August Education Report

6th August 2018


Welcome to Shine’s Education Update for August with news, information and advice about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities for families and professionals.


  • Annual SEND Figures from the Department for Education

 These government statistics show the numbers of children and young people with registered Special Educational Needs and Disabilities [SEND], primary types of need, how many have SEN Support or EHC Plans and the types of schools attended.

  • The figures show a slight increase in children with EHC Plans attending state special schools and independent schools with slightly fewer children with SEND in secondary academies and state schools.
  • Worryingly, figures show a big 10% drop in the number of SEND Units and Resource Bases in mainstream schools during the past 12 months.
  • Pupils on free school meals (FSM) represent a disproportionate number of children with SEND, who are also more likely to be excluded from school than their peers.

If you would like to read the SEND statistics in more detail, then follow the link:

 If you would like to take part in an education survey for Shine to see how SEND changes are affecting children with conditions like spina bifida and hydrocephalus in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, then keep a look out for the questionnaire to complete and share your experiences soon.

  • Changes to SEN Support for parents in England

Dame Christine Lenehan, Chair of the Council for Disabled Children, explains the changes in support for families when seeking advice and information about the SEND system in England. Follow the link to Special Needs Jungle for more information about changes to the IAS services and Contact helpline.

  • Local Government Ombudsman – 8 out of 10 EHC Plan investigations upheld

When families have difficulties with the process or the SEND provision for their child then they can challenge Local Authorities by complaining to the Local Government Ombudsman. Here is a link to the latest figures about EHCP investigations.



  • Excluded pupils ‘abandoned’ by schools says report to MPs

The BBC reported at the end of July that too many pupils, many of whom have additional needs, are being pushed out of mainstream classes in England and abandoned without an inadequate education, according to a report from MPs.

  • Exclusions and SEND

Special Needs Jungle reports that children with additional needs are six times more likely to be excluded than their peers. Click on the link for more information.

  • Mediation

If you are awaiting Mediation, following discussions with your Local Authority about an EHC Plan, then SEN magazine has an article for parents and carers, explaining the process and ways forward.

  • The Inclusive Classroom

When children with additional needs are fully included in a mainstream class, then there are benefits for everyone. This short article from the Institute for Learning lists a few reasons for full inclusion. 



  • Classroom management strategies

Here’s 5 quick ways to make a mainstream classroom more inclusive so all children benefit.

  • Classroom strategies for teachers and teaching assistants

This long document has a range of support strategies for mainstream teachers and learning support assistants to dip into and to find useful advice on various additional needs. Strategies cannot solve all extra needs but they can help maintain a child’s self-esteem in the classroom. 

  • The ‘special relationship’ between teacher and teaching assistant

And here’s some fun about the special bond that teacher and teaching assistant feel after a long year together, helping children to become the best that they can be.

TES has 5 reasons for teachers to treasure teaching assistants.



  • Summer Reading Matters

Summer is a time when many of us enjoy reading while relaxing during the school holidays with no school run to rush out for. Shine is recommending a book a month to families of children under 5 for the summer. There will be activity sheets to share, giving families ideas for enjoying and exploring the recommended story in different ways.

For older children and young people the Summer Reading Challenge is a great way to encourage reading, as well as an opportunity to meet friends in your local library away from screen time. This year the theme is Mischief Makers based in Beano Town with a cartoon character, who is a wheelchair user.

SDWs are welcome to share these materials with families at under 5s groups and during clinics too.

During the school holidays, look on Shine’s website and social media for the first recommended book to enjoy. Thanks to Sharon Saville for sharing her choice first and look out for another book recommended for under 5s in mid-August.

Please let us know if you like this idea and, if so, which books you recommend for children with additional needs.

  • Top tips for summer holidays with child who has disability

Special Needs Jungle has some ideas for families that are finding the long summer break a struggle. Click on the link for top tips for the holidays. 

  • Creative Writing Competition

Puffin books has announced their annual Jaqueline Wilson creative writing competition for 7-12 year olds and the theme is ‘Unlikely Friendship’ so follow the link and start writing. The closing date for entries in 14th September.

  • Dahlicious Dress Up Day on 13th September

As children return to school in September, there’s a dressing up opportunity on Roald Dahl Day. Be prepared by looking at costume ideas on this website link.

Roald Dahl’s connection with hydrocephalus treatment is referred to and the Wade-Dahl-Till Valve gets a mention in the schools fundraising pack but no explanation of what the medical advance was for. Hydrocephalus I the most common reason for a child to have a brain operation in the UK.

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Charity also funds play specialists for children in hospital.

 Autumn Term ahead!

  • Back to school? Preparing for September?

There are several websites with ‘Readiness for School’ checklists for families with children who are about to start school full-time in September. It’s an anxious time for parents and there’s still several weeks before school starts for children to encourage independence skills to get ready for school.

TES has advice on SEND and school readiness.

  • Child Brain Injury Trust Masterclass in Leeds on Wednesday 19th September

This Masterclass is a full day event and focuses on brain injury and adolescence, executive functioning, youth offending and behaviour. Follow the link for further details and costs.

  • Shine Hydrocephalus and Learning Seminars at Irwin Mitchell offices on Monday 15th October in Manchester and Wednesday 17th October in Sheffield from 4.30pm to 6.30pm

Shine is piloting 2 seminars for teaching professionals and SEN teams, with a view to providing further events next year in other parts of the country, if there is sufficient interest and attendance from schools and local authority teams.

Hydrocephalus nurses from children’s hospitals in Manchester and Sheffield, Shine staff and parents will be there, making presentations and answering questions.

Packs of materials and links to services are being compiled for sharing with schools at the events.

If you would like more information and a poster to share then please contact or phone 0633 555988

  • Schools and Academies Show on Wednesday 21st November 2018 at the NEC in Birmingham

Details about the event are available by following the link -

  • Sunshine Walk and Wheel events have certainly been sunny so far but will the wonderful weather last?

Thanks to Sharon, Jo, Angela, Christine and to everyone else for their many ideas, advice and contributions to the Update for August.

If you’d like to share information or news about Education for Shine staff, parents and professionals in the next Education Update then contact Jan via

All contributions gratefully received.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this Update is accurate at the time of publishing. The information provided does not constitute legal or professional advice and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher.



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