Today we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
This event was introduced by the United Nations in 1992 to celebrate the achievements of individuals with disabilities. You can find out more about it at the United Nations website at: https://www.un.org/en/observances/day-of-persons-with-disabilities
If you want to talk to your child/young person about the day, you might like to have a look at the CBBC website for five examples of amazing people with disabilities:
We are delighted to announce the launch of our regular drop-in service at the Ponders End Youth and Family Hub. Members of the Our Voice team will be on hand once every two weeks (alternating between a 10 am to 1 pm session on Wednesdays and a 12 – 2 pm session on Tuesdays) to listen to your questions and issues and point you in the right direction to resolve the issues you are facing. Or you can just take the opportunity to offload and have a chat with other parents who experience some of the same challenges as you.
We will launch the service on Wednesday 6th December 23 – see below for details. The service will be up and running from 10th January 2024.
See our booklet here for more information, including details of what the hubs are, what support they offer and what events are coming up.
The dates for January and February will be :
Wednesday 10th January
10 am to 1 pm
Tuesday 23rd January
12 – 2 pm
Wednesday 7th February
10 am to 1 pm
Tuesday 20th February
12 pm to 2 pm
The venue is the Ponders End Youth and Family Hub, 129 South Street, Enfield, EN3 4PX.
More information about our regular drop-in sessions is on our flyer here.
Launch event – Wednesday 6th December
We will launch the service on Wednesday 6th December 23 from 10 am to 1 pm. See the flyer here for details. Come along and join us for coffee and cake and to learn about our drop-in service at the hub.
We will be joined at the launch by Autism Central
Autism Central provide FREE Autism education, information and support to parents, carers and paid carers of Autistic People, of any age, with or without a diagnosis. Alongside their online and in-person Autism workshops – details here Autism Central also offer FREE 30-minute 1:1 listening ear and signposting support. At our launch, you will hear about the support they offer via the Autism Hub London, and have the opportunity to raise queries and book a 1:1 call.
More information about the Autism Central London hub at Contact and Ambitious about Autism (London) | Autism Central and on the flyer.
Our guide to What's On - Play and Leisure in and around Enfield has lots of information on local SEND-specific and inclusive activities in and around the area (including some days out in Central London and further afield).
This guide focuses on ongoing term-time activities (although some continue during school holidays), and will be regularly updated with the latest activities and dates, so do check back regularly. We will also let you know about relevant one-off events via our weekly updates to members - please join our mailing list to receive these, if you haven't already done so.
In addition, we usually publish a short 'What's on?' guide during each school holiday, featuring information about specific activities during the next holiday period.
If you know about any relevant local, accessible activities that aren't included in our guide, please do let us know - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Voice hosted the first of our series of ‘Our Voice presents.... ’ events, ‘Get to know Social Care, Short Breaks and the Joint Service for Disabled Children’ on Thursday 16th November.
This event followed the success of our annual ‘Meet the SEND Heads’ parents’ conference, which has now been running for seven years, and gave parents an opportunity focus on this specific area in more depth.
We were joined by Miri Dhamo, Head of the Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC) and responsible for Short Breaks, Social Care and Cheviots Children’s Disability Service who gave us an overview of the Joint Service, Short Breaks and Social Care. You can see a copy of his presentation here.
You can see a copy of the presentation from our Positive Behaviour Support workshop here.
We will be publishing a Q&A shortly.
Key websites and sources of support referred to in the sessions were:
- The Local Offer - the key source of information from the Local Authority for everything to do with SEND for children and young people in the London Borough of Enfield.
- Local Offer section on the Joint Service for Disabled Children here.
- Local Offer section on Short Breaks here.
- Information about Transition to Adult Services/Preparing for Adulthood here and the series of events to support this process here.
- You can also see Our Voice's own Preparing for Adulthood page (which pulls together information about the different events and support available) here.
- Presentation regarding making Mental Capacity and making decisions for young people aged 16 and over (from the Local Authority's event on this topic) here.
