September Education Report

2nd September 2018


Education Update

September 2018



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

Congratulations to everyone receiving their examination results after all their hard work.

Remember that education settings have post-result services for pupils and their families to decide on next steps and to guide students on their preferred path.

After the tension surrounding examination results days on 16th and 23rd August for GCSEs and A levels respectively, September marks a change in teachers, classes, schools, moving on to college or university, leaving full-time education or even starting school for the very first time, for many children and young people.



  • Reading Matters

Shine is recommending a book a month to families of children under 5 for the summer. There are activity sheets to share, giving parents and carers ideas for enjoying and exploring recommended stories in different ways.

During the school holidays, look on Shine’s website and social media for recommended books to enjoy. ‘Rex’s Specs’ was the book recommended for under 5s in mid-August with more books coming up in September.

Older children and young people have enjoyed the Summer Reading Challenge with Mischief Makers as its theme based in Beano Town, with a cartoon character who is a wheelchair user.

  • Chatterbooks

If children and young people wish to continue with sharing reading fun in the autumn then local libraries run Chatterbooks groups, which are great for meeting friends and getting away from screen time.

  • Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, announces plans for Reading Standards

Headlines in August proclaimed that 28% of children in primary schools not being able to read is a ‘scandal’ so Damian Hinds has set out a plan for improving reading standards. Follow the link for more details.

  • SEND complaints – a guide for young people in education aged 16-25

Young people, who are learning to speak up for themselves, may find this guide useful. 

  • Advice for when you’re ‘that parent’

When you have a child with additional needs, some parents are concerned that they become the parent that teachers dread talking to so here’s some ideas for good communication with school as the new term begins.


Stress Support 

  • September Stress?

September is such a busy time and there’s so much to plan. Here’s some advice for families about good, bad stress and managing stress from -

  • Government funded Information Advice and Support Services film

IASS services have a film to show families how they can help with SEND issues in England. Follow the link to view the film.


Little Victories

  • IPSEA information about Case Law in April 2018

Recent decisions of Appeals and Upper Tribunals, which are relevant to disabled children, young people families and professionals, are available on the IPSEA website -

  • Victory for Bristol parents over illegal cuts to SEND budget by Bristol council

See BBC news for the story surrounding the recent victory by parents complaining about SEND cuts to budgets.

  • SEND complaints – a guide for young people in education aged 16-25

 Young people, who are learning to speak up for themselves, may find this guide useful. 

  • Map showing the achievement levels across England

At Least Expected achievement levels are published by the government in the form of a map for parents and professionals to see the variation in achievement levels.



WHEELCHAIR ACCESS is a concern for several Shine members and there have been some enquiries recently, regarding accessibility for children at primary schools.

This information for Accessibility in England refers to -

  • Schools that have not made any adjustments for the inclusion in activities of children and young people who use wheelchairs.
  • When there is no wheelchair access for some activities in school, including breakfast club, which a child with mobility difficulties would like to attend.

 Schools should have an Accessibility Plan for inclusion that is in writing and should be available to read on the school's website. Schools are expected to make buildings accessible for disabled pupils, as part of their overall planning duties. Schools should promote inclusion in all aspects of school life.

 The Equality Act 2010 has a section on the duty of schools to make 'reasonable adjustments' and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance for schools on this subject, which can be shared with all schools.

If a child is at a substantial disadvantage and if that disadvantage could be avoided through the school making 'reasonable adjustments', then the school should make the necessary changes.

'A reasonable adjustment' would be to relocate an activity to the ground floor through time-tabling changes so a child with mobility problems can gain access to a class, a breakfast club or a social event.

Schools also have an 'anticipatory duty' to take note of changes that need to be made well before the event so that every child is fully included in the life of the school. 

The technical guidance is available via this link for information and the relevant section is on page 84

  • It is suggested that parents and carers first make a verbal request to the school for changes to be made in accordance with accessibility guidance.
  • In order to support families on this issue, Shine can email the school and confirm their duties and give Shine’s support to this reasonable request.
  •  If the school continues to exclude a wheelchair user from clubs, classes and social groups then a formal letter may be required.
  • If families feel that their reasonable request has not been heard and acted upon, a model letter can be downloaded from EASS    

Shine is preparing an education survey to find out how SEND changes are affecting children with conditions like spina bifida and hydrocephalus in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, so keep a look out for the questionnaire to complete and share your experiences in the autumn term.


Dates for your Diary

  • Communication Matters Conference 10th -11th September in Leeds

This is the largest AAC conference in the UK and takes place at Leeds University over 2 days. The cost of entry to conference is quite high and it also costs £35 to visit the exhibition.

  • 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.

  • Creative Writing Competition

Puffin books has 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 is 14th September.

  • IPSEA SEND Law Training Day in Newcastle on 18th September at Irwin Mitchell offices

This SEND law event is for parents and carers, which will be answering questions, such as ‘what is the EHCP process?’ and ‘what should an EHCP contain?’

  •  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.

  • On 1st October 12- 17 Stoke Mandeville celebrates its 70th anniversary

These Junior Games are a great way for young people aged 12 to 18 with a physical disability to discover a range of sports in a welcoming and friendly environment. Click on the link to find out more.

  • 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

Hydrocephalus nurses from the children’s hospital in 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

  • Disability Rights UK – free training on Inclusive Practice in September and October

Disability Rights UK has free training for school careers advisers in London, Leeds, Taunton and Birmingham. Follow the link for more details about dates and venues -

  • SENCO conference 26th October 9 am to 4pm in Stafford at the Riverway Centre

The 6th annual conference for SENCOs focuses on high quality teaching and provision for children with SEND.  

  • SEND Conference 14th November at Salford University

There will be speakers from Nasen and national policy makers, as well as workshops on Early Intervention.

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

Details about the event are available by following the link -


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

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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