Shine news

Education Update December 2018

1st December 2018


Education Update

December 2018

Winter has arrived and the Christmas season is almost here, which is an exciting time for families and a busy time for schools with mock exams for older pupils, followed by performances, parties and festive fun for everyone.

If you feel your child is likely to experience sensory overload during the festive season then you can find out more about this condition and calming strategies by following the link to the Child Brain Injury Trust’s website and a free e-learning video called How to avoid a Christmas Meltdown


  • Numeracy Needs

Hydrocephalus can cause some children varying degrees of difficulty with numeracy at home and in the classroom. Being numerate helps us all to function effectively in the world and helps us to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts.

As we grow up we need to be able to plan, to assess, to memorise and to apply what we know to new situations in order to solve a variety of problems.

Children with hydrocephalus can sometimes have difficulty with working memory, which is the ability to hold in mind and to manipulate information. It’s mental workspace to solve a problem.

Being numerate is as much about thinking and reasoning logically as about ‘doing sums’.

For more information about active learning and numeracy, take a look at the Dyscalculia Toolkit by Ronit Bird with games to try out over the festive season.


  • Numeracy tests in the news

The Department for Education plans to roll out multiplication tables assessments for Key Stage 2 pupils in Year 4 during a 3 week window in June, commencing in 2020. Children will have 6 seconds per question to respond and will answer 25 questions in total.

Access Arrangements for pupils with additional needs are not available yet but the document linked below states that provision will be made “to overcome barriers to fair assessment.” The DfE also states that “an equalities impact assessment will be published prior to the national rollout of the assessment in 2020.”

If you would like to read about the new test in more detail and how it may affect your child or the children you teach, then Click Here


  • Numeracy resources – Birmingham Maths Toolkit

The Maths Toolkit aids schools in supporting pupils who may be experiencing difficulties in Maths. It does this through providing support for non-specialists in Maths to understand how children’s learning in Maths develops and how to build on that in order to support less well developed skills.


  • More than a Score and Testing

 In order to give an alternative view to the news about increased testing for pupils, More than a Score is planning a Big SATs Sit-in on 6th December for parents and carers to sit the SATs exams 10 and 11 year olds will experience next year and find out how much effort goes into preparing for these tests.


Language and Communication Needs

Some children with hydrocephalus or spina bifida have difficulties with literal understanding of what people say to them, have problems with following instructions or may struggle in social conversation.  

Here are some more links giving advice and providing resources on overcoming the communication challenges children can sometimes face.


  • Afasic – Voice for Life

Afasic provides support with recognising a problem and getting help with a child’s talking and understanding.

There’s …

        • Helpline
        • Handy hints
        • Early Support booklet
        • Needs of older children and teenagers


  • Book Trust Recommended books for babies

If you are looking for suitable presents for a baby or young child then the Book Trust has lots of ideas for you. Sharing books together is a great way to support a young child’s development and a good opportunity for some quality time together during the festive season and beyond.


  • Shine’s Book of the Month for December!

Sharing books and reading together are great ways to develop your child’s language skills so Shine is continuing to recommend books with inclusive themes to encourage communication development at home. In December you can cosy up with our recommended books, which can be borrowed from most children’s libraries.

Look on Shine’s website (Reading Matters with Shine) and Facebook page for more information about Shine’s Book of the Month for December where there’s ‘Lucy and Tom’s Christmas’ by Shirley Hughes for young children and ‘Christmasaurus’ by Tom Fletcher for older readers to enjoy.


  • My SEND App - SEND Apps MADE for Individuals

We are Made provides a bespoke app building platform, giving parents, healthcare workers, carers and teachers the ability to build individual mobile apps to further enable independence in the lives of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The app allows parents and professionals to build a private individual app specific to user’s needs and information personal to them or to maintain a library of themed social story and instructional apps for a range of specified users.

Shine’s Jan and Laura have used an initial version of this app and can see that it gives prompts and reassurances needed for children with a complex condition like hydrocephalus when they need support with working memory, sequencing and following instructions.

Follow the link for further information -


  • Updated Flowcharts for the Annual Review 

Special Needs Jungle has produced a new flow chart to help parents and carers through the Annual Review process so if you have an AR coming up then it’s a good idea to take a look at this updated advice. The flow chart is free to download and print from the link below:


This Christmas remember the Gift Challenge  …


PDNet Regional Meetings

  • PD Net has several meetings for practitioners around England during 2019, in Warwick, York, Solihull, Aylesbury and Oldham. See the website and join the forum for more details


  • PDNet Post-16 resources Development Day at Star College in Cheltenham 9.30 to 3pm

This is a free event with lunch included for practitioners so please pass on this information to professionals. Contact to book a place. Download the poster here


  • SEND and Emerging Needs in Early Years NASEN Webinar on 13th December

This webinar is for practitioners to develop confidence in identifying emerging needs in early years costing £10 for Bronze members of Nasen.


  • Choosing a Primary School

The deadline to apply for a place in primary school is 15th January 2019 so remember to take a look at the advice on Shine’s new website -


Thanks again to Sharon, Jo, Angela, Helen, Laura, Chris, Elizabeth and to everyone else for their many ideas and contributions to the latest Update and throughout the year too.

If you’d like to share information or advice about Education with Shine staff, members and interested professionals in the first Education Update of 2019 with an SEND review of the past year then contact Jan via  

All contributions are gratefully received and if not shared next month then they’re sure to be added to new education materials currently in production.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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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