- Contact details for Jane Richards who can provide support regarding transition: Families in Transition to Adulthood (Jane Richards, parent carer) - email email@example.com or phone 07816 070098
- Contact (the Charity for Families with Disabled Children) guidance regarding accessing Child Trust Funds for young people who lack mental capacity - useful Q&A here and information about their campaign on this topic here.
- Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) website here including useful resources and webinars.
If your child has an EHCP and is now in year 9 or above, it is important to start thinking about what will happen when they get to the age of 16 and become legally responsible for making their own decisions, and perhaps start to think about their future in terms of getting a job or living more independently. We know that this can be a worrying time for parents and carers, and it is important to start thinking about the transition as early as possible so that you will be well-informed and ready to support your young person through the changes.
The Local Authority's Preparing for Adulthood booklet is a key document to help you understand the process and support. You can see this booklet on the Local Offer here and there is an easy-read version here and additional information about the process here
We recommend that you should attend as many of the Preparing for Adulthood online events as you can. It is worth starting as soon as possible and you may wish to repeat some of the sessions over the next few years.
Preparing for Adulthood events
Full details of the Preparing for Adulthood sessions are available here.
The next sessions are:
Support Planning Thursday 30th November 10.30 am to 12.30 pm at the Integrated Learning Disability Service, Carnegie Building, 258a Hertford Road, Enfield, EN3 5BN
Personal Budgets Friday 12th January 10.30 am to 12.30 pm at the Integrated Learning Disability Service (as above).
If you are unable to attend a session, the presentations will be added to the Local Offer Preparing for Adulthood page here shortly after each session. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see links to each presentation.
Drop in sessions
On the first Friday of every month, parents and carers of young people aged 16 and over can join the monthly drop-in sessions 10 am - 12 pm at the Integrated Learning Disability Service in Hertford Road, where you can talk to a member of the ILDS team, and Jane Richards from Families in Transition to Adulthood. More information on the flyer here. The next session will be Friday 3rd November. If you would like to attend please book an appointment by noon on Thursday.
You are welcome to bring your young person along with you.
Contact workshops on Preparing for Adulthood
Contact, the Charity for Families of Disabled Children, are offering a series of FREE online sessions to help parent carers with their disabled child’s transition to adulthood over the next few months.
The sessions are ideal for parent carers of disabled young people aged between 16-25 in England. Packed with information and advice on adult services and the main challenges families face during the transition period.
The next sessions are:
o Adult Health and Social Care – Friday 10th November 10 am – 11.30 am
o Community Inclusion and Independent Living – Wednesday 6th December 7 – 8.30 pm
Are you trying to choose a primary school for your child with additional needs?
Our Voice Parent Forum is hosting two Zoom information sessions for parents and carers, in conjunction with Enfield SENDIASS and the SEN Team. The first session has already taken place, but you can still book a place for our session on Monday 13th November.
These sessions will look at how to choose a primary school for children with additional needs, and expressing your preferences for children who have Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). We will talk about what the process is, how you can get information about primary schools and what to look out for when making decisions. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions, in advance and also as part of the session.
Book your place for Monday 13th Nov from 1– 2.30 pm here
See our event flyer here for more information
If your child was born between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2020, you will need to apply for a primary school place by 15th January 2024, ready for your child to start reception class in September 2024. This workshop will be particularly useful for parents of children in this age group, but you may also wish to attend if your child is a year or so younger, so you can start thinking about the choice of school early.
The presentation from these sessions can be seen here.
Key information and dates:
- For children with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), the deadline for confirming your preference is 30th November 2023. You will be advised of the name of the school the LA is proposing to name in Section 1 of the EHCP on 15th February 24.
- For children without an ECHP applications must be submitted by 15th January 2024. School places will be offered on 16th April 24 and you will have until 30th April 24 to accept the place offered.
- Open days are taking place during November and December – check with individual schools for dates
- You can see more information about the standard process (including options to defer for summer-born children here and in this booklet.
- This booklet sets out the processes for children with an EHCP
- This booklet gives information about all special schools and other specialist provisions in Enfield.
