Latest Newsletter

We are delighted to share the latest edition of the newsletter with you. Newsletter 11 July 18

boy strongerTogether we are Stronger!

In this edition we are asking for your support to stay in touch so we can continue sharing all the amazing things parent carers are doing and sharing information locally, regionally and nationally so that you are informed and up to date.

If you would like to receive a paper copy of the newsletter as well as other information please complete our registration form you can read our privacy statement here

In this edition you can also read about Here4U which is a new non-profitable youth group that is based at the Lower Gornal Youth Centre. The group invites young people within the Dudley borough that have special needs or disabilities to come. Here they have the opportunity to interact with others, take part in activities and develop friendships amongst their peers.

You can also find out about the Local Authorities SEND Area draft strategy consultation. The Local Authority want your views, opinions and experiences to help to shape Dudley’s SEND strategy. As part of the wider strategic framework of support for vulnerable children and young people, the multi-agency SEND Improvement Board is seeking views on the draft Dudley area strategy for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

The forum is holding a consultation session on 20 September 2018, if you would like to attend please contact You can respond directly to this draft strategy by completing an online survey. The strategy and survey can be found by visiting the website.

you can also read about the recent EHCP and the law seminar that the forum hosted which shares some examples  taken from actual EHCPs of what a good EHCP statement includes and what not so good looks like, as well as the latest regional and national SEN news.




Dudley SEND Peer Review

In January 2018 Dudley SEND Improvement Board invited the Local Government Association in to act as a ‘Critical Friend’ and carry out a peer review.

The results of which can be read here Dudley SEND final feedback 260118 (2).

Specific areas of focus for Dudley include:

• Understanding of the SEND agenda across partners and significant stakeholders, and delivery within organisations

• Understanding of the cultural shift required towards greater co-production with children and young people and their parents / carers

• Understanding of the continuum of need and appropriate responses at different levels

• The shift towards greater inclusion of children with SEND within mainstream provision

•An assessment of the quality of Education, Health & Care Plans (EHCPs)

Recommendations include:

• Ensure Golden Thread to all improvement plans, and strategic simplification so understandable at operational level
• Implement systematic, multi-agency audit learning from the approach from safeguarding
• Ensure that the whole SEND workforce is competent to deliver the Code of Practice requirements and your aspirations for inclusion
• Consider the benefits of joint local authority and health combined budgets and commissioning
• Whole Life Disability Service – re-think governance, risk and planning phases Develop an effective and evaluative SEF, involving and understood by all stakeholders
• Build on the progress made by practitioners to simplify the EHCP form and annual review process to deliver better outcomes
• Develop a transparent process for EHCP decisions, using the Panel to identify themes and trends to support commissioning going forward
• CCG to consider if the DMO has sufficient capacity to discharge responsibilities effectively


Autism and Anxiety free training

Please find enclosed a link for a free online training session the Jenny Palmer is holding on Wednesday 13th June 2018 on Autism and Anxiety in Children

The Easiest Way To Plan How to Help Your Child With Autism and Anxiety – without spending hours searching Google or Facebook, Using a simple three step process

During this training parents will learn;

1- Understand exactly what we need to focus on

Using current research to narrow down what makes our children most anxious, so that we can focus on the right activities to support our children efficiently

2- Discover an evidence based framework

Which shows us how to support our children to the highest level by focusing on three simple areas .
So that we can start building a framework that sets our children up for success

3- Create three incredibly effective tools

To help nurture and support your anxious child so that they have valuable resources to use to help them learn how to regulate their bodies during times of stress.

There will be a replay sent out for those who cannot attend on the day so no problem if people cannot attend at that time

There are no sales pitches – this is purely an online training to practice teaching online and create awareness. Just click on the links to find out more information

Here is the link to sign up to the training

If you want to learn more about Jenny visit her website



Understanding the SEN process (EHCPs)


Book here!

We are delighted to be joined by Laura Carr who is an Education Solicitor at HCB Solicitors. Her work consists of representing parents and young people in relation to all education matters primarily in connection with special educational needs.

She is able to provide advice as to the Statutory Assessment process and what parents should expect as they begin the journey to securing an Education, Health and Care Plan for their child and if necessary securing a specialist placement.

A lot of her time is spent supporting parents with appeals to the SEND Tribunal. she has experience in all appeals that can be made to the Tribunal including a refusal to carry out an assessment of SEN, a refusal to issue a Statement of Special Educational Needs / Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and the contents of a Statement or an EHCP including any disputes regarding school placement. To add to the above, her remit extends to exclusions, admissions appeals and Judicial Review.

