Our Voice

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12-10-2023 Let us know about your experiences choosing a secondary school

We would really like to hear about your experiences when looking at secondary 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).

Thank you! 

24-08-2023 What's On over the Summer holidays?

Our latest 'What's on this Summer?' guide has information on a variety of accessible events, activities and over the school summer holidays in the Enfield area and nearby.

This version has been updated on 24th August 23 to include information about: 

Dawnosaurs relaxed opening at the Natural History Museum on 2nd September (see page 8)

Whipsnade Zoo's relaxed opening on Sunday 27th August (see page 9) 

Cineworld Enfield's relaxed screening of Barbie (certificate 12a) on Friday 1st September (see page 3)

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. 

The Local Authority's booklet on playschemes for the Summer school holidays has been updated with the latest information and you can see a copy here. There is additional information about the playschemes on the Local Offer here.

There is information on the HAF programme for children and young people in receipt of benefits related free school meals here. If your child qualifies for the scheme you should receive vouchers from your child's school - please contact them if you think you are eligible but have not had these. 

24-08-2023 Disability swimming - new sessions coming soon

Albany Leisure Centre will be offering new disability family-friendly swim sessions every Saturday from 16th September from 2.45 to 3.45 pm, in the main pool. 

The cost is £3 per person for both adults and children (offered at the concession card rate without the need to purchase a concession card). 

There are a limited number of spaces for each session, so you are recommended to pre-book your spaces to avoid disappointment. Spaces can be booked a week in advance. You can find the booking under 'Lane & General Swimming' on the Fusion Lifestyle app, which you can download at https://download.mobilepro.uk.com/a/55U2?p=6.

More information on these sessions is available here

These are in addition to the existing Disability Friendly Family Swimming sessions at Edmonton Leisure Centre every Sunday from 11 am to 12 pm.

The cost is £3.00 per session per person (adult or junior). This is a concessionary rate (no need to purchase the concession card itself).

Further details are available here.

Fusion Lifestyle advise pre-booking your spaces beforehand to avoid disappointment as there is limited capacity. You can find the booking under 'Lane & General Swimming' on the Fusion Lifestyle app, which you can download via https://download.mobilepro.uk.com/a/55U2?p=6.

Please note - these are NOT swimming LESSONS but are swimming sessions that the whole family can use to swim with the young person with disabilities.

20-08-2023 Meet the SEND Heads Parents Conference 22nd June 23

Thank you to everyone who came along to the Our Voice 'Meet the SEND Heads' Parents' Conference on 22nd June 23- the seventh annual conference we have held. 

We heard from the Heads of services supporting children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in a Q&A session and ran a workshop on support for the mental health of children and young people with SEND, and there were opportunities for parents to book one to one appointments with professionals and to meet representatives of Our Voice, the Enfield Carers Centre, SENDIASS and ENAS (the Enfield Branch of the National Autistic Society) as well as other parents.

Feedback from the Conference

This report from the conference sets out a summary of:

  • The key issues identified within the conference which Our Voice is now discussing with the relevant teams within the LA and Health.
  • Feedback from participants at the event.

Resources and information

Ahead of the conference, we asked all the panellists involved in our 'Meet the SEND Heads' panel Q&A session, to provide us with a short update about recent developments in their areas. You can see their responses in our Parents' Conference Service Areas Update Pack.

Question and Answer Session: 

We have collated the questions asked before and during and after the session, and have asked the relevant services to give their responses. The Q&A from the session can be found here

Additional resources referenced in the Q&A:

If you'd like to look back at the Q&As and other information from our last 'Meet the SEND Heads' Parents Conference in March 22, you can see this information here

Mental Health Workshop 

Our afternoon workshop explored supporting the Mental Health of our Children and young people. You can see all the presentations from the workshop here:

Our Voice introduction

NCL Waiting Room (an NHS-backed website providing a range of resources)

Wellbeing Connect Services (a local mental health charity offering holistic support to families experiencing mental health issues) 

My Time Counselling Service (EPC) - counselling service for 5-18 year olds including those with additional needs

MIND Parent Support programme - for parents/carers of children and young people on the CAMHS waiting list

Mental Health Support teams in schools 

Additional information and resources are currently being finalised before being added to this page, including other resources on supporting your child's mental health.

20-08-2023 Online workshops for parents over the summer

‘My Young Mind Enfield’ are running a series of 2-hour online workshops (on Microsoft Teams) for parents over the summer, on how to support your child/young person: 

See the attached booklet for full details of all the sessions.