Let us know about your experiences
We would really like to hear about your experiences when looking at primary schools this year, for your child with additional needs.
We know that all schools are meant to be inclusive for children with Disabilities and Special Needs – but is that the reality? Did you feel that your child would be welcomed and supported at the schools you visited and spoke to, or were you discouraged (whether actively or more subtly) from sending your child to that school?
Please let us know about your experiences (both good and bad) by completing the short survey here
It should only take around 5 minutes to do. To thank you for your time we will randomly select 3 survey entries to receive a £20 Amazon voucher (see survey page for details).
Other information and resources
You may also find it useful to look at these resources for preparing to start primary school.
Enfield Communication Advisory Support Service (ECASS) Rising to Reception programme is aimed at parents and carers of children with communication difficulties. There is a booklet showing this year's programme of events (running November 23 to July24) which you can sign up to attend. The website has lots of useful information about starting primary school including a range of presentations from last year’s events.
Information about starting school on the Contact website here
Family Corner – starting school
SENsational Tutors – Big ideas for little learners transitioning to big school
We've put together a short round-up of some of the social activities, coffee mornings and support groups for parents and carers of children and young people with additional needs. You can see the guide here (last updated 30th October 23).
We know that being the parent/carer of a child or young person with a Disability or Special Educational Need can be isolating, and hope that some of these activities will be useful in giving you opportunities to talk to other parents facing similar issues.
Our Voice are proud to announce the first in our series of ‘Our Voice presents.... ’ events, which will be our ‘Get to know Social Care, Short Breaks and the Joint Service for Disabled Children’ on Thursday 16th November.
Following the success of our annual ‘Meet the SEND Heads’ parents’ conference, which has now been running for seven years, we know that parents would like to have more time to focus on specific areas in more depth. In this mini-conference event, we will be joined by Miri Dhamo, Head of the Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC) and responsible for Short Breaks, Social Care and Cheviots Children’s Disability Service.
The event will be from 10 am to 12 noon on Thursday 16th November, at Cheviots Children’s Disability Centre, and will include an overview and Q&A session, a choice of workshops on Short Breaks or Positive Behaviour Support and the opportunity to request a one-to-one meeting with relevant professionals.
Numbers are strictly limited and all places must be pre-booked here.
See our flyer here for more information about the event including the full agenda.
Our latest 'What's on this October Half-term?' guide has information on a variety of SEND-specific and accessible events, activities and over-the-school half-term holidays.
Don't forget to also have a look at our general 'What's on- Play and Leisure in and around Enfield' Guide here which is regularly updated with ongoing SEND-specific and inclusive events (please note that some of these are term-time only, so if you are planning to go along to anything, please check first).
The information in the booklet is correct (to the best of our knowledge) at the time of writing, but please do check with the individual venues and schemes, and please bear in mind that many activities and events must be pre-booked.
We are currently awaiting an updated version of the Local Authority's booklet on playschemes for the school holidays. You can see the most recent version here. There is additional information about the playschemes on the Local Offer here.
You can see the original flyers for the following events here:
Information for families of children due to move to Secondary School in September 2024 (date of birth between 1.9.12 and 31.8.13) or the following year.
Our Voice held 2 videoconference sessions in conjunction with SENDIASS and the Enfield SEN Team looking at the transfer to Secondary School for children with SEND on Tuesday 3rd October and Monday 9th October.
- For children with an EHCP the deadline for confirming your preference is 16th October
- For children without an ECHP applications must be submitted by 31st October.
- Open days are taking place during September and October
- This booklet sets out the processes for children with an EHCP, and this booklet gives information about all special schools and other specialist provisions in Enfield.
- You can see the dates of open days here.
We would really like to know about your experiences when visiting and talking to secondary schools - please see information about our survey here, including how to enter our prize draw.
You may also find it useful to look at these resources for preparing for the transfer to secondary school.
- Guide for teachers preparing Autistic children for the transfer to secondary from the Advisory Service for Autism
- Guide for teachers supporting children with SEND to transfer to secondary school
- Things I could say to start a conversation when making new friends