The session will consist of
A presentation on EHCP and the Law – by Laura Carr
Questions and Answers Session
Informal Networking Lunch
The session is open to all parent carers of children with special educational needs or disabilities and professionals that work in this field.

A special evening for a really good cause!

An “Evening with Emily”

At Pensnett Social Welfare Club,
Commonside, Pensnett, DY8 4AE

On Friday 18th May 2018 – 7.30pm till late. All Welcome!!!

Pens Meadow Home School Association are delighted to invite you to an “Evening with Emily” on the above date where they hope you will be able to join them.

Emily is a teaching assistant at school, where she has worked since September 2015. Outside of school, Emily is a singing teacher around various schools and music shops in the Midlands, she also gigs on a weekend at various locations. We are delighted that Emily is exclusively available to perform for you a large selection of songs new and old at this special event!
The great thing is that all proceeds from this event will be donated to the Home School Association, who support trips, activities and equipment which will benefit every pupil at Pens Meadow School!
Come along, have fun, meet other people, be entertained, and have a go on the raffle to win a fantastic prize!

Emily Night poster
Tickets are available on the door

Love is…

Parent carers told us that one subject area that they would like to have the opportunity to talk about and understand better is around friendships and positive relationships. The forum grabbed the opportunity to work jointly with Dudley Voices for Choice a brilliant self-advocacy group for people with learning disabilities.

The session encouraged people to consider what a relationship is and what elements make it positive. We heard from Vince, Jo and Andrew and Neil and Sharon who all shared their personal journeys of very different relationships.

“I loved the phenomenal stories of people defying the odds for their love” parent carer

It started some really useful discussion about how even now people still believe that if you have a disability you shouldn’t be in a relationship. By listening to the different experiences shared it became really clear that relationships, friendships and love are very different for everyone, but what is clear is how much joy it brings and how much of a human need it fulfils to have positive relationships in everyone’s lives.

“This session changed opinions on my own morals. Am I protecting others or myself?” Parent Carer

Further help and information is available visit

Care and Share – Update

As many of you know parents from Dudley Parent Carers forum – Working Together for Change expressed the desire to have stronger networks, better communication with professionals, and the ability to celebrate their child (ren’s) achievements and aspirations and not just focus on the things that were wrong or that they couldn’t do. The forum explored various tools to achieve this but it was felt that to achieve the best outcome in a cost effective way was to utilise local knowledge, skills and expertise. PSIAMS Systems put forward a desire to work with the forum and put forward a proposal. The Dudley Children and Young People’s Alliance Board agreed the proposal that was presented to them and The Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board agreed to partially fund the tool from the CAMHS Transformation fund.
One of the greatest successes to date is that PSIAMS were in a unique position to be able to offer the support of an officer who understands the technology behind the system but is also the parent carer of a child with severe and multiple disabilities. This parent has the technical understanding and the passion and personal perspective that has really driven forward this system and shaped the success to date.
Engagement and involvement
Parent carers and young people’s voices have been at the heart of everything we have achieved, they have influenced and co-created the design, the way the system looked and felt as a user, had an input in to the functionality, offered new ideas for additional tools that offered more flexibility and have been intrinsic to testing the system and piloting the tool.
We have had continued engagement with 6 Educational settings and offer huge thanks to
• Penns Meadow Special School
• The Brier School
• Old Park Special School
• Holly Hall Academy
• Bromley and Pensnett specialist nursey
• Dudley College
53 Parents of children with a variety of disabilities and additional needs of varying ages have been involved. 2 young people from secondary education and 2 young people from post 16 educational setting with disabilities or additional needs also shared their thoughts and opinions. 8 professionals within the above educational settings have also been involved and shared their views as well as sharing the progress and gathering feedback from professionals wider.
Learning to date
This is a dynamic system which is still evolving and adapting to respond to the user’s needs. What started as an idea that we believed would fill the needs of parents has grown and evolved radically in response to parent’s actual wants and needs, this in itself has taken time to achieve. Parent’s aspirations for this system were much wider than ours and have really pushed and challenged us and the developers to find creative digital solutions. This has been nothing short of a positive, exciting and learning experience that we believe has created something really incredible that parents are telling us will change the lives for them and their children by putting them more in control, helping with organising their day to day lives, strengthening their networks and improving communication.
We responded to parents ideas and have developed a website full of information and advice that they need, that sits alongside the care and share personal platform. We responded to parent’s feedback about how they wanted information but did not have the time or energy to shift through detailed legislation particularly around Education, Health and Care Plans. We developed a video that they can access through the website that tells them everything they need to know and understand in a quick and accessible way.
Working with parents, young people and professionals within the educational settings proved really valuable and it became apparent that Care and Share works best in Special School settings and doesn’t really meet the needs of those with mild disabilities or additional needs within mainstream secondary settings.
Some professionals seem ambivalent towards using Care and Share. They face challenges around technology and permissions, and they shared concerns around security and how the system would work within their own organisations IT systems. However through working with professionals from Penns Meadow Special School who want to embed the system throughout the whole school and are really forward thinking we believe we can demonstrate how Care and Share can be a really useful tool and resource in this setting. This work is currently underway.
This system and the build has been extraordinarily good value for money.
There continues to be dedicated officer support from PSIAMS which to date is estimated at around 416 hours which is equivalent to approximately £4,203.00. PSIAMS also enlisted a Website Designer from Citizen Click who has built the bespoke website and created the infomercial. Staffing costs for this work are estimated at approximately £6,000. There has also been additional officer support from Dudley CVS and all of the valuable time that parent carers, young people and professional have given.
The cost of the bespoke website is estimated at £ 3,000
The cost of the EHCP infomercial is estimated at £1,000
The cost of the licenses for Care and Share is estimated at £1,225
The development of a platform similar to Care and Share would typically cost approximately £35,000 – £50,000 to include for example the node, development, video hosting and server costs

