buying a gift for a child or young person with sight loss this Christmas but aren’t sure what makes a suitable present? Blind Children UK has created handy guide with lots of ideas to help get you started:

Babies and Toddlers 

Babies with an eye condition may need encouragement to reach, to explore and to understand the world around them. You may want to think about:

  • Moving parts that are fun to wiggle, switch, pull or press.
  • Sound – bells on socks, crackly fabric, rattles, musical tunes.
  • Texture – different fabrics, dimpled or squeezy toys.
  • Bright contrasting colours or black and white contrast. 
  • Tactile books and audio books.
  • Toys with lights, (depending on the eye condition and child’s needs)
  • Ways of organising toys i.e. a soft ‘toy bin’ or ‘treasure basket to help toddlers find things

Pre-school and Primary school

Children know their own minds and develop their interests and hobbies as they grow. Depending on what they enjoy, you could consider:

  • Accessible ways of reading for example CustomEyes large print books or aCustomEyes gift certificate.
  • Toys to play with other children for example accessible board games.
  • Introducing accessible technology. 
  • Sports or outdoor equipment for example foam balls or balls with bells inside.
  • Accessible equipment for hobbies like baking or crafts; for example talking devices, bright colours, colour contrasts, possibly large print ‘how to’ books.
  • You could make standard toys and games more accessible by adding tactile elements or large print.


Teenagers generally have very specific likes and dislikes. But why not try:

  • Favourite foods i.e. a big box of chocolates. 
  • Some scented body spray and shower gel.
  • Encouraging physical activity with fashionable workout gear or membership to a suitable sports club. 
  • Technology gifts for example nice headphones, a charger, music or audio book download gift cards.
  • A gift card for a clothing store they like, and maybe offer to go with them on the shopping trip.
  • Encouraging independence for example cooking equipment and support to use it safely, a bus or train pass after they’ve learnt travel skills.
  • Experiences together – a day out doing something new.

Lisa Petrie from Blind Children UK works with children who have sight loss as well as those with additional complex needs.

She said: “I get asked about this all year round and my main advice to someone buying a present for a child with sight loss, is keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, it could be something like a treasure basket filled with household items.

“Natural fibres are good, as opposed to having everything in plastic, and it’s good to go for harder sometimes rougher materials. Often it’s the softer materials that children dislike because they can’t really get hold of them and they just tickle.

“Another tip would be to think about cause and effect toys where you turn or press something and something happens, and things which involve music are always good.”

For more information please see the gift guide infographic or call 0800 781 1444 or email: services@blindchildrenuk.org

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Families with disabled children who get:

  • certain means-tested benefits, or 
  • child tax credit, and
  • receive a disabled child’s premium in their award

are now included in the ‘broader category’ of people who can apply for help under the Warm Homes Discount scheme. (This is a win from our Counting the Costs campaign!)

The disabled child’s premium is an extra amount paid if a child counts as disabled, and should be listed on the award notice.
We are urging families to contact their energy supplier as soon as possible to apply under the broader scheme as awards are given on a first-come-first-served basis.

Please click on the following link  Help With Fuel Bills and Keeping Warm

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Dynamite are having another one of our pizza evenings where young people get to have a say on how services for young people should be run for young people in Portsmouth.

Anyone can attend as long as they are aged 14 to 25, have a disability or special educational need and use services in Portsmouth.

At the event we will be talking about ‘employment’.

We will be talking in groups about what we think would help young people with a disability to find work.

There will also be a chance to meet some of the people who help young people in Portsmouth to find jobs and to ask those people questions.

The event is free and there will be free pizza for everyone attending.

Click on the link below to see an invitation with full details.



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