The remaining session is: 

For the parents/carers of children moving to secondary school this September

22nd August 11 am - 1 pm - Preparing your child for High School - book here

13-08-2023 Ofsted inspection results published

The SEND Area inspection was carried out by Ofsted and the CQC in March 23, and Our Voice was actively involved in gathering inputs from parents and carers and feeding them back to the inspection team.

The inspectors published their report on Wednesday 2nd August.

Enfield received the middle grade of the three possible grades.

This means that according to Ofsted, “the local area partnership’s arrangements lead to inconsistent experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND. The Local Area Partnership must work jointly to make improvements.”

This also means that Enfield will be reinspected in 3 years' time to look at what improvements have been made (areas receiving the top grade are not reinspected for 5 years). You can see the full report at https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50225063

The key points identified in the report were:

o    Children and young people still have varied experiences and although leaders have stepped up the pace in recent years there are mixed views on how much impact this has had.

o    Children young people and families are involved in the redesign and improvement of services

o    EHCPs are completed within the 20-week timescale and the quality is improving. However, there are out-of-date EHCPs and annual review amendments are not updated quickly enough especially in transitions, so that plans don’t always accurately reflect current needs.

o    Sometimes information sharing between professionals isn’t as good as it should be and parents have to step in to ensure professionals have the right information.

o    Some, but not all, children and young people are well prepared for transfer to adult services and not all are aware of the support available.

o    Numbers of exclusions have reduced significantly and services work closely with alternative provision so (where appropriate) pupils return to mainstream schools as soon as possible. However, some children and young people with SEND experience late identification of their needs with this taking place only after they are placed in alternative provision.

o    There is a broad range of activities for young people to try but more needs to be done to ensure families are aware of available activities. There are plans to improve access to schemes like the Summer Uni. As young people get older it is harder for them to access a good range of activities.

Special Needs Jungle has produced a useful explanation of how SEND area inspections work and what the different ratings are, which you can see here.

Thank you again to all of you, and all your young people, who contributed your views either to us, or by completing the surveys for parent carers and children and young people, or directly to the inspectors. It is clear that the inspectors listened to the issues that families face and reflected many of these concerns in their report.

We will (of course) be working with the LA and Health to ensure that parents' views are listened to as they look at what changes will be made in response to the inspection results. 

24-07-2023 Independent Travel Training

The First Route Travel Training scheme supports access to public transport for young adults and adults with learning disabilities.

The scheme was set up by Enfield Council in partnership with the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and Arriva buses, to help support individuals who were not confident with using public transport, including young adults before they transition to adult services, and adults with a learning disability.

Their sessions take place on the first Thursday of each month and give an opportunity for individuals to gain confidence to travel independently and safely, including looking at the kinds of scenarios that they could encounter on public transport.

The next sessions will be on 7th Sept, 5th Oct, 2nd Nov and 7th Dec for those who travel independently or those who use or could use, public transport with support. There are morning sessions from 10.30 am to 12 noon and afternoon sessions 12.30 pm to 2 pm (please note that the afternoon session times have been changed from the timings previously announced). 

More details are on: 

Poster for First Route Independent Travel training 

Bus Day factsheet

More detail about the development and aims of the scheme here

For further information or to book please contact Claire Fenwick on 0208 132 1476 or claire.fenwick@enfield.gov.uk

01-07-2023 Healthy Parent Carer Programme

We're pleased to announce that we are now signing people up for our next Healthy Parent Carer course which will be running online for 6 weeks, every Friday morning from 15th September until 20th October. 

This is not a parenting course, or about how you can get support for your child/young person - it is about your own well-being and will be run for small groups by trained facilitators who are also parent carers and understand the challenges. 

Please see the flyer here for full details of the course, what it is about and who it is for. 

If you are interested in attending the course from 15th September, please click on the link here to complete the short form,  so that we can get back to you before the School holidays. 

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis (including those who registered when we were recruiting for our previous courses), once we have had an initial discussion with you to make sure that the course will work for you and you are happy to commit. 

There will be additional courses in each half-a-term which we will offer to those unsuccessful in obtaining a place on this course. These will include some courses with a translator available (Turkish, Somalian or Bengali) and options to attend face-to-face or online.

If you would prefer to attend the programme at a later date please click the same link and indicate what your preferred timing is,  and we will come back to you in due course. 

There are only a limited number of places on each course so don't delay! 