Next Steps
• Embed Care and Share throughout Penns Meadow Special School and evaluate staff and parent carer usage. Share the learning to encourage other special schools within the borough to take a similar approach.
• Continue the stakeholder engagement increasing access to an officer who can answer any queries or problems
• Finish tweaking the system, formally launch Care and Share and promote the website
• Continue to develop the website
• Gather case studies that show the impact of Care and Share for families and that demonstrate how Care and Share is improving the lives of children with disabilities or additional needs and their families.

Prepared by Donna Roberts, Dudley CVS and Anthony Cokeley, PSIAMS Systems




Learning and Development Opportunity

im a grown upFriendships – what we think

Adults, children and young people with a disability or additional need have a right to develop friendships and enjoy a social life, just like anyone else. Friendships can help people feel happier, included and valued. They can also enhance wellbeing.

We are inviting you to come together with other parent carers for an opportunity to reflect and talk about how you feel about your young peoples friendships and relationships with others. Watching them grow up and make their own decisions can be really hard. How can we have conversations that encourage their friendships and relationships to be meaningful and positive.

What to expect from this session
• You can expect a very warm welcome and to feel included
• Hear about two different experiences of friendships and relationships from Andrew & Jo and Neil & Sharon who have learning disabilities. They will share what its like to be in a relationship, the barriers they have overcome and what makes these relationships positive for them.
• An honest and open discussion where you can share your views

When: Wednesday 14 February 2018
Time: 9:30 for a 10am start until 12pm

Book via Donna on email: or phone 01384 573381



Care and Share

care and shareWe have been working with parents over the last 6 months to develop a brand new resource that provides local information and support network for children and families with Special Educational Needs. We are now excited to be able to share our online tools widely and enable parent carers to get more involved!

We have a community website with a wealth of information about provision, services and support available in Dudley borough that anyone can access. We have also developed a portal to put you in control and help manage the support you need, enable you to communicate with professionals more effectively, organise your care support and celebrate your child or young person’s achievements. These resources will help build a community of support to help you or your child share their journey and improve SEN services.

You can now access the personal Care and Share portal from the website. If you are an existing member click on login from the homepage in the usual way. If you would like to become a new member then click on login which will take you to the portal where you can register.

We are also holding two drop-in dates where you can come along, grab a coffee, find out more and have any questions you may have answered. Join us on

  • Monday 22 January 9:30am-11:00am at Old Park Special School, Thorns Road, Brierley Hill DY5 2JY
  • Friday 26 January 10am-12pm at DY1, Stafford Street, Dudley, DY1 1RT
  • Wednesday 31 January 12pm-2pm at DY1, Stafford Street, Dudley, DY1 1RT

Tell us if you can join us via Facebook