17-06-2023 Anxiety and wellbeing Resources

Resources to support wellbeing and provide support for children or adults who are anxious, including general support in dealing with the aftermath of the two years of pandemic, and the challenges of starting to return to normal.

You can see a useful guide to sources of support for children and young people and their families here and a directory of services (including some SEND specific support) here

The last few years have been extremely challenging for many of our young people, and for us as parents, and the continuing uncertainties and changes in routine will be difficult for many families to manage. 

If you need someone to talk to you can contact the Samaritans round the clock - telephone 116 123  - and see the flyer here for more information and other ways to contact them. 

Urgent Mental Health Support

Children, young people and their parents can get free help, advice and urgent mental health support from 24/7 telephone lines supported by trained Mental Health practitioners. The Crisis Line for Enfield can be reached on 0800 151 0023. See here for more information, along with details of other sources of support. 

Videos to help you support your child

Our Voice worked with Enfield Educational Psychology service and Mental Health Support teams to produce a set of six videos to help you create a sense of safety, calm, control, connectedness and hope in your child, and to look after your own wellbeing during this pandemic. 

For more information and to view the videos (and links to support materials) see our website here.

General support for children with SEND

The BBC Bitesize SEND Toolkit includes a wide range of resources for supporting children with special needs and disabilities (as well as home learning support and fun activities) with managing emotions, keeping calm, mindfulness and Mental Health support. 

Educational Psychology Service Family Telephone support line

If you would like help and advice with supporting your child's emotional wellbeing and mental health (or your own) or managing behaviour at home you can contact the Enfield Educational Psychology Service's Family Support Helpline. The helpline also provides help with supporting your child's learning at home, concerns about their general learning, development or well-being, access to information and resources and signposting to other services. 

The Good Thinking Guide

The Good Thinking Guide produced by the Health London Partnership contains useful resources for managing your own wellbeing and that of your children, including dealing with anxiety, stress, sleep problems and low mood. It includes information about a variety of resources available including helplines and apps which you may find useful.   

A collection of top resources to do with your kids and help them manage their wellbeing here

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

CAMHS have a variety of useful resources which you can download from their website. These include guides, apps and website links for parents, younger and older children and young people. 

They have a wide range of different resources and tools for parents or carers and children. Topics include anxiety, self-esteem issues, self-harm, sleep, building resilience, managing stress, positive parenting, ADHD, controlling anger, Autism, problem-solving managing emotions and melt-downs, depression, adolescence, online safety, OCD, eating disorders,  Tourettes, supporting children when someone close has a terminal illness or dies, Pathological Demand Avoidance and mindful colouring. 

Thrive Enfield

Thrive Enfield have created a variety of different guides to help support parents, children and young people including Wellbeing support - how to look after yourself and your children

Healthy Enfield

Healthy Enfield has a useful Mental Health and wellbeing section which has a variety of tips and resources to support your mental health including Are you OK? - a guide to your mental health during Coronavirus.  

Children's Mental Health week resources

The website for Children's Mental Health week (6th- 12th February 2023) has a section for parents and carers here, which contains a useful selection of resources for supporting your child's mental health and helping them to express themselves, which you may find useful. It includes games and activities to do with your child, like the 'Squiggle game' and 'Draw your feelings' as well as a section on other resources which you may find useful. 

Mental Health Support for young people 

Kooth is a web-based confidential support service available for young people which provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support. Kooth offers young people the opportunity to have a text-based conversation with a qualified counsellor, available 12 noon to 10 pm weekdays and 6 pm to 10 pm at weekends, on a drop-in basis. Young people can access regular booked online counselling sessions as needed. Outside hours young people can message the team and get support by the next day. 

Resources from the Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation has some useful general resources for supporting your mental health including: 

How to look after your Mental Health

How to overcome fear and anxiety

How to look after your Mental Health Using Mindfulness

How to sleep better 

Look after your Mental Health using exercise 

Other resources 

Play is a great way for children to deal with their emotions and manage stress and worry. This short film on the value of play has been created by the British Psychology Society/Division of Educational and Child Psychology.  

15-05-2023 What's on at half-term?

Our latest 'What's On at Half Term' Guide has information on a variety of accessible events, activities and over the May half term in the Enfield area and nearby. 

The Local Authority's booklet on playschemes for the May half-term school holidays can be found here and there is additional information about the playschemes on the Local Offer here.

  • If you have teenagers you may be interested in the ECYPS Teenscheme - information on their flyer here